Hidden Gems: Back-to-School Shopping in Chicago

Caitlin Murray Giles - Chicago
August 9, 2011

Wait a minute! Didn't the kids just get out of school for the summer? We can't quite believe it ourselves, but it is time to get ready for back-to-school. Already? Yes, already!

Don't wait until the last week of August when all of the shelves have been picked bare. Your kid has undoubtedly outgrown or destroyed nearly every school staple from last year and now is the time to stock up on all of the new school necessities -- everything from school clothes to backpacks and lunch bag supplies.

Instead of heading out to one of the big box stores, support one of the many local businesses selling unique back-to-school products that your little scholar will adore.

The Red Balloon

Visit the Bucktown or Andersonville location to stock up on cool and comfy back-to-school clothes. This store is home to the very popular initial t-shirts that kids all over town are sporting these days.


This site is one-stop shopping for eco-friendly lunch supplies. Reuseit.com is owned by a Chicago family with school-aged children so they are no strangers to packing lunches! This site offers a huge selection of reusable containers, snack pouches and sandwich wraps. We especially like the reusable "sporks" that come in handy whether you are digging into a yogurt cup or last night's leftover chicken. 

Urban General Store

If retro-inspired lunchbags and unusual finds are your thing, definitely head to the Lincoln Square neighborhood and check out the wares at Urban General Store. This spot offers a variety of quirky wares, including these fun monkey chopsticks.


Little rock n' roll enthusiasts will love the creative and funky kids clothes sold at this Bucktown shop. We especially love the custom shop where kids can choose one-of-a-kind items like hoodies featuring the Chicago skyline.

Piggie Toes

One of the best parts of back-to-school shopping is picking out shiny and clean new shoes! Our favorite spot for kid's shoes in Chicago is Piggie Toes, with locations in both Lincoln Park and Lincoln Square. Every shopper can expect friendly and patient help choosing just the right pair of shoes for their child.


From the Parents

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