It is perhaps easiest to describe shopping in Wicker Park and Bucktown as opposite of what you’ll find on The Magnificent Mile. Instead of department stores and high-end chains, you’ll find an array of vintage clothing stores, record shops, and independent boutiques full of personality. It makes sense, as Wicker Park is one of the area’s best-known hipster neighborhoods, stocked with plenty of dive bars and fair-trade coffee shops.
The Wicker Park/Bucktown Neighborhood
Wicker Park is located northwest of The Loop, to the east of Pulaski Park and west of Humboldt Park. The area is known for its hipster culture, complete with a thriving art community and food scene, as well as plenty of nightlife. Bucktown is located just to the north, famous for its edgy architecture and converted loft spaces.
The neighborhoods housed many of the city’s Polish residents during the turn of the century, and Polish immigration grew during and after World War II. Today, they are best known for their commercial and entertainment establishments. It is also popular for residents who commute to the city’s downtown for work. The trendy area houses many of the city’s emerging bands, restaurants, cafes, and of course, shops.
Want to stay in the trendy nabes? Stay at the Robey. The area also offers a host of popular, and delicious dining outposts. After a day of shopping, stop for a meal at Cafe Cancale, Cebu, Luella’s Gospel Bird, Tricycle, or Etta.
The Wicker Park/Bucktown Shops
The best concentration of shopping here is found along N Milwaukee Avenue between N Paulina Street and N Wabansia Ave, at the North End. Start there to find Trek Bicycle Chicago for bikes, service and gear. You’ll also find the popular Detroit watchmaker and leatherworker, Shinola, for curated gift items.
Get your fix at La Colombe coffee roasters before stopping into Moon Voyage, a trend’s women’s boutique highlighting small designers. Stock up on your denim needs (including the trendy Wedgie Jean) at the nearby Levi’s Store. There’s also an Adidas Originals for more timeless casual classics.
Shop American-made hats for men and women at Goorin Bros., the cross the road for sporting and biking goods at Rapha Chicago. If secondhand shopping is more your speed, stop into Crossroads Trading for great finds. Next door is another hip consignment boutique, Ragstock.
Prefer the hipster look without digging through the resale racks? The street is also home to Urban Outfitters and Free People, bohemian, hip-retailers for trendy fashionistas. At the end of the strip is Reckless Records, an old-school record shop where you can shop new and used imported and domestic vinyl.
In Bucktown, there’s more shopping found perpendicular to Milwaukee Avenue on N Damen Avenue. For example, find the stylish New York jewelry designer Alexis Bittar. Or, on-trend backpacks, clothing, and accessories are in high demand at Fjällraven.
In the beauty space, you’ll find Aesop Bucktown, a high-end, plant-based skincare product brand; Diptyque, fragrance retailer for perfume as well as face and body care products; and Bluemercury, home to cosmetics, perfume, and bath and body products.
The street also has P.45, a hip retailer housing brand-name apparel, accessories, and shoes for women. The North Face and Lululemon offer high-end sporting ware near the intersection of N Daman Ave and W North Ave.
Wander off the beaten path to find other unique outposts in Wicker Park, like St. Alfred’s—a trendy sneaker boutique offering the rarest collaboration lines. You can also find the floral boutique Asrai Gardens, where extraordinary plants are mixed with home decor and scented candles. More home decor is found at Gather Home + Lifestyle, stocked with a curated assortment of cards, apothecary, leather goods, accessories, and books.
Also, don’t miss the city’s legendary used bookstore, Myopic Bookstore. If you’re in town for a while, you can catch local poet Larry Sawyer’s free poetry series. More oldies-but-goodies are found at Silver Moon, which is stocked with vintage eveningwear and formal attire. Find 1950s cocktail dresses to men’s suiting jackets at affordable prices. Finish the outfit at Vintage Underground, where you can dig through piles of heavy costume jewels.