Downtown Chicago isn’t simply “downtown,” but many subset neighborhoods and communities, each with its own offerings when it comes to buying Chicago real estate. That’s one of the great things about Chicago—if exactly what you’re looking for isn’t in one neighborhood, you can likely find it in the next.
While there’s always some debate on where one Chicago neighborhood begins and another ends, I’d like to break down the communities that lie within the borders of downtown Chicago. We’ll start with a few: Gold Coast, East Lake Shore Drive, Cathedral, Streeterville and River North:
Gold Coast: If you’re looking for the best in luxury real estate in Chicago, chances are you’ll find it here—the wealthiest neighborhood in the city. Bordered by North Ave. and Chicago Ave., Gold Coast boasts exclusive boutiques located on Oak Street and chic lounges and bistros tucked away amidst the elegant vintage brownstones and greystones. The Gold Coast is where Chicagoans go to experience the good life. Chicago homes in Gold Coast vary from studios to high-rise condos to mansions along the shore of Lake Michigan.
East Lake Shore Drive
Greystones in Chicago's Gold Coast (image from flickr/Monika Thorpe)
: If breathtaking lake views are on your wish list for your Chicago real estate
purchase, the buildings along East Lake Shore Drive will deliver. This historic district is located within Streeterville and includes several of the lakefront’s most prestigious Chicago condo
buildings that were even named a Chicago landmark 25 years ago. East Lake Shore Drive is home to the historic Drake Hotel and one of the city’s best waterfront areas—Oak Street Beach.
: Roughly located west of the Magnificent Mile to LaSalle Street, the Cathedral District has been branded by the presence of the Holy Name and St. James cathedrals. This community doesn’t have set-in-stone boundaries that differentiate it from the Gold Coast
, and many would consider Cathedral to be a part of the Gold Coast neighborhood. Many new, posh residential buildings lie among the historic architecture in Cathedral—55 E Erie, a luxury building with 9.5-foor ceiling heights; 50 E Chestnut, where each lavish unit takes up an entire floor; and 800 Michigan Avenue, a newer luxury building that gives residences access to concierge services at the neighboring Hyatt Hotel. Michigan Avenue will also be home to the brand new Ritz-Carlton Residences—ultra-luxurious condominiums that pairs the Ritz-Carlton’s 5-star hotel service with the privacy of a boutique residence.
Lake Point Tower in Chicago's Streeterville (Image from flickr/lauren manning)
: Home of the Magnificent Mile, one of the country’s most elite shopping strips with shops like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s. Streeterville is home to Navy Pier and the luxury condominiums in the 70-story Lake Point Tower. These Chicago condos offer unmatched, unobstructed lake and city views, a private park and 24/7 uniformed doormen.
: The Near North community, lying roughly between the Chicago River and Chicago Avenue and Michigan Avenue and La Salle Street, encompasses many small neighborhoods within it. It is an affluent neighborhood that includes many posh residential real estate options, including lofts, mid-rise buildings and townhouses. Near North is also a great community for art aficionados, with many galleries and interior design studios nearby.