Chicago’s Near North Side
Home to Chicago’s fabled Magnificent Mile, the Near North neighborhood of the Windy City is distinguished by its plethora of department stores, restaurants hotels and bars which line up along its streets. But it’s much more than just tourist trap shopping, the Near North includes the neighborhoods of River North which is Chicago’s ‘artist’s paradise’, as it’s a Mecca of art galleries and impressive jaw-dropping architecture. River North is also home to Pizzeria Uno, the place where the iconic Chicagoan deep-dish pizza was invented. You can stop by Pizzeria Uno on Ohio Street while in River North when you’re done ogling at all the art galleries, or when you’ve dealt a few blows on your budget from the surrounding department stores.
When you’ve had your fill of deep-dish pizza and art galleries, you can always head down to Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue – the most prestigious shopping district in the Windy City. Magnificent Mile, as well as all of the surrounding area, holds a lot of history which has been in the making ever since the city was first being built. If you’re a history buff then a trip to Magnificent Mile will certainly take you back to the early 1900s – a lot of the locales here are almost a century old, and most if not all of the infrastructure hasn’t changed for decades and makes for quite the spectacle. But there’s one piece of timeless history here that triumphs all – the famous Chicago water tower. The Chicago Water Tower is America’s second oldest water tower, but now serves as a Chicago Office of Tourism art gallery aptly named the ‘City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower’.
Once you’re done taking in the rich history of the city here, and when you’ve shopped til’ you’ve dropped, you can escape the hustle and bustle of the area in Chicago’s iconic Riverwalk. Open to pedestrians, the Riverwalk contains an impressive variety of restaurants, seating areas and even boat rentals which allow you to take a serene boat ride along the Chicago River. A boat ride in Chicago is a very attractive privilege for any visiting tourist as it offers a unique perspective of the city unattainable while on foot.
If you’re not so keen on boat rides then naturally there are other activities which are unique to River North. If you’re perhaps a more romanticizing type then you’ll love the horse-drawn carriages that frequent routes along Magnificent Mile and Streeterville. Most horse-drawn carriages are stationed at the base of the Chicago water tower. If you’re visiting Chicago during the Summer months you can always hop on down to Oak Street Beach, located between 500-1500 Lake Shore Dr. It’s open from dawn to dusk and offers much more than just swimming and sun-tanning. There are concrete paths for cycling and skating much like on Venice Beach in LA, and there are also frequent volleyball games being held as well.
Then there’s Rush street; Chicago’s best-known street when it comes to nightlife. You’d be hard pressed to not see late-night bars, nightclubs and pubs just about everywhere you look here. Every bar, club, venue, pub and café here have something different to offer, no two are identical in theme or aesthetic, so there’s really something for every party-goer on this glitzy street.
Near north side is Chicago’s pride jewel, and isn’t just a mere tourist trap with overpriced food and products. It bears the brunt of Chicago’s history and soul, and what it offers isn’t simply limited to nightlife thrills, expensive clothes and food – there are tons of activities which can be done day or night, Summer or Winter. If you really want to take in Chicago the way it’s mean to be taken in, then stopping by here while visiting the Windy City is a necessity.