When people generally think of Chicago's Lakeview
neighborhood, two images come immediately to mind: the Chicago Cubs
' Wrigley Field
and the fantastically flamboyant area known as Boys Town.
But there's so much more, particularly a vibrant little section called the Southport Corridor.
Within the last several years, the area's gained momentum as a trendy shopping district, offering a nice mix of popular chains (Anthropologie, Athletica, Lululemon) as well as independently owned specialty shops and boutiques.
The target audience is mostly female, but also comprised of the upwardly mobile, fashionable and family oriented. These shoppers are also fiercely dedicated to supporting local businesses, which is why we decided to spotlight the best Chicago-owned bets in the area.
Courtesy of BabyDolls Boutique
There’s somewhat of a Gymboree vibe at this specialty boutique catering to babies, children and women. Apparel is colorful and offbeat, and though there are familiar brand names on the racks, owner Vanessa Rodriguez also showcases Pink & Blue are the New Black
—her designer label for children. Her clothing is unique enough that it allows kids to express their individuality, but not so out there that it turns off parents. A portion of the proceeds from each item sold from Pink & Blue benefits the Women’s Center
and Mercy Home for Boys and Girls.
In addition to apparel, Babydolls sells trendy jewelry from local designers. 3727 N. Southport Ave., 773-525-2229
Price range: $25-$100
Store hours: 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday
Courtesy of Dog-a-holics
The Southport Corridor’s very dog friendly, which is why you’ll find treats and bowls of water outside most shops. Dog-a-holics takes the pooch pampering
to the next level by offering everything canine-related, from stylish threads to comfortable beds. The boutique also features special packages for owners truly obsessed with their pets. Get all the dogs in the neighborhood together for “yappy hour” celebrations ranging from $100 to $350. And the dog who’s too fabulous for a common dog house can have his/her very own custom-designed “mansion” for $10,000. 3657 N. Southport Ave., 773-857-7600
Price range: $25-$100
Store hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday
Courtesy of Krista K.
Snappy apparel and accessories can be found at this women’s-only boutique catering to an upscale clientele. Just to give you an idea of who shops here, star actress Jennifer Aniston
will snap up an item or two when she’s in town. Krista K.’s loyal followers don’t mind dropping a couple hundred dollars on a pair of J. Brand zipper leggings, but when the store holds one of its infamous, blowout sales they transform into the ultimate bargain hunter. 3458 N. Southport Ave., 773-248-1967
Price range: $150-$400
Store hours: Noon-5 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday
Courtesy of M2 Boutique
Accessories-obsessed fashionistas can easily get lost in this cutting-edge shop focusing on handbags, jewelry, gifts and more. Many items, especially the hand-crafted jewelry, are in small supply and may be hard to find elsewhere. Owner Melissa Nelson wisely added a men’s component when the space at 3525 N. Southport Ave. became available next door. M4Men is equipped with several television monitors so guys can tune in to their favorite sports games (as they wait for their significant others shopping at M2 Boutique). The store also grabs their attention with typical guy gadgets
as well as watches, unique flasks, vintage t-shirts, sports memorabilia and cufflinks. 3527 N. Southport Ave., 773-248-9866
Price range: $25-$350
Store hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday
Courtesy of Perchance Boutique
Power pants, shoes that make a statement and dynamite dresses are what you’ll find on the racks at Perchance, a boutique serving the area’s sophisticates. The shopper is slightly more mature than at Krista K.--but nonetheless stylish--and the atmosphere keeps that in mind with a non-fussy setting and staff. Perchance’s slightly vintage vibe is key to keeping customers comfortable as they rifle through racks and racks of beautiful garments. Most items are from emerging fashion designers,
but you’ll also find quite a few pieces from mainstream names like Alice + Olivia, Diane von Furstenberg and Shoshanna. 3510 N. Southport Ave., 773-244-1300
Price range: $150-$500
Store hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Courtesy of Pish Posh Kids
Two mothers opened this Euro-focused children’s store aiming to be affordable to all. Pish Posh sells new and gently used clothing
that is contemporary enough to pass the average kid’s approval. Recognizable designer brands include the likes of Kenzo Kids, 3Pommes and Stella McCartney, but shoppers need an eagle eye to find them on consignment. Parents are highly encouraged to sell their gently used clothes here, and the best items are rewarded with nice discounts on new apparel. 3950 N. Southport Ave., 773-935-7616
Price range: Prices vary; up to $400 on new apparel and $200 for clothing on consignment
Store hours: Noon-5 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday