The Gilded Age still reigns supreme in Chicago's Gold Coast
Chicago’s Gold Coast has been a destination for prominent Chicago families since the 1880s. The location is ideal, bordering Lake Michigan from Oak Street Beach, north to the entrance of Lincoln Park. The bucolic streets are home to greystones, luxury condos and co-op buildings built by the most significant architects of the early twentieth century, and continue to be highly valued today.
Homes on Astor Street
A stroll down Oak Street takes you past a selection of high-end restaurants. Fig & Olive offers Southern French fare to be enjoyed on their Rosé Terrace, in the elegant White Room or in the intimate Wine Room. Across the street, Le Colonial serves up Vietnamese gourmet in an atmosphere inspired by 1920’s French Colonial Southeast Asia, with a private chef’s dining room available for a unique gourmet experience. Freds Chicago at Barneys New York is a destination unto itself, especially in the summer with views of the lake from the outdoor patio.
Originally a school for women studying music, painting, and drama, the historic landmark on Dearborn Parkway in the heart of the Gold Coast, is now home to RH Chicago 70,000 square feet of inspiration for luxury home décor and fine dining in the 3 Arts Club Café. The restaurant is in the grand courtyard with seating around a restored historic fountain, heritage olive trees and an enormous chandelier topped with vaulted skylights. On your tour of Chicago’s Gold Coast homes, stop by the Barista Bar for a coffee and pastry or a relaxing breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the Café
Concentrated on East Oak Street, the high-end shops of the Gold Coast are a luxury shopper’s dream. From the most sought-after designer brands like Dolce & Gabbana to the laid-back simplicity of Vince and imported treasures: Loro Piana sources the most sumptuous Italian cashmere, textiles, and leathers for their luxury clothing, shoes, and accessories. Tod's specializes in Italian leather shoes and accessories, with a store as beautifully designed as their offerings, featuring blond wood floors and signature “vacchetta” leather furniture and wall paneling. The sprawling Hermes flagship store is modeled after the original in Paris, with walls of windows, mosaics and a spiral staircase.
If you're visiting Chicago on a rainy or snowy day, don't let that keep you indoors. The Bloomingdale Mall at 900 N Michigan Avenue offers a full day - and night - of shopping, dining, and pampering. You'll find the best brands including Kate Spade New York, J Crew, MaxMara, Michael Kors, Sur La Table, and Teuscher Chocolates....just to name a very few., and all-day dining in the Aster Food Court on floors six and seven. Bloomingdale is accessible from every floor and the Four Seasons Hotel for afternoon tea is just an elevator ride way on the seventh floor. The Aster Hall Food Court on floors five and six serves everything from the best donuts to the freshest sushi.
Relax and Pamper
The Gold Coast has no shortage of day spas to indulge in some serious self-care. Founder Elina Fedotova of Elina Organics changes the formulations of her handmade organic products for each season, tweaking treatments to rejuvenate skin from the elements. The Greek-inspired interiors of the Waldorf Astoria Spa make a heavenly backdrop for traditional and intensely relaxing treatments. Couples can reserve the Four Seasons 50-foot Roman-style indoor pool—all to themselves—to enjoy a bottle of Champagne and canapes after an 80-minute massage.
Living the luxury lifestyle means top quality treatment and beauty on the inside and out. The reincarnation of Elizabeth Arden’s classic Red Door salon and spa, Mynd, offers custom beauty and wellness services, and celebrities can be spotted getting trimmed and polished at Channing’s Studio & Spa, setting standards for the past 35 years. Joseph Michael’s Salon and Spa is focused on their craft with a more industrial feel and an all-star staff and Mario Tricoci Salon and Spa in the 900 N Michigan Avenue Bloomingdale building is a neighborhood favorite.
History and opulence go hand in hand in the Gold Coast, boasting a concentration of magnificent buildings filled with sights to see and things to do. Click through the MetrowalkZ virtual walking tour to get a look at some of the most historic buildings in the neighborhood, including the Original Playboy Mansion. The Richard H. Driehaus Museum takes the cake for elegance in form and content: the 1858 mansion and former residence of banker and Chicago cultural luminary Samuel Mayo Nickerson now holds an expansive collection showcasing the art, architecture and design of The Gilded Age. The Eleanor Robinson Countiss House, built in 1891, now holds the International Museum of Surgical Science’s collection of medical and surgical art and artifacts. The historic Newberry Library hosts programs and events in its stately 1893 Spanish Romanesque building, and there’s always something new to see at the Museum of Contemporary Art., a few blocks off Michigan Avenue in Streeterville.
The original Playboy Mansion, located at 1340 N State Parkway, is now home to seven luxury condominiums
Those looking for a peaceful but upscale enclave in Downtown Chicago will not find a neighborhood more serenely lavish than the Gold Coast. Finding your niche in this exclusive area means having your own private haven in the Windy City, surrounded by only the finest places and things.