The River North neighborhood in downtown Chicago offers its residents a vibrant place to call home. As the city’s fastest and largest growing neighborhoods, River North has become a hub for young professionals, art lovers, and foodies taking advantage of the area’s incredible dining, nightlife, galleries, and central location.
The lively neighborhood lies north and east of the Chicago River branches, west of Michigan Avenue and south of Chicago Avenue.
Discover for yourself why living in River North is hard to beat.
River North Condos You Need to See
Strolling through River North, the recent influx of new construction is evident. This neighborhood has more new construction condo building in various stages of marketing and development than any other downtown-adjacent neighborhood in Chicago.
While the abundance of condo options may feel a bit overwhelming, the Luxury Living team is here to help streamline the search.
If you are looking for property along the water with unobstructed views of Lake Michigan, there are amazing River North condos right on Lake Shore Drive. Consider living in a two-bedroom at 1150 North Lake Shore Drive #24H in the perfect penthouse residence, fully rehabbed and move-in ready. A few minutes closer to downtown, and with all the lakeside perks, 900 Lake Shore Drive #1509 also offers a stunning and recently renovated space to call home within the historic Miles van der Rohe building.
If you prefer to be in the heart of all the action, consider 55 East Erie Street #1906. This rarely available luxurious one-bedroom is steps away from fantastic shopping at Michigan Mile and incredible restaurants and bars along Rush Street. If you’re looking for a two-bedroom in the same phenomenal area, check out 21 East Huron Street #1507. This desirable open-floor plan corner is a rare find.
Discover more property details and additional available listings on Luxury Living’s sale site. You can also get in touch with an experienced broker to help you with the next step in your search to finding the perfect condo.
What is River North in Chicago?
River North truly began to slowly evolve into the neighborhood it is today after the Chicago Fire of 1871. Following the catastrophe, River North quickly began to rebuild and introduce municipal buildings, housing for workers, warehouses, shipping facilities, and railroad tracks. Eventually, the industrial area became a warehouse district, with the construction of the Merchandise Mart, a 25-story building storing many of the city’s goods.
After two years of construction under Marshall Field & Co., the Merchandise Mart opened its doors in 1930 as the world’s largest building at 4,200,000 square feet and spanning two city blocks. The Merchandise Mart was intended to consolidate Field’s wholesale activities, from being scattered throughout the city into a single place where both consumers and retail managers could shop. The Great Depression led to many of the shops closing its doors and the federal government leasing the vacant spaces. However, in 1945 the Mart was sold to Joseph P. Kennedy, who revitalized the original commercial concept and gradually re-opened it to the public. Showrooms thrived with conventions and events, and the building became famous as a media center, hosting Chicago’s NBC studios. The Kennedys eventually sold the Mart to Vornado Realty Trust in 1998. Today the Merchandise Mart remains a hub for design in River North and additionally houses numerous restaurants, companies, and the Illinois Institute of Art.
From the 1920s-1960s, River North lost many of its residents to the Chicago Suburbs. However, things began to turn around starting in the 1970s. Artists and creative began reclaiming the area when they discovered low real estate prices and large spaces, which was the beginning of the River North Gallery District. Old abandoned buildings were repurposed into galleries, studios, offices, apartments, shops, and restaurants.
Ever since River North has continued to experience transformative growth. The neighborhood now hosts the largest concentration of art galleries apart from Manhattan, along with the highest concentration of restaurants, entertainment, and nightlife in the city.
River North Bars You Should Know
You can find plenty of great places to grab a drink scattered throughout the River North neighborhood.
The area has recently welcomed some great bars that are worth checking out. Blind Dragon has gained attention thanks to its speakeasy-style interior, unique cocktail menu inspired by Asian flavors, 1970s tiki bars, and karaoke bar. Bar Sótano’s opening also has River North residents excited. Find the entrance to the renowned chef’s new speakeasy in the alley behind Frontera Grill and take a 100-plus-year-old freight elevator down to the 50-seat bar.
If you are looking for a true neighborhood dive bar, step inside Rossi’s Liquors and get a glimpse into River North’s past. While the bar’s exterior sharply contrasts its ritzy neighbors, once you get inside, you’ll appreciate the laid back vibes and affordably priced beverages.
When it comes to finding the perfect sports bar, Theory and Public House make an ideal viewing experience, complete with good vibes, delicious food and drinks, and plenty of screens.
Grab Dinner at These River North Restaurants
River North is the spot to be for any self-proclaimed foodie. The list of delicious restaurants is endless, from brand new eateries to neighborhood staples.
Among all of the new River North restaurants, Parlor Pizza Bar has the whole neighborhood buzzing. With additional locations already throughout the city, River North has gladly welcomed this trendy pizza bar, complete with an impressive selection of craft beer, cocktail, and outdoor patio.
If you’re looking for a nice dining experience at an upscale steak house, rest assured River North has countless options including Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf, RPM Steak, Chicago Cut Steakhouse, Kinzie Chophouse, and Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse.
For a more casual meal, check out Frontera Grill. This casual sit-down restaurant features acclaimed chef, Rick Bayless’ creative Mexican fare in a vibrant and welcoming space. Don’t miss out on some mouth-watering tableside guac!
River North Safety: What You Need to Know
One of the greatest conveniences of living in River North is the neighborhood’s walkability. Regardless of where you live in the area, you can find easy access to grocery stores, restaurants, and just about anything you may need by foot. In fact, 40 percent of residents walk to work. River North is also served by plenty of train and bus lines making it easy to travel outside of the neighborhood. Divvy bikes are available to borrow at stations throughout the area.
While River North remains very proactive to ensure neighborhood safety, it is always crucial to be aware and take individual precautions for extra protection. If you have a car don’t leave valuables in your vehicle, and make sure always to lock your doors and roll up the windows. When walking around the neighborhood after hours, it’s smart to stay on well-lit paths, remain attentive to your surroundings, and leave your earbuds at home. You can also check out these apps designed to help keep you safe when walking home at night.
Trulia provides valuable information regarding crime data in River North, including recent crimes in the neighborhood and most common crimes within the year.
4 Delicious River North Brunch Spots
Chicagoans take brunch very seriously, and River North residents know this all too well. Thankfully the River North neighborhood boasts some of the hottest spots to brunch in the city. Here are four of our personal favorites:
- Ema– Enjoy a Mediterranean-style brunch at this hidden gem. Along with a cozy interior and inviting patio, Ema features out-of-this-world plates including grapefruit brulee, lamb shakshuka, kefta and eggs and blueberry. You can also find Mediterranean riffs on brunch cocktails like the signature bloody mary.
- River Roast– Enjoy a tasty British inspired meal overlooking the river. This charming restaurant is the ideal brunch spot to celebrate any occasion, complete with signature cocktails and live blues music on most weekends.
- Fremont– If you’re on the hunt for the best bottomless mimosas bar, this is your place. Enjoy a boozy brunch and indulge in a mind-blowing all-you-can-eat buffet, featuring unlimited smoked brisket, an omelet station, a doughnut wall, a waffle bar and a wide array of desserts
- Hampton Social– This may win most instagrammable brunch spot in the neighborhood. The nautical-themed restaurant and East Coast-inspired menu almost makes you forget you’re still in the middle of Chicago. Be sure to taste the infamous monkey bread and take a picture in front of the neon ‘Rose All Day’ sign with a glass of Rose in hand.
Living in River North truly is a treat. If you are ready to experience for yourself all of the exciting perks and opportunities this neighborhood has to offer, get in touch with a licensed broker to help find your perfect home today!