As its name implies, the Gold Coast is one of Chicago’s most affluent neighborhoods, situated just north of downtown on the shore of Lake Michigan. Adorned by well-preserved historic mansions on leafy streets, and upscale shops and restaurants, the Gold Coast has been attracting the nation’s wealthiest since its very beginnings.
The Gold Coast neighborhood originated in the wake of the Great Chicago Fire. In 1882, millionaire Potter Palmer moved to the area from the Prairie Avenue neighborhood on the city’s south side. After filling in a swampy (which later became Lake Shore Drive), he built the Palmer Mansion, a forty-two room castle-like structure designed by Henry Ives Cobb and Charles Sumner Frost. Other wealthy Chicagoans followed Potter into the neighborhood, which became one of the richest in Chicago.
In the late 1980s, the Gold Coast and neighboring Streeterville comprised the second most-affluent neighborhood in the United States, behind Manhattan’s Upper East Side
Today, the neighborhood is a mixture of mansions, row houses, and high-rise apartments. Its still-standing oldest homes and buildings earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Highlights of The Gold Coast Historic District can be found on Astor Street, which boasts some of the Gold Coast’s most superb homes.
- The median household income in Gold Coast is over 90% more than the Chicago median based on 2013 data
- The neighborhood is roughly bounded by North Ave., Lake Shore Drive, Oak St. and Clark St.
- The Magnificent Mile is the Gold Coast’s premier shopping destination, it is the portion of Michigan Ave running from the Chicago River to Oak St.
- Franklin Elementary Fine Arts Center
- Manierre Elementary School
- Skinner North Classical School
- Ruben Salazar Elementary Bilingual Center
- The Ogden International School of Chicago
- The Noble Academy High School
- Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
- The Latin School
- Catherine Cook School
Dining, Nightlife, and Shopping
- The Gold Coast is home to or near Chicago’s highly popular shopping, dining and nightlife corridors, including: The popular Magnificent Mile or The Mag Mile, eight blocks of premier shopping
- Oak Street, which runs north of the Magnificent Mile
- Rush Street, known for its glittery nightlife and luxury hotels and spas
Real Estate Options
Luxury and refinement are the norm in the Gold Coast. Mostly residential area, this neighborhood has more prestigious addresses than any other place in Chicago.
The brownstones and greystones on historic streets like Astor, Goethe and Bellevue are highly coveted by luxury buyers for their charm, elegance and space. The predominant architectural styles reflect the neighborhood’s late 19th century beginnings and include Georgian Revival, Queen Anne, and Richardson Romanesque.
Lavish mid-rise and high-rise condos are more prevalent. They are largely composed of converted vintage homes and buildings, condos and co-ops built in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and a few recently constructed high-rises such as the 25-story 4 East Elm Condos.
High-rise condos along Lake Shore Drive (also considered part of the Gold Coast) are prestigious waterfront properties that are sought out by the most discriminating luxury buyers in the world.