What To Buy In Chicago, Illinois

what to buy in chicago
Anne Marie
Anne Marie
Updated

There are lots of reasons to visit Chicago, Illinois: the city is full of museums, sporting venues, iconic buildings, and delicious restaurants. It’s also a city with tons of shopping opportunities. The Magnificent Mile, the northern section of Michigan Avenue and Chicago’s commercial center, has over 460 retailers and three shopping centers. That doesn’t even include all of the shops to be found in Chicago’s other neighborhoods! If just the thought of wandering through all those stores makes you feel tired, here is a list of the top things to buy in Chicago to help you narrow down your shopping goals!

1. Chicago skyline snow globe

Chicago Snow Globe
Source: Photo by user get directly down used under CC BY 2.0

Chicago has one of the most recognizable skylines in the United States, dominated by towering skyscrapers that line the Lake Michigan shore. Four of America’s eight tallest buildings can be found in Chicago: the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), the Trump Tower, the Aon Center, and 875 North Michigan Avenue (previously the John Hancock Center). The Willis Tower is the fifth tallest in the world if you count the antenna on top. A great souvenir that captures these huge buildings in miniature is a Chicago skyline snow globe! You can buy Chicago snow globes in tons of souvenir shops, but why not pick one up 103 stories off the ground at the top of the Willis Tower in the Skydeck Gift Store.

Skydeck Gift Store

Address: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

Opening hours: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm

Price: 10 USD and above

2. Chicago ties

Ties
Source: Pxfuel

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Walking around the big city, you might get the urge to dress fancy for a night out on the town. If you happen to be looking for a tie, you’re in luck: there are lots of places to buy ties with Chicago themes in town! For sports fans, Vineyard Vines and Brooks Brothers both carry ties with logos of Chicago sports teams on them. If you’re looking for a tie that doesn’t have a Chicago print but still is special to the city, there are several tie stores that were founded in Chicago and sell high-quality men’s accessories. The Tie Bar has its flagship store downtown, selling affordable ties in all patterns and fabrics. Another option is Bird Dog Bay, which was founded by a local designer. This store sells 100% silk ties with a variety of quirky and cool patterns perfect for any occasion.

The Tie Bar

Address: 918 West Armitage, Chicago, IL 60614

Opening hours: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Price: 19 USD and above

3. Chocolates

chocolates
Source: Photo by user Amy used under CC BY 2.0

Everyone likes getting chocolate as a souvenir, even the folks who are hard to shop for! Chicago is full of places to buy delicious treats, ranging from traditional truffles to gourmet confections. For classic chocolates at a veteran Chicago establishment, go to The Fudge Pot in Old Town. This shop has been in operation since 1963 and specializes in fudge, caramels, and more. If you’re looking for inventive and unique chocolate, head over to Chocolat Uzma Sharif. This chocolatier uses ingredients like cardamom and rose petals, along with decorative shapes and molds, to make truffles you won’t find anywhere else. If you happen to be walking around the West Loop and suddenly smell the sweetness in the air, it’s probably because you’re near Blommer Chocolate company. This chocolate factory has a small, affordable shop where you can buy chocolate blocks for baking, covered nuts, and many other treats.

The Fudge Pot

Address: 1532 N. Wells, Chicago IL

Opening hours: 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Price: 2 USD and above

4. Garrett Popcorn

Garrett's Popcorn
Source: Photo by user Soon Koon used under CC BY-ND 2.0

If you crave salty snacks over sweet, Chicago has the perfect alternative souvenir for you: a tin of Garrett Popcorn! Garrett has been in operation in downtown Chicago for almost 70 years, and their popcorn is made from secret family recipes that you won’t find anywhere else. Each batch is popped fresh throughout the day, so you don’t have to worry about getting a stale snack. The classic flavors are caramel crisp and cheese corn, but they also have classic butter and delicious nutty flavors too. You will find Garrett Popcorn shops few places outside of Chicago, so be sure to stop by during your visit.

Garrett Popcorn

Address: 173 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60601

Opening hours: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm

Price: 33 USD and above

5. Half Acre beer

Half-Acre-Brewery-02
Source: Photo by user Mudwater used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Chicago is part of the Midwest, which is the heart of the American brewery scene. You would be remiss to not pick up some bottles or cans of beer during your trip. One of the best breweries in Chicago is Half Acre beer, which has locations in the Lincoln and Balmoral neighborhoods. They have three beers they brew year-round, with two seasonal brews that switch out in winter and summer. You can probably pick these up in a liquor store, but by visiting the breweries you’ll also have the option to try special brews only available on site.

Half Acre Beer Company

Address: 4257 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Opening hours: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm

Price: 10 USD and above

6. Wild Blossom mead

Craft beer
Source: Pickpik

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If you’re not a beer drinker but still want to take home a Chicago beverage offering, pick up a bottle of Wild Blossom mead. This alcoholic beverage is made by fermenting honey with yeast. The result is a sweet drink that tastes delightfully different from wine or beer. Wild Blossom has been in operation for over 20 years, and their meadery and winery operation is located right in Chicago. They are committed to producing wine and mead sustainably with local ingredients, raising their own bees and collecting their own honey too. Stop by their tap room and sample some products before deciding which to buy.

Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery

Address: 9030 S Hermitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60620

Opening hours: 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Price: 17 USD and above

7. Old Town Oil

Extra virgin olive oil
Source: Needpix

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Olive oil is one of those products you don’t think to indulge in while traveling. That will all change after a trip to Old Town Oil. This specialty oil and vinegar store has hundreds of varieties from around the world. There are many kinds that come directly from international suppliers, so you won’t find them anywhere else! Popular varieties of extra virgin olive oil include Meyer Lemon and Tuscan Herb. For vinegar, all of which are imported from Modena, Italy, try the Lemon White or Cinnamon Pear balsamic vinegar.

Old Town Oil

Address: 1543 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610

Opening hours: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Price: 15 USD and above

8. Abbey Brown specialty soaps

Bar
Source: Pikrepo

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

The best kind of souvenir is one that you can use after your trip to relax and unwind. If that’s your philosophy, be sure to visit Abbey Brown Soap Artisan while you’re in Chicago. There you’ll find a wide variety of hand-made, all natural olive oil soaps. The scents include Almond Bliss, Chamomile, Lemongrass, and much more! The store also has a signature Chicago Line of soaps, which are inspired by the city’s neighborhoods and attractions. The store also sells matching lotions, balms, and essential oils, if you find a scent you really love.

Abbey Brown Soap Artisan

Address: 1162 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Opening hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Price: 2 USD and above

9. Chicago flag necklace

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

At first glance, you might not think Chicago’s flag would make a great necklace—the blue stripes surrounding three red stars make a pattern that doesn’t match a lot of outfits. However, when the design is replicated in a sterling silver pendant, it becomes a pretty but simple piece that goes with just about everything. This popular necklace is sold in many stores around Chicago, but try to find it at Local Goods Chicago. This charming store sells lots of cute items with the city flag and other landmarks on them, like pins, mugs, and greeting cards.

Local Goods Chicago

Address: 5422 W. Devon Ave., Chicago, IL 60646

Opening hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Price: 20 USD

10. Hand-carved wooden spoons

Wooden spoon
Source: Needpix

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Another great souvenir idea is to purchase something that you have been needing. That way, you won’t feel like you’re wasting money and you’ll have something special from your travels. A nice, practical item to pick up in Chicago are hand-carved wooden spoons. Wooden spoons are durable and look beautiful in your kitchen. You’ll have luck finding wooden spoons at The Wooden Spoon, a cookware store. Aside from the store’s namesake, they also sell all kinds of items for your kitchen. Another place to buy wooden spoons is at Jayson Home. This store sells elegant kitchenware as well as housewares, lighting, and furniture. They sell unique vintage items too!

Wooden Spoon

Address: 5047 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640

Opening hours: 11:00 am to 6:30 pm

Price: 10 USD and above

Bring home a piece of the Windy City

Whether you’re shopping for souvenirs for yourself or loved ones at home, there’s something for everyone in Chicago. You can go for practical or frivolous, edible or decorative, and whatever you pick will be a hit. The city is full of stores with high-quality products, many of which are rare finds outside the city. Buy something big or something small, but be sure to treat yourself to a little piece of this great city before you leave.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Anne-Marie works in publishing by day and aspires to travel as much as she can. While she has not yet seen the whole world, she's eager to learn and write about it!

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