Trade Routes, Part IV

Your Holiday Shopping Guide to Chicago's Bucktown and Wicker Park
By Laura Schechter
Sure, Chicago's Magnificent Mile holds the title as the ultimate shopping mecca, but the Windy City's savviest locals prefer heading to the Bucktown and Wicker Park neighborhoods where the assortment of cool boutiques and distinctive finds makes this the top shopping destination of Chicagoans in the know. Scope out the stores on Division, then head north to Damen via Milwaukee, or travel the route in reverse. Either way, you'll have all your holiday shopping in the bag (literally), with plenty of time leftover for a nip and nosh at one of our favorite nearby pit-stops.
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philip_lim_beltHold Tight
The perfect present for your club-hopping crew, the Phillip Lim 3.1 belt ($248) at p45 looks great cinched over a tunic or a blazer and makes a bulky bag totally unnecessary; tuck your credit cards, I.D., and some cash into the streamlined side pouch and you're off and running.p45, 1643 N. Damen Ave, 773-862-4523; www.p45.com.
cavallini_alphabet_chicagoIt's a Wrap
Want to make sure that the package is as beautiful as what's inside? Stop by Paper and Print, for some vintage-esque Alphabet wrapping paper from Cavallini ($4.95 a sheet) and a tin of gift tags in imaginative shapes. Paper and Print, 1940 N. Damen Avenue, 773-384-1600.
obowl_chicagoKeep House
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Virtu's so full of beautiful pieces for the home, you might be tempted to just move into the store. Give the gift of good taste with Perch! NYC's sleek ceramic O bowl ($55), or satisfy the caffeine addict in your life with one of Goyer Bonneau's stunning cappuccino cups. Virtu, 2034 N. Damen Avenue, 773-235-3790.
redflowersoap_chicagoCouple's Therapy
The Ruby Room is full of great skin products like the intoxicating soap from Red Flower ($18). But the real draw is the Rejuvenation Suite for two, where you can catch a massage right alongside your honey (two 90-minute massages, $300). Ruby Room, 1743-45 W. Division Street, 773-235-2323.
bachelor_padDuly Noted
The sleek and unexpected design of Stitch's Swinging Bachelor Pad ($90) makes the traditional notepad look like an ugly stepsister. A stainless-steel paper cutter lets you customize the size of your notes, and a slot in the walnut base is just the right size for storing all your pens and markers. Stitch, 1723 N. Damen Avenue, 773-782-1570.
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panties_oneKnicker Knack
Guys, head to g-boutique to get your girlfriends the gift you'll both enjoy: sign her up for the Panty-of-the-Month Club, and at each turn of the calendar, she'll receive a new pair of Cosabella or Hanky Panky undies delivered right to her doorstep ($175). g Boutique, 2131 N. Damen Avenue, 773-235-1234.
frenchrevnecklaceMaterial Girl
Your BFFs won't be able to get enough of Erica Weiner's beautiful and unusual jewelry, like her French Revolution necklace ($46), available at Habit. But don't miss out on other choice pieces like Sharon Avnon's elegant earrings ($50). Habit, 1951 W. Division Street, 773-342-0093.
Goddess Worship
Gifting the edible...
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goddess_infeatureChances are if you stop in at Bucktown's Goddess and Grocer around lunchtime, the small storefront will be inundated with hungry diners lusting after divine sandwiches like the Magic Mushroom or Turkey Twist, or snapping up prepared foods like roasted pork loin and grilled asparagus with truffle oil. But the shelves are also stocked with a sweet selection of holiday gift ideas, like inexpensive wines, sweets, salsas, and chips, most of which are made locally. So, according to owner Debbie Sharpe, what are the biggest Dos and Don'ts of scoring edible gifts? DON'T be afraid to mix savory and sweet. "Everyone likes variety, so we like to include a good mix of chips, salsas, and chocolates." DO take advantage of the local food scene. "We really believe in buying local—it increases the quality of the product and it makes everything feel more special."
Cloak_sweatervestGood Investment
If your guy can't seem to break out of his hoodie-and-jeans routine, the Cloak grey and black houndstooth sweater vest ($298, on sale) at Hejfina will help him to spruce up his look as well as think outside the box—or in this case, the hoodie. Hejfina, 1529 N. Milwaukee Avenue, 773-772-0002.
Pit-Stops
Restore your strength on the road
Milk-and-Honey_sqauerStart your shopping day off right at Milk and Honey, a soothing and intimate café that serves up delicious breakfast dishes like orange brioche French toast and buttermilk granola pancakes. Milk and Honey Cafe, 1920 W. Division Street, 773-395-9434.
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Myopic_squareThe selection of used books (over 80,000 of them) at Myopic Books is anything but short-sighted, so you'll have plenty to browse through while you wait for that second shopping wind. Myopic Books, 1564 N. Milwaukee Avenue, 773-862-4882.
winestore_squareGather your friends and celebrate your retail windfalls at Bin Wine Café, where you can sample snacks like crispy tempura green beans, house cured olives, and 20 varieties of artisanal cheese. Bin Wine Cafe, 1559 N. Milwaukee Avenue,773-486-2233.
Stocking Stuffers Not Just Filler
leather_flaskHoliday Spirits
Tan leather flash ($40), from Stitch.
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socks_stockingstufferHappy Feet
Ilux striped socks ($25), from p45.
Your Holiday Shopping Guide to Chicago's Bucktown and Wicker Park.
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