The Gold Coast is a small but charismatic neighborhood on Chicago’s north side with a reputation for luxury living. Ever since millionaire Potter Palmer moved to the Gold Coast in the late nineteenth century, the area has attracted many of the country’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, athletes, and cultural icons.
Trees line the Gold Coast’s spacious avenues and stunning lakefront. Architecture lovers appreciate the history reflected in the unique structures of the Gold Coast’s many mansions and buildings. Some of the country’s best restaurants, cafés, and eateries are located in this desirable neighborhood.
With easy access to Lake Michigan, world-class shopping opportunities, and renowned art and cultural attractions, Gold Coast residents never run out of places to go and experiences to enjoy. If you’re looking to live in a global economic hub like Chicago while maintaining a peaceful home with a lake view, the Gold Coast should be at the top of your list.
A Rich History Dating Back to the 19th Century
The luxurious Gold Coast neighborhood can be found on the shores of Lake Michigan, north of downtown Chicago from Oak Street to just south of the Chicago History Museum and east to the North Branch Canal. It began to attract attention after the fallout from the 1871 Great Chicago Fire in densely populated downtown Chicago that caused hundreds of deaths.
Potter Palmer was the first to heavily invest in the area and convert much of its swampland into habitable terrain in the 1880s. Famous for developing State Street in Chicago, Palmer built an incredible 42-room castle in 1882 that took up the equivalent of an entire city block on what is now Lake Shore Drive. Since then, the Gold Coast has grown to become one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in America, attracting some of the country’s highest earners.
In fact, its designation as ‘The Gold Coast’ came from its concentration of highly esteemed and financially prosperous residents who flocked to the area at the turn of the 20th century.
Art and Cultural Landmarks Intermixed with Luxury Homes
Although the Gold Coast area encompasses no more than 115 acres, it boasts several important art and cultural institutions. The Chicago History Museum, a fixture of Chicago since its founding in 1856, is housed in a Georgian colonial building off of Clark Street and North Avenue. Windy City natives and tourists alike visit the museum to learn about Chicago’s history or take part in one of its interactive education programs.
Located nearby, the one of a kind International Museum of Surgical Science is housed inside a historical mansion and offers visitors a unique look at how the science of surgery has developed across the world. The renowned Newberry library is also in the area, a renowned research institution in possession of many original historical documents and manuscripts.
On the south side of the Gold Coast, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) offers guests a taste of where the visual arts scene is going by hosting collections from local and outside artists alike. Just east of the MCA, the Chicago Sports Museum houses an impressive collection of sports memorabilia and artifacts. Visitors can enjoy the museum’s high-tech, interactive sports exhibits and simulators which use body-tracking technology to allow fans to play as some of Chicago’s all-time great athletes.
Gold Coast residents also have easy access to the Shedd Aquarium on Lake Michigan’s shore, Chicago’s impressive collection of underwater flora and fauna that includes beluga whales, sharks, sea turtles, and much more.
Unique Architecture That Tells the Story of Chicago’s History
The Gold Coast offers inhabitants and visitors the chance to revel in centuries of noteworthy architecture when strolling down its main avenues and smaller residential streets. The Astor Street District is the go-to spot for revivalist homes from the 19th century, for example. One of the most important works of architectural delight in the area is the Charnley-Persky House Museum, built in 1892 by legends Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, his junior draftsman.
The famous spot where 19th century businessman Palmer constructed his home on Lake Shore Drive is still one of the most coveted locations in the Gold Coast, although his mansion was demolished decades ago. Today, Draper and Kramer’s stunning luxury property at 1350 Lake Shore Drive is built on the very same land where Palmer’s castle once stood. Take a look yourself to see what brings so many residents to this special Gold Coast spot.
The Original Playboy Mansion is a few blocks away in the heart of the Gold Coast as well. While Hugh Hefner and his Playboy bunnies have long vacated the once famous party spot, the property is still considered a historic landmark. After the property was sold by Hefner, it was converted into seven upscale condominiums. Homes and businesses designed using Art Deco, Modern, Queen Anne, Romanesque, Tudor, and other influential architectural styles can also be found peppered throughout the Gold Coast.
Dining and Shopping Experiences to Swoon Over
Lovers of great dining experiences and world class shopping trips will find themselves at home in the Gold Coast. Foodies can choose from hearty steakhouses like Maple & Ash, where your dinner is grilled on a live wood fire, or from modern French delights like Le Colonial Chicago. Gold Coast residents and tourists can dine at a variety of Asian restaurants, American eateries, seafood spots, and so much more—all within walking distance of the area’s major landmarks. The Gold Coast even boasts one of the city’s finest Michelin-starred restaurants, the Italian culinary gem Spiaggia.
What better to go with a great meal than some fabulous shopping? The Gold Coast offers an impressive collection of high-end shops and boutiques that would satisfy even the pickiest of shoppers. To begin, the neighborhood is close to Michigan Avenue and its 460 shops of tantalizing designer products. Gold Coast’s Oak Street is a highlight for any Chicago shopper, complete with stores from several of the world’s top designers like Armani, Hermes, and Prada. Every July through September, the community hosts the “Oak Street Stroll,” welcoming shoppers to take a walk along the main shopping avenue to check out the seasonal sales while sipping a glass of wine or beer.
Learn About Our Gold Coast Properties
These are just a few highlights of what the Gold Coast living has to offer. To learn more about Draper and Kramer’s luxury properties on the Gold Coast in Chicago—including 1350 Lake Shore Drive and 61 Bank Street— visit draperandkramer.com today.