Located on the north side of downtown Chicago, the Gold Coast is one of the most premier neighborhoods in the downtown Chicago area. It touches the shore of Lake Michigan, providing its inhabitants with a magnificent view all year long. Residents of this historically affluent neighborhood enjoy a well-rounded culture with everything from mansions to high-rise condominiums.
In the wake of the Great Chicago Fire, a millionaire named Potter Palmer founded the Gold Coast in 1882 and built the first mansion in the area. Shortly thereafter, many wealthy Chicago natives followed suit, quickly creating one of the richest neighborhoods in Chicago. To this day, that wealth and prosperity still exists along Oak Street, Astor Street and Lake Shore Drive, as well as many other streets in close proximity.
At the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Michigan Avenue is a famous shopping district called The Magnificent Mile. Dubbed the city’s largest shopping district, The Magnificent Mile, nicknamed “The Mag Mile,” has something for everyone. From the internationally recognized stores and posh boutiques to delicious restaurants and major Chicago landmarks, this area is a swanky shopper’s playground, a foodie’s best friend or a history buff’s dream.
According to Zillow.com, the median price of homes currently listed in the Gold Coast is $525,000, and rental property rates range from $1,100 for a studio apartment to $19,000 for a three bed, three-and-a-half bath condo. Renting does seem to be a popular choice for many Gold Coast residents; however, real estate purchases are a long term investment, and the Gold Coast is a buyer’s market.
Shopping and Dining
- Burton Snowboards Flagship Store – Located at 56 E. Walton St., Burton is the leading brand in all things snow and cold weather. If you’re finding yourself a bit underprepared for the harsh weather in Chicago, Burton’s carries men’s, women’s, and children’s winter wear. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast and extreme sportsman, this is your haven. Burton has a wide selection of snowboards and snow gear. It is a multilevel store featuring a knowledgeable staff and all the latest outerwear, luggage, snowboards and more.
- Bloomingdale’s – Everyone knows Bloomingdale’s! It is a classic American department store chain started in 1861. In Chicago, it’s located at 900 North Michigan Ave. Designer clothes, men’s clothes, women’s clothes, luggage, jewelry, shoes, accessories, kid’s clothes—there is nothing they don’t have. Bloomingdale’s is your one stop shop for residents and visitors alike.
- Carmine’s – Located at 1043 N. Rush St., this authentic Italian restaurant is the ultimate dining experience! Featuring a fully stocked bar with live music and a cozy upstairs dining room, Carmine’s is the place to be. Be sure to make a reservation because anybody who’s anybody eats here! Whether you’re in the mood for an evening dinner or a late night out, Carmine’s accommodates your needs. Their extensive menu is as remarkable as their portions, with steaks, seafood, chicken and pasta.
- Lou Malnati’s –Lou Malnati’s is the place to get your deep-dish fix in Chicago! Considered the oldest family name in Chiacgo pizza, Lou Malnati’s keeps the deep-dish style alive and thriving. Rumor has it that two equally as famous pizza restaurants—Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due—stole their ‘famous’ pizza recipe from the Malnati family! With more than 35 locations throughout the city, Lou Malnati’s is so good that it encourages intellectually property theft!
Entertainment and Recreation
- Former Playboy Mansion – The ultimate playboy, Hugh Hefner, once lived in this iconic house at 1340 N. State Parkway. In 1959, the mansion was purchased by Hugh Hefner himself. He and the playboy bunnies lived and worked here until the early 1970s when he moved to California. Although this building is now a private residence, it still provides a level of novelty to visitors for a fun weekend activity.
- Ditka’s Restaurant – Mike Ditka is such a household name in Chicago that he has a thriving restaurant chain in his name. Not far north of Solider Field is “da coach’s” dining spot at 100 E. Chestnut St. On any given night, singer Johnny Vincent, a Chicago native, covers the classics of Frank Sinatra, Louie Armstrong and Johnny Cash. Go to Ditka’s to lounge around and enjoy sultry and lively sounds over drinks with friends and family, or enjoy chops, steaks and the “Best Burger in Chicago.” In addition to the location on Chestnut Street, Ditka’s can be found in Arlington Heights and Oakbrook Terrace.
- Residence of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago – Although it is a private residence, this Queen Anne-stlye mansion, located at 1555 N. State Parkway, is a fun sight to see. Chicago archbishop Francis Cardinal George currently resides here. Originally built in 1885 for Patrick Feehan, Chicago’s first archbishop, the red brick mansion is only viewable from the outside. Religious or not, this house is quite the architectural beauty.
- Society of Architectural Historians – The SAH, or Society of Architectural Historians, is located in the historic Astor district at 1365 N. Astor St. SAH is a nonprofit membership organization garnering international recognition. It promotes all things architecture: design, landscape and urbanism. Free public tours are given every Wednesday and Saturday.. Whether you love architecture or just want to enjoy free cultural entertainment, the Society of Architectural Historians is a safe bet.
Gold Coast is one of Chicago’s more affluent downtown neighborhoods. Those living on the Gold Coast find themselves surrounded by a host of historic sites, museums, local boutiques, restaurants and nightlife venues. Go visit and let its fun atmosphere and luxury wash over you.