Al’s Hobby Shop
121 N. Addison Ave., Elmhurst, 630-832-4908

One of the five largest hobby shops in the country, this family-owned business has supplied area hobbyists with their wares for more than 60 years. Find everything from balsa airplanes and pinewood derby decals to a huge inventory of electric planes, cars, boats, and model trains from Lionel and Thomas the Tank Engine.

America’s Best Train and Hobby Shop
865 Maplewood Dr., Itasca, 630-467-1102

Trains of all kinds, from Lionel and LGB electric sets to wooden trains like Thomas the Tank Engine and Nuchi. (Lionel Trains from any era are repaired on-site.) The rest of the product mix is a mash-up of hobbies and toys. On the hobby side, find slot cars, pinewood derby kits, and model cars, airplanes, and rockets. The toy assortment includes Lego, Playmobil, Breyer Horses, Lincoln Logs, K’Nex, and Erector sets.

Antioch Model Trains & Hobby
924 Main St., Antioch, 847-395-5025

A hobby shop devoted exclusively to model trains and slot cars. Train specialties are Lionel, N-Scale, HO scale, and Micro trains, as well as all the accessories to create a scenic train layout.

Artist & Craftsman Supply
828 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, 312-583-9990

This enormous shop assaults the senses with color. Find art and craft supplies, children’s art supplies like paints, brushes, chalks, pastels, paper rolls, and art kits.


Berwyn Toy Trains
7025 Ogden Ave., Berwyn, 708-484-4284

Kids love the huge train set at the center of this specialty train and toy store, which balances model railroading supplies for O gauge electric trains from Lionel and Mike’s Train House with toys from Lego, Playmobil, Thomas and Friends, and Breyer Horses.


Dick Blick Art Materials
1574 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago, 312-573-0110
42 S. State St., Chicago, 312-920-0300
School of the Art Institute, 290 S. Columbus Dr., Chicago, 312-443-3923
1755 Maple Ave., Evanston, 847-425-9100
1975 E. Golf Rd., Schaumburg, 847-619-1115
79 Danada Square East, Wheaton, 630-653-0569

This Southern Illinois-based art supply store carries everything to ignite young artistic talent: easels, paints, colored pencils, markers, sketch pads, and more.


Genesis Art Supply
2417 N. Western Ave., Chicago, 773-292-2990

An excellent selection of kid-centric art supplies such as drawing kits, Crayola, activity books, Shrinky Dinks, face paint, Melissa and Doug toys, children’s drafting tables and kid’s easels.

Gigi’s Dolls and Sherry’s Teddy Bears
6029 N. Northwest Highway, Chicago, 773-594-1540

Chock-a-block with dolls and stuffed animals, this shop specializes in teddy bears and every kind of doll imaginable—baby dolls, porcelain dolls, Kewpie dolls, vintage and antique dolls, Madame Alexander dolls, Barbie dolls, dollhouses and miniatures.


Hobby Lobby
Visit hobbylobby.com for locations

Hobbyists bypass the crafting materials to get to the model planes, trains, and automobiles, balsa wood plane supplies, rockets, and science kits.

Hobbytown USA
549 Waukegan Rd., Northbrook, 847-205-5588
247 W. Golf Rd., Schaumburg, 847-490-0900
9200 Pyott Rd., Lake in the Hills, 847-658-1515
15551 S. 94th Ave., Orland Park, 708-349-8697
2061A Lincoln Hwy., St. Charles, 630-587-1256

Hobby heaven: radio control cars and planes, model airplanes, rockets, slot car and pine derby supplies, model railroad supplies, rockets, science and art kits, dollhouses, board games and toys.


La Grange Hobby Center
25 S. Lagrange Rd., La Grange, 708-354-1220

Little ones will love the train set in the front window. Inside, find HO and Lionel trains, model airplane kits, remote control cars, and other hobby supplies.

Lolly’s Dollhouses and Miniatures
1054 Dundee Ave., Elgin, 847-697-4040

If your little one loves dollhouses (and/or you are ambitious enough to build one), this is the place. The entire shop is stocked with intricate dollhouses, miniature furniture, and every accessory imaginable to outfit a convincing little home.


Oak Ridge Hobbies and Toys
7511 Lemont Rd., Darien, 630-435-5900

This enormous but well-organized toy superstore is nirvana for kids. An aerial train runs around a track on the ceiling, hovering over the toys and hobby supplies. To wit: dolls, dollhouses, Playmobil, Lego, Lincoln Logs, erector sets, wooden toys, puzzles, kites, oversized stuffed animals, craft and science kits, model railroading supplies, Thomas and Chuggington wooden trains, and remote control vehicles. Oak Ridge is one of the largest slot car racing dealers in the nation with a raceway where kids can try before they buy.


Paper Source
919 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, 773-525-7300
232 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, 312-337-0798
3543 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, 773-880-0489
2100 Central St., Evanston, 847-733-8830
490 Central Ave., Highland Park, 847-266-6100
215 S. Main St., Naperville, 630-778-8925
1109 Lake St., Oak Park, 708-445-7700
*Classes and events

Although primarily a stationery shop, this local chain has evolved to include crafting kits, kid-friendly seasonal projects (particularly for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day), stickers, paper doll kits, and a small selection of gifts and art supplies.


Ron’s Mundelein Hobbies
431 N. Lake St., Mundelein, 847-949-8680

For more than 30 years, this family-owned hobby shop has carried model airplanes, rockets, remote control vehicles, and slot cars, but the real draw here is the trains—HO, N scale, and some G-scale, including Lionel. Also find all the supplies and accessories for model railroading. Repair services available.


Starvin’ Artist
651 Graceland Ave., Des Plaines, 847-294-1300
802 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, 708-358-3600

These art supply and framing shops have a decent kid’s section with easels, markers, Crayola crayons, and fun crafts like Tie Dye sets and a paint-your-own cardboard dollhouse kit.


Thomasville Station/West Suburban Model Railroad Center
426 S. Third St., Geneva, 630-232-9914

A Thomas the Tank Engine specialty store that carries trains, tracks, and other Thomas merchandise, as well as H scale model trains. Two in-store train tables keep the kids entertained while mom and dad shop.

Tom Thumb Hobby and Crafts
1026 Davis St., Evanston, 847-869-9575

In addition to the usual craft store fare—art supplies, yarn, scrapbooking—Tom Thumb also carries doll house kits, balsa wood planes, hobby paints, model rockets and trains, battery-powered planes, cars, and boats, and kites.


Utrecht Art
33 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, 312-922-7565

In addition to the usual supplies (paint, canvas, brushes, etc.), there is also a selection of children’s paints, kits, and easels.


Windy City Dolls
227 S. Third St., Geneva, 630-208-0069

This Geneva specialty shop is loaded with dolls and accessories, like vintage and current Barbie, Tonner, Madame Alexander, and Kish and Co. dolls, as well as doll clothes.