LAKEVIEW — There's nothing better than finding that ultimate niche gift for your loved ones this holiday season.
Whether they're coffee fiends or lifelong Midwesterners, there are gifts for everyone in Lakeview's dozens of gift shops and specialty stores.
Here are some of our favorites:
For The Blossoming Young Artist
They say Mozart started composing music when he was five years old — who's to say the tykes in your life aren't similarly gifted? Get them started with finger painting and drawing in the tub — these kits from Alex Toys cost $7.95-$13.95 at Lake View Art Supply, 3228 N. Lincoln Ave., and work on tile, tub and skin. The art store also has origami kits for children and mini water painting Buddha boards for $13.95.
Shopping for someone a little older? Building Blocks Toy Store, 3306 N. Lincoln Ave., has a $19.99 kit for Chinese brush painting recommended for artists 14 years and older. The kit includes a pad of art paper, eight watercolor paints, two Chinese paint brushes, an ink stone and animal templates.
For The Animal-Loving Nature Nut
Nothing says, "I love my dog," like wrapping them up in a cozy plaid sweater, like the one you can find at Wigglyville, 3337 N. Broadway. The pet store carries several sweater designs from Chilly Dog priced between $35-$40. Nearby, doggie bandanas are $1.99-$2.99, and Chicago-themed collars and leashes are around $25.
If your loved one fancies felines, check out the 1.6-ounce single servings of cat wine at Inkling, 2917 N. Broadway. The Apollo Peak drinks are made with catnip and beet juice, and "delight even the most picky of cats," according to the company's website.
For a walk on the wild side, these ornate elephant book ends are $70 and $125 at Equinox, 3401 N. Broadway. The gift shop also has dinosaur-shaped planters for $62.
For The Manliest Of Men
For those with someone channeling Ron Swanson on their shopping list, look no further. The "Parks and Recreation" character would be proud to display such well-crafted items as this upcycled motorcycle ($48) from Equinox, 3401 N. Broadway. There are dozens of these sculptures in varying sizes, from a $110 tank to a huge robot-esque statue for $140.
Also at Equinox, check out the eyeball paperweights ($15-$32) and resin-coated insects ($12-$20) — great gifts for optometrists and entomologists, as well as your average dudebro.
For a classic look, check out this $65 cue ball votive holder at Waxman Candles, 3044 N. Lincoln Ave. And if there's a fisher in your life, the fishing fly thermos ($30) will definitely keep their spirits up during the long winter.
For Your Favorite Foodies
Whether you've got a baker in your family or a coffee fiend, there are plenty of gifts that celebrate the love of food. Get hilariously cute critters designed to look like various produce (like a peppery parrot) for $16 each at Equinox.
For a trip down memory lane, swing by Windy City Sweets, 3308 N. Broadway, for these nostalgic 1990s and '80s candy mixes. The boxes come filled with throwback sweets like Warheads, Nerds, Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape, Ring Pops and Pixy Stix. The east Lakeview candy store also has its own specialty gift baskets starting at $15.95.
Coffee drinkers will enjoy the buzzy smell of the $20 Cup of Cappuccino candle at Waxman Candles. For those who enjoy brewing up their daily cup of joe in new and complex ways, check out the Vietnamese coffee infuser ($30) at U.S. Apothecary, 3451 N. Southport Ave.
For the foodie who has it all, let them drool over drawings of delicious cheeses for an entire year with the 2017 cheese alphabet calendar at Foursided ($23.50). Finally, a floral recipe box for $34 at Inkling is a perfect place for your Pinterest-savvy friend to store her favorite recipes.
For The Traveler
Those with wanderlust can't always afford to go where they want, so bring the traveling to them this holiday season. Find gorgeous sushi sets for two at Equinox. The Japanese-inspired designs are sure to delight, and they're $36-39.
For some European flair, The Spanish Square, 1358 W. Belmont Ave., lets customers hand pick favorite items, from Spanish truffles to olives to create custom gift baskets. Pre-made gift baskets are also available, as are baskets devoted entirely to Spanish wines.
And no traveler's life is complete without an old-school map of the world just crying out for thumb tacks marking places they've visited. Get it at Inkling for $55.
For Those Who Know Midwest Is Best
Not all who wander are lost, but those who don't wander might be on to something, too. That much is evident in the plethora of gifts in Lakeview that celebrate Chicago and the Midwest.
First off, let's all acknowledge the simple truth that Chicago is better than New York with these cute $4 magnets from Inkling. Revel in the awesomeness of the Windy City with a nifty piece of art depicting the CTA "L" routes that wind through the city. The piece is $68 at Wrightwood Furniture, 3036 N. Lincoln Ave.
For more CTA stuff, check out Spare Parts, 2949 N. Broadway, where babies ($26) and adults (28) can get T-shirts with their favorite "L" station on them. For those who can't get enough of a certain Chicago food staple, there's a Chicago hot dog candle at Waxman Candles for $24 (no, it doesn't smell like an actual hot dog).
Transplants who miss home will surely appreciate the stemless wine glasses at M2 Boutique, 3527 N. Southport Ave., which are decorated with gold silhouettes of various nearby states. Similarly, Foursided has a great range of state ornaments for $17.99-$32.
For Cool Kids And Their Similarly Cool Parents
Some kids are just born cool — help them get even cooler with this classic Fisher Price music box record player ($39.99) at Building Blocks Toy Store, and all the other baby hipsters will be super jealous.
In a similar vein, M2 Boutique has a Dinner DJ dining set that looks like a turntable ($29) with a spork for a tone arm and a spinning record plate.
The toy store also has a rad dinosaur backpack for $24.99 that comes with its own toy T-rex. For children with a sense of adventure, grab this 10x30 mm telescope from Foursided for $15.
Explorers will also enjoy the Two Bros Bows, which come in brightly patterned designs and use foam-tipped arrows — a boxed set costs $34.99, but there are other options, too.
The make-your-own Cate & Levi puppet kits are back at Inkling for $20, or get pre-made ones for younger kids for $26.
Foursided, 2958 N. Clark St., has a lot of gift options that will stand out. From cute wooden animal clocks ($49.50) to a super rad T-Rex lamp ($38), they have options to make any kids room pop. On a budget? Chicago-style bibs are under $15.
For The Alcohol Enthusiast
We've saved the best for last. Get boozy with Koval gift sets available at Bitter Pops, 3345 N. Lincoln Ave. A set of three whiskeys is $54.99, while two bottles of the distillery's new gin comes to $39.99. (While you're there, check out the beer advent calendar.)
There are various bar kits available in Lakeview shops, but the three-piece set at U.S. Apothecary was probably the finest design at $64. A more deluxe, six-piece kit comes in its own container at M2 Boutique and costs $85.
If your wine is feeling a little chilly, M2 Boutique has some Christmas sweaters for $9.99 to keep it cozy. The boutique also offers Racing Chasers, which for $12.99 are sure to provide worthy amusement as your friends zoom the shot glasses around the bar.
For the sophisticated drinker, there are an assortment of whiskey stones, including sets of six for $20 at Inkling.
And at U.S. Apothecary, find books filled with wisdom and recipes for whiskey drinkers, James Bond enthusiasts and old men.
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