8.3 out of 10

Near North Side

Ranked 3rd best neighborhood in Chicago
41.899555624837 -87.6287301442616
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Shopping Options
  • Nightlife
  • Internet Access
  • Public Transport
Not great for
  • Parking
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
2yrs+
Editors Choice

"Near North - the Ritzy Side of Town"

The near north side includes the Gold Coast, Streeterville and River North neighborhoods. It’s definitely the wealthiest, ritziest area of the city. It’s also the most tourist-y. It’s pretty easy to understand why. The buildings are gorgeous. There’s the old apartment/condo buildings all along Lakeshore Drive. There’s the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and the old Playboy mansion. A walk around this area is definitely a must.

There are also plenty of good restaurants, including some chains that are not good but tourists love them (Rainforest Café, the only Chili’s I think I’ve seen in Chicago, etc). There are lots of steakhouses and other very nice, upscale restaurants, plus more casual options for families.

Navy Pier is the number 1 tourist attraction in Chicago. I can’t for the life of me figure out why. It’s a bunch of really crappy restaurants and junky shops, none of which really have anything to do with Chicago. They do have plans to do a bunch of stuff to it soon though, so maybe it’ll get more interesting.

The Magnificent Mile, along Michigan Avenue, is something that people always visit. There’s a ton of shopping. Basically it’s like a giant shopping mall where the chain stores are triple the size. There are also very expensive designer stores that are fun to go in even if you’ll never be able to afford even a pair of socks. It gets ridiculously busy over here, especially on the weekends, but there’s plenty to buy and do.

There’s an area filled with clubby bars at Rush and Division, also known as the Viagra Triangle. It’s called that because of the young girls that go there to pick up old rich dudes from the suburbs. A lot of tourists go the bars in this area. Most local people I know will avoid this place at all costs.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is just off the Mag Mile and always has great exhibits. There are a lot of art galleries in the area too, which are cool to visit. There are two movie theaters over there too that I go to often. One – AMC River North – shares the building with a really fancy bowling alley that’s pretty cool.

The near north side is a very beautiful area and is definitely a must for anyone visiting the city. This has caused some parts to become a little bit less appealing, but it’s by no means a reason to stay away. Visitors and locals alike will find plenty to keep them entertained.
Pros
  • Lots to do
Cons
  • Expensive living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
2yrs+
Editors Choice

"The Fabulous "Magnificent Mile""

This roughly 8-block stretch of Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River north to Oak Street, was dubbed the “Magnificent Mile” back in the 1940s by real estate developer Arthur Rubloff. It has lived up to its name ever since (which includes MY entire lifetime!). It began as, and still is a shopping mecca of mid-high end retail stores including such notables as Nordstrom’s, Tiffany & Company Jeweler’s, and Nieman Marcus (or “Needless Markup” as some call it). Interestingly, the further north on the Mag Mile you go, the more high-end the stores become. I call Oak Street – the northern border of the Mag Mile – the “Rodeo Drive of the Midwest”. The same is true of the numerous hotels in the area: from the mid-range Marriott to the very high-end and exclusive Peninsula Hotel (where movie celebs and dignitaries are known to book their accommodations).

Although the area has always been primary corporate/commercial, there is residential space to be found. Just behind the Wrigley Building is a residential high-rise that has been there as long as I can remember. In the early 70s it was rental apartments (and I aspired to live there someday!). Of course, it was converted to condominiums during the housing/conversion boom of the 80s. In recent years, more high-end condo high rise buildings have sprung up. I’d say at least 5 in the past 5 years alone, just behind the street wall of the Mag Mile. Again, the further north you go, the higher the price! At the northern end of the Mag Mile you’ll find some of the priciest real estate in the city: What would you think it’d cost for a small studio condo in one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers - the world famous John Hancock building? Prices start in $200 hundred thousands. And the Hancock building is over 40 years old! Imagine what it costs in one of the newer highrises would like the one anchored by Bloomingdale’s which is a youthful 20+ years old.

Since the Mag Mile is primarily a tourist area/business traveler area, fine dining restaurants abound. However, with the increase of travelers with children, more and more casual and family-style restaurants have popped up. But I think of them as “upscale casual” – you don’t need a reservation but it is highly recommended. Some, like the Grand Lux Café and Pizzeria Uno & Due, don’t even take reservations. Common practice is to call ahead to find out how long the wait time is.

Basically, the Mag Mile neighborhood is yet another of those in Chicago’s Downtown that has a lot packed into a small space. Most local residents don’t mind sharing it with the hoards of tourists and travelers. We know when to go out and about and when it’s less crowded.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
2yrs+
Read full review on Old
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Streeterville"

Streeterville is part of the Near North Side from the Chicago River on the south, north to the lake, west to Michigan Ave and the Lake on the east. This area includes the Northwestern Memorial Hospital campus along with the associated medical facilities and physicians. But, has so much more to offer from world class hotels and restaurants to museums and theatres to some of the best shopping in the city. It can get congested with tourists, but always has something happening. Public transportation is good with many bus lines running down Michigan Ave and the Red Line not too far to the west.
Living in Streeterville offers easy access to everything the city has to offer, but does come at a price. Apartments and condos can be expensive even for small living areas. With excellent restaurants, shopping and entertainment at your doorstep you pay for the privilege.
Oak Street Beach and Millenium Park are outside of Streeterville, but offer outdoor space within a few blocks.
Pros
  • Lots to do
  • Exciting, with things always happening
  • Trendy and safe
Cons
  • Expensive living
  • It can get loud
  • Tends to be a lot of traffic
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"For those who like to be in the midst of it all"

One of the most expensive and sought after neighborhoods in town, the Near North Side is without question one of the biggest tourists draws in the city, as well as being one of the most fun.
I've never lived there, mainly because it is a very expensive part of the city, but I'd love to if I had the money. I don't mind noise, but if you do, it would be a place to stay away from. Something is always going on. That said, the busy nature and the fact that it's a tourist destination make it one of the safer neighborhoods. Chicago isn't going to let all those tourists go home with tales of woe after visiting the big city.
Do you want to shop? You can shop. I personally like to go to bookstores, and there are a ton of them here, as well as just about any other type of store you're looking for. Be forewarned though, these are upscale shops. It can get pretty expensive during a short shopping trip.
Restaurants are a similar story. It's fantastic if you can afford it. Morton's is one of the best steakhouses in the city. Probably in the world. You'll pay through the nose for it, but it's one of those meals that no matter how good you are in the kitchen, you can never recreate it.
There are a lot of great bars in the Near North Side too. And these tend to be the places with the prettiest girls. Of course, most of the time they're looking for guys with the biggest bank account, but you can still try your luck.
Transportation is a breeze, so no worries there. Just enjoy it. It'll cost you, but if you have means, you'll find what you need in the Near North Side.
Pros
  • Highly sought after, exclusive
  • Trendy and safe
  • Exciting, with things always happening
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Tends to be a lot of traffic
  • It can get loud
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Art Galleries, shopping and bars are almost everywhere!"

The Near North Side of Chicago can be found just outside of the famous Loop area and is east of Lake Michigan. There is no doubt the Near North Side is one of the more vibrant areas of Chicago and contains some of the more visited areas in the city.

One popular travel destination is Navy Pier. Navy Pier is a multi-million dollar development and a city focal point. While Navy Pier was first developed at the early part of the 20th century it has continued to grow, expand and evolve. Today there are an abundance of shops, museums and even a visually striking ferris wheel.

The River North area is also contained within the Near North Side is an area that artists and art lovers will find interesting, as it is packed with art galleries seemingly everywhere. This area is also a major entertainment spot for the city as well meaning that you can find ample bars and restaurants.

Of course, it is impossible to mention the Near North Side without mentioning the Magnificent Mile. The Magnificent Mile contains some of Chicago's more impressive real estate such as the famous Water Tour and Water Tower Place shopping center as well as scores of high end stores and restaurants and office buildings.
Pros
  • Lots to do
Cons
  • Expensive living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5
2yrs+

"The Magnificent Near North"

The Near North Side—what’s not to love? Just outside of the Loop, the Near North Side is one of the city’s most popular areas. Within the boundaries of the Near North, you’ll find the Magnificent Mile, Gold Coast, Cabrini Green, Goose Island, Streeterville, Washington Square, and SoNo. A visit to this community gives you access to the best shopping district in Chicago, which is found along the Magnificent Mile.

Even if shopping isn’t your thing, you must include the Near North in a trip to Chicago. The Gold Coast is one of the historic districts in the city and is home to some of the most luxurious high-rise apartments in Chicago. You’ll also find many high-end boutiques from luxury brands, which makes the Gold Coast the preferred locale for some of the city’s most affluent residents. Cabrini-Green was once the home of the city’s most renowned housing projects, which have since been demolished in attempts at gentrification.

I’d list the Near North as a must for tourists a
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Greatest Place!"

is the Chicago that tourists talk about. Everything you could possibly want is located in the Near North Side. The area is famous world around and thus is a huge draw for tourists. It is also a heavily policed neighborhood, partially because of the the tourist draw and partly because those who actually manage to inhabit the space have some serious bankroll. The housing is astronomical, but you are paying to be in the absolute pulse of the city.

Boutiques and specialty shops are common in the area and you can find some truly interesting and one of a kind items. Food is incredibly as well. Any type of cuisine you can ask for is served up right in the neighborhood. Remember though that the stores and food spots in the area are also paying astronomical rents to be in the area so don't expect a bargain pair of pants or a cheap on-the-go burrito. If you are looking for a neighborhood that never stops moving and have the cash to get there the Near North Side is your destination.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Old Town"

Old town is one of the most well know neighborhoods in the city, it is very historic yet modern.

It is one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city. There are so many unique things about this area.
Second City is located here- if you have not been to one of their shows- go. It is a great comedic time.
Also located here is the Old Town Art Fair- a renowned celebration of art.

The variety of restaurants here is without compare: from Alinea to the Old Town Ale House- you can find anything.

This is another area I would be thrilled to reside in. For now though- day trips will have to suffice.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
2yrs+

"The windy city's biggest tourist draw"

If you’re in Chicago for only a couple of days, you’d better find yourself in the Near North Side, especially if this is your first time visiting the windy city. It's likely that the biggest draw is the Magnificent Mile – that well-known shopping stretch between the Chicago River and Oak Street. It’s not actually a mile, but if you have arrived in Chicago with some money that you would love nothing better than to unload, you can come away with some great dining experiences and a number of high-end souvenirs. You can even stay up in a fancy hotel on the Mile, and from there you should not only have a magnificent (ha!) view of the city, but you’ll be close to the lake as well.

Don’t bet on moving into the neighborhood unless you are uber wealthy. And if you are uber wealthy, then I hope you are a fan of constant noise and city/tourist crowds – because neither of these things ever seem to leave the area. Still, it’s an exciting place to be for a tourist. This is actually where I stayed during my first trip to Chicago (I was thirteen), and I loved every second of it. Some of that thrill may be gone for me nowadays, but if you’ve never been, you MUST go.

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Best Streets in Near North Side

1

Michigan Ave

4.5/5
"How can you not write about Michigan Ave?"
41.8928920263328 -87.624198204364
"Beautiful Dearborn Street"
41.8969274687652 -87.6297793061711
3

East Ohio St

4/5
"Makes for a nice afternoon stroll, but not very exciting"
41.8926673244418 -87.6162144035111
4

North Wells St

3.5/5
"My Favorite Chicago Festival: Wine Crush in Old Town"
41.8966731322745 -87.6342070271991
5

North Astor St

3.5/5
"The "Gold Coast" Oasis"
41.9070205320911 -87.6275490755963
6

North Clark St

3.5/5
"Beautiful Chapel in this city"
41.8982575454116 -87.6312877725364
7

North Rush St

3.5/5
"Busy, Crowded, Fun"
41.8956708210065 -87.6254812454196
8

North State St

3.5/5
"A Little Printers Row in Chicago"
41.8958327911911 -87.6281792965519
9

East Grand Ave

2.5/5
"I Love Navy Pier on East Grand Avenue"
41.8918329962331 -87.6185813109001
10

East Banks St

2.5/5
"Office buildings near the lake."
41.906789962145 -87.6270894925597

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