The facade of Macy’s decorated for the holidays, including window displays and trumpets
Photograph: Courtesy of Macy’s

The 13 best Christmas stores in Chicago

Chicago stores take the holiday season very seriously. Get in the spirt at these top Christmas shopping spots.

Written by: Jeffy Mai
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Christmas shopping can be stressful if you’re searching the web for the best deals or braving the crowds at a big box store, but it’s much more fun if you go somewhere that really embraces the spirit of the season. Christmas in Chicago is a magical time filled with incredible holiday light displays and over-the-top pop-up barsso it’s no surprise there are plenty of equally charming shopping destinations throughout the city, from festive seasonal markets to stores that go all-out with their decorating. Find something fun for everyone on your list by hitting up the best Christmas stores in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Your complete guide to Christmas in Chicago

Christmas stores in Chicago

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs

Chicago's largest open-air market is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Inspired by a Nuremberg, Germany, market that was founded in 1545, this market features iconic German items like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks and beer steins, as well as hand-blown ornaments and wooden handicrafts. Authentic food (sausages, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, waffles) and drink (beer and Glühwein, a traditional hot spiced wine) are also available, along with assorted sweets.

  • Shopping
  • Department stores
  • Loop
  • price 3 of 4

The department store’s 116th annual holiday celebration features a 45-foot toy shop-themed tree in the Walnut Room restaurant. Families can reserve a visit with Santa, who will be sitting behind his desk and checking his list. Stroll outside to view 42 trumpets above the 56th annual holiday window displays. The store features Toys”R”Us and Pandora departments, so you can find gifts for all ages and price ranges.

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  • Shopping
  • Toys and games
  • Lake View
  • price 2 of 4

Building Blocks has been a Chicago staple for 27 years. The charming toy shop with three Chicago locations is known for its meticulously curated variety of educational and developmental toys for children ages 0-3, plus puzzles, books, games, crafts and more. The shop comes alive at Christmas with extended hours, a toy drive, free gift wrapping and the chance to get a custom silhouette portrait of your kid.

  • Shopping
  • Kitchen and bath
  • River North
  • price 1 of 4

Since 1997, P.O.S.H. has sold an eclectic mix of dinnerware, accessories, jewelry and books from the historic Tree Studio building in downtown Chicago. Check out the whimsical holiday window display, then head inside to browse a collection sourced from antique markets, supply depots and auction houses, with plenty of seasonal offerings including ornaments, tea towels and hot chocolate mix.

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  • Shopping
  • Toys and games
  • Lincoln Square
  • price 2 of 4

A haven for kids and families since 1993, the Lincoln Square shop emphasizes the importance of play in a child’s physical, emotional and cognitive development. Their selection ranges from teethers for infants to toy cars for toddlers, dollhouses for preschoolers and Lego sets for older kids. Teens and adults, on the other hand, can pick up a complex board game or puzzle.

  • Shopping
  • Wicker Park

Shopping for someone who's a die-hard Chicagoan? This local shop, with locations in Wicker Park and Andersonville, offers a variety of Chicago-inspired products that are sure to bring joy to their faces. From hats embroidered with the city flag and "Chicago handshake" tees to a Chicago transit board game, there's no shortage of novelty items to peruse.

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  • Shopping
  • Boutiques
  • Lake View

Don't let the suspicious entrance in the alleyway throw you off; Ragstock is a Lakeview staple. Its selection of college sweatshirts, 90's T-shirts, tie dye shirts, and other kooky finds make it an excellent destination for a bargain costume-hunter or vintage lover. Oh, and ugly Christmas sweaters? There's no finer selection in Chicago.

  • Shopping
  • Toys and games
  • Logan Square

Nakama means friendship in Japanese and the husband and wife team that has run this Logan Square store since 2014 tries to embody that friendly attitude. They share their passions for anime, video games and science fiction by selling imported action figures, models and statues plus plenty of Warhammer figures for fans of the wargame. The prices should be an indicator—these toys aren't for kids.

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  • Shopping

Looking to support artists during the gift giving season? Taking place December 7-10, the One of a Kind Show gathers 500 artists and artisans on the seventh floor of the Merchandise Mart building for a seasonal bazaar of handcrafted goods and gourmet food. Browse selections of fine art, ceramics, clothing, pet supplies, toys and tons of other wares, or check out live music and other activities throughout the weekend—and don't hesitate to chat with the artists on-site if you have questions about a specific piece. A portion of this year's ticket sales will benefit the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. 

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  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs

Renegade Craft's flagship event takes over Morgan Manufacturing for a holiday-themed market on December 16-17. Attendees will be able to shop the handmade wares of more than 170 vendor booths, selling everything from candles and screenprints to jewelry and clothing. 

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs

Running from 5-10pm on December 8 and 9, the annual market at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel features dozens of art, food and retail vendors. Pick up a cocktail to sip while you shop for jewelry, greeting cards, ornaments, spices, sauces and more. And when you need to refuel, grab a snack from local favorites like Funeral Potatoes, Pink Salt, Paulie Gee's and Mochinut.

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