surrounding apartment buildings; you'll find plenty of minimart groceries, some clothing
and shoe boutiques, and the occasional used-book stor e, but not much that 's worth a
SOUTHPORT AVENUE Shoppers will find elements of both prosperous Lincoln Park
and alternative-ish Wicker Park when they're wandering along Lakeview's principal com-
mercial avenue. With the Music Box Theater ( & 773/871-6604 ) at 3733 N. Southport
Ave., north of Addison Street, as its anchor, this gentrifying retail row, popular with the
stroller set, has an interesting mix of quirky and artsy merchants and restaurateurs. Start
at Roscoe Street and walk north to find a string of hip kids' clothing and toy boutiques.
Nearby, on Ashland Avenue, you'll find Bebe Elegante, 3338 N. Ashland (btw. Belmont
and Addison; & 773/477-2323 ), and on Lincoln Avenue, Building Blocks Toy Store,
3306 N. Lincoln (just north of Belmont; & 773/525-6200 ).
BELMONT AVENUE & CLARK STREET Radiating from the intersection of Belmont
Avenue and Clark Street is a string of shops catering to rebellious kids on tour from their
homes in the 'burbs. (The Dunkin' Donuts on the corner is often referred to as “Punkin'
Donuts” in their honor.) If you have preteens or young teens, they will be fascinated b y
the youth culture, the street life—and the shops.
Alley, 3228 N. Clar k St., at B elmont Avenue ( & 773/883-1800 ), is an “ alternative
shopping complex” selling ev erything from plaster gargo yles to racks of leather jackets.
Warning: The stor e has separate shops specializing in condoms, cigars, and bondage
wear—you will want to monitor y our teens carefully here.
Tragically Hip, a storefront women's boutique at 931 W. Belmont Ave. ( & 773/549-
1500 ), next to the Belmont El train stop, has outlasted many other similar pur veyors of
cutting-edge women's apparel.
You can get plugged in to what the kids ar e reading at Chicago Comics, 3244 N.
Clark St. ( & 773/528-1983 ), considered one of the best comics shops in the countr y.
Besides the usual superhero titles, you'll find lots of European and Japanese comics, along
with underground books and 'zines.
The go-go gentrification of the Wicker Park/Bucktown area has been follo wed by not
only a rash of r estaurants and bars, but also r etailers with an ar tsy bent r eflecting the
neighborhood's bohemian spirit. M ixed in with old neighborhood businesses, such as
discount furniture stores and religious-icon purveyors, is a proliferation of antiques-fur-
niture shops, too-cool-for-school clothing boutiques, and eclectic galleries and gift
emporiums. Although the neighborhood focus is art, collectibles, and hip adult clothing,
you'll find a fe w kids' stores, including The Red Balloon Company, 2060 N. D amen
( & 773/489-9800; p. 248). For a ne w twist on custom clothing, stop b y The T-Shirt
Deli, 1739 N. D amen Ave. ( & 773/276-6266; www.tshirtdeli.com), wher e y ou and
your kids can or der up y our own personalized T-shirt creation. Choose fr om hundreds
of vintage logos, add y our own lettering, and y our shirt will be printed while y ou wait
(and to thrill y our kids, the shir t is packaged up in a paper bag with a side of potato
West Division Street
Once home to just a fe w pioneering restaurants, Division Street is quickly being trans-
formed from a desolate urban landscape to a hot shopping destination. I t's a wor k in
progress (you'll still find some boarded-up buildings among the cool boutiques), but for