10 Best Tattoo Parlors in Illinois

When it comes to getting ink, you want nothing but the most professional and talented artists to do the job. From nationally-renowned shops in Chicago to family-run operations in Rock Island, Illinois' tattoo scene is a vibrant one. Here are the 10 best places to get one in the state. 

Deluxe Tattoo, Chicago, IL

Deluxe Tattoo in north Lakeview is a collective of exceptionally talented artists. The shop has won many awards, garnered statewide and national media attention—including sending one of its artists to stardom on L.A. Ink and a feature on Playboy.com—as well as inclusion on several “Best of” lists (including this one). With many artists’ portfolios to choose from, you’re sure to find a style you’ll like.

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Champaign Tattoo, Champaign, IL

Champaign Tattoo is a father-son operation that spun off of Ray Hughes’ work at Vision World Tattoos and his three-decades-plus of experience. His son, Ray Allen, began apprenticing with Ray Sr. in 2007, and now the two artists run one of the most highly regarded shops in Champaign-Urbana.

Speakeasy Custom Tattoo, Chicago, IL

Speakeasy Custom Tattoo is one of the most respected shops in the Windy City. They do only custom tattoos that come into being after a collaboration between the artist and the client. All work is performed on an appointment-only basis—i.e., no walk-ins—and the shop only accepts cash payment for their work.

Redbird Electric Tattooing, Springfield, IL

In Springfield, ink-hungry folks flock to Redbird Electric Tattooing. Redbird’s founder, Brian McCormic, opened the shop to return to the intimate feel of a classic tattoo “parlor”—as opposed to a larger, open studio—paring down the number of artists to three and focusing much more attention on the art and quality of the work than on the space itself.

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Revolution Tattoo, Chicago, IL

Revolution Tattoo is a gorgeous, ornamental space, replete with taxidermy and works from the artists. They specialize in highly-detailed work and are particularly adept at more darkly-themed tattoos. But no matter what kind of ink you’re looking for—from a custom, multi-session backpiece to a simple wrist ornament—the shop can accommodate you with professionalism and skilled artistry.

Freedom Ink Tattoos, Peoria, IL

The crew at Freedom Ink—led by veteran artist, Tim Beck, who has more than two decades of ink experience under his belt—are the folks to see for a tattoo in Peoria. Located in the historic Warehouse District, the shop is dedicated to continuing the rich tradition of American tattoo artistry. Its works have been featured in prominent tattoo magazines, and Beck has tattooed at several major conventions.

O’Tool Design Custom Tattoo, Rock Island, IL

You’ll find the most talented ink-smiths in the Quad Cities at the venerable O’Tool Design Custom Tattoo. A family operation, O’Tool has a location in Rock Island, as well as one across the river in Davenport, Iowa. With several talented artists between the two shops, you’re certain to find a style that suits you.

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Great Lakes Tattoo, Chicago, IL

The proprietors of Great Lakes Tattoo founded the shop to eliminate much of the pretension that one can find in an ink parlor and to focus on the art itself. Although it’s only six years old, Great Lakes is already one of Chicago’s most-respected tattoo shops, attracting locals and tourists, alike.

House of Pain Tattoo Company, Rockford, IL

If you’re looking for ink in Rockford, House of Pain Tattoo Company is the place to go. Not only is the shop known for its ink-laying skills, they also offer quite-reasonable rates as well as regular specials. Come with your own idea or let House of Pain’s artist run wild.

Integrity Tattoos, Belleville, IL

Integrity Tattoos in Belleville is the brainchild of talented artists Jason Wilson and Micah Richter. The pair have owned and operated the studio since 2001, after taking it over from a former tattoo shop. The artists are able to accommodate just about any ink you can imagine. Walk-ins are welcome, subject to artist availability.

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