4 Great Rooftop Bars to Frequent This Summer

Nice weather has a small window in Chicago so we need to be prepared to take advantage of it. So why go to an indoor bar for your weekend plans? There are gems all across the city where you can sip a cocktail, indulge in an exquisite meal and enjoy the great outdoors with friends. When planning your night out, make sure these rooftop bars are on the top of your list.

GreenRiver | 256 E Erie St.

Sitting atop an unlikely building, GreenRiver is on the 18th floor of the Northwestern Memorial Hospital office complex in Streeterville. Don’t let the location fool you, however. GreenRiver’s cocktail list boasts 32 modern libations. Each drink comes with a paragraph backstory about its old-world Irish name. On top of the history lesson, Chef Aaron Lirette has designed a menu filled with Midwestern fare sure to satisfy.

Streeterville Social | 455 N Park Dr.

Streeterville Social rests on the 3rd floor rooftop of the Loews Hotel. One of the more spacious options on the list, this rooftop oasis boasts 9000 square feet of green space populated with plenty outdoor couches and lawn games like cornhole and giant jenga offering a relaxed summer vibe. As for their drinks, many have a sweet-fruity vibe and they pair them with a small plates menu; an excellent recipe for a summer night.

Tanta Chicago | 118 W Grand Ave.

Tanta is a Peruvian influenced hot spot that lies in the heart of the River North neighborhood. Their rooftop terrace is an urban paradise and one of two bars on the property. Known for their Pisco Sour, all of their signature drinks offer a Peruvian flare for a unique combination. Don’t just come for a drink though. Chef Gaston Acurio, world renowned restaurateur, serves top notch authentic Peruvian dishes which will have you more cultured by the time you leave. If you are in River North you must start off the night with a Pisco Sour while taking in the rooftop views.

The J. Parker | 1816 N Clark St.

The J. Parker is one of the hottest spots in Lincoln Park, and with good reason. This rooftop bar offers one of the best views of Lincoln Park and the lake; that being said, the food and drinks might outdo the scenery. The cocktail list is full of destination based drinks from all over the globe and Chef Paul Virant has designed the perfect small plates menu to compliment the worldly drinks. Be sure to check it out!

Green Envy: City Trends in Outdoor Living

Just because youre in the city doesnt mean you cant enjoy the world outdoors and get your fingers green at innovative city parks and community farms. In fact, many of the current fashions in outdoor living are happening in the heart of urban dynamos like Chicago.

Rooftop Gardens

One of the Windy Citys crowning glories is City Halls Rooftop Garden, a green space of more than 20,000 plants that was completed in 2001 and envisioned by Mayor Richard M. Daley and a team of architects, engineers, and ecologists. The lofty garden is filled with herbaceous beds and wildflower meadows; although the beautiful arrangement is extremely well thought-out, it almost looks like a design done by nature. And as a special and significant bonus, it also improves the areas air quality. On the other hand, if you prefer your Chicago rooftop gardens with a touch of alcohol, we recommend the inventive cocktails, courtesy of Craig Schoettler, at the tree-fringed Drumbar.

City Parks

Grant Park must be one of the liveliest public parks in the country. The Petrillo Music Shell hosts everything from the Chicago Jazz Festival to Lollapalooza; add to that the “Bark Park” for dogs, the lively marinas, and the resplendent Buckingham Fountain—you could come here and do something different every day of the year.

Meanwhile, Jackson Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux—the two urban park geniuses behind New Yorks Central Park—is a sprawling green space of diversity and ingenuity. The newly rejuvenated Garden of the Phoenix paints an idyllic picture with its koi pond spanned by a traditional Japanese bridge, while elsewhere, among the 1,055 acres of trees and flower beds, you can go boating on one of the lakes or admire the resplendent Statue of the Republic.

And if you’re wondering what Chicago did with 2.7 miles of disused railroad lines set high above the city’s streets? In true 21st-century urban fashion, the city transformed this space into a sprawling garden. Running from Logan Square and Humboldt Park, through Bucktown and Wicker Park, theres never a dull moment along the Bloomingdale Trail, the elevated section that connects all of the parks in “The 606.” One moment youre strolling through wildflower meadows; the next youre at a lively dog park; and the next youre gazing at amazing public art displays.

Urban Farms

Chicagos City Farm is a different kind of haven in the midst of the skyscrapers: a green scene that grows tomatoes, kale, beets, herbs, garlic, and more. To taste the fruits (and vegetables) of the farmers labor, head to participating farmers markets throughout Chicago.

Another innovative place that grows organic produce in Chicago is The Edible Gardens at Lincoln Park Zoo. Schools and community organizations take tours of the gardens, learning tricks of the trade such as planting, watering, pollination, and turning compost. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and you can taste The Edible Gardens produce at Green City Market, while chatting with one of the farmers from the project.

Those friends of yours who live out in the country can’t be anything but envious of you and all of these green options!

Best Viewing Locations for 4th of July Weekend Fireworks

Next Monday is the Fourth of July! A day where most sit back, relax and enjoy the holiday with friends and family. No matter what your Fourth of July plans include, don’t forget to carve out some time for fireworks. Here are some of the best spots to see fireworks this holiday weekend:

Navy Pier

If you want to keep it simple, just go where the fireworks are being held, right? Navy Pier offers prime real estate to witness what is hands down the best fireworks performance in Chicago. As one of the most popular locations for Independence Day, it will be crowded. While the show starts at 9 p.m. consider arriving at your earliest convenience to secure a spot. A more concrete and less crowded alternative is to book a Navy Pier dinner cruise to enjoy front row seats to the show from Lake Michigan.

360 Chicago

What could be better than viewing fireworks 1,000 feet up in the sky? The 360 Chicago observatory in the John Hancock Building allows you to enjoy a panoramic view of the city presenting firework shows blasting off from several locations. Surely this Birdseye view will be an experience you’ll never forget. For more information on logistics, check out their website here.

Rooftop Bars in Streeterville, find a place

For a more adult-friendly option, watching the fireworks with a cocktail in your hand is the perfect way to wrap up the Independence Day weekend. Throughout Streeterville, choose from plenty of rooftop bars that will give you an elevated angle on the light show. Call your bar of choice in advance to secure a spot and don’t forget to ask about 4th of July specials.

The Lakefront

Being a lakefront city has plenty of advantages. One of them being it is a prime location to watch the 4th of July festivities. Grab you beach towel and sand bucket and head on down to one of the many beaches for lakefront firework show viewing.

Here at Related Realty, we want to wish everyone an excellent 4th of July. We hope these tips help to make your weekend memorable.

Your Guide to Chicago Summer Fun

As nice as some of the amenities are in the properties that Related Realty sells, summer is here! It’s time to get outside and experiencing the great outdoors.

As you Chicagoan’s know our great city are constantly chocked full of exciting events. With the dizzying array of things to keep track of across Chicago, it can be hard to navigate through the times, dates, and locations. This guide below is your tool to conquer all the summer fun to be had.

Chicago’s Top Five Comedy Venues

Fiercely loyal sports fans, deep dish pizza, windy weather, and the glistening Lake Michigan in the summer are all to be expected if you’re looking to move to Chicago and into one of the properties offered by Chicago real estate brokerage firm Related Realty. What you might not know about your future hometown is that Chicago is also the funniest city in America. The city has edged out New York and Los Angeles, with nothing short of a renaissance in comedy culture that encompasses a crop of new venues, rising talents performing every night of the week, and new hometown heroes such as breakout television star Hannibal Buress.

Chicago is a city with a rich history of comedy stretching back to the vaudeville era of the late 19th century, when massive theaters like the Folly, the Palace, the Haymarket, and the Majestic opened, and Chicagoans got their laughs from traveling revues and local funnymen. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that Chicago cemented its place in the American comedy canon as the birthplace and hub of modern improvisational comedy and the training ground for countless 20th-century comics like Joan Rivers, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Chris Farley, Amy Poehler, and Amy Sedaris.

Today it’s not hard to find intimate local venues throughout the city to catch up-and-coming talent and established heavyweights. Here’s a guide for navigating some of the city’s funniest spots:

Zanies | 1548 North Wells Street For nearly 40 years, Zanies has been a mainstay on the Chicago comedy circuit, nurturing the careers of such comedy superstars as Roseanne Barr, Jay Leno, and Jerry Seinfeld. This stand-up showcase features weekly shows from local and national acts and also offers classes providing basic instruction on stand-up comedy, including the history of the medium, how jokes work, and how to create an act that stands out from the rest.

Second City | 1616 North Wells Street This legendary Chicago venue and school single-handedly birthed the genre of improvisational comedy in the US, and since its founding in the late 1950s, has groomed scores of successful entertainers, writers, and directors in its home city, including the lion’s share of Saturday Night Live cast members—Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Bill Murray, Tina Fey, to name just a few—Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and most of the cast of 30 Rock. You can catch the next in line of America’s comedy legends any night of the week on Second City’s revered Mainstage Theater, as well as performances in the venue’s smaller theaters—UP, Donny’s Skybox, or the de Maat Studio—to see stand-up, student work, or experimental sketch comedy.

Jokes and Notes | 4641 South King Drive Chicago’s black comics put this woman-owned South Side venue on the map after it opened in the early 2000s, and local talent continues to set the stage ablaze during open mics on Wylin’ Out Wednesdays and monthly Thursday showcases hosted by a rotating cast of hilarious hosts. Each weekend, national acts (past guests include Mo’nique and Bill Bellamy) bring high-caliber comedy to the 150-seat club and swank lounge area.

Laugh Factory | 3175 North Broadway Street The Chicago outpost of this Los Angeles comedy institution opened its 400-seat theater in 2012, bringing an additional permanent venue for stand-up comedy to this improv-obsessed town. With a calendar packed with nightly stand-up showcases, open mics, themed festivals, and midnight programs, the Laugh Factory has proved itself an indispensable destination for stand-up lovers.

iO Theater | 1501 North Kingsbury Street Another mecca for improv comedy is the iO Theater (its initials originally stood for ImprovOlympic Theater). Founded by Charna Halpern and Del Close, two heavyweights in Chicago’s 1980s improv scene, iO bills itself as the premiere place to see long-form improvisational comedy in the city. The Wrigleyville venue offers four theaters, a bar, a training facility for classes, and an events space. Veteran improv ensembles and student teams perform nightly in a range of approaches to the popular comedy form.

Chicago in the Spring | The Best Open-Air Markets and Restaurants with Outdoor Dining

Wrigley building and tribune buildingWith top-notch Chicago real estate brokerage firms like Related Realty offering stunning residences with sprawling state-of-the-art kitchens, dining in is often a great option. For the last few months, a night out has meant huddling in a warm, cozy enclave and avoiding the outside whenever possible, and dining in often involved comfort foods such as soups and stews simmering on the stove. But those days are over now.

Spring is here, and as the breeze off the lake turns from harsh to mellow, the allure of the outdoors beckons. The Windy City is primed to bloom once more, and that can mean only one thing: the return of Chicago’s beloved farmers markets and the opening of restaurant patios and gardens. Here are a few of our favorite outdoor markets and eateries:

Green City Market Over the last decade or so, Lincoln Square’s Green City Market has grown considerably to become the most popular farmers market in Chicago. Running on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May through October in Lincoln Park, the open-air venue attracts around 13,000 visitors each week. A big emphasis is placed on local farming and education with regular cooking demonstrations by top chefs highlighting the robust and remarkably fresh selection of produce. More than 50 vendors sell not only produce but dairy products, baked goods, maple syrup, honey, sandwiches, desserts, potted plants, and much more. Whether you take home everything you need to serve up a meal for family and friends in your own kitchen or just enjoy chatting with neighbors while you shop, this is one of the best farmers markets for connecting with your community.

Daley Plaza Farmers Market Every Thursday from May through October, Daley Plaza is the site of one of the oldest and most well-known farmers markets in the city. Featuring vendors from all over the region, this centrally located market is perpetually buzzing with activity, making it a great place to wander around for a while, try a few things, snack a bit, and leave with some choice selections. Beyond the fresh produce, look out for flowers, homemade jams and honey, and an assortment of baked goods.

90 Miles Cuban Cafe Two of the 90 Miles outposts feature outdoor patios that provide the ideal venue for enjoying both the spring weather and the Cuban food this popular restaurant is known to serve. While the original 90 Miles Cuban Cafe in Roscoe Village serves up tasty take-out that patrons usually enjoy on the large patio, the location in Logan Square (also with a patio as well as weekly flamenco dancing) and the newest operation in Lincolnwood are full-service restaurants. All locations offer expertly prepared Cuban food and coffees.

Jack & Ginger’s At Bucktown pub Jack & Ginger’s, the drinks are nearly overshadowed by the food, which, in turn, is nearly overshadowed by the large outdoor dining area. The interior’s warm and inviting atmosphere spills out onto the patio, where tables and chairs are flanked by televisions on one side and shade trees on the other. Incredible wings and tacos and high-quality pizza and burgers help the menu rise above those found at other pubs in the area, and the al fresco dining experience seals the deal.

Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits The famous Bang Bang Pie shop in Logan Square began as a food truck and eventually laid down roots in its current location. The sprawling outdoor space is filled with rows of picnic tables, so even on a busy day or night you can usually find a spot to enjoy a slice in the open air. Hungry for more than just dessert? Bang Bang serves up comfort foods such as chicken pot pie and biscuits with gravy plus other delicious options, most with a biscuit on the side. And then there are the pies, which range from coconut cream, chocolate, triple-berry jam, and key lime to maple bourbon pecan and brown butter chess. There is no wrong decision here—just close your eyes, point, and chow down.

Chicago’s Greatest Hits | A rundown of the five best, must-see films set in Chicago: The Sting, The Blues Brothers, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Untouchables, and High Fidelity.

Chicago is, without a doubt, one of the world’s legendary cities. It’s no wonder that so many iconic films have been set in the picturesque Windy City among its soaring skyscrapers, stunning parks, ornate train stations, and winding waterways. Here are just five of those movies and their most memorable Chicago-inspired scenes, which are beloved by fans around the globe.

1.) The Sting (1973) – Named Best Picture at the 1974 Academy Awards and set in 1930s Chicago, The Sting tells the story of conmen Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) and Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman), who joined forces to seek revenge on notorious gangster Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). The two stage an elaborate con operation, but snafus along the way force them to take on the ruthless crime boss responsible for the death of their friend, Luther. While featured landmarks include Chicago Union Station, LaSalle Street Station, Penn Central Freight Yards, and the historic Central Station (which was demolished the following year), film buffs know the scenes that supposedly show the Chicago El were actually shot on the Universal Studios back lot in Los Angeles.

2.) The Blues Brothers (1980) – The Joliet Correctional Center, located about 40 miles outside Chicago, sets one of the very first scenes in this 1980s cult classic. Starring Saturday Night Live legends Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, The Blues Brothers tells the story of brothers Jake (Belushi) and Elwood (Aykroyd) Blues. After his release from prison, Jake reunites with Elwood to play gigs to raise $5,000 to save the orphanage where the two grew up. After antagonizing the Chicago police, the brothers end up in a race against authorities and a deadline to deliver the money. Weaving through the city in their Bluesmobile, Jake and Elwood lead the police in a high-speed chase past numerous Chicago locations including Wrigley Field, the Cook County office building on Clark Street, and Daley Plaza with its 160-ton steel Picasso sculpture, a centerpiece of Chicago since its installation in 1967.

3.) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) – High school senior Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is the king of playing hooky. In an effort to cultivate the ultimate class-cutting finale before graduation, Bueller takes a “borrowed” Ferrari on a joyride through Chicago, cruising down Lake Shore Drive and visiting famous spots like Grant Park and the former Sears Tower. Principal Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) nearly catches Bueller after the high schooler appears on television enjoying a hot dog at Wrigley Field, but the truant student and his friends quickly sneak into the Art Institute of Chicago with a group of schoolchildren. It’s here that Bueller’s best friend, Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) looks deeply into the Georges Seurat masterpiece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Written in just one a week, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was called by director John Hughes a “love letter” to his adopted hometown of Chicago.

4.) The Untouchables (1987) – Set in prohibition-era Chicago, The Untouchables follows Agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) as he strives to take down infamous bootlegger and mob boss Al Capone (Robert De Niro). After several failed attempts, Ness recruits a group of powerful lawmen, public officials, and police officers to aid him in his mission. One of the film’s most thrilling and suspenseful scenes culminates in a shootout between Ness, his partner George Stone (Andy Garcia), and mob accountant Walter Payne (Jack Kehoe) downtown in Chicago Union Station. A nearly five-minute build-up, tracked by the station’s famous clock, explodes in a rapid-fire shootout between the cops and Capone’s henchmen, who seem to appear out of the woodwork as chaos erupts.

5.) High Fidelity (2000) – The gentrified, mid-’90s version of Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood sets the tone for this music-infused tale of failed relationships, struggling record stores, and a protagonist suffering from Peter Pan syndrome. After Rob Gordon (John Cusack) is left by his long-time girlfriend (Iben Hjejle), he revisits his past lovers in what turns into a series of adventures in Chicago’s musical underground. Showcased venues include the now-defunct Lounge Ax and The Green Mill, a historic jazz club still open today. Gordon’s co-worker Barry (Jack Black) steals the show at Double Door, a bar freshly opened at the time of filming, when he performs Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On with his band Barry Jive and the Uptown Five.

Chicago Weekender: The West Loop

The West Loop region of Chicago, which includes the neighborhoods of Fulton Market, Jackson Blvd., Greek Town, and Randolph Market, among others, has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last few years. It has gone from primarily an industrial neighborhood to one of Chicago’s most desirable residential enclaves. West Loop is now a vibrant and thriving place to call home, filled with art galleries, boutiques, theaters, food markets, and a culinary scene that rivals the most diverse and accomplished in the city.

The West Loop is also experiencing an influx of tech firms to the region including Google who recently relocated into 555,000 square feet of office space in the neighborhood. Chicago’s top developers and real estate brokers have played a huge role in the resurgence of the West Loop proven by the stunning new luxury residential buildings that have opened or plan to open throughout the budding region. Today, the West Loop is one of Chicago’s most enticing neighborhoods for young professionals in search of a cultured, urban lifestyle.


Billy Reid | 845 West Randolph Street Famed clothing designer Billy Reid opened his first Chicago store in a stunning building on West Randolph Street. In the subsequent years, the store has become one of the premiere shopping destinations in the neighborhood. Reid has cultivated a reputation for his finely crafted, classic looks with unique little alterations and flares. His West Loop stores is filled with his designs for both men and women as well as an array of accessories.

Kit and Ace | 821 West Fulton Market Kit and Ace is a Canadian apparel brand founded in 2014 by the former lead designer of Lululemon Athletica Inc. Expert cashmere craftsmen, Kit and Ace opened their 19th store in West Loop last year. The brand’s machine-washable cashmere is incredibly popular and their Chicago location stocks a ton of options for both men and women in a myriad of styles. Their fabrics are unique and innovative blends that are somehow remarkably soft and resilient and in a town as cold as Chicago, their extremely comfortable layers are a welcome sight.

Randolph Street Market Festival | 1340 West Washington Blvd. The Randolph Street Market Festival takes place in Plumbers Hall in the West Loop’s Fulton Market District. This lively marketplace features 125 different vendors from October through April when its housed indoors, and more than 300 when it’s moved outdoors from May through September. Loads of acclaimed antiques and crafts vendors line the area, along with gourmet food purveyors, and the live music makes a visit all the more worthwhile.

Primitive | 130 North Jefferson Street Primitive is undoubtedly one of the best antique stores in the West Loop. They stock an array of one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, furniture, paintings, prints, and sculptures with a global point of view. While their collections span the world, Primitive places particular emphasis on the arts of Asia and Africa.

Morlen Sinoway Atelier | 1052 West Fulton Market Searching for an eye-catching new piece of furniture for your new condo? Morlen Sinoway Atelier is the place to go. Their collections are modern, chic, and luxurious, with a Scandinavian look and feel. Lighting, furniture, and area rugs are among their offerings, and they also stock elegant gifts like hand-crafted cutting boards as well as serving pieces, bags, and jewelry.


City Winery | 1200 West Randolph Street City Winery in the West Loop, much like its sister locations in NYC, Napa, and Nashville, has become well known for its robust wine selection as well as its well-prepared food and impressive live music offerings. For an evening of drinks, dinner, and a show, City Winery is the place to be. Curious about the complex and often intimidating world of wine? The knowledgeable City Winery staff will serve as a great resource for learning.

The Aviary | 955 West Fulton Market This acclaimed cocktail lounge is as innovative a bar as you’ll find anywhere – and that is no hyperbole. Drinks at The Aviary are distilled spirit science experiments in the truest sense: each option is meticulously crafted and prepared so every sip serves up a unique experience. “Mixology” may be an oft-touted trend, but here it’s just the way things are done: precisely and inventively.

RM Champagne Salon | 116 North Green Street As you walk through the unmarked alley to reach the RM Champagne Salon, you may wonder what’s in store for you. But just as this thought enters your head, the alley opens up to a stunning courtyard with a bright yet rustic feel. When the weather is nice, you can sit outdoors and enjoy all types of sparkling wines you’ve likely never tasted before along with dishes that are made to complement them. Outside or in, RM Champagne Salon enchants with its French aesthetic, great food, incredible desserts, and bubbly galore.

Girl & The Goat | 809 West Randolph Street Since opening its doors in 2010, Girl & The Goat has become one of the most popular and acclaimed restaurants in West Loop. Opened by the renowned, former Top Chef contestant Stephanie Izard, the restaurant is a massive, rustic, meat-centric eatery that quickly rose in stature and was nominated by the James Beard Foundation for best new restaurant in 2011. Innovative and wildly flavorful options fill the menu here, with each dish expertly designed and prepared in their large, open kitchen. At Girl & The Goat the lively, unpretentious atmosphere coalesces perfectly with the remarkably well-prepared food. Looking for something a bit more casual? Check out sister restaurant Little Goat Dinner right across the street! Little Goat offers a huge menu of creative, gourmet takes on comfort food classics.

Au Chevel | 800 West Randolph Street Au Chevel is a charming, upscale diner that serves insanely delectable fare and some of the best burgers in the region. Au Chevel is a diner, but it’s one of the trendiest diners I’ve ever seen and its renowned reputation ensures it is nearly always filled to the brim. While it’s hard to go wrong with any options here, their burgers are the primary attraction for good reason. They are large, juicy and wildly flavorful. One bite explains why people sometimes wait hours for a table. Moreover, Au Chevel has a wide selection of wine and beer and expertly made cocktails it’s an all-around winner.

SoHo House | 113 North Green Street Soho House Chicago is part of the worldwide Soho House, which is a members club comprised of hotels, bars, clubs and restaurants around the world. While members are afforded access to all of the various amenities Soho House Chicago has to offer- they have a series of acclaimed public restaurants as well. Fox Bar is a charming and rustic bar that serves vibrant cocktails and small plates, Chicken and Farm Shop serves up well-prepared and flavorful rotisserie chickens, Pizza East’s menu has an array of unique wood-fired pizzas, and The Allis functions as a juice bar and coffee shop during the day, and a colorful and lively bar at night.

Grace | 652 West Randolph Street Grace is a three Michelin starred restaurant that serves up superbly inventive American fare and is one of the most acclaimed and famous restaurants in the country. Helmed by chef Curtis Duffy, Grace differs from many luxury restaurants due to their open kitchen. While many artists prefer not to be seen while they create, Duffy and co. treat the entire enterprise as a more interactive experience. They’ve removed the curtain and somehow increased their mystique. A meal at Grace -in which one chooses from two tasting menus, Flora or Fauna- is a true culinary adventure for the senses. It’s hard to find a better meal in Chicago or anywhere else for that matter.

Chicago Weekender: River North

Situated in Northern Chicago right across the bridge from the Loop, River North has become one of the most culturally rich areas in the entire city. Defined by its brimming creative pulse and its inimitable vibrance, River North has been known for some time as a true artistic haven—but this wasn’t always the case. Prior to the 1970s, the neighborhood was mainly industrial, with large warehouse spaces scattered throughout. But when these factories closed, leaving massive former arenas of industry as vacant shells awaiting inhabitants, the area was hit with an influx of young artists. During the ’70s and ’80s, many of these warehouses were turned into art studios, galleries, performance spaces, and lofts, setting the stage for the evolution River North has experienced over the last few decades.

When a neighborhood is centered around art, all that extends from that core exists to serve the creative force that initially branded the area’s identity. For example, as more galleries and studio spaces opened in River North and the area eventually solidified its reputation for being a well-rounded fine arts district, the culinary and retail sectors soon followed suit. River North currently has the highest concentration of restaurants in all of Chicago, but this is not a quantity-over-quality scenario—the neighborhood’s culinary scene is as acclaimed for its diversity and refinement as it is for its abundance. Moreover, the area has become a premier shopping destination, and its nightlife has grown to become a swirling and unique attraction in its own regard. Chicago real estate agencies like Related Realty have a front-row seat to the impressive expansion the area has experienced. Spend a weekend in River North and visit the stunning galleries, antique shops, and boutiques and enjoy delicious dining and drinks.It will become immediately apparent why the area has become one of the most desirable in Chicago.

The Golden Triangle  |  330 N Clark St. Whether or not you’re in the market for a particular Asian or European antique, a stroll through The Golden Triangle is well worth your time. This massive showroom is filled with gorgeous antiques from Europe and Asia that span centuries. Visiting The Golden Triangle is akin to visiting a museum, as walking through the space is very much a history lesson on aesthetics and design. Moreover, if you are in the market for an intriguing piece with a fair amount of history behind it, The Golden Triangle is the ideal place to find it.

Driehaus Museum  |  40 E Erie St. Even from outside, the Driehaus Museum is remarkably striking. Housed within the famed Samuel M. Nickerson House, the Driehaus Museum is elegant and bright without appearing overly opulent—it gives off a level of sophistication that is meticulously refined. And inside is where the real attractions lie. Set up as a palatial 19th-century home, the museum boasts an impressive collection of period pieces. The experience of visiting the Driehaus is more immersive than most museums, as every inch is adorned with unique, historic creations. One of the well-known highlights is the Tiffany Studios section, a space so vivid, bright, and colorful that it’s nearly transportive.

Lightology  |  215 W Chicago Ave. For unique lighting options, there is no better place in the entire country than Lightology. Even if you’re not in the market for a lighting fixture after one trip to Lightology, you will be. Spanning three stories and 20,000 square feet, Lightology has any and every type of light fixture you could imagine, and many you probably couldn’t. A visit here will open your eyes to the artistry and high level of design that is present in this field. A trip to Lightology – coupled with a few choice purchases – can dramatically transform your home.


Echt Gallery  |  222 W Superior St. One of the best galleries for contemporary sculpture in all of Chicago, Echt Gallery currently features stunning work from Martin Blank, Pearl Dick, Mira Maylor, Joseph Rossano, and Marek Zyga as well as a host of others. Echt Gallery has been well known for some time as a premier destination for inventive and exciting sculptures that run through an array of styles.

Jean Albano Gallery  |  215 W Superior St. Since 1986, The Jean Albano Gallery has been a leading force in the contemporary art scene in Chicago and beyond. The gallery features drawings, paintings, and sculptures from a cadre of famous and not-yet-famous artists and is one of the more varied and diverse galleries in the area. Jean Albano is currently running a wildly diverse exhibition of various sculptures, paintings, and constructions from a group of artists in SOFA (sculpture, objects, functional art, and design) that runs until late December.

Berlanga Fine Art  |  230 W Superior St. If you’re a photography enthusiast, Berlanga is your ideal destination. Photographs and photo-related work are displayed throughout their space, many from famous photographers such as Howard Dearstyne, Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Jean-Philippe Charbonnier, Barbara Crane, Vivian Maier, and numerous others. Many of their prints are decades old, and the curation here is meticulous, to say the least. Every photograph in Berlanga is simply beautiful, and each seems to capture life and the moments therein in truly inquisitive and exploratory ways.

Dinner & Drinks

Tanta  |  118 W Grand Ave. Tanta is a bright, vivid Peruvian restaurant situated on Grand Ave. The food is inventive, inspired, and – most importantly – delicious. The space is fairly large but far from daunting or impersonal, and the aesthetic is as bright and luminous as the food served here. Also known for incredibly well-crafted cocktails, Tanta always offers a top-notch experience, from ambiance to imbibing.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria  |  439 N Wells St. I mean, you’re in Chicago, you have to try the pizza. Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is the antithesis of the classic Chicago-style pies that put the region on the map. For decades, Lou’s has been an acclaimed destination in Chicago, with its delicious and well-crafted deep dish pizzas featuring mozzarella that is so silky and smooth it all but melts in your mouth. In Northern Chicago, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better pizza option that Lou Malnati’s.

Bub City  |  435 N Clark St. Whiskey fans, you have found your mecca. Bub City is a charming establishment that stocks more than 150 different types of whiskeys. Bub City looks like an old saloon, providing an atmosphere that’s the ideal frame for whiskey tasting. Here, the aesthetic and vibe perfectly match the drinks they serve. The place just feels genuine and cohesive. If you like whiskey and/or country music (they serve up live music performances on a regular basis), do not miss Bub City.

Howl at the Moon  |  30 W Hubbard St. If you’re looking for something a bit more lively, Howl at the Moon is a dueling piano bar that is about as high-energy as a bar can dream to be. The space is always brimming with excitement thanks to the enthusiastic piano performances that fuel the entire experience. There a symbiotic relationship here between crowd and performers that is more palpable than at most other live music bars. At Howl, the music is always swirling, the liquor is always pouring, and the party is always on.

Chicago’s Best Winter Events

Chicago is one of those perpetually vibrant cities that thrive through all the seasons. Sure, the winters here are often cold and snowy, but that doesn’t mean hibernation is the only option. Far from it. An array of festivals and events bring each season to life in the Windy City, and winter is no exception. What follows are some of our favorite snow boot- and scarf-worthy events:

Winter WonderFest

Currently in its 15th year, Winter WonderFest is an absolutely massive holiday festival that runs from December 5th through January 10th at Navy Pier. The festival spans 170,000 square feet and features theme park rides – including a 50-foot Ferris wheel – games, obstacle courses, food vendors, climbing walls, a mini golf course, and nearly anything else one could imagine. A forest of hundreds of decorated Christmas trees contain more than 25,000 ornaments hung from a mile of wire. You can also skate on the Blackhawks ice rink, go snow tubing, or head to the Claus residence to hang with Santa and his elves. The entire space at Winter WonderFest is a venerable holiday mecca for all ages can enjoy—as well as a nice escape from the cold. Details here.


Christkindlmarket is the wildly acclaimed Chicago version of the German and European cultural and holiday festival. Scheduled to run from November 20th to December 23rd this year, the absolutely massive event is the Windy City’s largest open-air festival and, undeniably, its most popular, drawing more than 1 million visitors. Throughout the festival, the entire outdoor expanse of Daley Plaza is transformed into a quaint European village with nutcrackers and Christmas trees situated between traditional German food stands and art vendors. Attending Christkindlmarket is a transportive experience—within minutes, many forget they’re in the middle of a massive metropolis. It’s a phenomenal festival for all ages. Details here.

Chicago SketchFest

Coming up on its 16th year, this renowned sketch comedy festival is one of the premier winter attractions in Chicago. The largest festival of its kind on the planet, SketchFest consistently features the best-of-the-best sketch and improv performers from across the country. Chicago has been known as a sketch comedy haven for decades now as improv clubs like Second City and iO have grown to become comedy institutions and breeding grounds for future Saturday Night Live stars. More than 185 shows will occur during the eight-day stretch of the 2016 festival, which is scheduled to run January 7-17. This is the place to see the next Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, or Vince Vaughn—and to occasionally see one of these celebrities themselves. Check the SketchFest website for more information.

Millennium Park Ice Rink

Going for a skate at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park is just one of those Chicago winter rites of passage. The rink is beautiful and the atmosphere is second to none. The massive surface—which opens to the public in mid-November each year—is lit up and bordered by trees adorned with sparkling lights as the towering Chicago skyline paints the background. The entire scene is decidedly picturesque. It’s not often that one gets the opportunity to skate outside in the middle of a large city, and yet the simplicity of the experience is truly unique. This winter, pick a sunny day, prepare to brave the cold, and head out for a skate.

Throughout every season, Chicago is a bustling metropolis that’s brimming with activity. As the Windy City grows more dynamic with each passing year, Chicago real estate companies like Related Realty remain vital players in its vibrant development.