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July 2023

Local Chicago Gift Ideas: 20+ Best for Everyone [2023 Guide]

Chicago is world-renowned for its delicious food, stunning architecture, and a cultural scene like nowhere else. This many choices available can get overwhelming when it comes to selecting one perfect gift for a friend or family member. Here’s the thing: Decision fatigue is real. With this in mind, here's our easy roster of twenty of the best local Chicago gift ideas curated to delight anyone (and everyone) you’re shopping for.

For Foodies and Culinary Lovers

#1 To: Tour Takers

chicago food tour

Source: Chicago Food & City Tours

From deep-dish pizzas and Italian beef sandwiches, Chicago has a cornucopia of cuisines on offer. The best thing to give your foodie friends? A food tour! It’s a chance to satisfy your favorite foodie’s culinary cravings and give them an unforgettable tour of the city on the same day!

Can't decide? Let your recipient choose for themselves by purchasing them a gift card in any amount. 

#2 To: Confection Perfectionists

chicago food plate

Source: Facebook

Got a friend with a giant sweet tooth? Choose from the many tasty treats and sweets available at Katherine Anne Confections for them! They've been staple of Logan Square for over a decade. Their chocolates and caramels are made with the finest local ingredients, from wildflower honey to cream from Illinois cows. Truffle gift box options include flavors like lemon poppyseed and toasted coconut rum.

#3 To: Delicious Illinois Advent Calendar

Source: Delicious Food Delivered

Delight your loved ones with some of Chicago's most iconic and delicious treats in this one-of-a-kind snack pack. You'll feel like you're standing on Michigan Avenue as you snack on Garrett Popcorn, Frango Mints chocolates, cinnamon roasted nuts, and more. The perfect way to travel through food!

Want to expand your horizons? Check out all of the state and city-specific advent calendars from Delicious Food Delivered

#4 To: Gourmet Popcorn Groupies

Garrett popcorn chicago

Source: Chicago Food & City Tours

The streets of Chicago have been filled with the irresistibly buttery scents wafting from Garrett Popcorn Shops since 1949. One of the popular gift choices includes a bag of Garrett Mix®, which blends Garrett's famous CaramelCrisp and CheeseCorn varieties. The namesake mixture was developed as an answer to their fans' requests for sweet and savory all in one bite.

#5 To: Craft Beer Buffs

Chicago beer

Source: Facebook

Chicago is home to many creative craft breweries and distilleries. Check out this list of the  Final-Final, Indisputable Ranking of Chicago's Ten Best Craft Beers for suggestions and gift ideas. This top ten roster showcases the highest-ranked beers that have helped make Chicago a craft beer lover's paradise.

For a Classic Chicago-Based Gift Idea for the Kiddos

#6 To: Budding Builders and Architects

chicago architecture

Source: The Brick Architect

For the future Frank Lloyd Wright in your life, here's a great gift that's not only educational, but also fun:

From the LEGO® Architecture line of pre-designed packages, the Chicago 21033 option allows youngsters to recreate historical and modern buildings found in the city's skyline. 

The sets are scaled to offer an accurate representation of each of these structures in true-to-life colors. The package features the Willis Tower, John Hancock Center, Cloud Gate, DuSable Bridge, Wrigley Building, and more! Delight kids and kids-at-heart with this iconic Chicago set. 

For Sports Enthusiasts

#7 To: Chicago Sports Devotees

chicago sports museum

Source: Chicago Sports Museum

From “Da Bears,” to the Cubs, the Bulls, and the Blackhawks, a Chicago sports-related gift never fails to get fans stoked for next season. While tickets are always an option, think outside the stub and look for vintage memorabilia on sites like eBay. 

From jerseys to caps, watches, and pens, there are a plethora of cool Chicago-related gift ideas to choose from for sports enthusiasts. Delve a little deeper into these options and consider choices that are personalized to score a touchdown for fans of any team.

#8 To: Classic Baseball Fans

Chicago cubs wrigley field

Source: WGN Radio 720

While tickets to watch the Cubs play at Wrigley Field are a great option, stepping on the field of the historic "Friendly Confines" is even cooler. Well-known for its ivy-covered walls, a tour of this classic coliseum will score a real home run with baseball fans. Whether it's booked on a game day or when the stadium is closed to the public, tour takers will get an amazing behind-the-scenes look at this stunning stadium.

For Music Lovers

#9 To: Jazz and Blues Listeners

buddy guys legends jazz blues

Source: Facebook

Get the Chicago jazz and blues lover in your life front row tickets at an iconic concert venue. Check out one of these notable venues:

#10 To: Classical Music Fans

chicago classical music

Source: Facebook

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the best symphonies in the world. Tickets to see world-class conductors at work are both an affordable and imaginative gift for the music lover in your life. There are also Chicago music-themed gifts available from the Symphony Store, including CDs, T-shirts, coffee mugs, and more.

Make a donation to a non-profit music organization in your recipient’s name as a great alternative to giving them an actual gift.  Support the symphony with a personal contribution, corporate sponsorship, or get involved in their charity work.

For Lovers of the Theater

#11 To: Classic Audiences

chicago architecture foundation

Source: Chicago Architecture Center

Often used as a backdrop to movies filmed in the city, the downtown Chicago Theatre is nothing short of a spectacular showcase of stellar performances. In addition to purchasing tickets to see comedians, world-class dance companies, renowned musical performers, and well-respected cultural figures, creative gift choices also include booking a historic tour of this amazing facility.

Renting the venue as a unique location for an upcoming grand event (think weddings or galas) is also a possibility. With a capacity of 200 people on stage, up to 800 with an extension, and outside catering available, wouldn't this make an unbelievable spot for an unforgettable event? 

#12 To: Shakespearean Enthusiasts

navy pier shakespeare theatre

Source: Navy Pier

The Navy Pier also hosts the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST for short), the largest performing arts venue in the Windy City. Along with classics penned by William Shakespeare, CST also presents light-hearted musical favorites for kids of all ages, world-premiers of new shows, and hosts international theater companies.

This non-profit production company have helped to keep Chicago on the cultural map since 1999. It has won multiple Laurence Olivier Awards and a regional Tony Award in 2008.

#13 To: Folks Who Enjoy Dinner and a Show

Chicago food tours hot dogs

Source: Chicago Food & City Tours

When purchasing tickets for a performance as a Chicago experience gift, why not add an Iconic Foods of Chicago Food Tour to the package for an all-day and night adventure? Recipients will enjoy delicious dining options in the afternoon and spend some time exploring the many attractions downtown heading off to attend a show at the classic Chicago theater. 

For Fans of History, Art, and Museums

#14 To: Art Institute Admirers

Chicago Art Institute

Source: Facebook

This premium venue is an excellent choice for the Chicago art lover in your life. Plus! There are plenty of souvenirs to take home from their gift shop. At the Art Institute of Chicago, exhibits are rotated year-round and new additions are made regularly. With all the new exhibitions that come through, no one will be offended if you get them tickets to the same place more than once. Every visit to this magnificent Chicago spot is a chance to have a fresh artistic experience. 

#15 To: Champions of Contemporary Art

Chicago contemporary art

Source: Facebook

Lovers of modern and current art will find exactly what they're looking for at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Giving the gift of tickets to this modern art mecca is sure to engage experienced art lovers and may even open some new eyes to the beauty of these fascinating creations.

#16 To: Medical Science Fans

Source: The International Museum of Surgical Science 

Source: The International Museum of Surgical Science

Got a family or friend who's into the macabre? Or maybe you know a doctor or medical student. Get them the gift of knowledge!

Located in the Gold Coast, the International Museum of Surgical Science was founded in 1935 as the International College of Surgeons. This museum showcases life-size statues of some of the most prominent surgeons and physicians from the past, as well as a curious (and sometimes bizarre) mix of surgical equipment and medical displays.

#17 To: Mexican Art Appreciators

Photo Source: Chicago Food & City Tours

The National Museum of Mexican Art features thousands of works of Mexican art from early Aztec and Mayan times to today. Make it a full day in Pilsen by booking tickets on a Street Foods of Pilsen tour to discover some of the authentic, hidden gems of the neighborhood. 

#18 To: Natural History Enthusiasts

Chicago Field Museum

Source: Field Museum

Another quintessential educational Chicago location is the Field Museum. Home to one of the largest natural history collections in the world, the focal point of the museum is undoubtedly Sue, the most complete and Twitter active T-Rex skeleton ever discovered. Another big attraction is Máximo the Titanosaur—literally the biggest dinosaur on earth. If you’re hoping to gift a larger-than-life learning experience this year, the Field Museum will not disappoint. 

#19 To: Armchair Detectives and Hardcore Crime Buffs

Chicago crime tours

Source: Chicago Crime Tours

The high-profile gangster Al Capone was a huge part of Chicago's famous past when mobsters ran the streets of this city. For true crime fans and history buffs, consider this unique experience available from Chicago Crime Tours. Their bus tours include stops at locations where the likes of Capone, John Dillinger, Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti, and many others ruled the roost during the prohibition era.

Their tour buses also swing by the site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, one of the most notorious mass-murders in American history. While booking a tour is always a possibility, there are also gift certificates available for this venue that would make a truly unique Chicago gift idea.

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