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SHOP LOCAL: CHICAGO HOLIDAY MARKETS 

Here’s your ultimate guide to finding that one-of-a-kind Chicago gift.

Chicago plays host to so many fun holiday markets that showcase the works of local artists. If you’re looking for that perfectly unique Chicago gift, these are the places to be.

1. RENEGADE CRAFT FAIR 
Saturday, Dec. 1 – Sunday, Dec. 2

Couple at Renegade Craft Fair

2018 marks the Renegade Craft Fair’s 16th year in Chicago, presenting a showcase of curated craft and design that celebrates both the creative and entrepreneurial spirit. More than 250 emerging and seasoned independent makers sell their unique wares, which include one-of-a-kind clothing, handmade jewelry and cool home accessories. 1200 W. 35th St.

Explore Bridgeport

2. ONE OF A KIND HOLIDAY SHOW
Thursday, Dec. 6 – Sunday, Dec. 9

One of a Kind Holiday Show

Head to theMART in River North and check out the works of more than 600 talented artisans from across North America — which translates into thousands of original handmade gifts to tempt you. Peruse everything from fiber art to photography and pet products. Then catch a fashion show or live music (sponsored by the Old Town School of Folk Music), and nosh on delicious nibbles at one of the gourmet cafes. Tickets are $12 and are good for all four days of the show. 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza.

Explore River North

3. PRE-KWANZAA MARKET
Saturday, Dec. 15 – Sunday, Dec. 16

Get unique holiday gifts at this eclectic market hosted by Africa International House. This year's Pre-Kwanzaa Marketplace will feature handmade gift items, gift-making workshops, children's activities, food and more at the Harris Park District. Visitors can also learn about the Kwanzaa principles and setting up a Kwanzaa table in their home. 6200 S. Drexel.

4. RANDOLPH STREET HOLIDAY MARKET 
Saturday, Dec. 15 – Sunday, Dec. 16

Randolph Street Market

Whether you’re on a budget or ready to go all out, you’ll discover more than 125 vendors selling everything from vintage pieces like estate jewelry to indie fashions and modern housewares (plus free gift wrapping!). Randolph Street Holiday Market is held in the West Loop at Plumbers Hall from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day. Tickets are $10 and are good for both days of the market. 1341 W. Randolph St.

Explore the West Loop

5. REVOLUTION CRAFT SHOW
Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018

Revolution Brewing

Sip craft beer while you browse at this holiday craft show. Local artisans and makers will display their handcrafted goods at the Revolution Brewing tap room in Avondale. This craft show was created to showcase but established and up-and-coming artists. The holiday show is free to enter and will feature a unique mix of crafts, Revolution Brewing beer, and fare from local food trucks. 3340 N. Kedzie Ave.

Explore Avondale

6. Last Chance Holiday Sale
Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018

Waited til the last minute to get your gifts? Fear not, The Hideout will be stocked with good from local artisans at this annual holiday market. Shop hand-knit, books, artwork, jewelry, home goods, wearables and more at various price points. Admission is free. 1354 W. Wabansia Ave. 

3 ILLINOIS MAKERS TO KNOW

KATHERINE ANNE CONFECTIONS

Katherine Anne Confections ChocolatesLooking to gift your sweetheart with some sugar for the holidays? At Katherine Anne Confections in Logan Square, owner Katherine Anne Duncan makes her exquisite chocolates and caramels using cream sourced from a herd of Jersey cows in Central Illinois, and substitutes corn syrup with local wildflower honey. Classic truffles, including lemon poppyseed and toasted coconut rum, are rolled and dipped by hand in an open kitchen. While you’re shopping, be sure to try the European-style hot chocolate topped with pillowy homemade marshmallows, named one of the best in America by Fodor’s Travel

OPTIMO HATS

Optimo Hats Interior

Inspired by Hollywood’s Golden Age, owner Graham Thompson uses old-world craftsmanship to create his designs, right down to the vintage Singer sewing machines used to achieve the perfect stitch. The hats are named for Chicago neighborhoods and sights, and have been seen on chapeau-loving celebrities such as Johnny Depp. Styles range from derbies to fedoras, and if you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for in the downtown Loop store, Optimo will custom design a hat for you.

VICE DISTRICT BREWING

Vice District Brewing Pint Glasses

Curtis Tarver II and Quintin Cole, two friends and former home brewers from Chicago’s South Side, founded this welcoming South Loop  brewery named for the notorious Red Light districts that thrived in the city in the late 1800s. Visit the taproom and try one of their rotating selections of craft beer that are brewed on site, including staples like the Pleasure Trip blonde ale or Everleigh English bitter. Pick your favorite and get a growler to go for the beer lover on your holiday list.

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