Part of the Near North Side, Streeterville takes up the area to the east of Magnificent Mile to Lake Michigan. Bounded by the river to the south, Streeterville is home to an array of the city’s best hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions—including Navy Pier. The majority of the land here is reclaimed sandbar, which George Streeter said belonged to him after striking it with his newly acquired boar in the late 1880s.
The neighborhood was slowly developed and experienced booms post World War I and II. It has undergone increased development in the early 21st century, with many lots being transformed into residential highrises, offices, universities, and cultural centers. Today, you can see some of the city’s tallest skyscrapers in Streeterville.
An epicenter for offices, hotels, and universities, Streeterville is home to a diverse array of eats. There are some pretty unique locations, like the Woodwind, housed on the 18th floor of a building on Northwestern Hospital’s campus. Despite the odd location, it boasts some impressive city views and creative dishes like a foie gras bao. There’s even a restaurant within the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Les Nomades is in a gorgeous brownstone east of Michigan Avenue. Aside from all the unique outposts, there are the classics as well, like Volare Ristorante Italiano for some of the best old-school Italian in the city.
Part of Streeterville’s reputation as an epicenter for tourists comes from the many, many hotels here (thanks to its proximity to the Loop and Navy Pier and inclusion of the Magnificent Mile). There is every chain accommodation you can think of—Hilton, Marriott, Aloft, and Fairfield Inn & Suites. But aside from the typical menu, there are a host of iconic luxury hotels here. The Drake, Millennium Knickerbocker, and Loews are all worth stopping into to enjoy the Art Deco architecture, even if you can’t swing a stay.
Streeterville Tourist Attractions And Tours
If you’re trying to get your bearings, there are an array of tours that cover Streeterville. All of your Hop-On, Hop-Off busses will stop here, including Big Bus and Gray Line tours. With its proximity to the water, there are also an array of tours along Lake Michigan that will help you take in the city. Try Shoreline Sightseeing, Wendella Tours & Cruises, and Chicago Line Cruises.
Of course, the biggest attraction in the neighborhood is Navy Pier. The 3,300-foot-long pier stretching out onto Lake Michigan draws nearly two million visitors annually. The epicenter of summer fun is like an amusement park, botanical gardens, shopping center, and exhibition arena rolled into one. There’s the ever-popular rides like Pepsi Wave Swinger, Light Tower Ride, Carousel, and Remote Control Boats. Then there’s Chicago’s Funhouse Maze covering 4,000 square feet of tunnels and mazes. But it’s not all fluff. The Pier is also home to the Chicago Children’s Museum and Crystal Gardens, a one-acre botanical garden.
And of course, the famous ferris wheel. The original wheel was retired in 2015, but there’s a new one in its place. The state-of-the-art DW60 model has two-sided cars for easy loading and unloading.
Streeterville is often credited with the skyscrapers on the Magnificent Mile, like the John Hancock Center and Water Tower Place. Plus, the neighborhood has some of its own notable buildings east of Michigan Avenue. There are impressive highrises including Lake Point Tower, River East Center, The Streeter, and One Bennett Park. You can also visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, housed in a five-store limestone and cast-aluminum structure designed by Josef Paul Kleinhues.
While most consider Streeterville everything east of Magnificent Mile, you’d have to go on the Mile itself for the area’s most prime shopping. The stretch of Michigan Avenue is home to more than 450 retailers. It includes major department stores, luxury designers, independent boutiques, technology hotspots, jewelers, and home goods. There are also three major shopping centers: Water Tower Place, The Shops At North Bridge, and 900 North Michigan Shops.
No surprise here, the area’s leading theater culture is hosted on Navy Pier. There, Chicago Shakespeare Theater hosts as many as 650 performances each year—including plays, musicals, and family programming. The venue also has its own IMAX theater.
Streeterville Yearly Festivals And Events
The Pier also hosts an array of free festivals and events each summer. There’s Live on the Lake!, a free concert series on summer weekends. You can also enjoy Chi-Soul fest and Make Music Festival each June. There are also an array of cultural celebrations including LatiNxt and Noche Caribeña.
Streeterville Parks and Beaches
Ohio Street Beach is in the heart of downtown, at Streeterville’s northern edge. It is tucked next to Jane Addams Memorial Park and offers access to the Lakefront Trail which winds past the beach. The beach is unique in that it is oriented to the north, which makes it an ideal training site for open-water swimming.