This is by far my favorite store to shop at and browse through. Although the name might throw some, this store is much more than test tubes and bunsin burners (although they sell these too). American Science and Surplus, as the name suggests, has a lot of science paraphenelia and surplus merchandise that for some reason or another is sold here at drastically reduced prices. What do they sell? Well, just looking on my desk, I see my Boxing Nun, my wind-up robot and dinosaur, one of those monkeys with cymbals that could annoy anyone in under three minutes and a rubber chicken -- all of which I purchased for under $10 each at this awesome, incredible store.
I must admit, when I first entered the Virgin Megastore I felt dwarfed by its size. I was also skeptical about its purpose: Did it only sell Virgin records? Is it going to take over the world? But...it is actually pretty cool. I have been there a few times and each time I have lost at least an hour of my life searching through there music and fiction sections. They also have a lot of strange toys and clothes on the second floor and a few comfy chairs to sit and read a book before you purchase it. Seriously, Sir Richard Branson must have known what he was doing when he built this megalithic store on the magnificent mile.
A wide selection of a lot of different genres, as well as decent popular music and film sections. There is even a cafe with good biscottis and a magazine section that you can flip through. Also, a lot of the recently released or recommended books are 25% off, which makes for good reading on a budget. Also, if you are in a hurryy, you can order a book online at Amazon.com and request to pick it up at the store. They also wrap books if they are gifts for free -- how can you beat that?
PROS: A little bit of everything
CONS: Smaller specialty sections (ex. art)
A really wonderful place to find strange, offbeat merchandise (from Mr. T. paraphenelia to cocktail dresses). Strange Cargo is located about a block from Wrigley Field and is as much fun to window shop at as it is to buy. They have a good shoe section that has everything from Chuck Taylors to Go-Go Boots, and a lot of out-of-print trading cards from 70s and 80s TV shows. Everything is is realatively cheap, too.
PROS: Lots of unque, strange finds
CONS: Kind of a small store