Chicago’s renowned Gold Coast is north of the fabled Oak Street and south of North Avenue. It’s western boundary is Clark Street east to Lake Michigan.
Early in the last century, Potter Palmer broke ground on a veritable castle of a home on Lake Shore Drive, north of Division Street, and started a trend. Chicago’s well-to-do, formerly ensconced in the Prairie District, followed suit and built mansions along Lake Shore Drive or moved into sprawling apartments nearby with views of the lake. Gradually the area became known as the Gold Coast.
Most of the opulent mansions along Lake Shore Drive have since been replaced with towering luxury high-rises. But behind the high-rises, on the tree-lined streets, Gold Coast real estate includes historic row homes, single-family mansions and luxury condominiums of all types and sizes. Most of the street-level housing is attainable only by the wealthy. The high-rise condos range in price from the multi-millions to the surprisingly affordable. On prestigious East Lake Shore Drive, the historic row of century-old co-op apartment buildings, many recently restored, are the home to many of Chicago’s social elite.
The area has an aura of affluence, with professionally landscaped outdoor spaces and streets, old world charm, unique architecture and upscale boutique shopping and dining. And if one tires of Oak Street’s elite boutique scene, Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, technically in Streeterville, is just steps away from the Gold Coast.
The Gold Coast can be very lively at times. The neighborhood is the host to the Gold Coast Art Fair every summer, has its own farmers market, and is home to the restaurants and bars on Rush Street, a popular gathering spot for Chicago’s professionals.