medusa's circle is hard to pass up if you walk by and see the cool looking mannequins in the window all dolled up. i bought a really nice synthetic wig here that has fooled many people. the store has a goth edge to it but they carry lots of trendy 80's style clothing as well. the store is somewhat expensive but you will find very little mass produced made in china clothing here, a lot of it is made by smaller designers stateside. if you're in the area i recommend you stop here and the alley before anywhere else. however there is NO parking and finding a spot can be difficult in this big shopping district.
PROS: cool wigs and jewelry
CONS: kinda expensive
i bought a ready made computer from krex a couple years ago for $300 and it still works great. the system came with everything i needed including a cd burner and a big enough hard drive for all my music. i never had to bring it in for service because it's never broken but they were very nice to me when i was in the store and i believe they will still be there if/when i ever need to upgrade. rather than give your business to a store like bestbuy i recommend trying out krex, it's nice to support a local business instead of a big corporate chain. they will also custom a build a computer with parts of your choosing, just call them up and ask about it.
PROS: cheap reliable computers
untitled carries a lot of designer clothes by french connection, paul frank, and deisel among others. i purchased a cute pair of trainers here but wasn't able to find much else i really liked that was affordable. the jeans will run you $120+ and some of the jackets are close to $200. it's all very trendy designed to look like you found it at a thrift store, it's just too bad it costs ten times as much. they have an instore DJ here playing cool music but that doesn't make up for the high prices and somewhat limited selection. there's a number of other clothing stores on the same block i would suggest looking in as well.
PROS: super trendy clothing
if you are looking for rare or indie zines and books quimby's is the best place in chicago to find them. i can spend hours here reading all the zines they have, in particular music zines you won't find at regular book stores. they also have tons of art and photography books, some of which are rather graphic so i wouldn't bring your kids here. this store is very left wing and expect to see a fair amount of propoganda on the shelves that you will have to weed through. prices on the books aren't bad but don't expect to find any deals like you will at borders. the store is located a few blocks from another great book store myopic so be sure to check that out too if you're in the area.
i tan regularly and i've been to this tanning salon a few times in the past year with good results. my profession requires me to look my best and after tanning here i always look and feel great. the beds they have are very new and the entire salon is very classy. i've never had to get an appointment, they have enough beds to accomodate walkins during the week however you might want to call ahead on the weekends. it's under $10 for a session and they supply goggles if you don't have your own. parking at north and milwaukee is difficult just about anytime of day so plan ahead.
PROS: clean salon
CONS: no parking
Wacky Cats has been around since the first time I visited chicago and I always try to make a point of stopping here to see what "new" items they got in. they tons of vintage dresses from the 20's through 70's (flappers are my favorite) and it feels more like a costume shop than a clothing store. the dresses run $100+ but they are made of quality materials, not mass produced in a factory somewhere. the store isn't very big but they pack a lot of clothes in and the dressing rooms are nice. expect to walk out of here with something (vintage shirt, hat, dress, you name it) everytime you go. the employees were helpful and didn't mind that i tried on half a dozen dresses.
PROS: unique clothing, hard to find dresses
I've been here dozens of times and picked up tons of great used books. The store is a little hard to navigate at first and I don't suggest you go there with a specific book in mind, instead look for new books and take a chance on them. The books are cheap enough that you can pick up a few everytime you go. The store is multi leveled and they sell newspapers up front, but no magazines. The employees are very nice and it's very cozy inside the store. Parking on milwaukee is extremely difficult due to the sheer number of stores in the area.
PROS: cheap used books
CONS: hard to find specific titles
halloween is here and i've been to this store a few times to look for costume ideas, they literally have thousands of costumes here. you can find everything from huge wigs (some made out of real hair) rubber masks, and tons of makeup. they have the usual costumes you'll find everywhere else (tons of cartoon characters) last time i went here my friend found a really cool viking hat. the store is far from cheap but costume stuff is always expensive no matter where you go. the store is rather loud inside and it's always crowded near halloween so expect to bump arms with people often. parking is easy on the nearby streets, there aren't many other stores in the area.
PROS: tons of wigs
hollywood mirror is a resale shop located on belmont on the northside of chicago. they have tons of 'vintage' blue jeans and lots of 1950's memoribilia (toys, ads, dinnerware) as well. it's mostly recycled clothing so i recommend you inspect everything well before buying. they have lots of vintage coats, i picked up a really nice brown cordorey jacket here for dirt cheap. there's a lot of 70's stuff as well, big collars and ugly bright suits, but it's all really cheap so it can be fun to wear once in awhile. the store is huge and the cashier was nice (no one on the floor helps you) but parking on belmont is difficult at best.
PROS: unique vintage store
CONS: no parking
i had my first tattoo done here a few years ago and it turned out great. i have a flower design on the small of my back and the artist that did it was a total pro. everything was sterile and well lit inside and while it did hurt a little i'm so pleased with the results i may go back again for another on my shoulder. the tattoo cost me a few hundred with tip but i believe that is standard for a tattoo my size. they have tons of samples up front (mine was a slightly modified sample) and they will basically do anything you want if you have a drawing or an idea of it. since i haven't had any other tattoos done elsewhere i don't know how they really compare but i was very happy and plan to go back. there's tons of retail shops in the area on north avenue you can visit on your trip here as well.
PROS: clean store, talented artist