River North

The River North Gallery District or simply River North, in Chicago, is in the Near North Side, Chicago. It hosts the largest concentration of art galleries in the United States outside of Manhattan. River North has experienced vast changes in the years 1990 – 2012 including the development of vast highrise buildings, nightclubs, and restaurants. River North has become one of Chicago’s top neighborhoods for nightlife especially on and around Hubbard Street. A common definition puts the River North neighborhood in the area north of the Chicago River and the Merchandise Mart, south of Division Street, east of the Chicago River, and west of Wabash Avenue.

River North was named Smokey Hollow around the turn of the 20th century due to the many factories and forges in the area. The smoke was often so thick that sunlight was blocked. At the time Smokey Hollow was a major transportation hub with railroad tracks linking the ports along the Chicago River with the surrounding areas. The Merchandise Mart still has railroad tracks underneath the building. Massive coal bins were throughout the neighborhood both bringing coal into the area from ships and storage for the multitude of factories and forges in River North. The Merchandise Mart was a major storage warehouse for goods. The Merchandise Mart was later purchased by the Kennedy family. Former retailer Montgomery Ward also had a major transportation and storage facility in River North.

Little Sicily in Chicago, Illinois was also located in River North. The city’s first Italian Roman Catholic Church in Chicago was Assumption Parish on Illinois Street, with a mandate to be the Parish for all Italians living between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. Later Sicilians began to move northward from the immediate vicinity of Assumption and began to form their own parishes. Italians whose family roots were from other parts of Italy tended to move west along Grand Street and formed Parishes west of Assumption.

In 1921, Dean O’Banion married Viola Kaniff and bought an interest in William Schofield’s River North flower shop, near the corner of West Chicago Avenue and North State Street. O’Banion needed a legitimate front for his bootlegging operation. In addition, he was fond of flowers and was an excellent arranger. Pest Control Chicago

Restaurant and Pubs

  • Weber Grill Restaurant is located at 539 N State St, Chicago, IL
  • House of Blues Restaurant & Bar is located at 329 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL
  • The Lodge Tavern is located at 21 W Division St, Chicago, IL
  • Jefferson Tap & Grille is located at 325 N Jefferson St, Chicago, IL


Check out other neighborhoods like West Garfield Park