Chicago's best candy stores offer a little something special for any occasion, whether you want to treat the little ones in your life or just indulge yourself with a little chocolate. Whatever your end goal, there's likely a shop that meets exactly your needs. The nostalgic sweets of childhood? Check. Exquisite, hand-dipped salted caramels? That, too. You can even find custom sweets packages to make your next birthday party extra special. These shops have everything you won't find at your standard grocery stores or even ice cream shops. Call us biased, but when it comes to candy stores, we think Chicago does it better than anyone else.
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The best candy stores in Chicago
This old-school shop in Berwyn is the definition of iconic. Since 1969, the family-run business has attracted sweet tooths young and old from all over Chicago with nostalgic sweets, handmade chocolates and penny candies like Razzles and Mallo Cups. The shop also makes custom party favors for special occasions like birthday parties, baby showers and graduations. You can also pick up supplies to make your own candy at home. Live in the western 'burbs? Visit the shop's second location in Indian Head Park to get your sugar fix.
French Pastry School grad Amy Hansen opened this super-cheerful Ravenswood shop, where jars of colorful retro and newfangled candies appeal as much to adults as children. We’re especially sweet on her house-made caramels, in flavors such as sea salt and dark chocolate. There’s a small selection of Chocolate Shoppe ice cream ready for scooping, too.
Bulk bins line this store, brimming 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 kick up 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.
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.
It’s nostalgia that draws people in droves to this kitschy diner/ice cream parlor. Fancy silver trays, paper doilies and saucers filled with chocolate and caramel sauces bring back fond memories for many who’ve made this place a tradition since it opened in 1921. Equally reminiscent of the good old days are the display shelves, which are crowded with memorabilia from the Beatles, who just had to have some Margie’s ice cream after they played Comiskey.
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.
This family-owned candy maker churns out tons of tasty chocolates, nutty confections and more, but what you really can't miss are the "Doodles." Grab a box of the shop's unique recipe of kettle-cooked, puffed caramel corn mixed with crunchy nuts, and you'll be seriously addicted.
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.
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 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.
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.
True to its reputation as the largest state-of-the-art sweets emporium and candy lifestyle brand, there are literally hundreds of specialized candies on offer at this trendy, tourist-packed Michigan Avenue shop. Take your pick of hand-dipped chocolates, signature mixes and, of course, the option to make your very own. Basically, the closest you'll ever get to Willy Wonka.
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.
Chicago's top pastry chefs know what people want: ice cream, doughnuts and pie. But while they've mastered—and elevated—traditional desserts, the best spots go above and beyond, with s'more macarons and chamomile creme brulee, to name a few. When you have to end your dinner with the best, here's where to find the best desserts in Chicago.