Best Musical Instrument Store

Chicago Music Store

The Chicago Store should be a landmark tourist attraction, even for people who've never played a note. This warehouse-sized establishment is packed practically floor to ceiling with curiosities--musical instruments and accessories from around the world, ancient to modern--all in a jumble that only the staff can sort out. It's a favorite stop for musicians passing through, especially those whose instruments could use some repair or enhancement. The store also offers sound systems and other staging gear, instrument repair and rentals. There's a time-devouring Web site, of course, but where's the fun in that? The site is a model of efficiency and good taste; it gives no inkling of the eccentric treasure trove that's been growing on Congress Street for 60 years. (This past year, they cleaned out their attic and moved a lot of the dusty old goodies to an outlet store at 7030 E. Broadway Blvd.)

Runners up:

2. Rainbow Guitars, 2550 N. Campbell Ave., 325-3376,

3. Folk Shop, 2525 N. Campbell Ave., 881-7147,