Lured by the area’s easy access to the heart of the city, the Chicago Tribune built a mammoth production center in River West in 1982. Before the decade was out, real estate developers, homeowners, renters and stunning River West lofts followed.
Once an industrial center, the community’s former warehouses and factories have been transformed, albeit not at the frenzied pace of nearby hotspots. The resulting, largely residential area is a bit quieter than its showy neighbors, but River West luxury apartments still offer access to the hustle and bustle just across the Chicago River or Kennedy Expressway.
Living in River West apartments puts you within a two-mile radius of Wicker Park, Old Town, Randolph Street’s restaurant row, the Mag Mile and Greek Town — not to mention the fabulous Chicago Riverwalk. With the best agents in the business, Downtown Apartment Company can help you find the most stylish River West apartments for rent. Speak to a leasing specialist today.
River West Chicago apartments can bring surprising value. Some pet-friendly studios in amenity-rich developments go for less than $1,700 per month. Two-bedroom, two-bath luxury units are plentiful at around $3,500.
There is an adventurous sophistication available to residents of River West lofts in Chicago. The community reflects a modern aesthetic set on industrial underpinnings. A most recent addition, the 23-story, $80 million Avenir residential development, features studio apartments with space-maximizing robotic furniture high above what used to be a parking lot.
Three major Chicago thoroughfares — Milwaukee Avenue, Grand Avenue and Division Street— frame the neighborhood, making transportation around the city easy. Plus, the Kennedy Expressway makes leaving all the commotion a snap.
Getting around from your River West home base couldn’t be easier. Take a ride on the “hipster highway,” the popular bike lanes along Milwaukee Avenue that make for a fun commute downtown. Alternatively, you could head to the Loop or the airport on the CTA’s Blue Line.
Recreation / Entertainment
The Intuit Center for Outsider Art and the Patron Gallery can satiate your thirst for culture. If you’re craving the great outdoors, Montgomery Ward Park occupies three acres across the Chicago River, with a river walk, dog-friendly green space and playground. Then there’s the greatest entertainment option of all — getting out on the water. At Division Street and Goose Island, Chicago Boat Rentals will put your party on a pontoon cruising the river. Wateriders creates a more intimate experience with kayak rentals and tours.
The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
Founded in 1991, this non-for-profit organization showcases authentic art from all over
the world by self-taught artists.
An art gallery committed to helping patrons access and engage with contemporary art
A theatre staple, this organization has helped playwrights develop new works for the
stage for 40 years.
Aire Ancient Baths
The original architecture in tact, this restored 1902 factory now houses one of Chicago’s
only ancient Roman baths.
It seems as though all the Michelin stars in Chicago’s dining galaxy are just a few blocks south of River West in Fulton Market. However, there are numerous satisfying options in the neighborhood proper, from fast food to fine dining.
WINDY CITY CAFÉ
A cozy breakfast and lunch spot, family-owned and unfussy.
BIG SHOULDERS COFFEE
Artisanal coffee roasted on site. Have a marshmallow latte, if you enjoy a different kind of fancy.
Relaxed, with satisfying burgers and sandwiches paired with beer and cocktails.
Two floors of deftly appointed dining space, a wonderfully eclectic menu and one of the city’s nicest patios.
The “Little Dream” that delivers big with seasonal, rustic Italian cuisine accompanied by an all-Italian wine list.
Daily specials, such as the $4 meatball sandwich on Mondays, keep the staff moving quickly — even if the customers at the weekly Stoner Brunch are moving slowly.
Nightlife / Bars
You could map a decent pub crawl along Milwaukee Avenue, stopping at these swanky lounges and pretense-free taverns alike, set between Chicago and Grand Avenues.
So named for its wee dimensions, this spot caters to commuters off the Blue Line with classic cocktails and precious little elbow room.
THE DANDY CROWN
A gorgeous space with marble bars, upholstered, high-back stools and low-slung sofas sets the stage for a strong lineup of old-school cocktails and new mixology.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Hard-boiled eggs and cheap beer. Enough said.
River West is not about the big box outlets. Those options aren’t far, but in this neighborhood, you are more likely to find unique boutiques. For example, the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop has been selling historical Americana since 1938. Then there’s South Loop Loft, which despite its directionally challenged name is a respected furniture retailer known for its carefully curated modern classics and new art. If you’re feeling really adventurous, there’s always Lucky Kat Tattoo.