The land of hipster dive bars and organic, fair-trade coffee also has one of Chicago's most vibrant shopping scenes. Far from the cookie-cutter chain stores you'll find on Michigan Avenue, Wicker Park and Bucktown offer trendy boutiques, vintage clothing stores, record stores, thrifty gifts and a lot more, all with plenty of quirks and personality.
RECOMMENDED: Wicker Park and Bucktown guide
Best Wicker Park and Bucktown shops
Your hip New York City friend is in town for the weekend, but his suitcase is lost somewhere between here and La Guardia. The simple solution: Book it to this tiny Bucktown men’s boutique, which boasts an exclusive collection of pricey clothing including Seize sur Vingt dress shirts ($188-$210), skater-esque Trovata pants ($150) and Paul Smith jackets ($500-$600). For wannabe trendsetters who need some fashion advice, the always-stylish salespeople can put together a smashing outfit in minutes.
Walking into this floral boutique offers a breath of fresh air, literally. Far from your average florist, Elizabeth Cronin decks the space in everything from wild flowers to extraordinary succulents, mixed in with home decor à la faux stuffed moose heads and citrus-scented candles.
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.
This charming shop is known for stocking tiny designer labels, many from New York’s hippest enclaves. The standout line in the boutique, though, is co-owners Kelly Whitesell and Elizabeth Del Castillo’s, which is also named Eskell and was featured at at the city's Fashion Focus in 2008. The duo has also recently started organizing designer sample sales.
Anyone who’s ever gone sofa shopping knows that furniture prices can quickly rise. That’s why Rob Royer and Steve McClearn launched Interior Define. The website (and showroom in Wicker Park) offers accent chairs, couches and sectionals—all completely customizable without going through middleman, which keeps the prices relatively low. The two-seat Sloan sofa, for example, is the kind of modern piece you’d find at a contemporary big box store for more than $1,000. At Interior Define, it starts at $800. The store also offers a 365-day return policy.
We all know perfectly soft T-shirts are hard to come by. Offering exactly that—plus a full line of men’s and women’s clothing—is Marine Layer, the first outpost of the San Francisco–based brand outside of the West Coast. Inside, you’ll discover pieces cut from custom-blended cotton so comfy you’ll want to layer them all year long.
Need to kill some time while waiting to get into Big Star? Visit this nearby lifestyle boutique featuring apparel and accessories as well as apothecary and home items. Owner Susie Lee stocks the shop with popular brands such as French line American Retro, U.K.-based Lazy Oaf and domestic line Courtshop. By the time you make it to Big Star, you might need an extra seat for your purchases.
This legendary used bookstore—one of Chicago's oldest and largest—stocks three floors' worth of books from floor to ceiling. Also, local poet Larry Sawyer has booked one of the best free poetry series in the Midwest here for years, and in Myopic’s top-floor space, the readings are even sunnier.