4 Must-Visit Chicago Markets for Holiday Shopping

There’s nothing we enjoy more than a day spent wandering between artist and vendor booths, especially when it’s time to start the process of purchasing holiday gifts. Here are some must-visit markets to add to your to-do list.


Oct. 31 to Nov. 3

Merete Rasmussen, Sculpture, 2018, Ceramic, Image Courtesy of J. Lohmann Gallery

The Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design Fair at Navy Pier follows on the heels of last year’s smash, the largest, most well-attended, and successful SOFA ever. This annual 3D art and design fair sees an average of 80 elite dealers selling $15-$20 million in artwork to more than 35,000 attendees. Truly a spectacle.

Randolph Street Holiday Market

Nov. 23-24, Dec. 14-15

Randolph Street Market Holiday Market
Photo courtesy of Randolph Street Market.

Like an Etsy web page come to life! You’ll find tons of beautifully crafted decorative objects, fashions, art, gifts, and housewares at this monthly happening, with two holiday-themed markets in November and December. Don’t miss the local food vendors and bloody mary bar.

The Woman’s Club of Evanston Holiday Bazaar

Nov. 22-24

Don’t feel like driving downtown and dealing with parking? Then check out this juried gift fair in Evanston that features artists, gourmet goods, and makers of handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gifts and keepsakes. Proceeds support local community grants to nonprofits, so it’s a win-win for all.

One of a Kind Holiday Show

Dec. 5-8

This gigantic holiday sale takes over an entire floor of the Merchandise Mart every December — it’s so popular that they’ve added a smaller spring market in April — and showcases jewelers, artists, fabricators, and craftspeople from all over. So whether you’re in the market for home furnishings, handwoven textiles, gourmet chocolates, hostess gifts, or a glamorous ensemble, you’re sure to find it.

Julie Chernoff, Better’s dining editor since its inception in 2007, graduated from Yale University with a degree in English — which she speaks fluently — and added a professional chef’s degree from the California Culinary Academy. She has worked for Boz Scaggs, Rick Bayless, and Wolfgang Puck (not all at the same time); and counts Northlight Theatre and Les Dames d’Escoffier International as two of her favorite nonprofits.