The Gold Coast / Streeterville areas are located on the north side of Chicago, along Lake Michigan. These areas are some of the country’s most affluent neighborhoods. With streets that are lined with historic mansions and specialty boutiques, they are intensely popular areas for residents and visitors. Streeterville is home to Navy Pier, a play land filled with amusement rides, gift shops and eateries, whose docks are lined with sightseeing boats and bicycles. In addition to sweeping lakefront views, Navy Pier is home to its own beer garden and evening fireworks in the summer, as well as year-round favorites, Chicago Children’s Museum and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Streeterville is the easternmost neighborhood in Chicago, north of the Chicago River. It is bounded by the river on the south, Michigan Avenue on the west, and Lake Michigan on the north and east.
Streeterville houses some of Chicago’s tallest skyscrapers (such as the John Hancock Center) and most upscale stores, hotels, restaurants, as well as Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, School of Continuing Studies, Kellogg School of Management’s downtown campus and School of Law. The Magnificent Mile portion of Michigan Avenue is part of Streeterville, as is the number one tourist attraction in Chicago, Navy Pier. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago is also located here.
The Gold Coast consists mostly of high-rise apartment buildings along Lake Shore Drive, facing Lake Michigan, and low-rise residential blocks, inland. As with many neighborhoods, its exact borders are subject to dispute but, generally, they extend from North Avenue, south, to Chicago Avenue and west to LaSalle Street.
The Gold Coast became the home of the super-rich in 1885, when Potter Palmer, former dry goods merchant and owner of the Palmer House hotel, built a fanciful castle on Lake Shore Drive. Over the next few decades, Chicago’s elite gradually migrated from Prairie Avenue to their new homes north of the Loop.
Along almost every boulevard of the Gold Coast, upscale boutiques and shops have opened up. Giorgio Armani, Chanel, Hermès, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Cartier SA, Van Cleef & Arpels, Yves Saint Laurent, Harry Winston, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Stuart Weitzman, Rolex, Max Mara, Vera Wang, Jimmy Choo, Versace, Paul Stuart, Betsey Johnson, and Lilly Pulitzer are just a few of the dozens of designers that have locations in the exclusive neighborhood. Also, Lamborghini, Maserati, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, and Bugatti all have dealership locations in the Gold Coast.
Many of Chicago’s best known restaurants are located here as well. Gibson’s, Spiaggia, the Pump Room, Nico Osteria, Carmine’s, Table Fifty-Two, and the original Morton’s are all staples in the area and are also celebrity hangouts.
The “Gold Coast Historic District” was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 30, 1978.
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