Credit: Illustration by Jason Wyatt Frederick

From Brianna Wellen’s introduction, “Losses and gains: Best of Chicago 2020”:

Some business to get out of the way: the reader poll results were determined by you, the readers! If you’re angry about the results, you only have yourselves to blame! Let this be a reminder to keep a close eye on when voting begins next year so you can campaign for your favorites to get the top spot. Or better yet, share your own losses and gains on social media and tag us @Chicago_Reader with the hashtags #bestofchi and #BoC2020. Tell us what made your year worthwhile, shine a light on the people, places, and things that helped you survive, and we’ll share with our followers. I should also acknowledge that a lot of writers’ picks skew to the north side, in part because we weren’t leaving our homes and that’s where many of us live. It’s something we recognize and are always working on changing—I hope this encourages all folks reading this to look beyond those borders.

Review the closed ballot to see all the finalists.

Best apartment finder


Runner-up: Domu

Best auto dealership

Berman Subaru

Runner-up: Honda of Downtown Chicago

Best auto repair shop

Ashland Tire & Auto

Runner-up: Speedline

Best bicycle shop

Working Bikes

Runner-up: Uptown Bikes

Best bookstore

Women & Children First

Runner-up: Semicolon Bookstore

Best boutique for men

Cowboys and Astronauts

Runner-up: Hazel

Best boutique for women


Runner-up: Milk Handmade

Best comics shop

AlleyCat Comics

Runner-up: Quimby’s

Best dancewear shop

Chicago Dance Supply

Runner-up: Gnat Glitter Kink

Best financial institution/bank


Runner-up: Kambs Jennings Group of Compass Mortgage

Best financial planner

Liz Krebs

Runner-up: Stephanie Zaide

Best florist

Flowers for Dreams

Runner-up: Fleur

Best garden store

Gethsemane Garden Center

Runner-up: Adams & Son Gardens

Best hair salon

Twisted Scissors

Runner-up: Penny Lane Studios

Best home furnishings

Brown Elephant

Runner-up: District

Best home garden supply

Gethsemane Garden Center

Runner-up: Adams & Son Gardens

Best jewelry store

The Silver Room

Runner-up: Bryn Mawr Jewelry

Best kids’ clothing

The Red Balloon Co.

Runner-up: Peach Fuzz

Best landscape company

City Grange

Runner-up: Christy Webber Landscapes

Best local clothing designer

Hallie Borden of Milk Handmade

Runner-up: Seeker Intimates

Best motorcycle shop


Runner-up: Federal Moto

Best pet adoption/shelter

PAWS Chicago

Runner-up: One Tail at a Time

Best pet store

Urban Pooch

Runner-up: Jameson Loves Danger

Best picture framing store


Runner-up: Blackbird Gallery + Framing

Best place to buy local wares

Andersonville Galleria

Runner-up: Foursided

Best place to get married

Chicago Cultural Center

Runner-up: City Hall

Best real estate agent

Liz Jones at Keller Williams OneChicago

Runner-up: Michelle Schroeder at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago

Best real estate company


Runner-up: Compass

Best record store

Reckless Records

Runner-up: Laurie’s Planet of Sound

Best recovery center

Howard Brown Health

Runner-up: Hazelden Betty Ford

Best resale shop

Brown Elephant

Runner-up: Village Discount Outlet

Best sex toy shop

Early to Bed

Runner-up: The Pleasure Chest

Best shoe store

Fleet Feet

Runner-up: Lori’s Shoes

Best streetwear brand

Fat Tiger Workshop

Runner-up: ChicagoMidwestMade

Best tattoo artist

Esther Garcia

Runner-up: Jonathan Watson

Best tattoo shop

Great Lakes Tattoo

Runner-up: Deluxe Tattoo

Best t-shirt shop

Strange Cargo

Runner-up: Transit Tees

Best veterinarian

Uptown Animal Hospital

Runner-up: Blum Animal Hospital

Best vintage store

Lost Girls Vintage

Runner-up: Broadway Antique Market

Best western wear

Alcala’s Western Wear

Runner-up: Ace High Vintage

Best of Chicago 2020 is
presented by

    Sponsored in part by