Guide To Vintage Shopping In Chicago
When it comes to vintage shopping in Chicago, you can shop ’til you drop, take a disco nap, rally, and shop some more. It’s also safe to say I shop for vintage…a lot. I’m an expert if you will. Therefore I receive quite a few emails that go something like this: “Hey Kyla, I’m visiting Chicago, and I was hoping you’d share some of your favorite places to shop for vintage.” Of course, I oblige and share a few, but you’ve hit the jackpot. The guide of all guides to vintage shopping in Chicago.
Please promptly bookmark this post, save it to Pinterest, and engrain it in your brain because today I’m sharing the mother of all lists. Shopping for vintage is my jam. So welcome to House Of Hipsters’ ultimate guide to vintage shopping in Chicago and surrounding suburbs!
Some folks like to keep their vintage sources on the DL, but e-ghads! What fun is that? Insert the wise words from my ride or die vintage gal Marianne, “there will always be more vintage”. I guess that is what makes her such a great shopping buddy. Back in 2014, (lawdy how has it been that long ago?), I wrote a now outdated list of my favorite vintage shops in Chicago. It’s time for a refresh.
Let’s get started with my favorite vintage shops in Chicago and then we can move our way out to the burbs and if you’re lucky, I’ll throw in my favorite fleas. Yup, told ya this is the mutha load, trash to treasure list. Buckle down the chin strap and hold on. Here we go!
List Of Top Vintage Shops In Chicago
Scroll down for a detailed look inside and a description of each shop. Since
- Broadway Antique Mall – 6130 N Broadway St, Chicago
- Dial M For Modern – 1136 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
- Lazy Dog Antique Shop – 1903 W Belmont Ave, Chicago
- Redefine Decor – 1819 W Grand Ave, Chicago
- The Savoy Flea – (Located inside Warehouse 55) 1819 W Grand Ave, Chicago
- Warehouse 55 – 1819 W Grand Ave, Chicago and main location is 55 S Lake St, Aurora
- Brownstone Antiques – 5234 N Clark St, Chicago
- Brown Elephant Resale Shop – 5404 N Clark St, Chicago
- South Loop Loft – 685 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
- Vintage Quest – 1105 N California Ave, Chicago
- Woolly Mammoth – 1513 W Foster Ave, Chicago
- Strangelovely – recently moved from Chicago to Godfrey
- Heritage Trail Antique Mall – 190-B Northfield Rd, Northfield
- Volo Antique Mall – 27640 Volo Village Rd., Volo
- Pink Geranium – 829 W Northwest Hwy, Barrington
- Steeplechase Antiques – 214 Main Street, Barrington
- Wabi – 600 S. Northwest Hwy, Barrington
- Flea Market Quick List – click to jump down
Vintage Shopping In Chicago
If you’re a vintage shopping local, you probably refer to Broadway Antique Mall as BAM. The front area is mostly glass cases, and I tend to cruise through there fairly quickly and wander to the left. There’s where you’ll find booths and nooks where individual sellers can set up vignettes. You’ll find everything from Mid-Century Modern furniture (tons upstairs), gorgeous art, sculptures, vases, and maybe a pinball machine or two…I also tend to giggle in the aisle of “old porn”.
If you love Mid-Century Modern decor, this Chicago vintage shop is for you! Find classic Milo Baughman chairs mixed in with quirky ’70s funk. Tim (the owner – and also one of the nicest people on the planet) has created a killer cool space. He has a great eye for incredible furniture and if you live nearby and ask pretty please, Tim will usually help get that chair delivered to your home. I told you he was nice. One thing to beware of — if something catches your eye, jump on it. Superb quality at fair prices has furniture flying out the door.
Dial M For Modern
This vintage shop has been on my hot list for a few months. New to me, I stumbled upon Lazy Dog via Instagram and have yet to shop this place in person, but because I’ve purchased from here online, I still wanted to include it. Loads of drool-worthy MCM furniture, killer barware, and home decor…plus vintage jewelry. If you get there before me, please report back and tell me what you think.
If you’re looking for that special shazam piece to make your room sing, Redefine is the place to shop. This woman-owned shop offers a highly curated eclectic mix of antiques, vintage decor, and fine art. This is where all the local interior designers shop, so you know it’s special. You’ll find one-of-a-kind, showstopper pieces. Word to the wise, don’t walk in looking for decor that is $5 and a hug. This place runs at a higher price point, but once inside, you’ll know why — because everything is gorgeous.
Like I said above, Marianne (the owner of The Savoy Flea) is my ride-or-die BVB – Best Vintage Buddy. She recently closed her beautiful studio in the city but moved into a small 10X10 booth at Warehouse 55’s Chicago location. Marianne has a very interesting style that is very difficult to recreate. Very Frenchy, crusty, drippy glam. Is that a style? Anyhoo, I’m so happy to report that she’s still out and about scouring the universe for new vintage treasures.
Photo: The Savoy Flea
This antique mall has 2 locations. The first is in downtown Aurora and they recently opened a small satellite in Chicago. The vibe in the Chicago location definitely has a hipper look and feel. Aurora feels a bit more shabby chic to me, but boy oh boy do I find treasures at both locations. The prices are affordable and you won’t leave empty-handed…at least I never did. If you are visiting Aurora, don’t forget to head upstairs and Megillicutti’s space in the loft elevator is not to be missed. Her styling is so dreamy.
Warehouse 55 Chicago
Blink and you’ll miss it. Brownstone is located in Andersonville and is a pickers dream — and an OCD clean freak’s nightmare. Piles of vintage precariously stacked on top of piles of antique furniture. If you have time to wander and don’t mind a dig, you’ll surely find a few treasures.
One thing to beware of, every time I go in, I don’t get all the feels. What does that mean? The employees are not super friendly, but walking in knowing that, you might be pleasantly surprised if you actually receive a hello. So why do I shop here when I don’t feel all that welcomed? The prices keep me coming back for more.
Although I don’t shop here as much as I’d like, every time I stop in there’s something different. You walk in through a large hallway and round the corner to vintage heaven. You’ll find some Mid-Century Modern furniture, killer vintage clothing (look closely and you’ll find some high-end designer pieces), home decor, and art. What’s even more amazing is that all the proceeds benefit the LGBTQ health and fund care for the uninsured at Howard Brown Health in Chicago. FYI, if you’re looking to donate gently used items, this is a great place to do so.
This is the place for one-of-a-kind vintage statement pieces for your home. South Loop Loft recently moved, and the new space is a showstopper. Cheap? Absolutely not. This is not a store for pickers. However, if you’re design-obsessed and looking to add some wow factor, South Loop Loft is the place to go. Just be prepared to covet everything. The space is so inspirational and the lighting is on fleek. There’s a reason South Loop Loft was featured in Elle Decor.
Photo: South Loop Loft
This tiny shop packs a serious punch. Upon arrival, you’re going to think to yourself, Kyla, you sent me to a cross between a man cave and Wisconsin bar. But humor me and have a closer looksy…yes, that IS a Milo Baughman chair…yes, that IS a DIA swivel table…yes, that is a Togo sectional…and yes, that IS the price. Keith, the owner, finds bonkers good Mid-Century and post-modern vintage treasures, and he’s the type of dude that you just wanna hang out with over a cold PBR and shoot the shit.
Are you looking for something ultra weird? Victorian hair jewelry? A painting by serial killer John Wayne Gacy? How about a shrunken head…ummm, yes, it’s real. I’ve only stopped into Woolly Mammoth a few times, but if I’m looking for rare oddities, this is THE place. It’s right down the street from Brownstone, The Brown Elephant, and Scout in Andersonville and definitely marches to its own beat when it comes to vintage shopping. Word to the wise, you might want to sage yourself on the way out.
Phew! You still with me? If you are, then you shall be rewarded with a few antique malls, favorite flea markets, AND a couple of super-secret burb locations I only share with nearest and dearest…yup, you’re that special.
Vintage Shopping In The Chicago Suburbs
In March 2020, Kim, the owner of Strangelovely, and I chatted a lot about what to do with our vintage shops. Ultimately, Kim chose to move her shop back to her roots in Godfrey, IL. Ya, I know, a smidge further than a Chicago burb, but she’s my friend and this is my blog, so those are the rules, LOL. It’s worth the drive my friend. Kim bought an incredible home and the main floor is where this vintage shop resides. Let me tell you, it’s BEAUTIFUL! I’m not quite sure how to describe Kim’s style…maybe funky, glam granny? Is that a style? She was Grand Millennial before it was trending but there’s something funkier to her look. First and foremost, if you’re looking for a killer Chesterfield sofa or wingback chair, Strangelovely is the place. And hot tip, while wandering around, be sure to look down. Her rugs are always amazing. Carefully curated real vintage.
See, I told you we’d hit the burbs! Over on Chicago’s North Shore, there’s a great antique mall in Northfield. Again, this is an antique mall, so you will not find picker prices. What you will find is tons of bonkers good vintage that is highly curated. No doll parts here. A few of my favorite booths in Heritage are Scene Vintage, Southern Manner, and Provenance Garage. BTDubs, Redefined Decor also has a couple of booths located inside Heritage, so if you can’t make it down to the city, stop in here. Also, be sure to watch Heritage’s Instagram account for new arrivals.
If you want to spend the full day vintage shopping, the Volo Antique Mall is your one-stop-shop (although it’s only a 15 minute drive from the Grayslake flea market, so try to combo those two destinations if possible). Just a few miles away from the Wisconsin border sits 4 large buildings chucked full of pretty much everything and anything you can imagine. Over 400 local dealers in multi-level barns. Volo is not highly curated, but you will find anything from primitives to industrial, to mantiques to Mid-Century Modern and retro.
Because this place is so vast, you have to check out in each building…meaning do not carry unpaid items from Mall 1 into Mall 2. I tend to find quite a lot here, so I start holding piles at each checkout counter. The very last building sits over a garage filled with vintage cars and tends to have a strong odor of gasoline which gives me a headache…so I tend to skip that particular building. Oh, and one other thing to mention, if you get hungry, head over to Fratellos for a hotdog and lemonade.
Now, for my super-secret local shops. The antique shops in Barrington where I live are near and dear to my heart. This quiet little town is becoming more and more a hub for antiquing.
While driving down Northwest Hwy, on the other side of the Metra tracks is a Marble and Granite warehouse (BTDubs, they were the stone fabricator for the quartz in my kitchen renovation). Thursday – Saturday, you’ll see a tiny hot pink sign. Crank that wheel, cross the tracks, and hit that gravel driveway. To the right is Pink Geranium.
Treasures upon treasures, nicely curated. You won’t find piles of furniture, mostly smalls, but there’s still plenty to look at. The owner Katie and her staff are so incredibly nice, and they usually have a treat or tiny snack at the checkout counter. I usually pop in once a month and never leave disappointed. This place is a gem.
When we were looking for a home, I spied with my little eye a sign that said “antiques”. MY PEOPLE! Yes, Steeplechase was the first local antique store I visited after the move to Barrington, IL, and I’ve made quite a few purchases since that day. In fact, the owner Karrin took me under her wing a bit after I lost my job. For a few months, I helped her style the shop…I don’t think she will ever know how much she helped me mentally. I cherish her friendship. In fact, I even opened my own brick and mortar next door (RIP now closed).
Okay, enough with the mushy stuff…Karrin curates antiques…no MCM here. Lots of wood and brown tones. When I was styling, it felt like all these beautiful pieces were growing up out of a beautiful garden of moss, ivy, and topiaries. Like a magical antique forest. Beautifully patinated wood tables, oversized urns, trophies, trunks, books, and old leather furniture. Her store has this look that’s stunning and ever-changing. Yep, she’s one popular lady and flips that store pretty much every week. So if you see something you like, you better snap it up, or it’ll be gone in a flash. Oh, and bring cash. No credit cards here. Yes, it’s a true antique shop and it is located in Barrington, IL.
This is my secret squirrel destination for affordable vintage decor. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone. Wabi is the tiniest shop, located in an unassuming strip mall next to a Chinese takeout restaurant. You’d never know it exists unless someone (like me) shares the secret. What you’ll find is highly curated vintage and new decor (and clothing and jewelry too) at a great price. Mary, the owner, has an amazing eye, and her styling is off the hook. Her hours can change, so if you’re trekking out to Barrington, make sure you call ahead to ensure she is open.
Flea Markets In and Around Chicago
The fleas in the Chicagoland area went on a bit of hiatus during the pandemic. Be sure to check the sites for show dates.
The first weekend of every month is the Kane County Flea Market. You’ll walk through barns and buildings full of primitives and mostly traditional antiques. It’s massive. You’ll also find shabby chic crafts and handmade items…along with some tube socks. Because I’m more of a Mid-Century glam gal, this is not my favorite flea, but I do tend to walk away with some vintage items. Be sure to dress for dust and dirt…this flea is held at a traditional fairgrounds. There are a couple of air-conditioned buildings and the potties are clean!
The Grayslake flea is held the second weekend of every month, and many times is themed. I just happened to go to the MCM-themed weekend and can I just say that flea was on fire! The Grayslake flea happens to be one of my favorites…mainly because it’s small and low-key. It also helps that it’s located minutes away from my house. So what do I mean by low key? When I go to a flea in the city, almost everyone is dressed to impress. Grayslake I could walk in my jammies and no one would bat an eye. Also, every once is so nice. No one is pushing past you trying to get to something first…it’s just very chill. There is one large building (that has clean potties and is air-conditioned), but there are also vendors located outside.
Grayslake Flea Market
If you’ve ever driven down the Kennedy Expressway on a Sunday during the summer months, you’ve probably seen the flea in Rosemont at All-State Arena. But because this flea is held in a parking lot on a blacktop surface in the summer heat, it can be absolutely brutal. Hydration is key – ask me how I know. Vintage shopping here can be very hit or miss depending on the weather, so I usually keep my eye on their Facebook page. Don’t miss the farmer’s market section of this flea. The plants and products do not disappoint. Hot tip, arrive early. Like 5-6 am early to find the best deals.
Wolff’s Flea Market
There’s nothing more unique than antiquing in an open-air market in downtown Chicago, and Randolph Street Antique Market takes the party to another level. This flea is one of my favorite haunts for vintage shopping in Chicago. Every time I leave, my car is packed to the gills with treasures and I venture home with a smile on my face. In fact, I would say it’s a bucket list flea. You’re going to find a highly curated group of vendors selling quality over quantity.
It’s also one of my favorite fleas to attend especially during the summer months. Why? Well, the parking lot of course…and no, I don’t mean for my car (they have a valet service for that). During the months of May – September Randolph shows off some srsly jazzy furniture in the parking lot and packs it full of food trucks, live music, fresh roast coffee, and my favorite part…booze. Yes, the mimosas are flowing at this vintage bonanza. This flea is held every 4th Saturday and Sunday of the month and is not to be missed. Porta-potties are outside in the parking lot, but inside Plumber’s Hall, upstairs, you’ll find clean potties (and air conditioning).
Okay, ya, this is technically Wisconsin, but all the Chicago dealers shop the Elkhorn Flea Market. This show is only held 4 times a year, so be sure to mark the dates on your calendar. The entrance fee is $5 and once inside you’ll find over 500 dealers and some delicious carnival food – think funnel cakes, snow cones, and corn on a stick.
Since this flea is held during the summer months, the heat can be brutal. Bring sunscreen and drink plenty of water. Oh, and be sure you bring a cart or wagon to carry your goods. Because this flea covers so much ground, a cart makes it easier to haul your treasures. One last tip, if you purchase a larger piece, write down the booth space so you can find it prior to leaving. I once bought 2 large vases and asked to leave them there until the end of the day. It took over an hour for me to find the booth again.
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