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The Red Balloon
Photographer: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas The Red Balloon

The best shops in Lakeview

This busy neighborhood has stores of all kinds, so you can find the best clothing, books, home decor and more

By Laura Rote
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Lakeview has all of the shopping you can imagine and more, with some of the best stores for everyone from athletes to new moms. But it's not all sporting goods and clothing here. You'll also find great spots for furniture and home decor, plus music and comics, and even one of the city's best bike shops. Maybe you'll discover your next hobby on your next shopping excursion in this 'hood. 

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Lakeview

Best shops in Lakeview

Praha

Shopping Antiques North Center

Based on the owners' favorite Amsterdam emporium, Praha is ever so mindfully filled to the brim with an eclectic array of affordable, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces. You'll find furniture starting at less than $100 and decor like shabby chic window frames, vintage suitcases and antique signs. It's one of the few vintage stores where you'll always find something to buy, no matter when you decide to pop in.

Universal Sole

Shopping Shoes Lake View

This gem has been serving Lakeview's running community for 10 years, offering the best in footwear, accessories (Body Glide, foam rollers, etc.) and even Garmin GPS units. The store also hosts events like fun runs.

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Unabridged2.venue.jpg
Photograph: Maddie Blecha

Unabridged Bookstore

Shopping Bookstores Lake View

Hand-written employee recommendations line the shelves at the Unabridged Bookstore, offering heartfelt tips for customers. The decades-old Lakeview shop is known for its extensive children's section but also stocks a diverse mix of literary fiction and nonfiction for more advanced readers. You can also check available "in stores now" titles through the shop's website.

Foursided.venue.jpg
Photograph: Maddie Blecha

Foursided

Shopping Gifts and stationery Uptown

It's as if the two Lakeview outposts (one featuring custom frames, the other greeting cards and gifts) have morphed into the ultimate home-design general store. Yes, frames and greeting cards still make up a big chunk of the shop, but we're all about the prints (including vintage maps and medical charts), enamel pins and other cheeky art.

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Krista K Boutique

Shopping Boutiques Lake View

Female trendsetters of all ages rave about Krista K’s impressive collection of women’s clothing—including an entire level of denim from premium brands like J.Brand and AG Adriano. Plus, Rag & Bone parkas, A.L.C. sweaters and other seasonal items you probably don't need, but really, really want. The well-edited selection usually guarantees a positive, albeit expensive, wardrobe-altering experience.

The Red Balloon

Shopping Kid's clothes Wrigleyville

This location of Red Balloon is the ideal Lakeview stop for new baby gifts, clothes for your own little one, children's furniture, books and toys. The Red Balloon also provides personalized shopping services.

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Reckless Records (Lakeview)

Shopping Music and entertainment Lake View

Reckless is the big daddy record retailer in town, with three locations in the Loop, Lakeview and Wicker Park. Pick up used and new vinyl, video games and more at the Lakeview branch, which hosts large jazz and classical sections. 

Chicago Comics

Shopping Bookstores Lake View

One of the most comprehensive comics shops in town, Chicago Comics has occupied its current space on Clark Street since 1995. The new issues lining the walls include all the heavy hitters as well as one of the better selections of indie and small-press titles you can find (no surprise given the shop's relationship with sister store Quimby's). The bins in the center of the front room hold a large back-issues collection, with more valuable Golden and Silver Age titles displayed behind the counter. The shop also carries a variety of toys, T-shirts and collectibles.

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BelmontArmySurplusLakeview.jpg
Photograph: Martha Williams

Belmont Army Surplus

Shopping Antiques Lake View

These days the 35-plus-year-old store is more trendy garb than army. The sprawling two-story shop purveys studded skateboards, party dresses, hoodies and backpacks, but the hidden secret is the extensive thrift and vintage section on the top floor.

Chicago Music Exchange
Photograph: Chris Hershman

Chicago Music Exchange

Shopping Musical instruments Lake View

With more than 25 years in the music biz, Chicago Music Exchange has earned a reputation for its savvy staff of musicians and wide selection of inventory—whether you're seeking a 1920s banjo, a bargain on a used Gibson, a new drum kit, or just some accessories, this shop is great. Don't want to deal with the train ride? Order from the website instead. Easy peasy.

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