Known as River North today, the north side of the Chicago River attracted the Chicago railroad development in the mid-1800s. With its expansion came an increase in activity in the area. Once the late-1800s rolled around, the River North was industrialized and became the top destination for Irish and Sicilian immigrants. After World War II, the neighborhood went through another transformation with factories converting into warehouses and storerooms. When the 1970s hit, warehouses pretty much became extinct, but they left their mark with a lot of vacant buildings. These properties eventually got snatched up by writers, artists, architects, and others who desired studios and lofts. Today, the River North neighborhood is considered to be the heart of the art scene in Chicago.
River North is approximately bordered by the Chicago River on the south and west, Chicago Avenue on the north, and Michigan Avenue on the east.
Things To Do
Rocking out to some awesome tunes is easy at the House of Blues (329 N Dearborn St, 312-923-2000). Here you’ll hear not only blues, but country, rock, jazz, and whatever else you can think of.
To laugh out loud with friends, visit The Comedy Bar (157 W Ontario St, 773-387-8412) that features hilarious comedians for a night you won’t forget.
For an out-of-the-ordinary night, visit Baton Show Lounge (436 N Clark, 312-644-5269). Enjoy Vegas-style performances and lots of laughs.
As one of the top culinary events in the city, Taste of River North (30 N Kingsbury St, 312-633-2600) shows off the best eats the neighborhood has to offer. Enjoy live music and a lively crowd with your food.
Dining & Nightlife
Everyone enjoys a good steak so make sure to visit Bavette’s Bar and Boef (218 W Kinzie, 312-624-8154). This place will have your mouth watering over their succulent entrees. Don’t forget to try the delicious cocktails while you’re there.
For an intimate night out, try Gilt Bar (230 W Kinzie, 312-464-9544). With romantic lighting and family-style portions, you can take your time and enjoy a meal with your significant other.
If you want to skip dinner and head straight into drinks and dancing, Castle Chicago (632 N Dearborn, 312-266-1944) is the place to go. The DJs will whip up anything from electronic, house, or hip hop music to get the crowd jumping.
With the Magnificent Mile only a short distance away, River North has plenty of places to shop. On Michigan Avenue, you’ll find the familiar name of Saks Fifth Avenue (700 N Michigan Ave, 312-799-5211). If you pick up some things for your bathroom, just walk down the street to The Body Shop (835 N Michigan Ave, 312-573-2781). Away from the Mag Mile, you’ll find the welcoming doors to Nordstrom (55 E Grand Ave, 312-464-1515). Behind the department store is a great mall that carries some of the best designers. There, you can check out Ann Taylor (312-587-8301), Armani (312-573-4220), Hugo Boss (312-321-0700) and Benetton (312-494-9156). And the kids will absolutely fall in love with The LEGO® Store (312-494-0760).
Places to Stay
If you need somewhere to stay, River North has plenty of hotels for you. One of these is Hotel Felix (111 W Huron St, 312-447-3440). Right in the heart of the neighborhood, this hotel offers a great place to stay after a night on the town.
Another hot spot you might like is the Kinzie Hotel (20 W Kinzie St, 312-395-9000). You’ll love the chic and contemporary décor here.
If you prefer to live in luxury, you can book a room at the Trump International Hotel and Tower (401 N Wabash Ave, 312-588-8000). For something a little more budget-friendly, try the Best Western (125 W Ohio St, 312-467-0800). Laidback and affordable, this hotel is in a great walking distance from the best of River North.