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Where to Live in Chicago: River North vs. Streeterville

Where to Live: River North or Streeterville

Chicago's River North and Streeterville neighborhoods are situated right next to one another and are only separated by bustling Michigan Avenue. But despite their close proximity, each offers a very different living experience, making it extremely important for any apartment hunter or condo buyer to weigh all the pros and cons of each location before determining which might be the best fit to call home. 

Streeterville: The real estate market in Streeterville is truly all about high-rise living. Sure, you’ll find some townhouses scattered throughout the area (and mostly along the riverfront) but towering high-rise condos and apartments dominate the housing landscape in what’s arguably Chicago’s most energetic neighborhood. Another element that makes buying a condo in Streeterville intriguing is its location right alongside Lake Michigan. If sweeping, unobstructed views of Chicago's lakefront are at or near the top of your wish list, buildings like 600 N. Lake Shore Drive, One Bennett Park, 840 N. Lake Shore Drive, and of course the iconic John Hancock Center are great options to consider. But the list of desirable Streeterville condo buildings hardly stops there. Literally dozens of condo towers and apartment buildings fill out this one-of-a-kind neighborhood, providing prospective condo buyers and renters with endless possibilities at varying price points. 

River North: While River North certainly has its fair share of luxury condo towers, it also has a rich industrial history that allows this part of Chicago to feature some of the coolest residential loft conversions you’ll find anywhere. If you’re looking for a newer loft with all the bells and whistles, try The Ronsely; or if an authentic warehouse loft with all the classic touches like high timber ceilings and exposed brick walls is more your speed, the Ontario Street Lofts may just be the better option. We also love River North for its incredible collection of upscale boutique condo buildings, perfect for buyers who might not prefer the density of a high-rise but also prefer the finished look of an upscale condominium residence. 

Winner: We like River North here simply for its variety. Whether you're looking for a loft, a studio apartment, or a lavish and luxurious condo in one of the neighborhood's many different high-rises, there's something for every buyer or renter in Chicago's River North neighborhood.

Streeterville: Although other downtown neighborhoods like River North, the West Loop, and the Gold Coast have more to offer in terms of trendy, award-winning restaurants, Streeterville still has a number of hidden gems that are certainly worth mentioning. Long-standing Timothy O’Toole’s Pub lies right smack-dab in the middle of the neighborhood and is well-known to locals for their wings and for being one of the best spots in town to catch a Bears, Bulls, or Blackhawks game. And if you’re in the mood for something a little more fancy, Francesca’s on Chestnut and Bandera are two of our favorites in Streeterville that we highly recommend. 

River North: Simply put, the River North dining scene is EPIC! Throughout this part of the city is where you’ll find the highest concentration of restaurants, bars, and nightlife combined, so not surprisingly, the number of highly-touted, critically-acclaimed restaurants in River North is truly too long to list. Places like Pizzeria Portofino, Chicago Cut, RPM Steakhouse, Bavette's Bar & Boeuf, and Three Dots And a Dash all rank among the best and most popular hotspots in town, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to where to eat and drink in River North, downtown’s liveliest neighborhood. 

Winner: With River North being home to many of Chicago's hottest restaurants, bars, and taverns, it's hard to make a strong case for Streeterville. Just the sheer volume of high-end steakhouses in River North alone are enough for us to give it the dining scene nod.

Streeterville: Believe it or not, the unbeatable access to parks and outdoor recreational amenities from Streeterville is why it remains one of Chicago's best neighborhoods to call home. Residents are just a short walk or bike ride from the 18.5 mile-long Lakefront Trail, which is hands-down the best (and safest) place to walk, jog, bike, or roller blade in the city. Scenic Oak Street Beach is also just a short distance from most Streeterville condo buildings, as is Ohio Street Beach, the Jane Addams Memorial Park & Natural Area, Navy Pier, and breathtaking River Esplanade Park. 

River North: River North, on the other hand, isn't quite as park-friendly but still features a few outdoor parks and public green spaces for locals to enjoy, including the Ohio Place Dog Park at 303 Ohio Street, A. Montgomery Ward Park at 630 N. Kingsbury Street, and John Durso Park at 421 W. Locust Street.

Winner: Easy access to the lakefront and two downtown beaches makes Streeterville the easy choice for parks and outdoor recreation. In fact, for anybody who loves to get outside and stay active in the summer, Streeterville is our top recommendation for where to call home in Downtown Chicago. 


  • Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago - 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Chicago Children's Museum - 700 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Shakespeare Theater - 800 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Lookingglass Theatre - 821 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Magnificent Mile - North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

River North:

  • Museum of Broadcast Communications - 360 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Addington Gallery - 704 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654
  • ECHT Gallery - 210 W Superior St, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Zolla Lieberman Gallery - 325 W Huron St #1e, Chicago, IL 60654
  • House of Blues Chicago - 329 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60654

Winner: Despite River North having one of the highest concentrations of art galleries in the country, we give the edge to Streeterville for cultural attractions. Navy Pier remains the city's most visited tourist attraction and the museum and theatres in Streeterville help make this one of Chicago's go-to places to see.


  • Chicago Water Taxi: 400 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Major CTA Bus Routes: 2, 3, 66, 120, 125, 143, 146, 147, 151, 157

River North:

  • Merchandise Mart Brown/Purple Line “L” Station: 350 N. Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Chicago Avenue Brown/Purple Line “L” Station: 300 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60610
  • Chicago Avenue Red Line Subway Station: 800 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610
  • Grand Avenue Red Line Subway Station: 521 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610
  • Major CTA Bus Routes: 22, 36, 37, 65, 66, 125, 156

Winner: The public transportation nod has to go to River North simply for its access to the "L" and subway trains. Many Streeterville bus routes can also be caught in River North as well, making Streeterville one of Chicago's most transit-friendly neighborhoods.

Need a place to live in Chicago near public transporation? Search Chicago condos near CTA "L" stations or contact The Seventy7 Group at Fulton Grace Realty, Downtown Chicago's local real estate experts, for help finding the perfect new condo or apartment!

Streeterville: Shopping in Streeterville is all about Chicago's world famous Magnificent Mile. Stretching 13 blocks from the main branch of the Chicago River all the way up to Oak Street, the Mag Mile is packed with over 460 stores, 275 restaurants, and 60 hotels. The Water Tower Place mall also calls Streeterville home, which features more than 758,000 square feet and a vast selection of more than 100 stores as well.

River North: The Magnificent Mile is easily accessible from Chicago’s River North neighborhood and you’ll also find countless luxury boutiques and galleries scattered all throughout the area as well. Designers will also love visiting theMART (aka the Merchandise Mart), which features hundreds of manufacturers’ showrooms that range from luxury kitchen and bathroom products to fine home and office furniture. The four-story, six-city-block Shops at North Bridge is also an upscale mall in River North, providing shoppers with more than 50 world-class stores and retailers, including the flagship Nordstrom store. 


  • Whole Foods Market - 255 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Trader Joe’s - 44 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Target Grocery - 401 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Exclusively Gourmet - 175 E Delaware Pl, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Potash Market - 175 E Delaware Pl #44, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Lake Shore Grocers - 900 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611

River North:

  • Whole Foods Market - 30 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Foxtrot - 114 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Galleria Market - 340 W Superior St, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Exclusively Gourmet - 175 E Delaware Pl, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Jewel-Osco - 550 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Trader Joe’s - 44 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611

Winner: You shouldn't have trouble accessing groceries nearby in either location, making this one a wash. Both neighborhoods have a Whole Foods Market, a Trader Joe's, a big box grocery store, and several smaller makets and bodegas.

Ready to get your new home or condo search started? If you're still unsure which location is right for you, browse all Downtown Chicago condos for sale or contact The Seventy7 Group at Fulton Grace Realty with any questions you have about neighborhoods you're considering!


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