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River North is an area of over 100 square blocks in Chicago’s 42nd Ward, just north of the city’s business and financial center and west of the upscale shopping and entertainment district along Michigan Avenue known as the “magnificent mile”.
In the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, most of the area between the river and the lake was destroyed. The next 2 decades were spent rebuilding and these efforts culminated in the Columbian Exposition of 1893. Through the first half of the 20th century, River North was a busy but grimy industrial district once known as “Smokey Hollow”. After World War II, manufacturing declined and factories closed or were converted into warehouses. By the mid-1970’s, much of the area had become an urban wasteland with many neglected or abandoned buildings.
Then in the late 1980’s, the revival began. Low real estate prices and large spaces attracted artists and entrepreneurs. Beautiful old timber and masonry buildings were rehabbed into galleries, studios, offices, apartments and retail stores. Attorneys, architects, ad agencies and design firms moved in, followed by hotels, restaurants and clubs. Today, River North has the highest concentration of restaurants and entertainment venues in the city. It is home to the largest number of art galleries outside of Manhattan and is the fastest growing residential neighborhood in Chicago.
RNRA Service Area
Images of River North
River North History
Urban Land Institute Presentation:
River North: Past, Present and Future
Click Here for the slide presentation
Click Here for a PDF copy of the commentary
More River North History
Click Here for vintage photos and more information
For more local info, click here to visit the River North Journal of YoChicago.com.
Map of Chicago's 42nd Ward
P.O. Box 10924
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Hon. Brendan Reilly
Community Meeting Presentations
If you missed the lastCommunity Meeting, click here to access a PDF copy of the slide show.
River North Residents Association
Local Business Association