Chicago has a vibrant tattoo scene, as you probably know if you live in the Windy City. Its world-renowned tattoo conventions like the Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention can draw people from across the country and beyond! With this robust tattoo culture, Chicago boasts an abundance of cutting-edge tattoo artists and award-winning shops. If you live in the Windy City or the broader region and are looking for the right artist for your next tattoo, we’ve compiled a list of the very best tattoo studios in the area. You’ll learn which artists work in each of the top tattoo shops in Chicago and what makes each of them special.
Finding the Top Tattoo Shops in Chicago
How did we choose which shops to include in this list? We looked at a combination of factors, including quality of the art, reviews, and awards won. Many of these shops are appointment-only, so make sure to book an appointment rather than just dropping by. If you’re looking to get inked or to get that long-awaited tattoo cover up, read on to learn about some of the best tattoo artists in Chicago!
Good Family Tattoo
Address: 198 W Grass Lake Rd, Lake Villa, IL 60046
Good Family Tattoo in Lake Villa, Illinois, has a range of great artists, including Tim Ripley. Tim’s work blends elements of the realistic and fantastic, as in this piece featuring a warrior, wolf, and skulls. Opened in 2010 by brothers Joel and Henry Huff, the shop now features ten exceptional Chicago tattoo artists and does piercing as well as tattooing. The staff at this shop prefer to speak about design ideas on the phone or to set an appointment.
Great Lakes Tattoo
Address: 1148 W Grand Ave.
This gorgeous full-back tattoo is a perfect example of Miles Maniaci’s work.
This acclaimed tattoo shop sits in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago, not far from the west shore of Lake Michigan. The owners, Nick and Sarah Colella, opened it in 2013, populating it with artists whose styles range from Japanese to traditional. Artists include Nick Colella, Mario Desa, Mike Dalton, Erik Gillespie, Matt Beatdown Ziolko, Miles Maniaci, Kevin Leary, Chip Douglas, and Brandon Heuser. The shop also holds the Great State Gallery, which hosts art shows, musical performances, and storytelling events. They are currently open every day from noon to 8 p.m. by appointment only.
Address: 1459 W Irving Park Rd.
Bunny, an artist at Deluxe Tattoo, created this fabulously colorful Japanese-inspired design.
Deluxe Tattoo features ten talented artists—Bunny, Lance Lloyd, Jason Longtin, Aaron Stockwell, Zach Stuka, Troy Taylor, Jennifer Trok, Ben Wahhh, John Wayne, and Stephanie White. The tattoo studio has been in business since 1997 and has been named best tattoo shop in the city by Chicago Reader on more than one occasion. The artists at Deluxe Tattoo love doing everything from simple, minimal designs to a full sleeve.
Taylor Street Tattoo
Address: 1150 West Taylor St.
This large death’s head hawk moth shoulder tattoo by Brad Rearden makes a strong statement.
Located in the Near West Side neighborhood, Taylor Street Tattoo was founded in 2004 by Keith Underwood and Mike “Rollo” Banks” Malone. Artists include Keith, Brad Rearden, Marty Mac, Mike Attack, Nick Osbourn, and Ricardo Compean. From whimsical cartoon-style pieces to realistic portrait work, Taylor Street Tattoo has you covered. Clients must book an appointment before coming in, but the studio does offer same-day appointments every day.
This fun spider-skull tattoo was done by artist Mike Attack.
Ash & Ivory
Address: 2009 W Grand Ave.
Kelsey Moore’s stunning linework imagery puts a fresh twist on common themes.
Ash & Ivory in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood features three main artists—Sam Doyle, Kelsey Moore, and Justin Bell—as well as an array of guest artists on a rotating basis. Justin Bell’s creative built environment designs are refreshingly unexpected, while Kelsey Moore’s surrealistic linework brings a fresh perspective on everything from birds to beetles. You’ll find plenty of ideas that surprise and delight in this tattoo studio. Reach out to the artist you wish to work with directly for an appointment via the studio’s website.
Address: 3513 N Lincoln Ave.
At Pioneer Tattoo, you’ll find five skilled artists: Harlan Thompson, Ryan Flaherty, Molly Emrick, James Eastwood, and Tim Biedron. Harlan and Tim founded the studio in 2010. This acclaimed Chicago tattoo shop also regularly features guest artists from out of town, like Phil Holt of RedLetter1 in Tampa, Florida. Contact your chosen artist directly by email for an appointment.
Several artists at this Pioneer Tattoo create stunning underwater imagery. Tim Biedron created this stunning design.
Mayday! Tattoo Co.
Address: 1610 W Grand Ave.
Carolyn Elaine created this breathtaking black and gray octopus tattoo.
Mayday Tattoo! Co. is not your average tattoo parlor. The studio was founded in 2014 by Pony Lawson, who specializes in black and gray micro-portraits and whose great work has been featured in Tattoo Society magazine. The shop also boasts the talented Carolyn Elaine and co-owner Gari Parisi, both featured on the TV series Ink Master. Carolyn’s exquisite work often incorporates delicate gray washes, intricate detail, and expertly drawn natural themes. Other artists include Garrett Harper, who specializes in black and gray surrealism, and DJ Pearson, who specializes in black work and sacred geometry. Contact an artist directly for an appointment.
Awaken Tattoo and Gallery
Address: 2802 W Chicago Ave.
Andrew Leonardo created this bold Japanese-style fish design.
At Awaken Tattoo and Gallery on Chicago Ave., you’ll find the incredible Andrew Leonardo and Joseph Realubit. Andrew specializes in the Japanese style, creating tattoos of vibrant dragons, fish, and mythical figures. Joseph creates intricate black and white geometrical designs like mandalas. The shop also holds a gallery of the artists’ incredible work. Contact an artist directly via the contact form on their individual page on the studio’s website.
Learn More About Tattoo Cover Ups and Removal with Removery
Ready for your next piece of body art but need to free up some skin in preparation for tattooing? Book a consultation with Removery for tattoo removal in Chicago. Our experienced laser removal specialists will be happy to answer all of your questions so you can make an informed decision with confidence.
If you don’t yet know which tattoo artist you want to work with, we can recommend some Chicago tattoo shops based on your desired style. We frequently make suggestions for clients, helping them discover new artists whose work they absolutely love!