If you are tired of the gigantic chain bookstores, then check out Unabridged Bookstore. Catering to a large gay clientele, this bookstore has a big selection of gay and lesbian themed literature. Downstairs it has the largest collection of travel books in the city. This is everything a neighborhood bookshop should be. Browsers are more than welcome and the shelves are packed with varied and interesting reading and the staff is very helpful.
Although billed as the mall for progressive people, make no mistake, this is standard shopping. Of course, this is still a fine, six-level shopping mall, but just do not expect surprises. The biggest attraction is the location; the mall is housed in a converted 1930s movie palace. If shopping doesn't tickle your fancy, and if you happen to have a Bally's Fitness membership, the building's top floor houses the health club. If you don't have a membership, try riding up and down in the painfully slow glass elevator for kicks. The building still houses a movie theater as well, Landmark's Century Centre Cinema. Credit cards are accepted, types vary by establishment.
Located in the heart of Boy's Town, it's not quite K-Mart, and it's not quite Wal-mart. It's The Gay Mart. Pick up a gay-rights T-shirt, a gyrating Cher doll, a nun punch-doll or one of your favorite magazines. While the shop certainly caters to the gay and lesbian community, the emphasis here is more on kitsch and fun for everyone.
Lenny & Me has an excellent presentation of its vintage wares. The front window is always decorated with an enticing display of clothing, shoes, accessories and other fanciful finds. Lenny & Me feels like a vintage designer boutique. The owners provide only the best selection of retro items. Their house wares, for example, look like perfect replicas of items that were once displayed in the Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies' Home Journals of yesteryear. You may be able to find the exact same things hidden in the back of a no-name thrift store for a cheaper price, but here you are paying for the convenience of someone already having done that for you. For a sampling of what Lenny & Me has to offer, see their etsy shop. - Betsy Mikel
What the Ark lacks in organization and curb appeal, it makes up for in its goods. Most repeat Ark customers praise its selection of household items and furniture. As locals browse the always-rotating stock of dining room sets, couches and chairs, travelers short on suitcase space can search for treasures in the back. It's likely you might find a vintage mug with the Chicago skyline or an old hand-powered eggbeater. But if you see something of interest, it's best to grab it right away. Nothing at the Ark remains on the shelves for long. The resale clothing shop has a separate entrance, and items are often $1. Proceeds from the Ark Thrift Shop help fund the social services provided by ARK Chicago, a non-profit organization serving the Chicagoland Jewish community. - Betsy Mikel
In an age where movies, comics and games are readily available for free or cheap on the Internet, few stores remain that specialize in these types of entertainment in their original hard-copy form. Luckily, Brainstorm Movies, Comics and Gaming is one that does. The store makes a point to ensure that customers understand that no matter who they are, be they geeked out comic nerds or just browsing movies for a weeknight rental, everyone is welcome. Discounts and sales on comic books are frequent, and the staff is always friendly and patient with questions. The selection of movies is varied, and includes documentaries, independent films and unreleased foreign films. - Betsy Mikel
This self-proclaimed modern day general store stocks a unique assortment of oddities. Rudy's Roundup is a good gift idea destination for those who like vintage or kitschy items. The yellow and blue tiled floor matches the eclectic selection of clothing, accessories, greeting cards, candles, soaps and other trinkets. The selection of goods is random, but interesting. It's easy to lose 30 minutes in this tiny storefront. Some neighboring stores have developed a reputation for being stuffy and overpriced, but Rudy's Roundup is nothing of the sort. These owners are known to be cheerful and friendly, have reasonable prices, and even donate 25 cents to an animal charity when customers choose not to take a bag for their purchase. -Betsy Mikel
Hmm, let us guess! You are bored to death wearing the same outfits and are looking for a wardrobe overhaul? What could be a better place to visit than Amisha Boutique, the one stop shop for clothes, accessories and what have you! The decor is extremely classy and the shop is owned by twin sisters who make you feel welcome form the moment you step in. They have the most amazing and unique collection of pants, skirts, tops, dresses, jewelry, handbags and belts from across the world. The jewelry collections from Rosanne Pugliese, Teri Bienvenue, and Como Blonde are beautiful; seen to be believed! All in all, this one's a knockout presentation that leaves you floored!
Thinking of sending flowers or fruits to someone, but bored with the same drab bouquets? Then head to this well-known store that gives a new dimension to flowers and fruit craft. In Fruitflowers, arrangement of luscious fruits in a decorative and appetizing manner will surely make you forget the normal fruit tray in your kitchen. Creativity of the owners of Fruitflowers has been acknowledged by far and you can see their creations in many hospitals, meeting rooms and parties. The store has creations for every season and every occasion. So what are you waiting for, just step in to the world of fruity fragrance.
Bullfrogs and Butterflies! Sounds amusing right! Well that's the shop located at West Division, which has a wide variety for toddler shopping. The shop offers an array of essential everyday items including clothes, toys, books and even strollers. Customized gift wrapping facilities are also available. As you shop what you like, your kid can play or draw in the ample space provided for them in the store premises. The toy train which runs over the top of the store not only amazes the kids but also revives childhood memories in the adults. You and your kids are definitely assured to have a great time!!