Chicago Music Exchange

It's that time of year again. A time for heartfelt Christmas presents and smile-inducing stocking stuffers. Holiday shopping is nigh and if you have a music lover in your life, you might consider these gifts. 

Many of Chicago's favorite music venues have branded merch for sale. Get your friend or family member an Empty Bottle t-shirta Double Door koozie or a beanie from Reggie's. The MetroLincoln Hall and Schubas even offer limited edition prints from every show that comes through town. What better a way than to help your gift recipient relive their favorite concert of the year. 

For perhaps the most unique gift your special someone will ever receive, look to Chicago-based company Downwrite. The creative collective allows customers to request personalized songs for or about you or someone in your life written by your favorite songwriter. Matt Pryor of The Get Up Kids, William Beckett of The Academy Is... and Bob Nanna of Braid and Hey Mercedes. Song prices and turnaround times vary by artist but isn't winning at Christmas worth it?

There are a number of great music shops in the city, but Chicago Music Exchange is one that frequently tops lists in terms of quantity and quality. For a massive selection of used and new gear - from guitars to acoustic folk instruments to vocal recording equipment - head to this spot in Lakeview. Have a percussionist in the family? The Chicago Drum Exchange is an entire adjacent storefront with all of their needs. 

If the person on your gift is particularly generous, make a donation in their name to Foundations of Music. Recently converted from its old name Rock For Kids, this foundation enriches the next generation of musicians by reestablishing music curriculum in Chicago's public school classrooms. It currently serves 5,000 students and 20 school annually. Send a gift or sing up to sponsor a student here.

Photos: 1957 Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty, courtesy of Chicago Music Exchange via Facebook