Lakeshore East may be, as Chicago’s luxury enclaves go, a relative newcomer.
The 28-acre planned community features eight high rises built since 2002 and has five more in various stages of planning — including the 94-story Vista Tower, which when it opens in 2020, will be Chicago’s third-tallest building.
As such, Lakeshore East community events can sometimes seem a work in progress — such as the $10 million, two-year face-lift announced in 2018 for the stretch of Chicago’s bustling Riverwalk from State Street to Lake Michigan, most of which lies within Lakeshore East.
But, tucked as it is between the lake, the Loop, Streeterville and Millennium Park, Lakeshore East offers its residents easy access to some of Chicago’s great community events — from Lollapalooza to the Chicago Marathon to the frequent fireworks shows at Navy Pier and more.
Community events in Lakeshore East should surely include the goings on just off its southwest corner at the Chicago Cultural Center. There are some 700 free programs a year at this former home of the Chicago Public Library, occupying a full city block at Michigan and Randolph. There are art exhibits, guided architecture tours and lunchtime concerts. Highlights include chamber music on Mondays and classical on Wednesdays, as well as tours of the building itself (the center is home to the largest Tiffany stained glass dome in the world) and its four major art galleries.
Designed for best viewing at Oak Street beach, just one mile north of the heart of Lakeshore East, this is the largest free show of its kind in the United States. The annual August event celebrated its 60th year in 2018. It routinely features top civilian stunt pilots, military aircraft, U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team — along with roughly 2 million spectators over two days.
Perhaps this isn’t among the community events in Lakeshore East so much as an event through it. Technically, the 800,000 or so folks who annually attend Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade do so just to the south — the parade ends at the southern edge of Maggie Daley Park, the north side of which abuts Lakeshore East. While the parade starts at noon, the traditional dyeing of the Chicago River starts at 9 a.m., and the two are connected by a short stretch of Columbus Drive through the heart of Lakeshore East.
Just across Randolph Street, Millennium Park brings Christmas bustle to the neighborhood, starting in mid-November with the lighting of the official City of Chicago Christmas tree. Ice skating both at the McCormick Tribune Plaza Ice Rink in Millennium Park and a quarter-mile ribbon at neighboring Maggie Daley Park add to the festive mood. The Harris Theater in Millennium Park hosts the Do-It-Yourself Messiah, a Chicago tradition for more than 40 years, where the audience serves as the chorus for an orchestra of professional and amateur musicians.