AAl’s Hobby Shop 121 N. Addison Ave., Elmhurst, 630-832-4908 store.alshobbyshop.com
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 americasbesttrain.com
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 antiochmodeltrains.com
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 chicago.artistcraftsman.com
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.
BBerwyn Toy Trains 7025 Ogden Ave., Berwyn, 708-484-4284 berwynstoytrains.com
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.
DDick 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 dickblick.com
This Southern Illinois-based art supply store carries everything to ignite young artistic talent: easels, paints, colored pencils, markers, sketch pads, and more.
GGenesis Art Supply 2417 N. Western Ave., Chicago, 773-292-2990 artsupply.com
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 gigisdolls.com
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.
HHobby 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 hobbytown.com
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.
LLa 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 swdstudios.com/lollys/shop.htm
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.
OOak Ridge Hobbies and Toys 7511 Lemont Rd., Darien, 630-435-5900 oakridgehobbiesandtoys.com
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.
PPaper 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 paper-source.com *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.
RRon’s Mundelein Hobbies 431 N. Lake St., Mundelein, 847-949-8680 mundeleinhobbies.com
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.
SStarvin’ Artist 651 Graceland Ave., Des Plaines, 847-294-1300 802 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, 708-358-3600 starvinartist.com
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.
UUtrecht Art 33 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, 312-922-7565 utrechtart.com
In addition to the usual supplies (paint, canvas, brushes, etc.), there is also a selection of children’s paints, kits, and easels.
WWindy City Dolls 227 S. Third St., Geneva, 630-208-0069 windycitydolls.com
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.