Having Fun At Uncle Fun

We had quite the weekend, what with the older boy’s birthday and Father’s Day. The birthday festivities actually started on Saturday and finished up on Monday night.

We spent nearly twelve hours in the city on Saturday. The plan? Go to four places: Uncle Fun, Wow Bao for lunch, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the House of Blues for dinner. Well, we fit it all in, and had a great time. I’m going to tell you about Uncle Fun today, and I’ll write about Wow Bao on my review site in the next few days.

Uncle Fun is one of my favorite places in Chicago. It’s a little like a hidden gem and I don’t think that many tourists find out about it. The store is located in the Lakeview area (on the north side of the city), and it is chock full of all kinds of toys, jokes, vintage memorabilia, books, postcards, and so much more. You just can’t even imagine the stuff you’ll see there. I have found so many things from my childhood when I visit there, I’ve found current, hilarious items that are good for a laugh, and just about everything in between. If you’re one of those people who likes to look at everything in a store, you might just be there forever. One of the best things about it is that you can take kids there (we’ve been going for about five years now), give them $5, and they will leave with a bag of little goodies. Where else can you do that these days????

The people who work there are very funny, too. They are always more than happy to demonstrate the joke and magic stuff, and they can point you in the right direction if you’re trying to find something “specific”, and they are full of suggestions. When we were there on Saturday, the one guy who is there every single time we go was wearing a little bit of clown-style makeup under his eyes, and a top hat.

The displays at Uncle Fun are pretty cool themselves. They have old cabinets full of drawers where they keep the tiny stuff, and everything has a funny description tag.

I have no idea why he looks like this. I’m guessing excitement.

I thought I’d show you some of the unique and funny items I found. You can totally click on the photos to make them larger on your screen; in fact, I recommend it on some of them, so you can read the signage better. Here’s a plastic container full of “multiple marriages”. Each little package has more than one bride and groom in it.

Who wouldn’t want a bacon lunchbox??

I love THIS. They sell “Mystery Mail” for $1.00 each. The Uncle Fun staff people (probably during times when they are bored because there are no customers in the store) write letters and seal them up in envelopes on which they’ve drawn goofy drawings. The idea is that a customer would buy one and address it to a friend or something, and the friend would have no idea who it came from (though the Uncle Fun return address–minus the store name–is on the envelope) and laughing would ensue. Now, you might wonder, “WHO WOULD BUY SOMETHING LIKE THAT???” I will tell you: the older boy. He bought one to send to his girlfriend. So there.

Underwear for your hands? Who knew anyone needed that?

“Full House”: this is hysterical. These are little key chains; click on the photo and read what they wrote about each one. Loved it.

So as you can see, Uncle Fun really is FUN. And popular, too: the walls up front are lined with headshots of the celebrities who have visited. Some were surprising, like….Paul Young!

Dolly Parton and one of the Tears for Fears guys???? (“Sowing the seeds of Uncle Fun”: I love that, but have major suspicions that this particular headshot was signed by an Uncle Fun employee. Still Fun.)

If you’re local, go check it out!!!


©2010 Suburban Scrawl


  • Tara

    Oh, wow, Melisa. My kids would love this. It looks fantastic! I wish we lived local, we would definitely be visiting.

    My boys would be into the Mystery Mail thing as well, don't worry. LOL, wish we had stuff like that here.

    Can't wait to read the updates on the rest of the weekend!

  • Laura

    Looks like fun!! We were supposed to spend a weekend in Chicago (sans kids) last Spring, but reality, in the form of my FIL's surgery, intervened. I hope to get there someday! I look forward to reading more of your blog!
    (a college friend of WM's)

  • SurprisedMom

    Melisa, you should be a tour guide. I've lived here all my life and never knew about Uncle Fun. I think next time I'm near the Lakeview area, I'll check this out. It looks like a lot of fun!

  • Heather

    Wow, what a COOL place! We will definitely have to check this place out later in the summer when we come for a visit, very cool! Also, I cannot wait to hear more about the birthday/fathers day weekend! 🙂

  • Michelle

    So fun so fun so fun. BUT I have to point out that those "cabinets" you're referring to are (I believe) old card catalogue files from libraries. Do you remember those? Ahhhh the good old days!

  • nycgirl0501

    I want to go there! The store seems like so much fun! I wonder if they had Twilight stuff. I'm regressing! lol