Think you’ve already discovered everything there is to know about Chicago’s Gold Coast and Streeterville neighborhoods? There’s a lot more to the area than the high-end fashion, top-notch restaurants, and glamorous people-watching. Here are the top ten things we love about Streeterville and the Gold Coast.
1. You can dine with Da Coach
The original Ditka’s restaurant in the Tremont Hotel (100 E. Chestnut, http://www.tremontchicago.com/ditkas-restaurant-chicago) is famous for steakhouse classics, but did you know that you can meet the legendary Chicago Bears coach and Hall of Famer in person there? On select Thursdays, Ditka tapes his eponymous ESPN radio show right from the Gold Coast venue. So stop by and say hi, but make sure to leave your green and yellow at home.
2. … or with ghosts of Chicago past
The Pump Room (1301 N. State, http://www.pumproom.com/) was initially established in 1938 and revamped in 2011. In its heyday, the restaurant was the place to see and be seen by scores of notable celebrities, from Clark Gable to Liz Taylor. The famed Booth One, which once sat Sinatra, still exists, and the lower level is an homage to famous faces who once graced the dining room. Today the Pump Room is a sexy, sophisticated venue where you still feel like you might catch a glimpse of the Rat Pack while sipping your dirty martini.
3. Our piano bars are older than your grandparents
Meet the Zebra Lounge (1220 N. State, http://www.thezebralounge.net/), a piano bar located in the Canterbury Court apartment building. This 85-year old watering hole, a well-kept secret amongst locals wishing to escape the masses in River North, holds the oldest liquor license in the city. The daily live music and ostentatious décor, true to its name, draw eclectic crowds that fill the pint-sized bar, so be sure to get there early to get a seat in one of the booths… zebra-striped, of course.
4. We have amazing art at our fingertips. Sometimes, it’s in a mall
Everyone knows about the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) (220 E. Chicago, http://www.mcachicago.org/) currently home to the highly anticipated “David Bowie Is” exhibit. But fine art is all over the near north side, from galleries open to the public (check out RS Johnson Fine Art, 645 N. Michigan #990, http://www.rsjohnsonfineart.com/) to the Art Club of Chicago (201 E. Ontario, http://www.artsclubchicago.org/) . From 9/18/14-10/12/14, the Water Tower Place (835 N. Michigan, http://www.shopwatertower.com/) will exhibit secret artwork and a never before seen hat collection by famed author Theodor Geisel, who you may know better as Dr. Seuss. And no, you can’t try the hats on.
5. You can see world-renowned architecture from your backyard
You don’t need to go to Oak Park to see the amazing Frank Lloyd Wright architecture Chicago is famous for. The James Charnley House (1365 N. Astor), located in the historic Astor Street District of the Gold Coast, was the work of Louis Sullivan and a young Wright and is now home to the Society of Architectural Historians. A stone’s throw away is 860–880 Lake Shore Drive, designed by Mies van der Rohe and considered one of the prototypes for modern, high-tech architecture. Let’s not forget the John Hancock Center and Signature Lounge (875 N Michigan, http://www.johnhancockcenterchicago.com/) —where else can you do cocktail hour 95 floors above the city?
6. We have the original Playboy mansion
That’s right, the infamous interview magazine started in Chicago. Hef’s original mansion (1340 N. State), complete with “grotto” in the basement, is still in the Gold Coast. Since he permanently relocated to California in the 1970s, it has been converted to condos, so the only bunnies you’ll be seeing these days are the fuzzy ones.
7. You can catch a show whenever you want
Some of the best theater in the US is found in Chicago, and many of these venues are located in the near north side, including the Lookinglass Theater (821 N. Michigan, http://lookingglasstheatre.org/), the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (800 E. Grand, http://www.chicagoshakes.com/), and the Broadway Playhouse (175 E. Chestnut, http://broadwayinchicago.com/). With all these choices, who says we’re the second city?
8. We go green
Both Streeterville and the Gold Coast are full of eco-conscious residents who support the environment. From farmers’ markets at the MCA to locally-sourced neighborhood restaurants (try Local Root, 601 N. McClurg, http://www.localrootchicago.com/) to volunteer gardening opportunities at Lake Shore Park (808 N. Lake Shore, http://soarchicago.org/get-involved/) it’s easy to give back.
9. We were named after a circus ringleader-pirate-hooligan
Ever wonder why Streeterville is so named? No, not because it has streets. As legend has it, a Mississippi River boat captain and circus owner named George (“Cap”) Streeter found his boat washed ashore near Superior Street in 1886. Through a series of shady maneuvers, he continued to illegally lay claim to the land around what is now the John Hancock Center until he was thrown in jail in 1902. No, we’re not making this up—there was even a play about the Cap performed in Streeterville itself in 2013 (see http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130903/streeterville/streeterville-play-finally-performed-namesake-neighborhood).
10. Chicago was born here. No, really
Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, a trader and the first permanent resident of Chicago (or Eschecagou, as it was known in the late 1700s), called the area on the Mag Mile now designated as Pioneer Court (by 401 N. Michigan) home. Thanks for setting up shop here. We’d like to think we made the “Father of Chicago” proud.
After learning just a little bit more about Chicago's Near North Side, start searching Streeterville real estate for sale and Gold Coast real estate for sale to see what's on the market in two of downtown Chicago's hottest neighborhoods to call home!
Ted Guarnero, REALTOR® is a full-time real estate agent with over 1000 homes sold and $400 million in sales. Working with Compass real estate offering professional and effective real estate services to help you succeed in the local real estate market. Visit www.seeChicagorealestate.com for information on downtown Chicago real estate and to get in touch with an expert in the Chicago real estate market. Before you hire your next Realtor call Ted Guarnero 855-See-Chicago, it's on the House !