Chicago's best tattoo shops

Whether you're a first-timer or a veteran, if you can dream it, these tattoo shops can make it permanent—from flash art to photorealism
Family Tattoo
Photograph: Wendell Remington Family Tattoo
Advertising

Once reserved for biker gangs and hipsters, tattoos seem to be gracing the flesh of all kinds of Chicagoans these days (even veteran journalist Carol Marin). Few life decisions are as permanent, so choosing from among Chicago's many tattoo shops can be a daunting task. Look to to these local tattoo parlors for flash art, photorealism, Asian or custom ink you'll be proud to wear for a lifetime.

Best tattoo shops

Shopping, Tattoos and piercings

Ageless Arts Tattoo

icon-location-pin South Lawndale

Ageless Arts, with locations in Little Village and Oak Pak, has been known for its custom ink and body piercings for more than 10 years. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are always welcome. Be sure to check out the shop's website for discounts.

Shopping, Tattoos and piercings

Archer Avenue Tattoo & Body Piercing

icon-location-pin Brighton Park

This multi-faceted shop is run by body piercing specialist Charlie Lopez and tattoo artist "Dirty Lou" Avitia. Head here for top-notch black and grey tattoo works, Asian designs, lettering, cover-ups and, of course, body piercings.

Advertising
Shopping, Tattoos and piercings

Deluxe Tattoo

icon-location-pin Lake View

When owner Ben Wahh opened Deluxe Tattoo in 1997, he based the location solely on its proximity to his favorite barbecue restaurant (which since closed). Needless to say, he had no idea that years later, his shop would be considered among the best in Chicago, made famous by LA Ink artists Kim Saigh and Hannah Aitchison. The shop's specialities run the gamut, from simple five-minute tats to full sleeves and backpieces, American traditional, Japanese, biomechanical and photo realism.

Shopping, Tattoos and piercings

Family Tattoo

icon-location-pin North Center

Inspired by world travel and, most important, his love for a good time, owner and artist Lee Leahy opened Family Tattoo in 2005. Located in Roscoe Village's Antique Row, the shop boasts a family of talented artists, with specialities ranging from traditional and modern Japanese to traditional Americana and intricate portraits.

Advertising
Shopping, Tattoos and piercings

Pioneer Tattoo

icon-location-pin Lake View

Pioneer Tattoo is known as more of a specialty shop, being the child of local famed artists Tim Biedron and Harlan Thompson. Consultations in this laid-back, rustic-modern space are conducted by appointment only to ensure a completely customized experience.

Shopping, Tattoos and piercings

Revolution Tattoo

icon-location-pin Bucktown

Known for its laid-back vibe, vibrant decor and attention to detail, Revolution Tattoo has been a Bucktown favorite for 10 years. A destination for the art-enthused, the studio specializes in pretty much everything under the sun, but its photorealism, portrait and artwork replication work is unparalleled.

Advertising
Shopping, Tattoos and piercings

Shred's Inferno

icon-location-pin West Lawn

A long-standing South Side ink destination, Shred's has been in business for more than 16 years. Known for its bold, bright designs, portraits, and black and grey scales, this shop is also the go-to for the Bulls' Derrick Rose. And if it's good enough for him, well...you know.

Shopping, Tattoos and piercings

Tatu Tattoo

icon-location-pin Wicker Park

This Wicker Park shop is home to an army of talented artists, conjuring up custom work as well as flash designs. In business since 1992, it has built a reputation for quality ink in an ultra-clean environment. Don't let the name fool you—Tatu Tattoo also offers piercing services and an impressive selection of body jewelry. Be sure to check out the shop's website for a $20 discount.

Advertising
Shopping, Tattoos and piercings

Top Hat Tattoo

icon-location-pin Irving Park

A go-to studio in Old Irving offering custom ink and body piercings in a friendly atmosphere. Ink specialities range from black and grey, new school, old school lettering, cartoon and portrait work.

Advertising
This page was migrated to our new look automatically. Let us know if anything looks off at feedback@timeout.com