Shop Lake County Local This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to be generous. Holiday your way just north of Chicago, and shop Lake County local this holiday season.

With work, family holiday planning and so many other things going on during the holiday season, it can be pretty hectic trying to find the right gift for that special someone. Sure an iPhone 13, a PS5 or a brand new car sound nice on paper, but let’s face it, we’re not made of money.


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Whether you have a white elephant holiday party, Yankee swap or whatever it may be, these Lake County gift ideas are perfect for everyone from mom to your mailperson.

We won’t tell your family that you were last-minute shopping. Shop Lake County local when our talented small businesses need it most.

Shop Small in the Land of Lakes

Growlers, Howlers and Four Packs from the Lake County Libation Trail

“He was a wise man who invented beer,” said Greek philosopher and suds enthusiast Plato. Lake County is home to 18 libation trail brewhouses, and nine of them serve exceptional eats. Go a-wassailing with all of these suds makers as they’ve recently released their holiday libations for this festive season. Holiday Your Way with a four-pack, six-pack, growler or howler, but maybe think of someone else and give these fantastic flavors as a gift. There may not be 99 bottles of beer on the wall, but you can take a libation down and pass it around.

Eat Lake County Local


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Dine at the eldest restaurant in the land of lakes like Village Tavern in Long Grove, grab a slice of pie at Bill’s Pizza & Pub in Mundelein or Slyce Coal Fired Pizza in Vernon Hills, Wauconda and Highwood, taste the southern hospitality provided by Bluegrass Restaurant, bite into a spicy meatball from Mambo Italiano in Mundelein or Primo Italian American Cuisine in Gurnee, sink your teeth into a juicy steak from Wildfire in Lincolnshire, eat the scrumptious Asian bites from D’angela’s Dumplings in Libertyville, experience farm to table from Zin GastroPub in Lake Zurich and so many more. Support your local cuisine and Lake County Libation Trail makers as they will still serve the high-class fare and drinkables you know and love.

Extreme Flight Simulation in Gurnee

Every time a bell rings, a prospective pilot gets their wings. Extreme Flight Simulations (figuratively) provides individuals with frequent flyer miles in the Gurnee facility’s airplane simulator. Take off, coast and land as this soaring simulator accurately reproduces the flight deck of the 737 NG. The aerodynamic attraction is open to the public and no flight experience is needed. 

Uniquely Sweet in Grayslake

The Grayslake confectionery’s fudge was just introduced in 2019 to their variety of sweet tooth treats. The facility’s winter-themed fudge eats are highlighted by flavors like peanut butter caramel and salted peanuts, English toffee, festive cookies, white chocolate popcorn, puppy chow, turtle sticks, sea salt caramels, maple walnut fudges and more. These cocoa-inspired desserts are not the “Tale of a Fourth Grade Nothing” because they’re considered “SuperFudge.” Besides their unbelievable fudge, Uniquely Sweet also offers toffee, patties, clusters, truffles, cookies, gourmet apples and much more.

Succulent Spirits from the Lake County Libation Trail

These four succulent spirit makers provide an absolutely divine concoction of flavors. From rum to gin, absinthe and bourbon, to vodka and liqueur and everything in between, Lake County’s four distilleries have the perfect adult beverages for cocktail connoisseurs. The eclectic drinks are the perfect gift idea. Here’s a list of our spirit inventors on the Lake County Libation Trail:

  • Copper Fiddle Distillery in Lake Zurich INFO»
  • North Shore Distillery in Green Oaks INFO»
  • Oppidan Spirits in Waukegan INFO»
  • 28 Mile Distillery in Highwood INFO»

Long Grove Confectionery Co. and Flagship Stores (in Buffalo Grove and Wauconda)

This is the old factory where chocolatey divinity is born. The magical world of cocoa where sweet bliss is created opened its doors in 1975. The confectionery facility began as a retail store around the U.S. Bicentennial, which looks like an 1800s schoolhouse. The sweet treat company is known for its mouthwatering and signature piece, the Myrtle®; the confectionery also owns a factory in Buffalo Grove (built-in 2001),  a Nut & Candy Factory Store (opened in 2016) and a Chicago location. The Long Grove Confectionery Co. proudly continues the dessert tradition with a menu containing other types of chocolate, barks, brittles, caramels, pretzels, peanut butter cups and so much more.

Staycation in Lake County

It may be hard to be stuck indoors throughout the holiday season. The land of lakes accommodations provides a lush, feel-like a king environment that you could give as a gift to some overtired teachers. Maybe that first responder in your life needs a bit of peace, quiet and a libation. Whatever that special someone in your life is going through during this pandemic, and recovery be the savior for them that makes spirits bright by giving the gift of relaxation, reclination and rest with an overnight stay in Lake County. There are a ton of exclusive special offers that Lake County hotels are serving up.

Reclaimed Artists Inc. in Libertyville


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If home decor is on that special someone’s holiday wishlist, Reclaimed Artisans is a place to stop off at. The MainStreet Libertyville business specializes in unique repurposed furnishings, antiques, vintage items, reclaimed and/or painted furniture and more supplied by over 130 local artisans makers.

Peter Patterson Glassworks in Mundelein

This gift is truly from the heart, plus you get to have fun creating it. Produce some new holiday flair for that special someone in your life by making an ornament at this Mundelein facility. Choose from flat or twisted ornament styles or a window sparkler and also your choice of colors. Everything in the gallery will be marked at the sale price for the holidays, and it is a limit of one person per ornament. Like Tony Cannoli, the Mundelein establishment

Lambs Farm in Libertyville


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Lambs Farm is a business that offers benefit programs for people with developmental disabilities. Their team of wonderful individuals makes fantastic holiday treats like their cookies and items in their Sugar Maple Store. The store provides splendid holiday gifts like ornaments, mugs, kitchen supplies, decor, cookies, candy, jams and other assortments.

Tony Cannoli Specialty Shop in Mundelein


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Holy moly, that man Tony knows minds his ps and qs about cannolis! The Mundelein confectioner creates traditional and unconventional cannolis for customers to indulge their sweet tooth. Tony Cannoli Specialty Pastries also conducts classes to teach visitors how to make the sweet Italian treat. The Mundelein maker also makes cakes, donuts, cookies, chips and more. The sweet gift that everyone is yearning for. Tony was just recognized with Illinois Made status!

Vibrant Vinos on the Lake County Libation Trail

“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” said literary libationer Ernest Hemingway. Lake County provides oenophiles and berry beverage aficionados with the most vibrant vinos on this side of the Mississippi. Wine is the stocking stuffer that keeps on giving…that is until you have an empty bottle. Here are the Lake County Libation Trail vintners:

  • Glunz Family Winery and Cellars in Grayslake INFO»
  • Lynfred Winery in Wheeling INFO»
  • Valentino’s Vineyard in Long Grove INFO»
  • Vigneto del Bino Vineyard & Winery in Antioch INFO»
  • Pazzo di Vino in Highwood INFO»

Treetime Christmas Creations in Lake Barrington

Treetime Christmas Creations is your quintessential stop for your artificial trees, holiday decorations and more. Experience the magic and the ‘WOW’ of the Winter Wonderland Showroom in this Lake Barrington facility. Enjoy shopping for the largest selection of prelit holiday trees online with over unique tree styles to choose from. Gift someone special in your life a beautiful ornament, a spruce that needs some sprucing up and other holiday decors.

Rosella’s Boutique in Libertyville


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The Libertyville, veteran-owned company specializes in selling military apparel and accessories. Rosella’s Boutique’s merchandise is highlighted by military hats, patches, pins, shirts, dresses, ponchos, handbags, jewelry pieces and more.

Volo Antique Mall

A shopping spree at Volo Antique Mall is in order. Scour through a variety of antiques, collectibles and other fresh nuggets. Generations of motivated sellers helped to create what this modern-day scavenger hunt shopping environment is today. Volo Antique Mall has been featured on Discovery Channel and The History Channel.

Local Downtown Shopping in the Land of Lakes

Downtown Antioch

Experience the heart of the Village of Antioch as the downtown area has an exceptional assortment of businesses. With the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of their annual fests have been canceled for 2020. However, you can peruse the indie retailers cascading Antioch’s storied Main Street. Grab a bite to eat from the Lodge of Antioch, gift a vibrant vino from Vigneto del Bino or snap a family pic to give as a gift in Dickens Holiday or Kringle’s Christmas Villages.

Downtown Grayslake

Antique lighting, historic storefronts with varying architectural styles, and small businesses with a customer-friendly atmosphere. The charming area has delectable eats from The Vine and 129 Center Street, sweet tooth delights from Uniquely Sweet and Somethings Brewing, a wine gift from Glunz Winery, artwork sculpted to utter perfection at the Grayslake Arts Alliance, tasty libations from Light the Lamp Brewery and so much more. Send the gift of illumination by driving through Santa’s Rock N Lights.

Downtown Highland Park


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The city just celebrated its 250th birthday in 2019. The vibrant downtown area is a fantastic shopping destination filled with 450 eclectic boutiques, jewelry stores, home decor shops and more. The downtown area just steps away from the city’s Art Center. The very walkable and bikeable city also has a sister area called Ravinia District. Located down the way from the renowned Ravinia Festival, the charming area is home to unique retailers, arts and craft shops and more. Both areas are Metra Rail accessible. Deck the halls with growlers from Ravinia Brewing Co. Package something sweet or a nice coffee brew stocking stuffer from Curt’s Cafe.

Historic Downtown Long Grove

Nestled in historic homes and buildings that date back to the community’s roots in the 1800s, Long Grove’s shops specialize in unique gifts, boutiques, antiques, clothing, exceptional art, home décor and distinctive menus. Indie Retailers include the Long Grove Confectionery Co., Buffalo Creek Brewing Co., and the state’s eldest bar and restaurant – The Village Tavern. Sippers will be elated to see a Valentino Vineyard bottle of port vino under their tree. Visitors can stroll down the cobblestone walkways that wind through the historic downtown and enjoy lush seasonal gardens and scenic views. And they can make it a quick trip or a day’s outing, shopping and indulging their tastes with a variety of food and bakery products, cafés and fine eating establishments.

MainStreet Libertyville

MainStreet Libertyville or Milwaukee Avenue is located smack dab in the middle of Chicago and Milwaukee. From boutiques to salons, from bakeries to the latest trendy clothes, art galleries to home decor and everything in between. Ride your bike (by the way, there’s a cyclery in town) or walks the streets and finish you’re not there with a bite to eat complemented by a libation for dinner. Get a growler of Santa’s Magic at Mickey Finn’s Brewery, wrap the gift of #InstaYum at eateries like Cafe Pomigliano, Chrissoulas Restaurant, D’Angela’s Dumplings, Jimmy’s Charhouse, Main Street Social, O’Toole’s Libertyville, Shakou Libertyville, Townee Square, The Port of Peri Peri and so many more. Find a phenomenal item to gift give from Rosella’s Boutique.

Downtown Mundelein/Made in Mundelein


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The Village of Mundelein recently launched a shop local initiative called “Made in MundeleinMade For You.” The multi-platform campaign showcases Mundelein as an original maker’s place using the tagline, “Made for you, Mundelein” and the Spanish translation, “Hecho para ti, Mundelein.” encourages neighbors and the community to support one another, which ties into the village’s core promise of welcoming and celebrating Mundelein‘s entrepreneurial spirit within the business community. In the spirit of the holiday season, the Village of Mundelein is pleased to introduce a holiday marketing campaign. We’ve refreshed our “Made for You, Mundelein…” Let’s Support Local campaign with a holiday theme and focus: “Handmade for the Holidays…Shop Local. Shop Mundelein.” The campaign’s holiday raffle rewards residents for shopping local.

It’s simple to participate:

  • STEP ONE-Shop Local! Gas, gifts, groceries, apparel, flowers…any Mundelein retail purchase.
  • STEP TWO-Submit photos of your receipts to For every $100 you spend, you get one raffle entry!
  • STEP THREE-Every Friday three winners will be drawn!

First Place-$100 gift card to Mundelein business of choice.
Second Place-$50 gift card to Mundelein business of choice.
Third Place-$25 gift card to Mundelein business of choice.

Waukegan Main Street

Devoted to preserving one of Lake County’s most vibrant, historic communities on the shore of Lake  Michigan. Visit the theater, get a bite to eat at one of their many great eateries, or spend a day on the water. Don’t forget to make a stop at the Waukegan Arts Council to get the latest in magnificent art mediums. The metropolis has all of your shopping needs at your disposal – from home decor, antiques, delectable treats, the coolest threads and so much more. For gift ideas, grab gift cards as a stocking stuffer from Green Town Tavern, Quonset Pizza, La Casa de Samuel or Win Win Restaurant & Bar, shop the hub of black-owned businesses in Lake County, provide the liquid courage gift of brew and spirits with a growler or pack from Nightshade and Dark’s Pandemonium Brewing and/or ZümBier and Oppidan Spirits or find a marquee piece of art for that special someone as Waukegan is the art capital of the county.

Other Shopping Options

Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee


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Bass Pro Shops has established itself as the prime destination for all your outdoor needs. Gorgeous waterfalls, giant aquariums, incredible wildlife mounts and more make Bass Pro Shops a must-see attraction for families worldwide. For the best selection in hunting, fishing, camping, boating, archery, footwear and family clothing, be sure to visit Bass Pro sporting goods store. Check out the boat and ATV showrooms or come in for various outdoor skill workshops, including fly fishing and hunting. Enjoy kids and family events held throughout the year! Make Bass Pro your one-stop-shop!

Deer Park Town Center


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Deer Park Town Center is a pedestrian-friendly shopping destination offering a collection of more than 70 stores and restaurants, including Anthropologie, Apple, Biaggi’s, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Sephora, Stoney River and more. Conveniently located at Rand Road and Long Grove Road in Deer Park, IL, Deer Park Town Center is the dominant lifestyle center in Chicago’s northwest suburbs. The center is easily accessible and provides convenient parking in an open-air setting. Deer Park Town Center offers seasonal events and annual celebrations for the whole family to enjoy.

Gurnee Mills


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The newly renovated Gurnee Mills is the largest outlet and full-price shopping destination in Illinois. Gurnee Mills provides the ultimate indoor shopping experience with nearly 200 stores, including Macy’s, Forever 21, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond/BuyBuy Baby and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. Shoppers can dine at great restaurants including Rainforest Café, Buffalo Wild Wings and Chicago Woodfire Pizza Co., catch a movie at Gurnee Marcus Cinema, and enjoy indoor miniature golf and laser tag at Tilt Studio.

Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills


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A lively and trusted destination for fashion, dining and entertainment, Hawthorn Mall is a super-regional shopping center located in Vernon Hills, IL. Anchored by Macy’s and JCPenney, this indoor shopping mecca offers a collection of over 120 stores, including high fashion brands like H&M, Sephora, Swarovski and Victoria’s Secret.

Mellody Farm in Vernon Hills

Mellody Farm offers a convenient, open-air, urban-inspired, regionally located shopping and dining destination. The center is located two miles west of I-94, at the corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Townline Road. Rooted in heritage and built for today’s customer, the shopping center provides fan-favorite stores like Nordstrom Rack, REI and so much more. Grab a bite to eat between shopping at Kuma’s Corner, Slyce Coal Fired Pizza Co. and other delicious cuisines.

For more ways to shop Lake County local this holiday season, click here. To see what’s going on throughout the holiday season in the land of lakes, continue here.

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