These talented Chicago tattoo artists make us want to run to the nearest ink shop right this instant!
Chicago has some of the country’s best tattoo artists. Here are 20 incredible pieces inked at Chicago’s tattoo shops that we think are more than worth the pain…
This abstract symbol of life and death by Nicole Meyerson at The Burnt Tiger is playfully morbid.
2438 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60618
Burnt Tiger is a custom tattoo shop located in North Center. While the tattoo shop does accept walk-ins, booking an appointment is highly encouraged and a $100 deposit is required for all tattoos.
We love this simple tribute to Chicago’s skyline by David Libert at Unbreakable Ink.
1500 Hicks Rd Ste 300, Rolling Meadows, IL
Okay, so technically this place is out in the suburbs BUT it’s a fantastic tattoo shop we think is worth the trek. Unbreakable Ink Tattoo Shop has incredibly talented artists dedicated to creating a comfortable experience for their clients. Appointments are strongly encouraged.
This cat skull by Cassandra Knox at Evoke Tattoo is wicked!
2222 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL
While Evoke Tattoos is fairly new to the city, it has made quite the impression. This Chicago tattoo ship is strictly appointment only, so no walk-ins here. Be sure to book a consultation on their website.
This abstract veggie tribute from Deluxe Tattoo is so much fun!
1459 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL
Deluxe Tattoo has been in Chicago for 20 years, making them a staple in the Chicago tattoo shop community. This Irving Park studio exists to do quality work from a simple word or phrase to the largest, full sleeve pieces. Call 773-549-1594 to book an appointment.
This African tribute by Headink Inc is exquisite.
Call 773-817-6437 for an appointment.
There’s not much information about this artist online except for his Instagram account, but that makes his work all the more alluring. Call the number above to find out more.
This piece by Kelsey Moore at Ash & Ivory is a delightful metamorphosis.
2009 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL
This is another appointment-only Chicago tattoo shop. Ash & Ivory offer a variety of styles from old-school to new-school, portraits and flash. Reach out to artists directly or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a consultation.
A kind wish by Brad Rearden at Taylor Street Tattoo.
1150 West Taylor St., Chicago, IL
This Chicago tattoo shop has tons of special offers available. The first Tues of every month, patrons can get $20 lettering tattoos, walk-in flash tattoo deals every Weds and $40 Halloween tattoos during the whole month of Oct. Make an appointment by calling (312) 455-8288. Taylor Street Tattoos does not do piercings.
This reinterpretation by Sarah Spread at Serpent’s Lair Tattoo is so whimsical!
4219 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL
This tattoo shop works mostly by appointment but will take walk-ins if free space is available. Sarah Spread works out of this location, so if you love her work above, give the shop a call at 847-577-7566.
This vibrant blue jay by Carolyn Elaine at Mayday Tattoo inspires us to get out into nature.
1610 W Grand Ave., Chicago, IL
This is an upscale, appointment-only Chicago tattoo shop. Their artists are usually booked for several months, so if you want to get inked here, you need to schedule now. All appointments require a nonrefundable deposit.
This is a quirky old school tribute to the man who can fix it all by Ernan L. Moreno at Stained in Pain Tattoos.
4211 N. Milwaukee Chicago, IL
With the holidays coming soon, stop by to grab the perfect gift for the tatted soul in your life: a Stained In Pain gift certificate! This tattoo shop also offers 20% off for military personnel for Veterans Day. Call 773-427-4653 to book an appointment.
This fun raccoon piece by Polly Moonwater at Society Tattoo is incredibly detailed!
Society Tattoo is a welcoming, no-snobbery-allowed tattoo studio. If you’ve felt dismissed or unwelcome in traditional tattoo shops, you’ll find a comfortable space to get your next ink here. Owner Polly Moonwater is a master tattoo artist with experience in many different styles and a specialty in large and cover-up pieces. Her work is by appointment only and her level of skill means she books up fast. Call 773-234-5449 or email email@example.com to book a consultation.
This piece by Tim Ripley at Good Family Tattoo brings us straight to Hawaii!
198 W. Grass Lake Rd., Lake Villa, IL
This tattoo shop is a little bit of a trek from Chicago, but a good tattoo is worth the wait. As one of Lake Villa’s favorite studios, you’re one of the family when you get a tattoo at Good Family. The shop minimum is $50 and you can call for 224-372-7742 for an appointment.
This animal skull by Felipe de Sousa a.k.a. Manga at Good Omen Tattoo is wonderfully witchy.
2009 W Belmont Ave STE. #1, Chicago, IL
This is another Chicago tattoo shop that does work by appointment only and its easy to see why! Not only are their artists incredibly talented, but Good Omens is also dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for the surrounding LGBTQ community. It’s also one of the few tattoo shops in Chicago owned by a woman, Julia Campione who struck out on her own in March of 2019.
A divine goddess by James Murphy at Cold as Ice Tattoos.
2150 S Canalport Ave, Chicago, IL
This tattoo shop has been inking Chicagoans since 1999, but just last year opened their new location at Lacuna Lofts. Former star of Black Ink Crew: Chicago, Van Johnson, and co-founder Dee Thompson have a remarkable team of artists behind them ready to give you the best tattoo experience of your life! Call 773-988-6760 or email your desired artist directly to book an appointment.
This inky creature by Biryukova Tanya at Private Ink Body Art takes us straight to the depth of the sea.
333 Peterson Rd #250, Libertyville, IL
This is another suburb tattoo shop we think is worth the Metra fare. Private Ink Body Art offers both magnificent tattoos and skillfully done piercings. The shop minimum is $50 for tattoos and $25 for piercings. Call (937) 397-2844 to book an appointment.
We can’t believe our eyes with this 3D tattoo by David Joseph Kline at Dark Water Tattoo Studios.
501 Willow Blvd #102, Willow Springs, IL
Dark Water Studio offers exclusive body art and also serves as an art gallery! Whether you’re looking for your next big piece or just want to take in some breathtaking art, this Southwest suburb studio is a must-visit tattoo shop.
This Lion King tattoo by Carlos Montilla at Wild Wind Tattoo gives us Hakuna Matata feels.
1452 N. Western Avenue in Chicago, IL
Located in Wicker Park, this tattoo shop welcomes walk-ins, but it’s recommended to call ahead just to make sure there’s enough room on the schedule. A $60 deposit is required for every appointment and are only taken in person. Be sure to take a photo against the ever-changing installation on the shop’s back wall with your new tattoo! Walk-in or call 773-227-2027 for an appointment.
This piece of sacred geometry by DJ Pearson at Awaken Tattoo & Gallery is absolutely captivating.
2802 W Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL
This tattoo shop also has an art gallery and is known for it’s sacred geometry tattoos, nature pieces, and traditional Japanese style. Contact your desired artist directly or call 773-252-4908 to make an appointment.
We’re feeling lucky just looking at this Harry Potter tribute by Claire G. Tattoos at Peace of Art Tattoo.
15335 Cicero Ave., Oak Forest, Illinois
The tattoo shop’s owner, Rich Kocis is a multimedia artist, specializing in tattoos, paintings, and stained glass! Call (708) 844-6404 to make an appointment.
We can’t get enough of this Rick & Morty/Alice in Wonderland crossover by Shannon Walsh at 4 Aces Tattoo.
9729 W. Grand Ave., Franklin Park, IL
This tattoo shop may be last on our list, but their work is first-rate. Their EZPay financing makes getting your dream tattoo quick and painless (well, for your wallet.) They also offer tattoo removal for those less-than-fantastic pieces you got over spring break in college (we’ve all got at least one, right?). Call 847-260-5076 to book an appointment.
Check out the hashtag #chicagotattooartist for more incredible tattoo work and share your favorites with us by using the hashtag #secretchicagochicago.
Feature image by Chicago Bill.