It's no surprise a neighborhood as unique and eccentric as Pilsen offers up a wide variety of local shops with plenty of character, from funky vintage clothing stores to deeply discounted reads and plenty of options for the creative, DIY-loving crowd. After you spend a day filling up at all the great restaurants and exploring the area's best things to do, head to one of these lovingly curated shops that bring to life one of Chicago's most lively neighborhoods.
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Tired of traveling from Brighton Park to the North Side for cool, thrifty finds, Trent Marinelli and Carlos Lourenco took matters into their own hands by opening this vintage shop in nearby Pilsen. Just off the Pink Line, the store (in a former meeting space the duo renovated) specializes in clothing and accessories from the 1940s to ’80s ($10 and up), as well as travel bags ($14–$30) and vintage luggage ($18–$24).
Jen Thomas and Jamie Roelofs don’t waste any time. When the two friends were working at a vintage shop in Pilsen in 2011, they quickly knew they wanted to open their own store. And just a couple of months later, Comet Vintage opened its doors in the neighborhood. The shop specializes in vintage clothing and housewares from the 1920s through the late ’70s—all at affordable prices (around $10–$30).
Find all the vintage men's and women's clothing your heart desires and more at this hip and thrifty store in Pilsen. Duds range from the early 1900s to 1990s and include everything from dresses and jackets to hats, ties and shoes. You'll definitely be able to tell that owners Karyn Dethrow and Michael Ader travel all across the country to hand-pick the inventory shoppers will love best.
A 2014 Time Out Love Chicago Award winner for Best Shop on the South Side, Modern Co-op is known for its well-chosen selection of mid-century modern furniture. The shop also shows strong support for local designers by featuring the works of artists who create pieces using repurposed materials.
You can find your next great read starting at just $1 at this mega bookstore in Pilsen. Choose from a wide variety of selections appropriate for families or educators. But the store not only offers a bit of everything to benefit your kids; it also hosts an array of special programming, like creative writing workshops for third through 12th graders and programs that provide free reading materials to schools. Always on the go? You can also shop Open Books in the West Loop or online. The store even ships worldwide.
This elegant space is part retail shop, part jewelry metalsmith studio, filled to the brim with eco-friendly goods. Shop for handcrafted metal jewelry, timeless yet modern women's vintage clothing and accessories, quirky antique home goods, vegan apothecary items, reclaimed art and even custom fragrances. You can also sign up for a workshop or private metalsmith class.
Looking for that Project Runway moment? You'll find it when you step into this gigantic Pilsen discount warehouse. (And warehouse it is—dusty at times and disheveled in all its glory). The selection of fabrics? Massive. Including apparel, ulpholstery, drapery, speciality and outdoor at some of the lowest prices around. It's not a stretch to understand why fashion students and designers flock here by the hundreds. You can also browse some of the store's selection on its website.
Buy a bike from this Pilsen shop and you’ll be giving to a good cause. The organization behind this storefront rescues and refurbishes bikes to distribute them to people in need all over the world. Within the shop you’ll find a range of styles and brands (Schwinn, Diamondback), along with new and used accessories, hard-to-find parts and gear.