River North Chicago Real Estate
River North, one of the most upscale neighborhoods in downtown Chicago, is home to some of the finest art galleries, shopping and restaurants in the city. At the turn of the 20th century Smokey Hollow (as it was known back then due to the concentration of factories and forges in the area) was home to the first wave of Sicilian immigrants to arrive in the city. During Prohibition, the neighborhood was the territory of the notorious Dean O’Banion, who ran his bootlegging operation out of a flower shop across the street from Holy Name Cathedral, an imposing architectural masterpiece which anchors the northeast corner of the neighborhood.
After many years of slow growth , the area experienced a major resurgence in the 90’s and is now one of the top destinations for restaurants, nightlife and high-rise living in Chicago. Music venues such as The Redhead Piano Bar, Blue Chicago, and Andy’s Jazz Club and Restaurant are world-famous for their distinctive Chicago-style blues and jazz. Hard Rock Café has a prominent location in the neighborhood, and nightclubs such as The Castle, Sound Bar and the Palladium Nightclub are great locations to dance the night away or catch a glimpse of local celebrities.
River North is recognized on the international art scene for the highest concentration of art galleries in the United States, outside of Manhattan. Their abundance in the neighborhood is largely due to the efforts of Albert Friedman, a developer who, in the 1990’s, worked tirelessly to revitalize the area and attract photographers, artists, and ad agencies. Now known as the River North Gallery District, it makes for some truly breathtaking art window shopping along Superior or Wells Street.
The neighborhood is also home to some of the best restaurants in the city. Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian-style restaurant; or for a more American experience, visit any of the steakhouses in the area, such as Benny’s Chop House, Chicago Cut Steakhouse, or Gene & Georgetti Restaurant. Shaw’s Crab House has some of the best crab cakes in the Midwest; for upscale Mexican fare, don’t miss Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill. Visitors to Chicago can stay in any one of the many hotels in the area, including the Marriot, Embassy Suites, and Trump International Hotel or boutique hotels such as James or Palomar. Michigan Avenue, on the neighborhood’s east side, is know the world over for its upscale shopping. Designer stores on Oak Street (Hermes, Prada, Tom Ford or Christian Louboutin to name a few) or department stores such as Nordstrom’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Shops at North Bridge cater to tourists and denizens alike. The Merchandise Mart features luxury home furnishings stores such as Luxe Home, Lightology and Chen & Chen, as well as trade galleries and designer showrooms.
River North is bounded by Michigan Avenue to the east and the North branch of the Chicago River to the west; by Chicago Avenue to the north and the main branch of the Chicago River to the south. River North is accessible by the elevated Brown and Purple Lines, which have stops at Merchandise Mart and Chicago Avenue along Wells Street, and the Red Line, with stops at Grand and Chicago Avenue along State Street. There are also numerous bus lines which converge on Michigan Avenue.