One of the 77 defined community areas in Chicago, the Near North Side is one of only four areas that make up downtown Chicago. With Lake Michigan to the east, and the Chicago River bordering it to the south and west, the Near North Side is one of the most desirable areas in all of Chicago.
The first known permanent settlement in the area occurred in the 1780s, when Jean Baptiste Point du Sable built “Eschecagou,” near what is today the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Six distinct neighborhoods make up the Near North Side, including the Gold Coast, Old Town, Goose Island, River North, Streeterville and the Magnificent Mile. Compared to the other downtown community areas, the Near North Side has the second largest total area, and the largest population count.
The Chicago Public School district serves all residents on the Near North Side, and a number of alternate schooling options are available. Walter Payton College Prep is a selective, magnet high school, and the Latin School of Chicago is a private school serving grades K-12. The Near North Side is home to a number of higher education institutions, including: Northwestern University Schools of Law and Medicine, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Kendall College and the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. Transportation is available through the CTA, offering numerous “L” and bus stops throughout the area.
The Near North Side is home to numerous famous buildings, museums and attractions, including: Chicago Water Tower, Holy Name Cathedral, Trump Tower, Chicago Children’s Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Shakespeare and for shopping, the Magnificent Mile. However, the key attraction is undoubtedly Navy Pier, the 3,300 foot pier located in Streeterville. Featuring a number of popular rides and attractions, including the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, hundreds of thousands of visitors descend upon the pier yearly, taking in all that Chicago has to offer. The area is also home to a number of world-class restaurants, including The Purple Pig, Farmhouse, and Bandera.