The 10 best candy stores in Chicago

From a Mexican candyland to a haute chocolate shop, Chicago's best candy stores offer treats for kids and adults

Photograph: Martha Williams
Katherine Anne Confections, one of Chicago's best candy stores, serves caramels and truffles.

Want to treat the little ones in your life? Or just indulge yourself with a little chocolate? (No shame in that!) Chicago has lots of great candy stores, including a shop that stocks the gummy, Technicolor sweets of your youth, a Mexican candy store and a small-batch chocolatier who turns out inventive truffles made with local ingredients. Ideal for Halloween or any time of the year, these are Chicago’s 10 best candy stores.

Aji Ichiban

Don’t be fooled by its relatively compact size; you could spend ages perusing the sweets at this Hong Kong import, tucked into a first-floor shop on the northwest end of the Chinatown Mall complex. Among the offerings: a rainbow of hard candies far too wild for grandma’s purse (we spotted tomato and pine versions) and American favorites in unusual flavors (think green tea Kit-Kats). What’s that you say? You’d rather have dried squid strips and cooked duck tongues? Never fear; Aji Ichiban has those, too.

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Chinatown

Amy's Candy Bar

Few of our city’s candy stores boast the Pinterest-worthy level of loveliness that pervades Amy’s in Lincoln Square. It’s a snug spot comprising a couple of walls of pristine white shelving on which stand apothecary-style jars filled with items you likely haven’t had in a while, like licorice shoelaces, little sugar dots affixed to scrolls of paper, and pastel flying saucers filled with nonpareils. The shop also produces soft, milky caramels in four flavors; we like the original salted and the tart, jammy raspberry. 

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Lincoln Square

Candyality at Water Tower Place

With bulk bins that brim with vividly colored selections like jawbreakers, Swedish Fish, Spree and gummies in pretty much every shape imaginable (not to mention a small range of retro items like whoopie cushions and tin lunch boxes), this Mag Mile spot is sure to touch off a burst of childhood nostalgia. In the mood for something a bit more grown up? Check out the shop’s extensive licorice bar, stocked with options like traditional red vines, darling black Scottie dogs, and salted licorice, a Scandinavian favorite.

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Chicago

Dulcelandia

Prepare for sensory overload at the local candy and party supply superstore Dulcelandia, where a seemingly endless assortment of colorful bulk sweets and rows of princess and superhero piñatas vie for your attention. Much of the candy here is imported from Mexico, and the flavors skew toward the tropical (think tamarind and coconut). On a recent visit, we picked up a tasty confection of milk candy wrapped around sweet-tart guava paste, as well as a rather adorable (and spicy!) elote lollipop.

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Logan Square

The Fudge Pot

If you’re one of those people who’s always worrying that there’s no good place in town to get a molded chocolate dachshund or an oversize chocolate bar that reads “Happy Divorce” anymore, relax—the Fudge Pot’s got you covered. This sweet shop/candy kitchen/Old Town institution features a prominent display of what can only be described as chocolate tchotchkes, which should be weird but instead are kind of charming. But we suppose you can get away with just about any decorative whim when you also happen to churn out 10 flavors of rich fudge, dynamite caramel apples, pecan-loaded turtles and a host of other handmade treats.

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Near North

Katherine Anne Confections

This cozy Logan Square cafe and workshop crafts what is perhaps Chicago’s most decadent hot chocolate, along with flavored caramels, colossal marshmallows and a rotating roster of super-creative truffles (look for fall-appropriate varieties like peanut butter and green apple and fig-balsamic). What’s more, chocolatier-in-chief Katherine Duncan is big on using locally sourced ingredients, so you can have that hot chocolate and still feel a little bit virtuous.

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Logan Square

Terry’s Toffee

It may be dedicated to toffee, but Terry’s is far from one-note. In its on-site kitchen, the West Side shop turns out 14 varieties of the crunchy stuff in flavors ranging from the familiar (good old milk- or dark chocolate–dipped) to the unexpected (ginger-infused, dark chocolate–coated pieces dusted with crushed wasabi peas). Toffee-enriched popcorn, biscotti and ice cream are also available, and the friendly staff are generous with samples, giving you a chance to try before you buy.

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Near West Side

Vosges

You’ll want to leave the kids at home for this one; homegrown haut chocolatier Vosges (which has attracted all manner of praise for its sustainably produced, super-high-quality chocolate) has a penchant for unusual and exotic ingredients (think fennel pollen, matcha tea and rye whiskey) that may turn up little noses, but will make more sophisticated palates sing. The Lincoln Park boutique isn’t Vosges’ only Chicago location, but it is the only one that features a cafe space where you can sit and savor a truffle or two with a perfectly paired glass of wine or beer in hand. 

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Lincoln Park

Whimsical Candy

Stepping into the anonymous downtown office block that houses Whimsical Candies, you might at first think you’ve got the wrong address. And then somewhere along your journey down to the subterranean shop, a rich, sweet smell will rise to meet you and you’ll know you’ve come to the right place. This charming spot, decked out in gleaming white walls and stacks of colorful toy suitcases, produces a small but lovely range of not-too-heavy confections. Try the signature La-Dee-Dahs, pinwheel-esque swirls of flavored caramel and nougat backed with a coating of chocolate. 

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Loop

Windy City Sweets

Perhaps it’s all the knotty pine paneling, but something about this 31-year-old Lakeview spot reminds us of an old-timey general store. And indeed, Windy City Sweets casts a wide net, offering something for practically every craving on the candy spectrum. You can stock up on packaged classics like Ring Pops, Pez and Bubble Tape here, but we prefer the shop’s selection of hand-dipped treats, which includes such gems as Twinkies enrobed in peanut butter shells and chocolate-coated s’mores. 

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Boystown

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