Chicago’s River North area was once dominated by factories and warehouses. Today, more than a thousand modern high-rises contrast with the Victorian-era homes that grace the tree-lined residential streets.

It is also the home of the Neo-Gothic Tribune Tower, the century-old Wrigley Building, and the historic Water Tower, circa 1869. Developers repurpose warehouses as trendy venues serving up music and fine cuisine. Residents are mere minutes from the Loop, the lakefront, and Navy Pier.

River North’s boundaries include Michigan Avenue to the east and Chicago Avenue to the north. The Chicago River comprises the neighborhood’s southern and western boundaries. On the south side of the river is Chicago Riverwalk, open from 6 am to 11 pm daily. The pedestrian-friendly path stretches for more than a mile from Lake Street to the lakefront. The city dyes the river green on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, making it a temporary “green space” of sorts!

Reasons Why You’ll Love River North

To residents, River North is a vibrant playground. One that offers an enticing brew of trendy destinations, iconic architecture, and ultra-modern skyscrapers. When Thrillist ranked the “Sexiest Neighborhoods in America,” River North came in seventh.

Shopping, entertainment, and attractions

Ubiquitous music venues, dance clubs, and rooftop bars dot the bustling streets of River North. To the east, “The Magnificent Mile” dazzles shoppers with the offerings of more than 450 retailers. Nearby is the Driehaus Museum (40 E. Wabash), also known as Chicago’s “Marble Palace.” The one-time Nickerson Mansion dates to 1883, at the height of the Gilded Age.

One of River North’s biggest attractions (literally) is the 25-story Merchandise Mart, built more than 90 years ago. Today, The Mart’s Design Center showrooms are open to the public. The massive four-million sq ft structure spans two full city blocks. North LaSalle Street bisects the Cathedral District. Holy Name Cathedral (730 N. Wabash) is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. St. James Cathedral is a historic Episcopal church at 65 E. Huron.

Marina City’s twin 588-foot cylindrical towers grace the north bank of the Chicago River. The sprawling “City Within a City” was the tallest residential building on the planet in the 1960s. Here, the  House of Blues (329 N. Dearborn) delivers live entertainment, including concerts, DJs in the Foundation Room, and performers in the restaurant and bar.

Chicago River boat tours offer everything from dinner cruises to architecture tours. For two decades, the annual Taste of River North (now at 627 N. Wells) has been a mid-summer staple for area residents.


Residents of River North enjoy myriad dining options. Try anything from a memorable five-star experience to a quick bite from a streetside vendor. Gene & Georgetti (500 N. Franklin) is an iconic Tuscan steakhouse sporting an eight-decade heritage. In the Party District, savor Indian cuisine as you channel India’s southwest coast at Bar Goa (116 W. Hubbard). Other interesting culinary destinations include Shaw’s Crab House (22 E. Hubbard) and Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill (445 N. Clark).

Savor Middle Eastern cuisine amid the casual sophistication of Sifr (660 N. Orleans). Nearby, the casual Mr. Beef (666 N. Orleans) serves some of the finest Italian Beef in the area. Add an order of hand-cut fries, cooked to perfection.

Next door you’ll find The Green Door Tavern (678 N. Orleans), Chicago’s oldest surviving drinking establishment. It’s housed in a building constructed in the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire. Downstairs, The Drifter is the city’s one remaining Prohibition-era speakeasy.A city street at night.

Employment and education

River North has a booming tech sector that includes companies like Braintree, GoHealth, and Razorfish. It hosts the corporate headquarters of Motorola Mobility, Groupon, and Yelp. ConAgra’s headquarters are on the 13th floor of The Mart.

Lincoln Park High School is a highly-ranked magnet school. Francis Xavier Ward School (K-8) offers an impressive 15:1 student/teacher ratio. Every year, the private school awards more than $1.7 million in scholarships to families in need.

Getting around

Much of River North is eminently walkable, and public transportation is readily available. Metra’s Ogilvie Station is just across the river, and historic Union Station is within walking distance. Consult the Metra System Map for train routes and times.

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) trip planner makes it simple to plan your journey. There are two CTA Brown Line and two CTA Red Line stops in River North. Other bus routes include #36 (Broadway), CTA bus #22 (Clark), and #29 (State). There’s even a CTA train stop on the 2nd floor of the Merchandise Mart.

For trips throughout Greater Chicago and beyond, consult the RTA’s Route Planner.

Luxury Apartment Living in River North

River North is an ideal setting in which to live, work, and play. There are many living options, including a host of luxury apartment communities. The Grand Plaza and Hubbard 221 are two examples.

Grand Plaza

Grand Plaza’s apartments feature stainless appliances, granite countertops, wood floors, and washer/dryers. Some have private balconies. The amenity-rich environment includes an outdoor heated pool, outdoor kitchens, and a dog park. Residents also enjoy a state-of-the-art fitness facility, running track, and basketball court.

Hubbard 221

Residents enjoy an elevated array of amenities at Hubbard221. There’s a state-of-the-art fitness center, dog run, pet spa, hotel-style concierge service, and 24/7 door staff. Residents relax on an expansive rooftop terrace 21 floors above the city streets. There is also a pool, hot tub, cabanas, fire pit, and grilling stations. The lower levels include a pet spa, dog run, and bike storage and repair.

Luxury apartment homes feature nine-foot ceilings and Balterio gray-tone plank flooring. Floor-to-ceiling windows come replete with sunshade window treatments. Kitchens include stainless-steel whirlpool appliances and Italian soft-close cabinetry. Select units include a terrace or private balcony.

About Draper and Kramer

Draper and Kramer is a full services real estate firm founded in 1893. You’ll find D&K luxury apartment communities from Chicago to St. Louis, and from Dallas to Phoenix.

The Chicago Tribune building in Chicago, Illinois.

River North is a vibrant playground. One that offers an enticing brew of trendy destinations, iconic architecture, and ultra-modern skyscrapers.

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