River North

River North

The River North neighborhood got its name from Chicago real estate developer Albert Friedman (chief executive of Friedman Properties Ltd.), who in 1974 started to buy, restore and build commercial property in the southeast sector.

Much of the area was skid row at the time, so in an effort to attract tenants Friedman started calling the area "River North". Within a few years, Friedman found photographers, ad agencies and art galleries willing to rent the low cost space and coalesce into what is now the The River North Gallery District, which has the largest concentration of art galleries in the United States outside of Manhattan.

Along with hundreds of art galleries, the area holds many bars, dance clubs, popular restaurants, and entertainment venues. Between the year 2000 and 2010, the population in the four census tracts covering River North increased by an average of nearly 82%, boosting population from 9,835 in 2000 to 17,892 in 2010.

Subsections of River North include:

  • the gallery district, primarily along Superior and Huron streets between Wells and Orleans;
  • a theme-restaurant area with many tourist-oriented restaurants, surrounding Clark and Ontario;
  • "the Cathedral District," an area with many new residential skyscapers surrounding Holy Name Cathedral (Catholic) and St. James Cathedral (Episcopal), located near State and Superior, and Huron and Wabash, respectively;
  • a design district, with shops and showrooms selling commercial and luxury interior furnishings, in the blocks north of the Merchandise Mart; and
  • Kingsbury Park, an area of newly built residential high-rises surrounding Montgomery Ward Park, at Erie Street and the Chicago River.
  • River North is serviced by four "L" train stations: the above-ground Chicago-Brown and Merchandise Mart-Brown stations and the below-ground Chicago-Red and Grand-Red stations.



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