BEST BABY SHOP The Red Balloon
Owner Jennifer Pope has an unerring ability to identify clothing, toys, books and room decor that promise to deliver the perfect childhood. All of it’s full of whimsy, nostalgia and old-fashioned fun, grounded in Farmers’ Almanac pragmatism. And it’s coupled with “the best customer service, hands down,” according to one voter. T-shirts and pillows emblazoned with a single initial are perennial best-sellers at the original Red Balloon in Bucktown and its Andersonville offshoot, but you’ll also find the edgier spiked backpack or gunmetal ankle boots here, too. “You can always trust their gift advice,” raved one voter. “Winners every time.” 1940 N Damen Ave (773-489-9800) and 5407 N Clark St (773-989-8500).
Other nominees Urba Baby, giggle, Be By Baby!, Leoleno, Psychobaby