The Near North Side is the oldest of the 77 defined community areas of Chicago, situated where the Chicago River and Lake Michigan forms three edges and is the northernmost of the four areas constituting downtown Chicago. Chicago divided the area into an exclusive residential strip to the east and a commercial and residential corridor in and around Clark Street.
The Near North Side is known for its high-end living, characterised by the Magnificent Mile that runs from the Chicago River to Oak Street and filled with luxury shops and upmarket restaurants. It is also home to the renowned Museum of Contemporary Art, the Field Museum of Natural History and the Driehaus Museum, a fully restored home from the Gilded Age that houses a private Tiffany glass collection.It is where the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is located, originally a settlement house co-founded in 1889 by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr to welcome new immigrants of Italian, Irish, German, Greek, Russian and Polish Jewish descent into the then densely populated urban area. Also here are some of North America’s tallest buildings, including the John Hancock Center and Trump International Hotel and Tower, together with internationally iconic landmarks like the Tribune Tower, Chicago Water Tower, the Allerton and the Wrigley Building. In the Near North Side neighbourhood is the1,010-metre long Navy Pier, covering over 20 hectares of gardens, parks, shops, food outlets and exhibition facilities welcoming almost nine million visitors a year.
Parking is available, but the area is busy with both tourists and business traffic. The CTA train offers an easier solution with its line’s servicing stations directly into the area. There is also a multitude of buses to choose from plus free trolleys running the loop from Navy Pier along Grand Avenue.
In the 1830’s entrepreneur William B. Ogden bought up expanses of the land which were then renovated into working and residential areas. In the 1950s the city turned to urban renewal once again, with developer Arthur Rubloff overseeing the revitalization of North Michigan Avenue under the banner of “The Magnificent Mile”.