shop-local-2023:-a-west-loop-and-downtown-gift-guide

Shop Local 2023: A West Loop And Downtown Gift Guide

DOWNTOWN — West Loop and Downtown businesses are ready for holiday shoppers.

Although Downtown is teeming with big department stores, there are also plenty of locally owned small businesses to cover your gifting needs.

Block Club Chicago rounded up a few neighborhood options to help you shop local.

Here’s what you can buy:

Colores Mexicanos has a vas array of artisanal goods imported from Mexico. Credit: Colores Mexicanos Facebook

Colores Mexicanos, 605 N. Michigan Ave. Website

Colores Mexicanos is a vibrant Mexican gift shop offering authentic and handmade art, decor, jewelry and more. The shop is owned by two sisters who immigrated to Chicago over a decade ago from Mexico.

Located on bustling Michigan Avenue, the store features the work of artisans from 13 states across Mexico. Shoppers will find goods created by Mexico’s “deep artistic traditions” and indigenous cultures.

Gifts range from embroidered blouses and beaded jewelry to handwoven rugs ($150-$280) and hand-painted Talavery shot glass sets ($20-$35). Talavery is a traditional Mexican ceramic; use them for tequila, espresso or even for mini succulent plants, according to the website.

Colores Mexicanos is open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. Instagram. 618-967-5607.

Mary Mary Gifts, located in River North, has gift perfect for the hostess for whatever holiday party you go to this year. Credit: Instagram

Mary Mary Creative Gifts And Furnishings, 706 N. Dearborn St. Website.

Mary Mary Gifts is tucked away in a 138-year-old brownstone building in River North. The store is packed with antiques and “original pieces from all over the world,” including crystal chandeliers, sculptures, mercury glass, handbags and home decor.

Going to a Christmas party? Need a gift for the host? Unique home goods at Mary Mary include an imported floral embroidered table runner ($38) and a five-piece decanter set ($40).

Mary Mary Creative Gifts and Furnishings is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Instagram. 312-654-8100.

The Buddy store is located inside the Chicago Cultural Center with tons of art for sale from local arttists. Credit: Instagram

Buddy, 78 E. Washington St. Website.

Looking to support Chicago artists this Christmas? Head to Buddy inside the Chicago Cultural Center. The store features the work of over 300 artists, with everything from prints and photos to jewelry and clothing.

The shop is a collaboration between the Public Media Institute and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Its mission is to give artists and small manufacturers in Chicago a place to showcase and sell their goods.

Hand-drawn neighborhood maps ($100) would be a cool addition to anyone’s home. If you’re looking for something more eclectic and fun, Hot Mess lighters ($38) could be the answer. Buddy is perfect for browsing in person so you can see these art pieces up close before purchasing.

Buddy is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Instagram.

Luxury cardholders from new local brand Noir Atelier. Credit: Frankie Fabre

Noir Atelier. Website.

Noir Atelier is a new luxury brand from Chicagoans Shawn Gibbs and Frankie Fabre. The pair launched their online shop a few months ago selling specially designed vegan wallets.

The slim and sleek card holders come in five bold colors, with two more colors coming online soon for the holiday season. The card holders are $129 and come wrapped in a baby blue duster bag inside a small gift box wrapped in a blue bow.

Noir Atelier is online only. Instagram.

Sponsored

Soy candles in recycled bottles and jars from Robin Wilson’s Recycled by Robin (left) and a designer dog collar from Tom Daniels’ Six Point Pet. Credit: Provided.

Six Point Pet, Website

Our four-legged friends need some holiday love, too! Six Point Pet offers artfully designed dog and cat collars with a cause, and they’re made right here in Chicago. All collar designs are original creations, and some feature collaborations with street artists. The best part? A charitable organization is assigned to each of the designs and 6% of sales are donated every year to those causes.

Turn any pooch or pussycat into a proper city-dweller with the Chicago Style Hot Dog dog and cat collars starting at $18. Fun fact: The popular Chicago Style Hot Dog collar is a collab with local muralist Jeff Zimmermann.

773-425-8044.

One Coinciding Minute Felt In Rotation, displays about 50 minutes of footage showing the sunrise in Seoul on side of a screen and on the other, the sunset in New York City, filmed at the exact same time. One Coinciding Minute Felt In Rotation was part of a 2022 exhibition featuring late artist Gregory Bae at MCA Chicago. Credit: Melody Mercado, Block Club Chicago

MCA Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave. Website.

Give the gift of art with an annual membership to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

An individual membership starts at $70 and includes yearlong admission and a pair of single-use guest passes. Household memberships range from $85-$150. Membership also includes special access to member-only previews and discounts on events, programs, performances, Marisol Restaurant and bar, and more.

MCA Chicago is open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Instagram. 312-280-2660.

Customers line up as workers at Central Camera prep film drop off envelopes. Credit: Melody Mercado, Block Club Chicago

Central Camera, 230 S. Wabash Ave. Website.

Central Camera has tons of options for beginners and advanced photographers.

The family-owned store has been open for over 120 years, passed down through generations. It sells film, fancy photo printing paper, resale cameras, new cameras and all the bells and whistles for the photo enthusiast in your life. The knowledgeable staff can guide you in the right direction if you don’t know where to start.

If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer, grab a reusable camera — they’re perfect for capturing memories and can be developed at the shop. Central Camera also offers photo restoration, film development and more.

Central Camera is open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Instagram. 312-427-5580.

Sponsored

The Florodora boutique is located Downtown in the South Loop. Credit: Michael Blossom

Florodora, 330 S. Dearborn St. Website

Looking for luxury drenched in Chicago tradition? Since 2007, Florodora has been Chicago’s go-to locally-owned downtown boutique, offering women’s apparel, shoes, and gifts from independent designers. The boutique is in the historic Monadnock Building, where the owner’s grandmother, Florence, once worked. Florodora is dedicated to featuring the work of independent clothing and shoe designers from around the world, and typically has many exclusive items that can’t be found elsewhere in Chicago.

For gift shoppers, Florodora has all price points covered, from a $9 French soap by Panier des Sens to a $285 intarsia knit sweater by Barcelona-based designer Sita Murt. Florodora will also go the extra mile to happily box your gift purchases — one less step for you!

Open 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. 312-212-8860.

West Loop

The Unwaste Shop is perfect for those starting their sustainability journey with great household items and even gifts for the kids. Credit: Instagram

The Unwaste Shop, 1108 W. Madison St. Website.

The Unwaste Shop started as a pop-up in 2021 and opened a brick-and-mortar location last year. The zero-waste store has tons of household goods for people who are at different points of their sustainable journey.

Zero-waste kits that would make great gifts include an all-inclusive shaving kit ($91) and a beard care kit ($56), which comes with a comb, brush, beard oil and balm.

Unique stocking stuffers for kids include eco-kids finger paint ($19) and reusable water balloons ($3 each), while adults might like all-natural vegan candles ($28).

The Unwaste shop is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Instagram. 312-804-9730.

Products made with locally sourced ingredients available at Scratch Goods in the West Loop. Credit: Scratch Goods Instagram

Scratch Goods, 847 W. Randolph St. Website.

Scratch Goods carries a large variety of lip balm, face masks and body scrubs. All of the “necessary, sustainable and gentle” products are made with locally sourced ingredients, according to Scratch Goods’ website.

Beauty gurus might like this self-care kit ($38) includes your choice of mask, scrub and salt soak. Dark Matter coffee eye butter ($24), featuring Chicago’s own Dark Matter coffee, is meant for delicate under-eye skin.

Scratch Goods is open noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Instagram. 773-857-3551.

Tips 312 is a one-stop destination for nail art lovers. Credit: Facebook/Tips 312

Tips 312, 1641 W. Ogden Ave. Website.

Tips 312 is a female, Black-owned one-stop shop for nail art, tooth gems and teeth whitening. The shop also offers space for aspiring nail artists to practice their craft and grow their business, according to the Tips 312 website. Services range from full acrylic sets, dipping powder sets and Gel-X. Prices range from $60-$250 depending on the style of nails and how long they are. Gift cards are available online. Read this feature from The Triibe to learn more about the salon and its owner.

Tips 312 is open 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Instagram. 312-450-2380

Leaders 1354 is a leading streetwear boutique in Chicago. These Air Force 1 Chicago Pack sneakers released in October, this Chicago-inspired shoe is only currently available at a handful of Chicago stores, Leaders included. Credit: Leaders 1354

Leaders 1354, 1152 W. Madison St. Website.

Leaders 1354 is a Black-owned streetwear boutique owned by Chicagoan Corey Gilkey. The store has been influencing fashion and culture across the city for many years.

The shop carries its own line of t-shirts, hoodies, snapbacks and beanies, along with unique footwear collections for the sneakerhead in your life. The store also runs a mentoring program for kids, teens and adults in fashion, art, music and design.

Top of mind for the streetwear lover should be these Air Force 1 Chicago Pack sneakers ($145). Released in October, this Chicago-inspired shoe is available at only a handful of Chicago stores, Leaders 1354 included.

Leaders is open noon-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Instagram. 312-787-7144.

Asrai Garden has many options from delivered flowers to unique jewelry for this holiday season. Credit: Instagram

Asrai Garden, 309 N. Morgan St. Website.

Asrai Garden was founded in 1999 in Wicker Park by Elizabeth Cronin. A second location opened in Fulton Market in 2018.

When you walk by Asrai Garden, the beautiful floral arrangements stand out. Once you’re inside, you’ll find the shop also sells fine jewelry, home decor, perfume and more.

For holiday party hosts, Asrai offers preserved bouquets ($40 for a small bouquet, $100 for a large one) that can be shipped directly to you or a friend.

Unique jewelry options include a Ninfa Handmade Rose Necklace ($110) and these Vintage Royalty The Ace Earrings ($48), inspired by playing cards.

Asrai Garden is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Instagram. 312-344-1467.

Paw Naturals has many treats and toys for your pets this holiday season. Credit: Paw Nautrals Website

Paw Naturals, 932 W. Monroe St. Website.

This West Loop pet retailer focuses on natural dog and cat foods, boasting a wide selection of treats.

Some of my personal favorites for my dog are the Arya Sit freeze-dried dog treats — the capelin ($26) or duck breast ($23) options. If your pet needs a new toy, check out the Petcrest TPR 6 Knot Tugger 10″ Dog Toy ($15); less aggressive chewers might enjoy this three-pack of plush toys ($19).

Paw Naturals is open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Instagram. 312-243-4080.

Steffanie Gerkin is a Chicago-based acrylic and watercolor artist with a mixture of a contemporary and abstract style.

Sponsored

Steff Jo Designs Website, Instagram.

For appreciators of modern and contemporary artwork, Steff Jo Designs has some incredible works ready for your holiday needs. The business was established during the pandemic after owner Steffanie Gerkin lost her job in fashion. She has since worked with hundreds of clients on abstract pieces, with a variety of sizes and mediums.

Her top-selling “Have Good Taste” series is a fan favorite and is also completely customizable, so you can truly make it your own. Prints are also available in limited colors for this series as well. Prints start at $25 and original paintings starting at $145. A variety of existing artwork ranges $145-$1,875 — meaning there’s a piece here for nearly every budget.

Previous guides:

  • 2022
  • 2021
  • 2020

Do you want your business added to our gift guide? Sponsored spots are still available! Email zack@blockclubchi.org for more information.

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