We took a break from this series to enjoy the holidays, heal a broken ankle, and rebuild the website. We're back and we want to use our last thirty-three favorite things to shout out to some of our favorite local businesses in Chicago. They run the gambit from art to chiropractic care to pet supplies. If we need to do something in Chicago (not food this time!) these are the people and places we typically support. Of course, we are located on the Northside (Edgewater, Andersonville, Lincoln Square, etc.), so that's where our focus is, but good people are often well connected. So, if you need a recommendation in your own neighborhood, feel free to ask. 66. Andersonville Galleria - A four-story panoply of local art! Artists rent out booths in this building and there is a centralized check out area. It's a cool way to see a lot of the art of street fairs year round.
67. Neighborly - Located at Montrose and Damen, Neighborly focuses on Chicago-centric artwork. They also have home goods and kitchen wares that are all carefully cultivated to make you feel at home.
68. Sacred Art - Another beacon of local art in Chicago, this small diamond of a store consistently provides you with art, jewelry, and clothing that you may not find elsewhere in the city. Fun fact: Kristl got her wedding earrings at Sacred Art!
69. Hazel - Hazel has a great selection of jewelry, greeting cards, apparel, and cute gifts that are painstakingly curated. If you are looking for something special that you cannot find at a big store, Hazel is definitely the place. This is Kristl's go-to for fun, quirky, slightly off-the-wall greeting cards.
70. The Chicago School of Shoemaking - We took their Intro to Leatherworking Class last year and it was awesome. Kristl made a cool clutch and I made a belt. We have it on our five year plan to save up and take their boot making class.
71. The Needle Shop - Local means a lot when it comes to craft shops. The Needle Shop specializes in sewing. They have classes on all levels of sewing and they stock awesomely patterned textiles for you to make your own stuff.
72. Solay Salt Lamps - The website is a little confusing, but this Himalayan salt lamp company has a retail location in Skokie. You can go there and look at all of the lamps they have in stock and make sure you pick the one you like the best. They also have a salt room that you can sit in and enjoy the good salt feelings. It's a little known secret, but you should check it out!
73. Sifu Design Studio - There are lots of yarn stores in Chicago, but Sifu is near and dear to our hearts. It just feels good to go in there. Aside from their great selection of yarns, convenient location, and welcoming atmosphere, they have classes all the time, and you are always welcome to bring in your stitching issues an ask for a little help. Plus, every Friday they have Sci-Fiber Fridays, where they order pizza, watch a sci-fi movie (or TV show), and work on knitting projects.
74. Ruff Haus Pets - Ruff Haus has two locations, one on Rockwell in Lincoln Square and one on Granville in Edgewater (right next to Kristl's office!). The owner Rich is really cool, plays in a band, and has a sweet dog named Zuzu, who is always at the store when Rich is there. They stock great stuff too. We like it.
75. RE: Chiropractic + Wellness - Sometimes traditional chiropractors are really difficult to communicate with and they just give you an adjustment and send you on your way, but Dr. Sarah at RE:Chiropractic spends time with you, gets to know you, and cares about your whole health. Plus, she's a badass.
76. Molly Coeling Therapeutic Massage and Reiki - Molly is a truly skilled massage therapist and you will always leave her office feeling refreshed. She has worked around Kristl's extreme ticklishness and Rachel's recently broken ankle. The best is when you get reiki and massage together - it's an unbeatable experience!
77. Kwai Fah Acupuncture Clinic - Full disclosure, this is Kristl's acupuncture practice, but it is a lovely space and she does great work there. She specializes in treating emotional and digestive disorders.
78. Rebuilding Exchange - If you have a penchant for working with wood, and you want to try a class, start with a beginners workshop to build a bench, coat rack, or cutting board. They also have open shop times, if you know how to use the tools. You can also just buy reclaimed wood there and use it for whatever you want.
79. Royal Treatment Veterinary Center - We started seeing Dr. Royal with Bradley after conventional veterinary care had him on his last legs. After working closely with her, adding in supplements, herbs, underwater treadmill therapy, and acupuncture, Bradley was able to use all four legs again. We highly recommend this vet, especially if your pet has a tricky or difficult health issue.
80. Kinespark Consulting - Kinespark is Movement Pattern Analysis by our friend Kristina Fluty, who is highly qualified to provide this analysis for individuals, teams, and whole workshops/retreats. She's awesome, and Kristl, who has had a session with her, speaks highly of how she helps you understand where your movement comes from and how to adjust it to optimize your work.
81. Mother B Green Cleaning - Sometimes cleaning your own house is just not worth the time anymore. Mother B Green Cleaning uses all sustainable and green certified cleaning products, so you know your home (or office) is in great hands. Plus, they donate cleanings to cancer patients, which is awesome in our book.
82. Step-by-Step by Sandy - Sandy is a personal organizer and she's very good at what she does. She's helped to organize Kristl's desk area at her office, and she's been to our house to organize our pantry and help us unpack the last few moving boxes we had sitting around. She is gentle, but firm, and getting organized opens up both physical and emotional space in your life. If you've got an area in your home or office that needs some love, call Sandy!
83. Foursided - Foursided is a craft and framing store in Andersonville which has paper goods, cards, and other fun stuff. They have a related store, Twosided, in Lakeview, which carries stationary goods.
84. Early to Bed - This is a local, woman-owned, queer and trans* friendly sex positive shop. They also have classes in addition to their retail store.
85. New Day Network Wellness Center - New Day is operated by Dr. Katie Ray and she does a totally different type of chiropractic medicine called Network Spinal Analysis. It involves gentle touches instead of swift adjustments, and is very energetic in nature.
86. Jameson Loves Danger - JLD is another lovely pet shop, with groomers included, because we love pets and locally owned pet shops and apparently get to know their owners. We ended up at the owner's house for New Year's Eve this year. It was a coincidence, but it was awesome all the same.
87. Scrub A Dub Dub - Speaking of groomers, Scrub A Dub Dub is worth mentioning if you have an old, grumpy arthritic dog (like our Bradley) who needs special care. Scrub A Dub Dub specializes in the elderly and makes sure they are comfortable the whole time.
88. Old Town School of Folk Music - If you haven't looked into events or classes at Old Town or been touched by their influence in some way, you are totally missing out. They have music and dance classes as well as concerts. Their Square Roots Festival is our favorite summer festival in Chicago.
89. Lillstreet Art Center - If you ever wanted to learn how to do ceramics or screen printing, or even basic painting or drawing, Lillstreet has excellent classes without you having to seek out an art school. Also, they have a shop on the first floor and there's a First Slice pie cafe there too. Win, win win.
90. Women & Children First - Women & Children First has been going through a bit of a transition this year, but they have reopened this weekend (2/21) after renovating. They are one of the premier feminist bookstores in the country and have been around for 35 years.
91. The Book Cellar - The Book Cellar is another independently owned bookstore, located in Lincoln Square. They have a great selection of books, a coffee counter inside, and events, such as readings, live lit shows, and comedy nights. They really showcase why independent bookstores are important and we love it.
92. The Wooden Spoon - If you just looked into the store window at The Wooden Spoon, you might think it was just a cookwares store, if you just looked at the front page of their website, you might think they just teach cooking classes. Actually, they are excellent at both!
93. Chopping Block - The Chopping Block is a little bit more well known than the Wooden Spoon, I think probably because their main location is in the Merchandise Mart. We've been to their Lincoln Square location to buy stuff for the kitchen, and I hear they have great classes.
94. Planet Access - This unassuming apparel store in Lincoln Square is actually a hidden gem. Everything they sell is sustainably produced (What? Sustainable clothing?!) and 100% of their proceeds go to Search Inc, a non-profit that helps adults with intellectual disabilities live fulfilling lives. Um, okay. Let's shop there more.
95. Urban General Store - This is fun, funky, home decor-ish store which is a hot spot when you need a fun little gift for someone. They have some gag gift stuff and some really cool, long-lasting art that you would want to keep around.
96. Joel Hall Dance Center - If you were one of those people that took dance as a youngster and loved it, but haven't had a chance to get back into it as an adult, Joel Hall is a great place it do just that! There are beginner and drop-in classes, so you don't need to worry about a long term commitment right off the cuff. Plus, they are committed to diversity and inclusion, which is hugely important, especially in the world of dance.
97. Chicago Women's Health Center - This is our only repeat, because when we posted about this in the Giving Tuesday edition Ninety-Nine Things We Like it was as a place to donate to, but in this instance we are recommending it as a place to visit for your health. It is so difficult to find a doctor that will pay attention and take you seriously, instead of just writing you off. They are a collective that offers comprehensive and affordable healthcare to women and trans* folk.
98. Chi-Town Shakti - Speaking of health, sometimes finding a place to work out in the body you are in can be intimidating. Chi-Town Shakti is a body positive (really, positive in general) yoga studio in Edgewater. Kristl has had a really good experience here so far, and it's very affordable. If you are looking for a place to take your yoga practice, look no further. If you're just starting out with yoga, or it's been a while, their Introduction to Yoga series is a great place to begin.
99. Edgewater Workbench - Finally, if you are a maker, but you don't have a lot of space at home, or you don't have a laser cutter, or maybe you have the design to 3D print something, but you are nowhere near financing a 3D printer, then that's where Edgewater workbench comes in. The rates are reasonable, the space is awesome, plus they have a small retail area showcasing work by local artists.
Yes! Ninety-nine recommendations for you! Granted, this list was very locally minded, which we tend to be, but in the future, we plan to recommend products for the kitchen, home, body, and garden that you can get anywhere which are definitely key to our sustainably queer success.
In the meantime, if you have a favorite local business in another part of Chicago that we don't frequent as much but you feel would definitely fit on this list, please leave it in the comments below. Also, you if own a local business and you would like to be featured on this blog, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to speak with you!