Thursday is for eating delicious food, Friday is for buying discounted electronics, but Saturday? Saturday is for homemade candles, local jewelry, hand-knit scarves, and friendly shop owners. Small Business Saturday is a sweet—if corporate-funded—day, founded in 2010 by American Express and based on the idea that by spending your money at small, local business, you’re giving back to the community and, by extension, yourself. So treat yourself twice by frequenting some of Chicago’s quirkiest and oft-overlooked shops. From adventures in taxidermy to South Side sugar rushes, each one is worth a weekend jaunt.
American Science & Surplus
This wacky store sells scientific surplus materials that will appeal both to your inner nerd-child or and your actual kids. Curious minds can amuse themselves for hours with everything from solar jewelry kits to glow-in-the-dark rope to wholesale blue polypropylene jars that you didn’t realize you needed. 5316 N. Milwaukee Ave., sciplus.com
Since you’re probably heading down to Pilsen for the fantastic vintage selection on Saturday anyway, be sure to stop by this tiny little grocery store for vegan snacks, ridiculously cheap green juice that’s pressed while you wait, and kombucha on tap. 1219 W. 18th St., bellischicago.com
Indulge all your Parisian fantasies at this frequently overlooked French boutique in the Palmolive Building. You may not be wintering in the South of France this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t subtly imply that you are. 919 N. Michigan Ave., cop-copine.com
This trio of stores in Edgewater sells antiques, artwork, and a healthy selection of gently used designer clothes. They’re offering 20 percent off in-store purchases on Small Business Saturday, too. 6237-6241 N. Clark St., euphoriaresale.com
Yelpers say this beauty supply store is the best spot in the city to find Shiseido products, but the store also stocks other hard-to-find Asian beauty products like Korean BB cream and Dolly Wink mascara. 2136 S. Archer Ave.
This well-curated Humboldt Park boutique sells everything from jewelry to bath products to mustache wax. You’ll find lots of design-y elements—it’s located in a refurbished hardware store, after all—and plenty of locally-made stocking stuffers. 2559 W. Chicago Ave., shopkomoda.com
Andersonville’s menswear scene has become significantly hipper with the recent opening of Notre, which carries super-cool brands such as Band of Outsiders and Filson, as well as exclusive offerings like hand-knit fisherman sweaters, which have “Chicago winters” written all over them (figuratively, of course). 5202 N. Clark St., notre-shop.com
Roscoe Village’s newest indie bookstore is throwing its doors open to the public at 10 a.m. on Saturday, where you can find calendars, greeting cards, and booked-themed ephemera from the popular brand Out of Print—as well as books on books on books, of course. 2142 W. Roscoe St.
Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities
If it’s stuffed, pickled, anatomical, funereal, or suspiciously furry, Woolly Mammoth carries it. Along with creepier options, this little shop also stocks great records, glassware, and a small but solid selection of vintage clothes. But seriously, go for the taxidermy. 1513 W. Foster Ave., woollymammothchicago.com
The new Hyde Park pop-up shops
A handful of North Shore shops are temporarily moving south with a slew of holiday pop-ups in empty storefronts owned by the University of Chicago. The Ukrainian Village boutique Anastasia has a pop-up location at 1500 E. 53rd St.; Meadowlark, a vintage store, will be selling at 1457 E. 53rd St.; home goods store Neighborly is at 1506 E. 53rd St.; and Amy’s Candy Bar is at 1546 E. 55th St. Plus, Comfort Me Boutique has opened up a new permanent location in Hyde Park at 5241 S. Harper Ave. after their successful pop-up run. Grab a latte at Bridgeport Coffee’s Hyde Park location and hit all five in one afternoon.