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Illinois Shopping

Abraham Lincoln Book Shop
357 W. Chicago Avenue
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 312 944 3085

True to its name, this River North bookstore specializes in what's known as "Lincolniana," but its purview is broader in scope, and includes a museum-quality selection of Civil War–era rare books, photographs, pamphlets, cartes de visite, and reasonably priced first editions. Not surprisingly, it's popular with scholars and professional collectors, but the knowledgeable and exceptionally friendly staff is just as happy to assist armchair historians looking to make their first purchase.

Open Mondays through Wednesdays and Fridays 9 am to 5 pm, Thursdays 9 am to 7 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 4 pm.

Bucktown/Wicker Park

More than ten years after first being "discovered" by bohos and style-makers, the neighborhood has earned its high-hip status with the city's most exuberant boutiques, galleries, cafés, and indie-rock bars. The area is a couple miles northwest of the Loop and is anchored by the intersection of North, Damen, and Milwaukee avenues.

Begin at Hejfina, where the smartly edited collection veers from men's and women's labels (most popular: Acne Jeans from Sweden) to exhibitions by local artists to pared-down furniture. Intent on outfitting your inner outlaw, Bonnie and Clyde's is the only Chicago boutique to feature Project Runway winner Jeffrey Sebelia's Cosa Nostra line. But it's the very witty Vlieger & Vandam bags (one purse comes printed with the entire skeletal X-ray of a small dog) that put the shop on the edgy map.

Stop in at the neighboring Hot Chocolate for cakes, shakes, and warm brioche donuts—or just grab some sandwich cookies from the takeout counter. Then head to Apartment Number 9 for menswear by Dries Van Noten, Etro, and Paul Smith. P. 45 has innovative, global women's labels (Phillip Lim, Ulla Johnson, Michelle Mason), plus some local jewelry designers you've never heard of—yet. Stitch is crowded with glazed Tampopo tableware, Votivo candles, and striped, jewel-toned Missoni wool throws.

For more of a patina, try Pagoda Red, where beaming Buddhas and antique yet eminently modern-looking Chinese chests, coffers, and chairs stand ready to furnish your loft. At Reckless Records, the tireless staff will help you sift through vinyl and rare box sets of jazz, soul, and, of course, indie recordings. End up at Trillium, where the haul (primarily women's fashions from brands like Joie, Cynthia Vincent, and Vince, plus J.W. Hulme bags) showcases preppy classics with a tomboy subtext.—Updated by Raphael Kadushin

Chicago Comics
3244 N. Clark Street
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 800 509 0333 (toll-free)
Tel: 773 528 1983

The fact that Chicago Comics has been voted one of the best comic-book shops in the country might not mean much if you're not (a) a child or (b) a fanatic. But you needn't be either to appreciate the store's eclectic merchandise, which runs the gamut from Mexican wrestling masks to adult-themed action figures to vintage posters. There's a small children's section up front and an entire wall of current superhero comics, but the majority of the store's PG-13 racks are filled with manga (in both Japanese and English), small press, and self-published works.

Open Mondays through Thursdays noon to 8 pm, Fridays noon to 9 pm, Saturdays 11 am to 9 pm, Sundays noon to 7 pm.

Clever Alice
1920 N. Damen Avenue
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 773 276 2444

Alice's owner, Tamara Chapanot, is astute indeed. First she moved her store from its more staid Lincoln Park location to River North's young and superhip art gallery district, where the city's most creative young professionals live. More importantly, she's deft enough to stock a sexy but always elegant assortment of women's clothing and accessories. Her track record for recognizing up-and-coming designers on both sides of the pond is well established; her recent favorites have included Grey Ant from L.A., Casting from Paris, and local jewelry designer Veronica Riley Martens.

Open Sundays noon to 5 pm, Mondays and Tuesdays 11 am to 7 pm, Wednesdays through Fridays 11 am to 8 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm.

1350 N. Wells Street
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 312 440 1300

A self-proclaimed clotheshorse, former lawyer Adam Beltzman was having a hard time finding the clothing—playful but still sufficiently refined—that he prefers. So he opened his own modern interpretation of the classic (and classy) men's clothing store. His carefully edited selections from ultratrendy lines include cashmere sweaters from anthony + moe, denim from Habitual and Joe's, and impeccably detailed dress pants and shirts from Theory. There are great gift items, too, including contemporary cuff links from Duncan Quinn, Linea Pelle belts, and a smattering of vibrant Ted Baker ties.

Open Sundays and Mondays noon to 5 pm; Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays 11 am to 7 pm; Thursdays 11 am to 8 pm; Saturdays 11 am to 6 pm.

The Haymaker Shop
5507 N. Clark Street
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 773 681 0798

Arrin Williams, the owner of this Andersonville hoedown of a boutique, knows that local sourcing isn't limited to top chefs. Scouring both Chicago and Midwestern back roads for handmade objets d'art (pretty much known as objects here), he has assembled a serious curated collection of goods from the heartland's most dedicated designers, builders, artists, artisans, craftspeople, and small studios at the Haymaker Shop. The shop itself—approximating a toolshed-cum-lumberyard-cum–crafts fair—holds a woody explosion of Lagomorph Design's reclaimed benches and tables, along with beeswax candles from Chicago Honey Co-op, stained-glass necklaces from Kostick Glass Jewelry, and just about anything else that can be made by hand, preferably from sustainable sources.—Raphael Kadushin

Open Tuesdays through Fridays 12 to 7 pm; Saturdays 11 am to 7 pm; and Sundays 11 am to 5 pm (or by appointment).

873 N. Rush Street
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 312 587 1000

Owner Ikram Goldman refined her impeccable if sometimes quirky taste at Ultimo, Chicago's most famous fashion house, before opening her eponymous boutique. Her moodily lit, 4,000-square-foot space features a mix of sophisticated women's clothing and accessories from the most coveted designer labels—from flirty Robert Clergerie footwear to extravagant, one-of-a-kind Rochas gowns. There's also a small selection of vintage wares handpicked by Goldman.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm and by appointment.

Jayson Home
1885 N. Clybourn Avenue
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 773 248 8180

Jayson Home, on the far edge of Lincoln Park, is quirky-chic enough to qualify as the smaller but feisty Midwestern sister of ABC Carpet & Home, New York City's epicenter of bobo decor. In fact, there isn't a square millimeter of this rambling salute to global tchotchkes that doesn't offer something covetable. The big pieces skip between Gustavian, French Provincial, English library, and contempo (perhaps canopy wing chairs or Byron twig tables). But if you don't want to invest in something important, consider the dizzying range of petrified wood stumps, Belgian linen bedding, antique Suzani throw pillows, and chandeliers in every configuration. The store also hosts an in-house floral shop and regular flea markets stocked with vintage Euro finds.—Raphael Kadushin

Open Mondays and Thursdays 9 am to 8 pm; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 9 am to 6 pm; Saturdays 10 am to 5 pm; and Sundays 11 am to 5 pm.

Merz Apothecary
4716 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 773 989 0900

In 1875, Chicago pharmacist Peter Merz's clientele was mostly recent European immigrants. His staff spoke several languages, and they specialized in hand-mixing Old World herbal remedies and traditional formulas while customers sat and chatted in leather chairs. Today, although the shop stocks familiar wholesome brands like Burt's Bees and Tom's of Maine, most of the high-quality toiletries and personal care items are either European, hard-to-find, or both. Woods of Windsor talcum powder? Yes. The toothbrush with 5,500 bristles that was designed by the two architects? It's called the Radius, and it's here, too. That French healing balm your grandmother used to have? If you can't find it here, it's probably no longer being made or imported to the States.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 9 am to 6 pm.

613 N. State Street
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 312 280 1602

This antique shop may be just a few blocks removed from the extravagantly modern chain stores that dominate Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile, but its overflowing tables of housewares, well-worn hardwood floors, and old-time charm are straight out of a bygone era. The term P.O.S.H. was once a popular acronym for "port out, starboard home," the preferred way for Brits to travel by ocean liner to their colonies in India and Southeast Asia (being on the north side of the ship helped them avoid sunburn). Over time, it evolved into British slang for all things luxurious—and that's what you'll find here. The store is brimming with vintage (and often unused) restaurant china, creamers from 1920's diners, and all sorts of other reasonably priced Old World flea market finds. Owner Karl Sorenson makes several reconnaissance trips to Europe every year to stock the store, so there are always new treasures to choose from.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 7 pm, Sundays 11 am to 5 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.