Lincoln Square and Ravenswood Gardens are two popular shopping neighborhoods within the larger community area of Lincoln Square on Chicago’s North Side. The area is full of small independent shops that span everything from bookstores and record stores to furniture emporiums. The majority of shops are tucked along the main drag of N. Lincoln Avenue. Stroll this walkable area to pop into an array of boutiques for fun discoveries.
Lincoln Square Neighborhood
Lincoln Square is perhaps best known for its German heritage. It was settled by German farmers in the 1840s, and has retained its flair for European culture. This is celebrated each summer at the Square Roots Festival, where live performances from local musicians and craft beer from local breweries acknowledge the area’s German roots.
Another large influence in the neighborhood is the Old Town School of Folk Music, which has been hot here since 1998. The school’s new venue features a 27,100-square-foot performance facility and classroom across from its Lincoln Avenue headquarters. Today, visitors can come enjoy a day of shopping and a great meal before a show.
Need more entertainment? Enjoy old-school style bowling at the historic Lincoln Square Lanes, open since 1918 (and not much has changed since). You might even catch a performance by the oompah-rock band, Polkaholics. Or, enjoy the area’s German influences at Dank Haus, which features film screenings and offers German language classes.
For a meal, stay with the German theme at Huettenbar or Gene’s Sausage Shop. This mainly residential area isn’t home to any large chain hotels. If you’d like to stay in the area, the closed accommodations are perhaps at the boutique Guesthouse Hotel.
Lincoln Square Shops
When exploring shops in this beautiful area. Start with the cobblestone stretch of Lincoln Avenue between W. Lawrence Avenue and W. Wilson Avenue. Need a fresh pair of kicks? You’ll find running and walking styles galore at Fleet Feet Lincoln Square. Across the way, stop in for artisanal oils and vinegars as well as an array of wines at Vom Fass Lincoln Square. For more cooking delights, you’ll find Savory Spice Shop next door, where you can shop specialty spices as well as extracts, sauces and specialty foods.
Next door, Timeless Toys is one of the neighborhood’s most popular outposts. It’s stocked with classic wooden toys, books, and puppets for play with an educational twist. Find fun finger puppets, hand puppets, and impressive life-size pieces. Next door is another favorite, The Shopping Block. Here, you can find all of your kitchen needs, hand selected by professional chefs. Want to up your skills yourself? Enroll in one of the store’s popular cooking classes.
For intellectuals, the Book Cellar is more than just a bookstore. Browse reads while sipping on your favorite wine, and enjoy the staff’s varied recommendations. You can also stop in for monthly Local Author Nights and other stimulating literary events.
It’s an urban jungle out there, but you can stock up on all your outdoor necessities at Uncle Dan’s Outdoor Store. Here, shop ear warmers, North Face jackets, camping gear, hiking boots, and Patagonia hats. The 5,700-square-foot retailer is stocked with whatever you need for an outdoor adventure or a walk through one of Chicago’s many parks.
Of course, you’ll need to bring home gifts for friends and family. Shop unique knick-knacks, toys, greeting cards, and book at ENJOY Lincoln Square. There’s plenty on offer at Merz Apothecary, as well, for loved ones or to spoil yourself. This historic shop has been open since 1875. Today, you can get holistic remedies as well as upscale bath products, like Diptyque candles.
If you want to wander off the beaten path a bit, walk east to enjoy Ravenswood’s fun offerings. There’s Alapash New Home, a rustic decor shop selling terrariums, plants, and artisanal kitchen goods. Another favorite here is Amy’s Candy Bar. Walk into this bright sweet shop for sea salt caramels, retro imported treats, and baked goods aplenty. Its a great way to finish off your Chicago shopping trip.