Best Of Chicago

Best Shopping In Chicago’s West Town

August 12, 2014 7:00 AM

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Shopping & Style Malls, Woman Shopping

Going just outside of Wicker Park, but staying in West Town, can be ideal for shopping. Treasures might not have steep rent costs worked into the price tag and the hipster factor is a tad less in your face. Friendly shop owners offering unique apparel, trinkets, home decor and more are waiting to say, “welcome.” After, take advantage of exceptional eateries and neighborhood taps.

Ad Hoc
1948 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 343-9991
www.chicagoadhoc.com

Rifle through clothing for both sexes, handmade jewelry and retro and contemporary home goods all well curated so you probably won’t see what you just purchased at your friend’s place. The experience here is very playful. Lounge on the sofa, eyeball art created by local artists, drop the needle on some vinyl and then launch shopping through what will be a fabulous gift or a treat for yourself like a great jacket, bracelet or jeans.

Tarnish
2024 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 227-7290
www.tarnishthestore.com

You can get a Michael Kors “motorcycle” jacket for a zillion dollars at Bloomies, or you can get lost in Tarnish. Owner Nicole Everhart says, “I’m not just selling accessories and clothes, I’m selling stories. Stories behind who made it, who owned it and, of course, the story to be written by whoever the new owner is.” You’ll find the toughest helmets, leather jackets, gloves and riding gear like back, shoulder and elbow armor as well as sweet jewelry, tee-shirts, bags and some dresses for the ladies and thick leather cuffs and handsome rings for the guys. Candles, pillows and blankets round out the roster of merch.

Alcala’s Western Wear
1733 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 226-0152
www.alcalas.com

There may be a place like Alcala’s in Texas or Oklahoma, but on Chicago Avenue in West Town? Alcala’s has been a centerpost of the ‘hood for years of cultural and economic fluctuations and still offers an incredible array of hats (let’s see Brad Paisley and his ilk go through 5,000 styles) and 8,000 pairs of boots that say, “Ride ‘em. cowboy.”  There’s apparel for men, women and kids from Western shirts and jeans (or are they dungarees here?) and fun items such as chaps, bolo ties, bandanas, spurs, wild buckles and leather belts.

Related: Walking Tour Of Chicago’s West Town

Sprout Home
745 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 226-5950
www.sprouthome.com

The sprawling garden departments at big box hardware and department stores may have the inventory, but Sprout Home has the heart. Servicing plant lovers whether living in a slim apartment (look at the cool terrariums and cacti gardens) or a spacious home, Sprout’s cheery and knowledgeable staff will help you work out the perfect flowers for loved ones and weddings and indoor and outdoor plants.

Permanent Records
1914 W. Chicago Ave.
ChicagoIL 60622
(773) 278-1744
www.permanentrecordschicago.com

It could be the record shop in “High Fidelity” (actually the exteriors for the film’s “Championship Vinyl” were filmed mere blocks away), but Permanent Records also has its own cachet. Expect new and used vinyl in good shape as well as still-factory-sealed originals. Regulars call the compact shop’s inventory “incredible” and most love the fact that the staff is brainy about the goods and never hovers. You can spend a nice chunk of time browsing and listening here and emerge smiling whether you buy or not.

Related: Best Places For Handmade Accessories In Chicago

Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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