Take a leisurely stroll down the Magnificent Mile and you’ll soon discover that Chicagoans have an undeniable affinity for the sweet stuff. There’s a chocolatier or candy shop on practically every corner. But that should come as no surprise considering the Windy City is dubbed the candy capital of the United States, and at one point, even the world.
Legendary brands like Wrigley, Tootsie Roll, Brachs, and Mars have roots here. Iconic sugary treats like Cracker Jacks, M&M’s, and Lemonheads are manufactured in Chicago. Even the ever so polarizing Candy Corn hails from Chi-Town.
So whether you’re wanting to treat your kiddos to something sweet, need to pick up some edible souvenirs to impress folks back home, or merely craving a nostalgic confection from your childhood, you’re sure to find something to suit your fancy on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.
Voted the best candy store in Illinois by the Food Network Magazine, and a hometown favorite, Candyality is an independent retailer offering an assortment of sweets from bulk and retro candy to gourmet chocolates and novelty items. The folks at Candyality (Candy + Personality) say they’re on a mission to uncover the connection between one’s personality and the confections they choose. So treat yourself to an old favorite, discover something new or simply soak up the candylicious atmosphere. There are four Candyality stores in Chicago and two are on the Mag Mile.
835 North Michigan Ave., Level 7, Chicago, IL 60611 | 312-867-5500
DYLAN’S CANDY BAR
A chain of boutique candy shops located in different regions throughout the country, this Dylan’s is particularly special because it’s housed inside the world-famous Tribune Tower on the Mile. With two floors of brightly packaged Belgian chocolates and other candies – from lollies to gummies, sweets-themed novelty merchandise, a counter to personalize your goodies, and an adjoining cafe serving Instagram worthy desserts, this is candy heaven.
663 North Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611 | 312-702-2247
Owing its roots to Chicago with numerous locations in Illinois and throughout the Midwest, Fannie May (not to be confused with Fannie Mae, the mortgage lender) is a retail chain currently owned and operated by 1-800-Flowers known for their gourmet boxed chocolates and other confections perfect for special occasions and the holidays.
343 North Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60601 | 312-453-0010
America’s oldest continuously operating chocolatier, Ghirardelli – a San Francisco icon and supermarket staple occupies prime real estate on opposite ends of the Mile. So if you have a hankering for their famous thin chocolate squares or needing an ice cream sundae to cool off from the Chicago summer heat and humidity then head on over to either location on Michigan Ave.
830 North Michigan Ave. #1, Chicago, IL 60611 | 312-337-9330
400 North Michigan Ave., Suite 100, Chicago, IL 60611 | 312-923-0168
While not exclusively a candy retailer, this hip and environmentally conscious burgeoning chain of delis founded in Chicago in 2005 by a German expat prides itself on its healthy and nutritious menu. Adding a touch of sweetness, each sandwich shop has a wall and cooler stocked with a large selection of chocolate brands from around the world. So grab yourself an über sandwich and pick up a bar or two of artisanal chocolates to boot. Currently, Hannah’s Bretzels can only be found in the downtown area, but that may change in the future.
233 North Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60601 | 312-621-1111
LEONIDAS CHOCOLATE CAFE
Founded in 1913, Leonidas is a world-renowned Belgian chocolate maker that today offers more than 100 different kinds of Belgian chocolates. Visit their chocolate cafe located just one block west of Michigan Avenue and sample any one of their luscious offerings from exquisite chocolates to gelato to hot cocoa and pastries. They even make crepes, as well as authentic Liege-style Belgian waffles. Your sweet tooth will certainly be satisfied here.
59 East Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611 | 312-929-2323
TEUSCHER CHOCOLATES OF SWITZERLAND
High-end confections of the finest quality and skillfully crafted are what you can expect from this Swiss master chocolate maker. Impress your clients or romance your partner with a gift box of their signature creation – Champagne Truffles (in dark or milk chocolate) enriched with a creamy center infusion of Dom Perignon Champagne, and watch your grateful recipient squeal with delight. Even Oprah’s a fan of this lavish treat and I can understand why (licking fingers). A box of 72 pieces will set you back $237.00. But if you find that exorbitant like I do, then you can purchase in smaller quantities. There are only a handful of Teuschers [toy-shurs] globally, and one just so happens to be on Michigan Ave.
900 North Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611 | 312-943-4400
Undeniably haut, Vosges is a luxury chocolatier founded in Chicago in 1998 by Katrina Markoff, a young female entrepreneur and visionary with an adventurous spirit. Today it continues to innovate the cocoa world with its inclusion of exotic spices and unique ingredients into their imaginative and decadent creations. Personally speaking, Vosges are some of the best I’ve had. I’m especially a huge fan of their caramel marshmallows – heavenly pillows of sweetness. A purple box from Vosges is the ultimate gift (hint, hint). Their boutique shops can only be found in Chicago and New York City.
520 North Michigan Ave. #2, Chicago, IL 60611 | 312-644-9450