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Gold Coast Chicago Neighborhood Guide

John Hancock Tower, Gold Coast Chicago

The Gold Coast

If you’re looking for upscale shopping in Chicago, the Gold Coast is where you want to be. 

One of the nation’s most affluent neighborhoods, the Gold Coast is home to some of the most iconic images of Chicago – The Drake Hotel, the John Hancock Building, Water Tower, and Michigan Avenue. 

Grab a drink at the Signature Room on the 99th floor of the Hancock building and take in what many consider to be the greatest view in Chicago. 

Check out the shops in the 8-story Water Tower Place shopping center, or stroll down Oak Street’s exclusive shopping district with stores recognized throughout the world. It’s an experience reserved only for a great American city.

This is the neighborhood where Chicago’s powerful come to play. There’s Rush Street, home of several of the best steakhouses in America – Gibson’s, Morton’s, Rosebud, Michael Jordan’s, Tavern on Rush.

Gold Coast Restaurants and Chicago Steakhouses

Spiaggia:  Chef Tony Mantuano’s Michelin-starred Italian cuisine is among the best in the city.

Tru The amazing, groundbreaking French restaurant that launched the careers of some of Chicago’s best chefs and earns Michelin stars annually.

Nico Osteria Chic venue featuring Italian seafood specialties, cocktails & wines, located in the Thompson Hotel.

The Original Morton’s Steakhouse:  As Chicago as it gets.

Les Nomades:  High-end French cuisine.

Ditka’s:  A must-stop for sports fans. Ditka’s is decked out with memorabilia from the long career of the Second City’s most-beloved coach.

The Lobby:  Get a more affordable taste of the grand cuisine at The Peninsula. 

Gibson’s A place to hang amonst the power brokers. On one visit, we spied White Sox GM Kenny Williams at the bar, then dined a couple tables away from former Mayor Richard J. Daley and Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago Bulls and White Sox.

Tavern on Rush:  A contemporary steakhouse on Rush Street. Huge chops, huge sides, for the broad-shouldered side of Chicago dining. 

Gold Coast Bars

The Signature Room:  Grab a drink or dinner here and you'll get an amazing 360 degree view of Chicago from the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building. Even Chicagoans admit this is a must-do!

Streeter’s:  Classic basement dive bar - with ping pong and life-size jenga. And it has an awning...inside, the mark of a quality bar that doesn't take itself too seriously. 

Attractions of the Gold Coast

Hancock Observatory:  Nearly 100 stories tall with the best view in the city. Take in a 360 degree panorama of the skyline, Lake Shore Drive, and Lake Michigan.

Water Tower Place:  See the historic Water Tower, the only structure that survived the Chicago Fire of 1871, and cross the street to Water Tower Place, an eight-story mall with all the shopping you can squeeze in.

Museum of Contemporary Art:  Tucked behind the Hancock building, the museum hosts some of the city’s most popular exhibitions.

Oak Street Beach Sun, beach time, volleyball, and a beachside tiki bar come summertime.

The Chicago Sports Museum:  New in 2014, the museum inside Harry Caray’s showcases the storied history of Chicago sports.


Public transit in Chicago is excellent, and although the systems are easy to use, using the CTA website or Google Maps for trip planning is always a good idea. Google Maps is very accurate for Chicago Public Transit - it’s what we use.  

A one-way train or bus fare is $2.25 per person.  If you intend to use public transit multiple times throughout your trip, consider an unlimited 3 day or 7 day pass.  These are available at any CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens.

On the CTA Red Line Get off at :
(transfer to the Brown Line at Belmont or Fullerton)

Chicago: The Gold Coast, Water Tower Place, Hancock, and the Magnificent Mile.

Grand:  Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile,Riverwalk, Chicago Riverboat Architecture Tours

Monroe, Jackson:  Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park

Harrison, Jackson, Roosevelt:  Grant Park

Roosevelt:  Museum Campus, including the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, Soldier Field

Monroe:  Millenium Park, The Bean, Pritzker Pavillion, Maggie Daley Park

Cermak/ Chinatown:  Chinatown

Sox/ 35th:  U.S. Cellular Field

CTA Busses

Busses can be used to access a multitude of the Chicagoland area’s attractions, including Michigan Avenue. Google Maps has accurate directions for using the bus system.


You can usually flag down a cab quickly, but we also love Uber, a simple mobile app you can use to have a cab come right to your door. The app has clear pricing and allows you to split your fare with other riders. 

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