I can’t help the occasional (cough) shopping spree. Just the word “shopping” rouses energy. And when summer arrives, so do my out-of-town guests. As my friends and family trek themselves to Chicago for a visit, the agenda naturally includes… shopping. Navigate these boutiques for off-the-beaten-path buys – whether you’re a tourist or a city gal in search of a great find (even if it’s for yourself).

(credit: Art Effect)

Art Effect

934 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 929-3600
Open Mon-Thu 11am-7pm
Fri 11am-6pm
Sat 10am-6pm
Sun 12pm-5pm

Hop off the Brown line at Armitage and you’ll find Art Effect at the corner of Sheffield/Armitage. The store is brimming with jewelry, home accents, kitchenware, clothing and gifts for all ages. I love the Clava Wellie Striped Market Tote that’s $40.

(credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)


2462 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614-2718
(773) 327-7717

Climate is the store for gift giving. I can’t walk away without the one-of-a-kind onesies stamped with classic phrases like “Alarm Clock” or “iPood.” Shelves are lined with candles, scarves, and wall décor that spell Chicago in figurative lettering or snapshots of city landmarks. If this doesn’t scream tourist shop I don’t know what does.

(credit: Francesca’s Collections)

Francesca’s Collections

3539 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60657 
(773) 248-4558
Mon-Sat 10:00am-6:00pm
Sun: 12:00pm-5:00pm

Francesca’s growing popularity is the reason for its multiple Chicago locations – Water Tower, Armitage/Halsted, and the Southport corridor. I find a new collectible with every Francesca’s outing. The pink and orange blossom-covered Garden Blooms Flask is ideal for toting around your favorite drink ($20).

(credit: Virtu)


2034 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647 
(773) 235-3790
Open Tue-Fri 11am-7pm
Weekends 10am-6pm

The Bucktown shop’s hand-made designs are modern and ever-changing at Virtu. The ceramic Beth Mueller vases for $22 have a milk-bottle guise. They’re etched with everyday words and images. Other picks are the Lotta Jansdotter candles and the Snow & Graham notepads. Any of these find would make great gift or decorations in your own home.

(credit: Cinnamon Boutique)

Cinnamon Boutique

2104 W Roscoe St
Chicago, IL 60618 
(773) 281-2466
Hours: Monday – Friday 11am -8pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-5pm

The Roscoe Village retailer sells handbags, jewelry and apparel that blend upscale with everyday. Designers run the gamut – SweetPea, Splendid, J Brand, Mavi, BGBG and many more. Take your time browsing through and grab a gift or two for a loved one. You can’t go wrong here.

Jenny Schooley is a Chicago-based writer and editor. She currently works in publishing for an academic organization.