Chicago’s River North neighborhood got its start as an industrial area and later became a warehouse district. When the warehouses closed down in the 1970’s the large, empty buildings attracted various artists and writers looking for loft and studio space, thus creating a neighborhood that was artistic but also struggling.
Such was the River North neighborhood 30 years ago. Since then, however, River North has completely transformed from this simple beginning. It is now a chic, cultural hub filled with art galleries, antique stores, boutiques, and of course urban professionals. Boasting Chicago’s highest concentration of restaurants, this small neighborhood has become a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike.
River North is aptly named; it lies north of the Loop, west of famed Michigan Avenue, and south of Chicago Avenue, with the Chicago River as its boundary on the south and the west.
A. Montgomery Ward Park (Park No. 511)
- Parks & Gardens
Providing open green space among the new riverfront high-rise condominiums, A. Montgomery Ward Park (also known as Park 511) stretches down to the Chicago River, offering a river walk along with great views of the skyline from a unique perspective. This park also displays public art in the form of a beautiful mosaic wall leading down to the river, a large playground and an adjacent dog-friendly area. Summer offerings include the festival Taste of River North, a water taxi service and an outdoor film series.
Free Admission | 630 N. Kingsbury St. | 312.742.7895
Located in Chicago’s River North district, Blue Chicago features an authentic blues club experience, with top Chicago blues bands along with the best female blues voices in the city.
536 N. Clark St. | 312.642.6261
Cabrini Row Houses
- Historical Landmarks
The Frances Cabrini Row Houses (1942) are the initial phase of what became Cabrini-Green, one of Chicago’s largest concentrations of public housing. With 586 apartments, the row houses replaced an area known as “Little Hell,” an Italian-American community with dismal housing conditions in the late 1930s. They are expected to be renovated by 2013 into more affordable housing for Chicago’s low income residents.
Free Admission | 900 N. Hudson Ave.
- Parks & Gardens
City Farm is a sustainable vegetable farm bordering two very different neighborhoods: Cabrini-Green and the Gold Coast. The seasonal farm boasts thirty varieties of tomatoes, as well as beets, carrots, potatoes, gourmet lettuces, herbs and melons. City Farm offers youth and job training opportunities to nearby residents, and welcomes volunteers on Saturdays, from late April to October and by appointment.
Free Admission | 1204 N. Clybourn Ave. | 773.821.1351
Cook County Criminal Courthouse
- Historical Landmarks
Completed in 1893, this Romanesque-style former courthouse building was home to many famous trials throughout its 35-year history as a criminal court. From the 1920 trial of the infamous “Black Sox Scandal” to the murder trial of Leopold & Loeb, this building has quite a few stories to tell.
Free Admission | 54 W. Hubbard St.
Cyrus Hall McCormick’s Former Mansion
- Historical Landmarks
Inventor Cyrus Hall McCormick’s “McCormick Reaper” revolutionized not only modern farming but modern industry. Many European immigrants came to Chicago during late 18th and 19th century to work in the McCormick harvester factory. McCormick commissioned the building at 675 North Rush Street. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.
Free Admission | 675 N. Rush St.
Ellis Chesbrough’s Former Home
- Historical Landmarks
After designing a sewer system that literally raised Chicago out of the mud, Ellis Chesbrough engineered a two-mile tunnel under Lake Michigan that brought the city clean water. Chesbrough lived at 933 (formerly 317) North LaSalle Street in 1874. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.
Free Admission | 933 N. LaSalle St.
Former Headquarters of Harriet Monroe’s Poetry Magazine
- Historical Landmarks
As founder of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, Harriet Monroe launched a lively forum for innovative poetry and new poetic movements. The magazine, which was headquartered at 543 Cass Street (now Wabash Avenue), attracted a distinguished roster of contributors and popularized their work. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction
Free Admission | 534 N. Wabash Ave.
Former Site of Ric Riccardo’s Restaurant and Gallery
- Historical Landmarks
An artist and restaurateur, Ric Riccardo opened Riccardo’s Restaurant and Gallery in 1935, where he displayed several murals by prominent WPA artists. The restaurant was located 437 North Rush Street. Riccardo also owned Pizzeria Uno, where in 1943 he and co-owner Ike Sewell invented deep-dish pizza. The address is currently home to Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.
Free Admission | 437 N. Rush St.
Joseph Medill Marker of Distinction
- Historical Landmarks
As publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Joseph Medill turned a small frontier paper into a strong Midwestern voice. A founder of the Republican Party, he helped orchestrate the presidential nomination of Abraham Lincoln. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.
Free Admission | 639 N. Wabash Ave.
Kinzie Street Railroad Bridge
- Historical Landmarks
The Kinzie Street Chicago & Northwestern Railway Bridge was built in 1908 as access to the original Chicago Passenger Terminal and Navy Pier. At the time of its construction, it was the largest and heaviest bascule bridge in the world. It still stands today, permanently raised to allow river traffic to pass underneath.
Free Admission | N. Kingsbury St. & W. Kinzie St.
Mercy Lakefront Housing Margot and Harold Schiff Residences
- Art & Architecture
Designed by Helmut Jahn, this 96-unit low-income residence is certified LEED Silver and includes a 48-panel solar hot water heating system, a waste water recycling system where ‘grey water’ is reused in non-potable applications on-site, wind turbines and many more sustainable measures.
Free Admission | 1244 N. Clybourn Ave. | 312.867.1442
Ohio House Motel and Coffee Shop
- Art & Architecture
The “Googie” architectural style of this motel, built in 1960, is characteristic of the influence of the atomic age and science fiction. The motel still operates the adjoining coffee shop, which is known for its breakfasts.
600 N. LaSalle St. | 312.943.6000
St. Clair Drake’s Former Home
- Historical Landmarks
One of the first black faculty members at Roosevelt University, St. Clair Drake was best known for his work on the book Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City. Drake lived at 510 West Chestnut Street. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.
Free Admission | 510 W. Chestnut St.
The Merchandise Mart
- Art & Architecture
Encompassing 4.2 million square feet, the Merchandise Mart is the world’s largest commercial building, largest wholesale design center, and one of Chicago’s premier international business locations. The massive building also hosts many trade shows and events, including “Artropolis,” Chicago’s largest annual art fair. The Merchandis Mart’s public areas include their first floor Luxe Home kitchen and bath showrooms, a food court, retail shops, and The Chopping Block, a local cooking school offering classes for individuals and groups.
Free Admission | 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plz. | 312.527.4141
The Richard H. Driehaus Museum
- Art & Architecture,
- Museums & Zoos
This is a 19th-century decorative arts museum in a restored 19th-century Chicago landmark building.
40 E. Erie St. | 312.482.8933
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Tours
Experience the new Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Tour! Chicago is the birthplace of contemporary deep dish pizza. Slice of Chicago Pizza Tours will give you a taste of deep-dish pizza at Chicago’s most historic pizzerias as you learn about their legendary history.
River North | 312.623.9292
Chicago Pizza Tours
- Neighborhood Focus
Chicago Pizza Tours is the best way to see and learn about Chicago! Ride on our bus as we take you throughout 4 Chicago neighborhoods to taste 4 styles of pizza: Chicago style deep dish, stuffed, thin crust, and Neapolitan.
Madison St. & Wabash St.
Chicago Water Taxi
A great way to explore Chicago by water, Chicago Water Taxi offers a fun, fast and friendly direct link from the Metra and Amtrak stations to many attractions along the Chicago River.
400 N. Michigan Ave. | 312.337.1446
Chicago from the Lake: Architectural and Historical Cruises
A 90-minute narrated tour by a professional docent, with complementary snacks, this architectural cruise covers both the north and south branches of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.
465 N. McClurg Ct. | 312.527.1977
Downtown Canyons Canoe Tours
See a unique view of the city, from the Chicago River by canoe! Paddle through downtown Chicago and safely experience the ultimate urban adventure experienced canoe guides.
2120 S. Canal St. | 312.939.0931 ext. 14
Saturday Gallery District Tours
A gallery representative leads a free guided tour of 4 art galleries in one of Chicago’s popular River North art community every Saturday morning.
Free Admission | 750 N. Franklin St. | 312.649.0064
Wateriders Kayak Tours
Wateriders offers several unique Chicago kayaking tours and kayak rentals. Since 1997, they have led thousands of adventurous people from all over the globe on kayaking expeditions on the history and architecture of Chicago.
950 N. Kinsgbury St., on the Riverwalk | 312.953.9287
City Farm Market Stand
- Culinary Events,
- Farmers Markets,
- Kid and Family Events
City Farm is a sustainable vegetable farm bordering two very diverse Chicago neighborhoods: Cabrini-Green and the Gold Coast. The farm boasts thirty varieties of tomatoes as well as beets, carrots, arugula, gourmet lettuces, herbs and more.
Free Admission | 1204 N. Clybourn Ave | 616.836.6016
River North is home to one of the country’s largest collection of galleries, second only to New York. There are over 100 art galleries in this small neighborhood! In fact, the area is becoming known as SuHu, since most of the neighborhood’s galleries are located on or near Superior and Huron streets.
These art galleries are in fact distinct from one another; their owners are passionate about entirely different types and methods of art. The Alan Koppel Gallery features contemporary international artists, while the Kenneth Probst Gallery shows American and European Impressionist paintings. The ZG Gallery hosts group shows that touch upon a variety of themes (some past themes have included the use of color in contemporary abstract painting and the recuperative power of nature). Primitive Art Works features Tribal and Ethnic Artwork. The Bianca Pilat Gallery of Contemporary Art hosts large-scale prints and the Maya-Polsky Gallery hosts sculpture. Portals, Ltd is a unique gallery that features realist paintings, antique furniture, and decorative arts; it is devoted to art lovers and collectors.
At River North you can find all the art in the world; you can also find the supplies to create your own. There are several shops in the area for art supplies and art paraphernalia.
River North is an excellent destination for a day of antiquing. There are almost 20 separate antique stores or warehouses, each boasting an impressive inventory of antique furniture, paintings, prints and objets d’art. Try Cosulich Interiors & Antiques for European antiques, paintings, chandeliers and accessories from the 16th through 20th centuries and Christa’s Antiques for fine antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries.
There are furniture stores as well in River North; most of them are specialty stores, focusing on one aspect of home décor such as lighting, wooden furniture, beds, linens, etc. Some stores include The Ambiente Collection, Hastens Bed Shop, and Luminaire.
The Merchandise Mart and the Apparel Center are havens for women’s and men’s fashion; there are also small independent boutiques such as En Vain, Clever Alice, and Henry Beguelin that sell upscale apparel for men and women.
Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Inc.
At this bookstore, you can find historic books, documents, photographs and artifacts related to the history of United States, particularly that which pertains to Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and presidential and military history. Accessibility limitations. Please contact site for more information.
357 W. Chicago Ave. | 312.944.3085
Boutiques & Galleries on North State Street
A small stretch of North State Street is home to several retailers with a creative flair. You can find fine art paintings at the Hildt Galleries (617 N. State St.), vintage home décor at Posh (613 N. State St.), or see the large collection of knitting and needlepoint supplies at nearby City Stitcher (1 E. Huron St.).
617 N. State St.
- Photography Stores & Services
As Calumet Photographic’s flagship store, this shop offers many services to photographers, including rentals, repairs, cleaning and a full retail selection. They also offer frequent classes and seminars on various photographic topics.
1111 N. Cherry Ave. | 312.440.4920
Creative Finds for Shoppers at North Wabash Avenue & East Huron Street
Three enticing retail establishments lie near the intersection of North Wabash Avenue & West Huron Street. Buy locally crafted pieces by Whitney Abrams at her store Whitney Abrams Jewelry (9 E. Huron St.), or shop for home décor items at Material Possessions (704 N. Wabash Ave.) and Jonathan Adler (676 N. Wabash Ave.).
9 E. Huron St.
Local Shops near East Illinois Street & East Grand Avenue
Several blocks of East Illinois Street and East Grand Avenue contain some retailers unique to Chicago. For all of your jazz record needs, visit the Jazz Record Mart (27 E. Illinois St.). Also nearby is Afterwords book store (23 E. Illinois St.) and to the north on E. Grand Ave. is Pistachios (55 E. Grand Ave.), a locally owned retailer featuring contemporary jewelry and crafts.
27 E. Illinois St.
- Furniture Stores,
- Home & Garden,
- Home Decor
Mecox offers an eclectic assortment of furniture, accessories and art, including antiques, reproductions and some original designs. The store also proudly features an ample selection of art and furnishings made by local artisans right here in Chicago.
406 N. Clark St. | 312.836.0571
When you buy any of the more than 50,000 donated books at this nonprofit literacy bookstore, the money goes to help Open Books fulfill their mission of enriching lives through reading, writing, and the guided power of used books. Accessibility limitations. Please contact site for more information.
213 W. Institute Pl. | 312.475.1355
- Home Decor,
- Kitchen & Bath
Located in River North’s historic Tree Studios, the rustic, cozy interior of P.O.S.H. is filled an eclectic assortment of unique housewares, from antique and vintage tableware and glassware to hotel silver and restaurant china and dinnerware.
613 N. State St. | 312.280.1602
- Arts & Crafts
The original location of this retailer, now with locations nationwide, Paper Source provides stationery for every occasion, thoughtful gifts and a vast selection of decorative papers. Accessibility limitations. Please contact site for more information.
232 W. Chicago Ave. | 312.337.0798
Stylish Shopping on North Wells Street & West Chicago Avenue
The area around the intersection of North Wells Street and West Chicago Avenue is full of high end home decor and apparel retailers. Come shop at stores such as Manifesto (755 N. Wells St.), Lightology (215 W. Chicago Ave.), or Jesse Chicago (745 N. Wells St.) for all your home decor needs. Elements (714 N. Wells St.) features not only home decor but also wonderful gifts and accessories, and Blake Women’s Apparel (212 W. Chicago Ave.) is a destination for fashion forward women’s clothing.
755 N. Wells St.
River North is filled with over 100 restaurants, in all genres of food, including American, Brazilian, Chinese, French, Indian, Japanese, Mediterranean, Spanish, Thai and even Vegetarian. Some of these are one of a kind restaurants that one can only find in Chicago, such as the Rockbottom Brewery, Ben Pao, Klay Oven (a South Indian restaurant), Chicago’s own Harry Caray’s Restaurant, and House of Blues.
Some well-known chain restaurants that are popular are Ed Debevic’s, Hard Rock Café, and Rainforest Café. There are several bars and clubs in the area as well, including the Blue Frog Bar and Grill and O’Leary’s Public House, named for the owner of the infamous cow. (This cow has become a legendary culprit, blamed for knocking over a lantern and thus causing the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.)
Bake for Me
- Food Retail: Bakeries
This family-owned bakery is a great alternative to the hustle and bustle of chain eateries in a downtown area. Breakfast selections include donuts, danishes, and other pastries while lunch options include their own signature sandwiches as well as home-made salads. Accessibility limitations. Please contact site for more information.
350 N. Clark St. | 312.644.7750
This popular Spanish tapas bar is great for large groups. Specialties include the “queso de cabra” (baked goat cheese) and “pulpo a la plancha” (grilled octopus); make sure to check out their complete Spanish deli.
737 N. LaSalle Dr. | 312.573.1510
Choice Dining at North State & East Ohio Streets
The area around North State Street & West Ohio Street offers a number of strong dining options. Illinois-based company Weber Grills offers flame-grilled specialties at their local Weber Grill Restaurant (539 N. State St.); sushi and other Japanese favorites can be found at Ginza (19 E. Ohio St.); and for creative Italian dining, enjoy Osteria Via Stato (620 N. State St.) or Quartino’s lively bar and dining room (626 N. State St.).
626 N. State St.
Offering a magnificent view of the Chicago skyline from the 15th Floor of the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, the Skyline Bar serves excellent drinks and has lots of great specials. Their Zen-tini has been voted one of the top ten martinis in the city.
350 W. Mart Center Dr. | 312.836.5000
Coco Pazzo is Chicago’s authority on Tuscan Italian dining. Encompassing both traditional and contemporary ingredients and techniques, you will find their seasonal dishes a pleasure to experience. Coco Pazzo is also known for their extensive wine list.
300 W. Hubbard St. | 312.836.0900
Cyrano’s Bistrot & Café Simone
This two-level restaurant serves modern French cuisine at Cyrano’s Bistrot upstairs and on the weekend features live cabaret performers at Cafe Simone downstairs.
546 N. Wells St. | 312.467.0546
David Burke’s Primehouse
This well-reviewed steakhouse is run by award-winning chef, Iron Chef America contestant and Top Chef Masters contestant David Burke. The restaurant continues to redefine modern American cuisine by pushing the envelope of culinary creativity, marked by notable dishes, such as Surf and Turf Dumplings Filled with Short Rib Barbeque and Lobster Mousse and Kobe Beef Sashimi on Himalayan Rock Salt with Mushroom Chips and Truffle Sauce.
616 N. Rush St | 312.660.6000
Dining with Rick Bayless on North Clark Street
Try three different takes on Mexican cuisine by renowned local chef Rick Bayless at Frontera Grill (445 N. Clark St.), Topolobampo (445 N. Clark St.), or Xoco (449 N. Clark St.)
445 N. Clark St
- American (New)
This bar and grill transcends the standards of a sports bar with playful and ambitious food and cocktail menus, while still making it possible to watch the game on one of their 40 flat screen televisions.
170 W. Ontario St. | 312.337.3477
Eclectic Dining in River North
For several delicious dining options near North State Street & East Superior Street, try the Hawaiian cuisine at Roy’s (720 N. State St.), the Spanish-style tapas at 1492 (42 E. Superior St.), or the excellent BBQ at Jake Melnick’s (4 E. Superior St.). Accessibility limitations at some sites. Please contact sites for more information.
720 N. State St.
Styled as a classic Chicago steakhouse and situated right along the Chicago River by Erie Park, Erie Café has received rave reviews for their steaks and other cuisine since they opened in 1994.
536 W. Erie St. | 312.266.2300
Fine Dining on North Franklin Street
Tucked away in a corner of River North, Kiki’s Bistro (900 N. Franklin St.) is known for its traditional preparations of classic French dishes in a romantic setting. Just down the street, mk (868 N. Franklin St.) is Michael Kornick’s renowned haven for delicious food with a contemporary flair in a sleek dining room.
868 N. Franklin St.
Gene & Georgetti
Gene & Georgetti, arguably Chicago’s oldest steakhouse, has been around since 1941. You may see a celebrity dining at this neighborhood restaurant, as people like Lou Pinella, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell are regulars who come for award-winning steaks and a casual yet elegant ambiance. Accessibility limitations. Please contact site for more information.
500 N. Franklin St. | 312.527.3718
Open since 1974, Giordano’s is a classic Chicago pizzeria, well known for their deep dish and stuffed pizza. Giordano’s Pizza was chosen “Best Pizza in America” by NBC. Chicago Tribune writes, “Giordano’s pizza is a must when in Chicago.”
730 N. Rush St. | 312.951.0747
- American (New)
Graham Elliot describes itself as Chicago’s first “bistronomic” restaurant, focusing on new and ambitious contemporary American cuisine served in a hip and casual atmosphere.
217 W. Huron St. | 312.624.9975
Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse
Named after the famous Chicago baseball announcer, Harry Caray’s is one of the most memorable steakhouses in Chicago, festooned with sports memorabilia. The bar located on the first floor is the length of the space between home plate and first base on a baseball field.
33 W. Kinzie St. | 312.828.0966
Heaven on Seven
- Cajun / Creole
The River North outpost of this authentic Louisiana-style Cajun restaurant offers classic Cajun and Creole dishes. Heaven on Seven, whose original location sits on the 7th floor of a Loop office building, is well known for its wide variety of hot sauces, ranked by spice intensity.
600 N. Michigan Ave. | 312.280.7774
Named a top steakhouse by Playboy and The Food Network, Keefer’s serves top quality steak and fresh seafood in a sophisticated atmosphere.
20 W. Kinzie St. | 312.467.9525
Kid-Friendly Eats in River North
River North is full of many popular restaurants that kids love, including Rock N’ Roll McDonalds (600 N. Clark St.), Portillo’s (100 W. Ontario St.), Ed Debevic’s (640 N. Wells St.), Hard Rock Café (63 W. Ontario St.), Rain Forest Café (605 N. Clark St.), and Gino’s East (633 N. Wells St.).
600 N. Clark St.
Kinzie St. & Wells St. Restaurants
Right next door to the Merchandise Mart and underneath the EL tracks sit two well known restaurants, The Mambo Grill (410 N. Wells St.) and the Kinzie Chop House (400 N. Wells St.). Accessibility limitations at some sites. Please contact sites for more information.
400 N. Wells St.
Klay Oven Indian
With a much raved about lunch buffet, Klay Oven serves the bustling office crowd during the day with all sorts of authentic Indian food and becomes an upscale restaurant by night.
414 N. Orleans St. | 312.527.3999
L’Appetito’s authentic Italian café, deli and grocery store have a loyal local following, offering slices of pizza, espresso and other coffee drinks, as well as groceries, pastas and other Italian food specialties.
30 E. Huron St. | 312.787.9881
North Orleans Street Dining Classics
Three local classics can be found around North Orleans & West Huron Streets. Try Mr. Beef (666 N. Orleans St.) for legendary sandwiches, enjoy American fare at the historic Green Door Tavern (678 N. Orleans St.), or sample Italian favorites at family-owned Club Lago (331 W. Superior St.).
678 N. Orleans St.
North Wells Street Dining
- American (New)
North Wells Street offers a range of dining options; from the health food at Karyn’s Cooked (738 N. Wells St.), to great breakfast at Yolk (747 N. Wells St.) to barbeque ribs at Carson’s (613 N. Wells St.), there is something for everyone. Accessibility limitations at some sites. Please contact sites for more information.
747 N. Wells St.
River North Asian Restaurants
For fine South and East Asian food in River North, head to either Star of Siam (11 E. Illinois St.), Singha Thai (340 N. Clark St.) or India House (59 W. Grand Ave.) . Accessibility limitations at some sites. Please contact sites for more information.
11 E. Illinois St.
River North Nightlife
There is no shortage of nightlife surrounding the North State Street & West Ontario Street corner! For an exclusive nightclub, try Visions (632 N. Dearborn St.), for a classy champagne and jazz bar head to Pops for Champagne (601 N. State St.), for drag shows check out The Baton Show Lounge (436 N. Clark St.), and for a lively but upscale lounge check out The Redhead Piano Bar (16 W. Ontario St.). Accessibility limitations at some sites. Please contact sites for more information.
601 N. State St.
River North Pubs
Clark Street is a great place to be if you’re looking for an after work happy hour or some late night weekend fun. There are many bars along this stretch, including Clark Street Ale House (742 N. Clark St.), The Kerryman pub (661 N. Clark St.), Celtic Crossings (751 N. Clark St.), and Brehon Pub (731 N. Wells St.). Accessibility limitations at some sites. Please contact sites for more information.
742 N. Clark St.
River North Steakhouses
A corner of River North that any red meat lover would love to call their second home contains top steakhouses such as Sullivan’s (415 N. Dearborn St.), Ruth’s Chris (431 N. Dearborn St.), Fleming’s (25 E. Ohio St.), the well-known and wide-ranging Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (60 E. Grand Ave.), Zed 451 (739 N. Clark St.), and the Brazilian-style Brazzaz (539 N. Dearborn St.).
431 N. Dearborn St.
Open since May 2005, Rosebud Trattoria aims to find the best ingredients possible and deliver them fresh from the market to the customers’ table. Rosebud Trattoria offers classic Italian dishes, such as Mama’s Meatballs and Veal Saltimbocca, as well as a wide-ranging selection of wines.
445 N. Dearborn St. | 312.832.7700
- Latin American
Offering a delectable menu of Latin Fusion cuisine in an upscale yet fun setting, Rumba has a large dance floor and even offers dance lessons.
351 W. Hubbard St. | 312.222.1226
Shaw’s Crab House
Shaw’s Crab House is known for serving fresh seafood, excellent crab and premium steaks. Shaw’s main dining room serves more than 40 seasonally fresh seafood entrees as well as Prime Steak. For a more low-key experience, sit in the oyster bar featuring fresh oysters and plenty of seafood dishes!
21 E. Hubbard St. | 312.527.2722
Smith & Wollensky
With several locations throughout the country, Smith & Wollensky is one of America’s premier steakhouses. Their Chicago location is right on the Chicago River, offering unique views of the city.
318 N. State St. | 312.670.9900
The Chicago Chop House
Soak up Chicago history at the Chicago Chop House, housed in a restored Victorian brownstone. This popular steak restaurant serves up classic cuts including filets and New York Strip Steaks. Accessibility limitations. Please contact site for more information.
60 W. Ontario St. | 312.787.7100
The Hop Haus
Hop Haus offers over 20 burger choices and an even larger beer selection. Try some truly unique burger options including the wild game burgers made from kangaroo, ostrich or wild boar.
646 N. Franklin St. | 312.467.4287
The Redhead Piano Bar
The Redhead is Chicago’s Premier Piano Bar. Located on bustling Ontario Street, it is the perfect nightspot for fantastic upbeat music, lively conversation and meeting people. The ambiance creates an atmosphere of congeniality and warmth, reminiscent of Chicago true elegant nightlife.
16 W. Ontario St. | 312.640.1000
Uno Chicago Grill Pizzeria Due
Argued by many to be the first Chicago Style Pizzeria, Pizzeria Uno has been in operation since 1943 when retired football player Ike Sewell attempted to make a pizza to satisfy a large hunger. Accessibility limitations. Please contact site for more information.
619 N. Wabash St. | 312.943.2400
Weed Street District
Known around Chicago as an entertainment district, this little section of Weed Street is home to many bars and night clubs. Joe’s Bar (940 W. Weed St.), a country music venue and sports bar, is the most famous of the bunch.
N. Fremont St. & W. Weed St.
West Hubbard Street Nightlife
For some late night fun along West Hubbard Street, try Theory (9 W. Hubbard St.) or the popular piano bar Howl at the Moon (26 W. Hubbard St.).
26 W. Hubbard St.
Women Chefs Cook it Up in River North
River North is home to a bastion of creative restaurants owned and operated by talented local women, including Chef Carrie Nahabedian’s Naha (500 N. Clark St.) Chef Suzy Crofton’s Crofton on Wells (535 N. Wells St.) as well as the Indian-Latin fusion cooking created by Chef Maneet Chauhan at Rohini Dey’s Vermillion (10 W. Hubbard St.). Accessibility limitations at some sites. Please contact sites for more information.
500 N. Clark St.
- American (New)
This fine dining restaurant offers contemporary American cuisine with international influences as well as a selection of 750 wines to choose from out of their 18 foot tall wine tower.
419 W. Superior St. | 312.475.9112
River North, although a destination for tourists, is also home to a large number of locals. Primarily, professionals who have chosen this neighborhood for its proximity to the Loop, River North inhabitants live in a variety of townhomes, mid-rise condos, and warehouses that have been converted into upscale lofts.
One of the area’s landmarks is also a popular place to live; Marina City at 300 N. State Street at the Chicago River, watches over River North’s southern border. Often called the “Corncob Towers” for its unique design, these 60-story towers hold shops, a fitness center, a swimming pool, a skating rink, a marina, and even a bowling alley. The entire complex, designed by architect Bertrand Goldberg, has often been called a microcosm because of all it offers.
River North has a vibrant nightlife, as several of the restaurants in the area are open late and there are a number of clubs scattered throughout the neighborhood. Some of the better-known clubs include Excalibur and Sound-Bar, while those looking for a lounge atmosphere where the emphasis is less on dancing can visit Bin 36, Narcisse or the legendary House of Blues. On any given night, the crowd in these venues is a blend of locals and visitors.
The colorful, energetic neighborhood of River North is cultured by day and boisterous by night. The people who live in and visit this area know how to make the most of its extensive antique and art arena, as well as sit back and enjoy its festive nightlife. River North, like so many of Chicago’s neighborhoods, evades simple labeling and serves up different levels of entertainment.
Location & Area
North Boundary: 800 N Chicago
South Boundary: ~300 N Chicago River
East Boundary: 0 E/W State
West Boundary: ~400-600 Chicago River
Primary Zip Code: 60610
Current Trends and Facts of River North Chicago
River North neighborhood is often considered Chicago’s version of New York’s SoHo. It’s a growing, cosmopolitan neighborhood filled with art galleries. In fact, some call it SuHu, as many galleries are near the intersection of Superior and Huron. Many residents enjoy gallery hopping, particularly on Friday, the day many new exhibits are displayed.
River North is rich with trendy restaurants and dance clubs. The neighborhood covers a wide area, with art galleries to the west and big-name attractions to the east. River North neighborhood boasts big names like the Rainforest Café, themed restaurants such as Hard Rock Café and Ed Debevic’s. The area is kid-friendly and adult-friendly with a blend of tourist and local destinations. Plus, it’s just a few cafés- and boutique-filled blocks to the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue.
River North neighborhood is also home to The Merchandise Mart, recently renovated into a first-class shopping center for home design and fashions. Once owned by the Kennedy family, The Merchandise Mart and the Apparel Center across the street are the epicenter of Chicago’s world-class furniture and fashion design industry.