DOWNTOWN — The Mag Mile is the most famous shopping strip in Chicago, but aside from the big name stores that line Michigan Avenue, there are plenty of other places you'll only find Downtown.
Shopping local not only shows off your neighborhood know-how, but also makes you more likely to find something special that won't end up in a return pile.
Here are our best bets for Chicago holiday shopping without leaving the 'hood:
A Gift Box That Keeps Giving from Runchkins
A self-described "Trunk Club for toddlers," River North-based Runchkins pairs up parents with personal stylists who send designer baby clothes. When the baby outgrows its clothes, parents can sell them back to Runchkins for store credit.
Runchkins' new "Gift Box" allows you to hook up a loved one with a stylist who will deliver the first round of clothes straight to the recipient's door. The price depends on how much clothes are bought. Runchkins outfits children up to six years old.
See "Hamilton" and Stay in the Swanky Peninsula Hotel Too
High-rollers and those who act like them can buy the "Hamilton Nights" package from The Peninsula Chicago. Starting at $2,250, the promo includes two premium orchestra seat tickets to "Hamilton" at the PrivateBank Theatre and a night's stay in the Mag Mile hotel, 108 E. Superior St. The deal also includes overnight parking and complimentary breakfast for two. Dates are available through March, and reservations can be made only by calling the hotel at (312) 573-6620.
Lego's Chicago Skyline Set
You can now build some of Chicago's most recognizable sights in Lego form. The 444-piece, $34.99 set features Willis and Hancock towers, as well as the Wrigley Building and the Bean in Millennium Park. The set will be sold exclusively at Lego's Water Tower Place store and the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan Ave., beginning Dec. 11 before it's sold nationwide Jan. 1.
Find Your Way To Someone's Heart Through Their Stomach
Give someone Portillo's for a year through Portillo's 365, the chain's new subscription service. For $365 Portillo's will deliver indulgent packages of Italian Beef, Chicago-style hot dogs, chocolate cake and more to anyone in the country every other month. Order online.
Color The Classics At The Art Institute
Fill in Grant Wood's "American Gothic," Monet's "Water Lillies," and 28 other masterpieces on display at the Art Institute through the museum's coloring book. Available for $14.99, "Color The Classics" can be good for kids or adults.
An Astronaut Duvet Cover And Other Unique Wares From The MCA
Who doesn't want to sleep like an astronaut? The Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., has a wide array of gifts inspired by its collection. This astronaut duvet cover is sold for $119.
Looking for something cool for your old art school roommate? Pick up this lipstick mirror for $38, also at the MCA store.
Tickets To Milk Room
The eight-seat cocktail bar inside the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, 12 S. Michigan Ave., is certainly exclusive, and has drink prices to match. Renowned mixologist Paul McGee and his acolytes will stir you anything from $18 cocktails to $400 pours of vintage spirits. Reservations sell out weeks in advance and cost $50 per person, but those fees are deducted from the final tab. Make your plans here.
These Plushies Make Even Human Organs Look Cute
Give a child an early anatomy lesson thanks to these cute plushies from the International Museum of Surgical Science, 1524 N. Lake Shore Drive. The toys include brains and kidneys, but also depictions of medical conditions such as Ebola. Weird? Maybe. But maybe so are you.
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