There are numerous things that make Chicago a unique city, and finding a unique holiday gift doesn't require Chicagoans to look much further than the city limits. Here are top 10 uniquely Chicago gifts that will make for a memorable holiday this year.
Nothing is more Chicago than deep-dish pizza, and several local restaurants offer nationwide shipping. This gift is especially great for friends and family out of town. Prices (with express shipping) start at $72 for two 11-inch pizzas from Gino's East, $58 for two 9-inch pizzas from Lou Malnati's, and $78 for two 12-inch pizzas from Giordano's.
Chicago is home to many world-class museums and other exhibitions, making a museum membership a great gift for families. Yearly family memberships cost $115 at the Museum of Science and Industry, $100 at the Field Museum, $175 at the Shedd Aquarium, and $80 at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Chicago helicopter tour
You really haven't seen Chicago until you've seen it at 2,000 feet. At $500 for two people through Chicago Aerial Tours, it's a bit of a splurge. However, it's a unique and unforgettable gift that works especially well for couples.
Etsy is always a great place to find interesting and intriguing gifts, even ones with a Chicago twist. Several shops on the site sell quirky Windy City-inspired jewelry, perfect for girls. Daisy Mae Designs sells miniature CTA sign necklaces ($25), and Arts N Charms turns vintage Chicago posters into wearable pendants ($12).
Chicago food tours
Chicago has tasting tours that include everything from chocolate to pizza to beer, making it the perfect gift for the gourmet food lover on your list. Prices start at around $45, and you can choose the type of tasting item while letting your gift recipient select the date.
Willis Tower LEGO kit
LEGOs are still an extremely popular gift for kids, and now the toymaker has added the Willis Tower kit ($20) to its line. Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower is a Chicago icon, making the kit, which can be purchased in the Tower's gift shop or online, a great novelty item for adults or a toy for kids.
Sports gift basket
The typical baseball hat or jersey just seems so mediocre compared to a sports gift basket. GourmetGiftBaskets.com sells the ultimate Chicago Cubs gift basket ($80) that includes a pennant, T-shirt, playing cards, hat, cup, and other items, and it's the ideal item for Cubs fans home or away.
Second City tickets
The Second City, located in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood, has become a mecca for comedians and boasts alumni such as Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Mike Myers, and Chicago natives John and Jim Belushi. The theater offers gift cards in denominations of $25 that can be used for either shows or comedy lessons.
Marshall Field's souvenirs
Though the stores converted to Macy's in 2006, many older Chicagoans remember Marshall Field's State Street store as a symbol of Chicago. Marshall Field's trinkets and souvenirs, including shirts ($20) and bags ($18), are still sold in the city, including at Macy's. These make a unique gift for older Chicago natives who still feel loyal to Marshall Field's and refuse to step foot in Macy's.
Original Chicago photographs
The Chicago Tribune might offer one of the most unique gifts this holiday season. Through the newspaper's website, you can purchase original archive photographs (between $4 and $50) - ones that have actually been used and published in the Tribune. From Al Capone to the Chicago Bulls to the World's Fair, you can give the gift of Chicago history.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.