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Cool And Unique Gift Ideas From Chicago's Neighborhoods

By DNAinfo Staff | December 5, 2016 8:37am | Updated on December 5, 2016 12:33pm

 Gift for 2016
Gift for 2016
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DNAinfo

CHICAGO — You like to give unique gifts, right?

 The ones people remember because they're thoughtful?

We've scoured Chicago's stores for suggestions for you. Here are some of the highlights. But also click on the neighborhood links for a much deeper list.

 

ANDERSONVILLE AND UPTOWN

Cozy Up With Neighborhood-Themed Pillows 

[DNAinfo/Josh McGhee]

Graphic designer Julia Thiel's NeighborHauser Collection features sketches of homes from blocks in Andersonville, Lakeview and Wicker Park. Each pillow features five colors of homes arranged in a neighborhood theme. For example, the Andersonville color scheme pays homage to the neighborhood's Swedish heritage. Each pillow is $79 and can be purchased at Transistor, 5224 N. Clark St. in Andersonville.

Click here for more Andersonville and Uptown gift picks. 

 

BEVERLY, MORGAN PARK AND MOUNT GREENWOOD

"We Speak Chicagoese" Around Da Tree

DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

Beverly author Dennis Foley compiled and contributed to a book of 33 short stories and poems called "We Speak Chicagoese" ($15.95, Side Street Press). All 28 authors are from the Chicago area. The book can be purchased online, though Foley said he'd prefer customers support local bookstores who stock his compilation, including Bookie's Paperbacks & More at 2419 W. 103rd St. in Beverly.

Click here for more Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood gift picks. 

 

BRIDGEPORT, CHINATOWN, McKINLEY PARK

Chicago Sports Ugly Sweaters, Grandstand Sports

If you're sick of boring festive patterns and crazy cat prints on ugly Christmas sweaters, head to Grandstand Sports, 600 W. 35th St., where you'll find ugly Christmas sweaters ($64.99) themed after Chicago's most popular sports franchises: the Cubs, Bulls, Blackhawks and Bears.

Click here for more gift picks from Bridgeport, Chinatown and McKinley Park.

 

DOWNTOWN 

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 Sunday before it's sold nationwide Jan. 1. 

Click here for more Downtown gift picks. 

 

ENGLEWOOD, AUBURN GRESHAM AND CHATHAM

Scented Candles, Body Oils and More From Annie Bell Fragrances

Annie Bell Fragrances carries handmade soy candles in over 20 scents. [Photo/Facebook]

Create a gift basket full of items made locally featuring tantalizing scents and aromas. Annie Bell Fragrances offers several products, but it might be hard to choose just one. Why not buy a few?

The store carries handmade soy candles with no dyes or additives for $10 each. Choose from over 20 different scents, including lavender, pineapple bliss or coco mango soy candles. If candles aren’t your thing, there are plenty of essential oils, soaps, massage oils and more. Annie Bell Fragrances can be found in the Englewood Whole Foods, 832 W. 63rd St.  and three other locations. Visit the website at www.anniebellfragrances.com.

Click here for more Englewood and Chatham gift picks. 

 

LINCOLN PARK AND OLD TOWN

Now We're Rolling

Hardwood rolling pins, starting at $79, at Five Elements Home.

Five Elements Home, at 2216 N. Clybourn, is a new store bringing unique Chinese handmade housewares to Chicago from small, independent artisans in remote areas of China. The linens and hand-painted plates are exquisite, but the everyday items like hardwood rolling pins (starting at $79 in cherry) and chopsticks ($19 for five pairs) exceed all expectations. The Asian rolling pins are specially intended for the fine rolling of wonton wrappers.

Click here for more Lincoln Park and Old Town gift picks. 

 

LINCOLN SQUARE, ALBANY PARK AND IRVING PARK

Skin Care Products Good Enough To Eat

Why would you put something on your skin that you wouldn't put in your mouth? That's the idea behind a pair of local skin care companies: Soap Happy, home of handmade vegan soaps and lip balms, and Scratch Goods, which sells a complete line of food-grade masks, scrubs, soaps, shampoos and more.

Shop Soap Happy online or in neighborhood stores, including Sacred Art, 4619 N. Lincoln Ave. Pick up Scratch Goods' items at the shop's Roscoe Village storefront, at 3551 N. Damen Ave. or online.

 

LOGAN SQUARE AND HUMBOLDT PARK

Locally Made Booze From Chicago Distilling Company

We love the idea of giving out-of-towners a taste of home. Chicago Distilling Company, 2359 N. Milwaukee Ave., sells gift packs of three 200ml flask-size bottles that allow you try a variety of spirits like Ceres Vodka, Finn's Gin and Dunkel Whiskey. The packs range from $29.99 to $49, depending on the type of spirits included.

Click here for more Logan Square and Humboldt Park gift picks. 

 

PILSEN, WEST LOOP, NEAR WEST SIDE

A print of Pilsen's murals. 

[Sam Kirk/Sandra Antongiorgi]

Want to take a piece of Pilsen's amazing murals home with you? Artists Sam Kirk and Sandra Antongiorgi are selling prints of their new mural "Weaving Cultures," completed this year at 16th and Blue Island in Pilsen. Pre-order a print ($25) through Dec. 9 online. 

Click here for more Pilsen, West Loop and Near West Side gifts.

 

PORTAGE PARK, NORWOOD PARK, JEFFERSON PARK

WALK YOUR DOG, REP YOUR CITY

The city is full of Chicago-themed souvenir shops, but none quite like Rep Chi, 4427 N. Milwaukee Ave. Its vast selection includes housemade T-shirts, coasters, glasses and scarves chic enough to be modeled by Ald. John Arena (45th).

New this year, the store is trotting out Chicago flag-design dog collars shown next to Bloo the dog (above), Rep Chi's "employee of the month."

Collars sell for $22, and leashes are $24.

Click here for more Far Northwest Side gift picks. 

 

SOUTH SHORE, HYDE PARK AND KENWOOD

In-Home Lessons In Indian Cooking From An Expert


[Flickr/Kirti Poddar]

Burgeoning cooking enthusiasts often have the tools they need, but not the skills. Cooking lessons with Ranjana Bhargava in South Shore could be just what they need. Bhargava helps novices learn the techniques of Indian cooking next to more advanced cooks seeking to learn the differences between regional styles of Indian cuisine. The courses are offered in Bhargava’s home, and individual classes start at $80.

For more information, visit Ranjana’s Indian Cooking Classes website.

Click here for more Hyde Park, South Shore and Kenwood gift picks. 

 

ROGERS PARK, WEST RIDGE AND EDGEWATER

Shrine-Worthy Bill Murray (And Other Funny Guys) Coasters At Local Goods Chicago In Rogers Park 

Here is your chance to do something truly amazing for someone else: Tell them you can make Bill Murray and John Candy appear in their living room for a cocktail. Portraits of these classic funny guys  (and plenty of other classic Chicago things) are on these sweet, heavy-duty ceramic coasters made by Re4mado Photography. You can grab a few at Local Goods Chicago's pop-up shop, 6443 N. Sheridan Road, for $18 each, or $60 for four.

Click here for more Rogers Park and Edgewater gift picks. 

 

WEST LOOP

PQM Favorites gift basket

[Publican Quality Meats]

The beloved West Loop butcher shop and restaurant is offering up gift baskets and boxes full of their favorites this year. The Publican Quality Everything package ($75) includes PQM honey, PQM milk and honey granola, Intelligentsia coffee, PQM olive oil and PQM bacon lip balm (yum) in a branded wooden crate. Browse their customizable gift baskets in-shop at 825 W. Fulton Market. 

 

Click here for more West Loop, Near West Side and Pilsen gifts.

 

WICKER PARK, BUCKTOWN, WEST TOWN

Skyline From Top Of Northwest Tower T-Shirt

For any Wicker Park booster, a shirt featuring the skyline from the neighborhood snapped from the top of the art deco Northwest Tower by Andrew Miller will be a conversation starter. The shirts are $20 at Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave., or $22 on the Wicker Park Committee's website.

Click here for more Wicker Park, Bucktown and West Town gift picks. 

 

See DNAinfo Partners' Neighborhood Picks in the 2016 Holiday Guide

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