Paper Source (232 W Chicago Ave, 312-337-0798)
It�s Papyrus-meets-Urban Outfitters at this stationery shop. Paper Source offers everything from greeting cards to children�s books in a charming, two-story building with wooden floors and pastel-painted walls. Look for tongue-in-cheek items such as Feminist Ryan Gosling books and flasks designed like pill bottles labeled �RX Boozemin.� Journey up the creaky staircase to the second floor for a crafter�s paradise. Rolls of sumptuously patterned papers line the bright walls.
Open Books (213 W Institute Pl, 312-475-1355)
The sprawling, warehouse-like space isn�t your average bookstore. Opened in 2009, the shop is an outgrowth of the Open Books nonprofit. The more than 50,000 books�rows and rows of wooden shelves painted in primary colors house novels by genre�in the store are used and donated. The funds go toward literacy programs in Chicago. Open Books invites customers to sit and stay awhile, offering a snug reading area complete with plush leather couches and a fake fireplace.
Elements (741 N Wells St, 312-642-6574)
This home/accessory/lifestyle store is the perfect blend of funky and chic. From the chrome-and-lamb�s-wool-covered stools to the cute beaded clutches, Elements� items are for those looking to make an elegant statement. The quirkiest item? A decorative, porcelain skull�handmade in Germany and priced at about $2,000�that can best be described as Hamlet haute. There�s even a cozy espresso bar in the back.
Lumina Galleries (740 N Franklin St, 312-642-6826)
Open for just over a year, Lumina shines bright with tons of chandeliers and floor lamps lighting up the small space. The store sells light fixtures both made locally and imported from around the world. Standouts include a ceiling spotlight made from coated glass that emits a cloudy rainbow of colors when turned on and the �Crescendo,� a modern chandelier of free-floating cables attached to lightbulbs shrouded in white paper.
Wilfred Newman (750 N Franklin St, 312-929-3067)
Don�t let the unassuming storefront fool you: This suit shop exudes luxury. Owner Ryan Newman began his journey to cool in 2009 with a custom business, expanding last year when he opened this store to offer ready-to-wear sweaters, shirts and coats. This is tailoring at its finest; patrons sip cocktails as they are fitted. The store�s decor�featuring an open layout with deep wood accents�is as elegant as its apparel.