With the 606 running through some of the coolest neighborhoods in the city—Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park—it's no surprise that some of the best Chicago restaurants, shops and bars are nearby. What could be better than spending a Saturday cruising along on the 606, hopping off every now and then to hang out at a beer bar, then do some shopping at some of our favorite picks below? And if your bike gets a flat, no worries: One of the city's best bike shops is on this list, too.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to the 606
Shops near the 606
Owned by a pair of, yes, BFFs, this new bike shop works diligently with customers to find the best bike for them. It offers Bianchi, Giant and Public bikes, as well as clothing for commuters and casual cyclists. Tune-ups and repairs are also available, as are group riding sessions. Serious female cyclists will dig the BFF Racing team.
Though most of the pieces at this sleek Bucktown shop are out of our price range, we'll never pass up the opportunity to window shop—especially when the inventory is this good. Stitch offers everything from buttery leather chairs to sophisticated bedding alongside men's and women's accessories and glassware. Even if you don't buy a thing, you'll walk away feeling inspired to redecorate your apartment.
Adorned with superheroes drawn by G-Man artist Chris Giarrusso, this Logan Square/Bucktown storefront is immediately recognizable as a shop that is serious about comics. You'll usually find owners W. Dal Bush and Patrick Brower manning the counter in a shirt and tie, presiding over a selection of graphic novels that ranks among the city's best. The walls are lined with the latest issues while a separate room houses comics and toys for kids. If you like gabbing about comics as much as you love reading them, the store's monthly discussions allow you to join the conversation.
Part showroom, part workshop, part storefront, Department of Curiosities is in a league of its own. The brainchild of fashion designers Jamie Hayes of Production Mode and Gerry Quinton of Morua, Department of Curiosities was originally intended to be a shared studio space and morphed into a Logan Square shop. Both designers embrace "slow fashion," emphasizing quality over quantity, and aim to make the process of design and sewing interactive and transparent to their customers. Expect to find leather goods from Production Mode, and structured garments and hand stitched corsets from Morua, all made in-house. The space also offers classes, such as "corset making for beginners" and mini markets, like "Cabinet of Curiosities," featuring guest artisans and purveyors of fine objects, jewelry and prints.
Owner Kristen Basilo has a keen eye for design, and the proof is in her stunningly minimalistic Wicker Park shop, which has "gathered" an impressive variety of products for both men and women, including home decor, cards, apothecary, leather goods and accessories, jewelry and books—all made by small, independent makers.
You might think this is just a chocolate shop, where ingenious flavor combinations (passionfruit-ginger–white chocolate, goat-cheese-walnut) take shape as decadent truffles. One sip of owner Katherine Duncan’s hot chocolate, however, and you’ll know that this is really a test of will. Whether in traditional varieties (milk or bittersweet) or variants (salted caramel, hazelnut), the hot chocolate here is the thickest, richest, most insanely wondrous kind imaginable, topped with oversize, handmade marshmallows in flavors like Earl Grey and lemon-ginger. If you finish a full cup of this stuff, please give us a virtual high-five.
With a focus on organic, of-the-moment blooms, Pistil & Vine is a fresh destination among the city’s flower shops. Stop and smell the, yes, roses, hydrangea, anemones, calendula, tulips and more that fill the space, or request future orders for casual to formal occasions. While you’re there, take a peek at the eclectic assortment of home décor and gifts for sale.