Did you know that Chicago has a history with candy? Once known as the “Candy Capital of the World,” Lemon Heads, Juicy Fruit and Tootsie Rolls all originated in the Windy City. And lucky for us, our city is still home to some of the biggest, coolest and most unique candy stores around. Sweet!
Stepping into this Dylan’s is like walking into a game of Candyland. Here, large whimsical displays highlight the vibrant art, textures and bright colors of candy. Home to more than 7,500 confections, Dylan’s has disrupted the candy industry, serving as a museum for candy rather than a traditional store. The sweets emporium is chock-full of lollipops, jelly beans, premium chocolate and gummies, and old-time favorites like Wax Lips and Pez. Plus, at Dylan’s, everything – pretzels, gummy bears, fruit, popcorn and nuts – tastes better dipped in chocolate. Dylan’s plans to secure a larger Michigan Ave. location in the coming year, which will feature an ice cream bar and chocolate café.
663 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago
This candy haven is arguably the most Instagrammed place around. A quick search for the River North and Rosemont stores turn up thousands of photos of smoking goblets, chocolate dipped, sprinkle covered milkshakes and scoops of ice cream. Kids will enjoy the store, complete with bins of gummy bears, jelly beans and just about every chocolate covered candy under the sun. The full-service restaurant and bar is famous for its candy-infused drinks (add alcohol for parents) and oversized ice cream sundaes.
Multiple locations in Chicagoland
Often times, the delicious aroma of chocolatey goodness makes its way throughout the city. Make it your first instinct to run, not walk, to Blommer Chocolate Factory – the place the scent has originated since 1939. While Blommer manufactures chocolate to other retailers, most people don’t know about the small outlet store inside the building. There, red bags of chocolates, clusters, truffles, creams line the shelves of this hidden West Loop gem. Make sure to give the amaretto and rum liquor-filled dark chocolates a try.
600 West Kinzie Street, Chicago
We’ve all made that cringing face after eating a Lemonhead, or beelined for a glass of water after munching on Red Hots. Take a nostalgic trip down memory lane from the maker of these popular candies, whose presence in Chicago dates back to 1908. Today, they’re still churning out candy, using more than 250,000 lbs. of sugar a day! While the factory no longer offers tours, you can still get your fill of the novelty candies at the outlet that’s connected to the Forest Park factory. For just a quarter, you can score mini boxes of classic favorites like Boston Baked Beans, Atomic Fireballs, Orange Slices, Jelly Rings and more.
7301 W. Harrison Street, Forest Park
This famous Logan Square sweet shop is a vintage gem, open since 1921. The original store still holds most of its furniture, décor and jukeboxes. Although its home to the biggest ice cream sundae in America, as its name implies, Margie’s is also known for its confectionaries. Specifically, save room for their dark chocolate fudge, English toffee and marzipan. A hand-dipped candy favorite is the terrapin (also a favorite ice cream topping), a crunchy pecan covered in gooey caramel and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate.
1960 N. Western Ave., Chicago (original location) and 1813 Montrose Ave., Chicago
Owner Amy Hansen, a graduate of Chicago’s French Pastry School, has received national recognition for the signature OMG Candy Bar sold in her Lincoln Square store. True to its name, this chocolate bar is made with sea salt, buttery caramel and praline, held together with chocolate ganache. Make extra tummy space for rare and imported candies you’ll find on the shelves (Belgian chocolate, Holland chocolate buttons, English peppermints), as well as an impressive collection of licorice from around the world.
4704 N. Damen Ave., Chicago
Voted “Best Candy Store in Illinois” by Food Network Magazine, Candyality is home to just about any gummy, taffy, and chocolate covered anything you can think of. The kiddos will especially enjoy more than 21 colors of M&M’s and 30 flavors of jelly beans. Pick up a keepsake “Made in Chicago” candy-carrying suitcase, and stuff it with locally made favorites like Charleston Chews, Tootsie Rolls and Juicy Fruit. Depending on which candy you gravitate towards, Candyality staff will also “read” your personality by the kind of sweets you choose. Love jelly beans? You’re a creative. Fancy chocolate covered pretzels? You’re caring and compassionate. Is hard candy your favorite? You tend to be reliable. No matter your candy personality, one thing’s for certain: a visit to this store is a fun and tasty experience.
Multiple Chicagoland locations
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This story originally published on Oct. 31, 2018. It has been updated with the most recent information.