TXT
TXT

Lakeshore East  is a master-planned mixed use urban development in the Loop community area of Chicago. It is located in the northeastern part of the Loop, which, along with Illinois Center, is called the Near East Side. The development is bordered by Wacker Drive to the north, Columbus Drive to the west, Lake Shore Drive to the east, and East Randolph Street to the south. The development, which had been scheduled for completion in 2011, is now set for completion in 2013. Although the majority of the buildings in the neighborhood will be 21st century constructions resulting from the master plan, some of the current buildings were built as early as the 1960s and 1970s decades. Thus, the term "Lakeshore East" refers only to the components of the new master plan, while the term New Eastside refers to the greater neighborhood surrounding Lakeshore East that extends westward to Michigan Avenue. However, there is little distinction between buildings in the master-plan and other buildings in the region because the pre-existing buildings are referred to as being located in the Lakeshore East area.

Lakeshore East features several of the tallest buildings in Chicago and may include a few of the tallest buildings in the United States. The overall planned development, the park, and several of the individual buildings have won awards for architecture and/or urban planning. The buildings are planned for various types of residential use (condominiums, apartments, or hotels). Due to the neighborhood's proximity to both Lake Michigan to the east and the Chicago River to the north, many of the buildings are named with aquatic or nautical themes. As of August 2008, 1,500 condominiums have been sold and 1,200 apartments have been completed.

Previous to this urban development, the Lakeshore East area had been used by Illinois Central Railroad yards. After World War II, the railroads sold airspace rights north of Randolph Street. For several years after the rail yards were vacated, the site was used as a 9-hole golf course. Pete Dye designed the course, known as Metro Golf at Illinois Center, which was completed in 1994 and closed in 2001. The area was originally planned for development as part of the Illinois Center, and one of the challenges to the new development was to integrate itself into the inherited triple-level street system while creating a visually appealing and pedestrian friendly neighborhood. The solution was to stagger ground-level amenities and building entrances from the upper level at the perimeter to the lower level at the interior. Thus the multilevel street grid is utilized around the edges, with large parking structures in the podiums, while a large park at the lowest level forms the core of the development.

The following buildings pre-existed the 21st century master plan for the neighborhood: Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower, Three Illinois Center, Swissôtel Chicago, Buckingham Plaza, The Parkshore, 400 East Randolph Street Condominiums and Harbor Point. A 27-floor expansion of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower was completed in 2010. When Harbor Point and 400 East Randolph were built, Lake Shore Drive ran through this neighborhood to the west of these buildings, but it has since been rerouted to the east of these buildings.

The Chicago Pedway, which has existed since 1951, connects to public and private buildings, Chicago Transit Authority stations and Metra commuter rail facilities. The 4, 6 and 60 CTA bus routes run along the borders of the Lakeshore East area, and the 60 makes a turnaround within it on Harbor Drive. The pedway has been a controversy for Lakeshore East residents since they were promised a fully linked pedway to Buckingham Plaza and North Harbor Tower in the early 1990s as part of the construction plans. The archives available on the NewEastside.org website show numerous plans and unfulfilled promise regarding connecting the Pedway to most of the New Eastside.

This $4 billion lifestyle center spans 28 acres and will include 4,950 residences, 2,200,000 square feet of gross commercial space, 1,500 hotel rooms, 770,000 square feet of retail space and a planned elementary school surrounding a magnificent 6-acre botanical park. The plan, which had Adrian Smith as the design partner, calls for fourteen high-rise condominiums and two commercial office space superstructures. Lakeshore East is within walking distance to the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, DuSable Harbor, Michigan Avenue, Grant Park, and Millennium Park.The park, named Lakeshore East Park, opened in 2005 and is supported by a mixture of public funds from the Chicago Park District and private funds from the neighboring Lakeshore East condominium buildings. It is the city's first and currently only free wireless park. The park features several fountains.

 

The Loop or the Chicago Loop  is the historic commercial center of downtown Chicago. It is the seat of government for Chicago and Cook County, as well as the historic theater and shopping district (including, "State Street, that great street").

As established in social research done by the University of Chicago in the 1920s, the Loop is a defined community area of Chicago. Chicago's central business district community area is bounded on the west and north by the Chicago River, on the east by Lake Michigan, and on the south by Roosevelt Road, although the commercial core has expanded into adjacent community areas.

The community area includes Grant Park and one of the largest art museums in the United States, the Art Institute of Chicago. Other major cultural institutions that call this area home include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Goodman Theater, the Joffrey Ballet, the central public Harold Washington Library, and the Chicago Cultural Center.

In what is now the Loop Community Area, on the southern banks of the Chicago River, near today's Michigan Avenue Bridge, the U.S. Army erected Fort Dearborn in 1803. It was the first settlement in the area sponsored by the United States.

Loop architecture has been dominated by high-rises since early in its history. Notable buildings include the Home Insurance Building, considered the first skyscraper (demolished in 1931); the Chicago Board of Trade Building, a National Historic Landmark; and Willis Tower, the tallest in the United States. Some of the historic buildings in this district were instrumental in the development of high-rises. Chicago's street numbering system - dividing addresses into North, South, East and West quadrants, originates in the Loop at the intersection of State Street and Madison Street.

This area abounds in shopping opportunities, including the Loop Retail Historic District, although it competes with the more upscale Magnificent Mile area to the north, and with suburban shopping malls. It includes Chicago's former Marshall Field's department store location in the Marshall Field and Company Building; the original Sullivan Center Carson Pirie Scott store location (closed February 21, 2007); and Sears on State. Chicago's Downtown Theatre District is also found within this area, along with numerous restaurants and hotels.

Chicago has a famous skyline which is home to many of the tallest buildings in the world as well as the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard District. Chicago's skyline is spaced out throughout the downtown area, giving it a graceful bridgelike appearance. The Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, which is widely recognized as the tallest building in the United States, stands at the west end of the Loop in the heart of the city's financial district, along with other buildings, such as 311 South Wacker Drive and the AT&T Corporate Center.Chicago's third tallest building, the Aon Center, is located just south of Illinois Center. The complex is at the east end of the Loop, east of Michigan Avenue. Two Prudential Plaza is also located here, just to the west of the Aon Center.

The Loop contains a wealth of outdoor sculpture, including works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Marc Chagall, Alexander Calder, and Jean Dubuffet. Chicago's cultural heavyweights, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Goodman Theatre, the Chicago Theatre, the Lyric Opera at the Civic Opera House building, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, are also in this area, as is the historic Palmer House Hilton hotel, found on East Monroe Street.

Chicago's lakefront, which is almost exclusively recreational park area from north to south, features Grant Park in this downtown area. Grant Park is the home of Buckingham Fountain, the Petrillo Bandshell, the Grant Park Symphony (where free concerts can be enjoyed throughout the summer), and Chicago's annual two-week food festival, the Taste of Chicago, where more than 3 million people try foods from over 70 vendors. A recent addition to Grant Park is the architecturally forward Millennium Park, which opened in the summer of 2004, featuring a Frank Gehry's Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Jaume Plensa's Crown Fountain and Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture and spanning what were formerly open railyards on the city's lakefront.

The Chicago River, which delineates the area, also provides entertainment and recreational opportunities, including the annual dyeing of the river green in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Trips down the Chicago River, including architectural tours, by commercial boat operators are great favorites with both locals and tourists.

The Loop is the seat of Chicago's government. It is also the government seat of Cook County, Illinois and houses an office for the governor of the State of Illinois. The century old City Hall/County Building houses the chambers of the Mayor, City Council and County Board.Across the street, the Richard J. Daley Center accommodates a famous Picasso sculpture and the state law courts. Given its proximity to government offices, the Center's plaza serves as a kind of town square for celebrations, protests and other events.The nearby James R. Thompson Center is the city headquarters for state government, with an office for the Governor. Many state agencies have offices here, including the Illinois State Board of Education.

A few blocks away is the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse housing federal law courts and other federal government offices. This is the seat of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The Kluczynski Federal Building is across the street. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is located on LaSalle Street in the heart of the financial district. The United States Postal Service operates the Loop Station Post Office at 211 South Clark Street.

The Chicago Loop is the second largest commercial business district in the United States, after New York City's Midtown Manhattan. Its financial district near LaSalle Street is home to the CME Group's Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Aon Corporation maintains its headquarters in the Aon Center. Chase Bank has its commercial and retail banking headquarters in Chase Tower. Exelon also has its headquarters in the Chase Tower. United Airlines has its headquarters in 77 West Wacker Drive. United moved its headquarters to Chicago from Elk Grove Township, Illinois in early 2007. In addition United's parent company, United Continental Holdings, also has its headquarters in 77 West Wacker. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association has its headquarters in the Michigan Plaza complex. Sidley Austin has its headquarters in the One South Dearborn building in the Chicago Loop. Morton Salt has its headquarters in the Chicago Loop.

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is located in an office in the Aon Center, the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago has an office in 35 East Wacker, the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in the United States is located in an office at 303 East Wacker Drive, and the US Mexico Chamber of Commerce Mid-America Chapter is located in an office in One Prudential Plaza.

Previously the grocery store company Red & White once had its headquarters in the Loop. McDonald's was headquartered in the Chicago Loop until 1971, when it moved to Oak Brook, Illinois. When Bank One Corporation existed, its headquarters were in the Bank One Plaza (now Chase Tower). When Amoco existed, its headquarters were in the Amoco Building (now the Aon Center).

 

River West,  the small area within West Town east of the Kennedy Expressway and west of the south branch of the Chicago River, between Division Street (1200N) and Grand Avenue (500N) is referred to as River West, complementing the River North area of the Near North Side. The small area is bisected by the elevated Union Pacific Railroad tracks. It contains several large loft buildings, most converted in the mid 1980s for residential use; several housing developments; St. John Cantius church; The Chicago Academy for the Arts located in St. John Cantius's former school; the Chicago Tribune's Freedom Center printing facility; some nightclubs and restaurants and a few blocks of historic residential areas.

 

West Loop Gate / West Loop   Often called just "the West Loop," West Loop Gate is in the Near West Side community area along the western bank of the Chicago River. It is bounded by Grand Avenue on the north, the Ashland Avenue on the west, the Eisenhower Expressway on the south and the Chicago River on the east.A former manufacturing corridor turned art-edgy neighborhood, the area consists primarily of warehouses that are still in use or have been converted to loft condominiums (loftominiums), restaurants, night clubs, art galleries, and some retail. It is also the home of Harpo Studios, owned by well known talk show host Oprah Winfrey, and the production site of her syndicated television show.

 

NEWCITYis the name of a retail/housing development between Old Town and SoNo named for being the former site of the New City YMCA. It comprises the area between Old Town on the Near North Side and the SoNo neighborhood. It will consist of many retail stores and housing. It is bounded by Clybourn Avenue, Ogden Avenue, Halsted Street and Eastman Street on the south. Not related to the New City Community Area on the South Side.

The Gold Coast Historic District is a historic district in Chicago. Part of Chicago's Near North Side community area, it is roughly bounded by North Avenue, Lake Shore Drive, Oak Street, and Clark Street.

The Gold Coast neighborhood grew in the wake of the Great Chicago Fire. In 1882, millionaire Potter Palmer moved to the area from the Prairie Avenue neighborhood on the city's south side. He filled in a swampy area which later became Lake Shore Drive, and built the Palmer Mansion, a forty-two room castle-like structure designed by Henry Ives Cobb and Charles Sumner Frost. Other wealthy Chicagoans followed Potter into the neighborhood, which became one of the richest in Chicago.

In the late 1980s, the Gold Coast and neighboring Streeterville comprised the second most-affluent neighborhood in the United States, behind Manhattan's Upper East Side. Today, the neighborhood is a mixture of mansions, row houses, and high-rise apartments. Highlights include the Astor Street District and the James Charnley House.

The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

The nearby East Lake Shore Drive District and parts of northern Streeterville and the Magnificent Mile near the lake also may be considered part of the Gold Coast (such as the area around the famous 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments), even if not technically in the historic designation. The mayor's office map extends the Gold Coast south to the area of Northwestern University's Chicago campus.  

TXT
TXT

The Near North Side  is located north and east of the Chicago River, just north of the central business district (the Loop). To its east is Lake Michigan and its northern boundary is the 19th-century city limit of Chicago, North Avenue. With the exception of Goose Island and Cabrini–Green on the west, the Near North Side is known for the Magnificent Mile and the Gold Coast, as well as Navy Pier, a popular visitor destination.

In the 1780s, in what is now the Near North Side, on the northern banks of the Chicago River near today's Michigan Avenue Bridge, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable built the first known permanent settlement in "Eschecagou." Today this is marked by Pioneer Court.

 

Old Town  bounded by the Ogden Avenue right-of-way on the northwest, Larrabee Street on the west, Division Street on the south, Clybourn Avenue on the southwest and Clark Steet on the east and northeast. It crosses portions of the community areas of southern Lincoln Park, as well the northern Near North Side. Old Town includes the Old Town Triangle Historic District. The Old Town Triangle Historic District is bounded on its northwest side by the former Ogden Avenue right-of-way, its northeast side by Lincoln Avenue and Wells Street, and on its south side by North Avenue. This historic district sits within the Old Town Triangle Association (OTTA), a Lincoln Park neighborhood bounded by the former Ogden Avenue right-of-way, Clark Street and North Avenue. It sits inside the community area of Lincoln Park. Old Town north of North Avenue is in Lincoln Park, and south of North Avenue is part of the Near North Side. 

Old Town is today considered an historic neighborhood, home to many of Chicago's older, Victorian-era buildings. In the 1950s, the majority of this area was an enclave to the first Puerto Ricans to emigrate to Chicago. They referred to this area as part of "La Clark" until commercialization decorated late 1960s shop signs with the name of Old Town. The neighborhood is home to St. Michael's Church, originally a Bavarian-built church, and one of 7 to survive the path of the Great Chicago Fire. St. Michael's, Holy Name Cathedral, Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph's catered also to Latinos with Spanish speaking masses.

The neighborhood is also home to the famed The Second City improvisational comedy troupe. Many of the streets and alleys, particularly in the Old Town Triangle section, predate the Great Chicago Fire and do not all adhere to a typical Chicago grid pattern. In 1927, sculptors Sol Kogen and Edgar Miller purchased and subsequently rehabilited a house on Burton Place, near Wells Street, into the Carl Street Studios. Through the 1930s, an art colony emerged in the neighborhood as artists moved from the Towertown neighborhood near Washington Square Park.Old Town has one Brown-Purple Line El station at 1536-40 North Sedgwick Avenue. It is one of the oldest standing stations on the 'L'.

The SoNo neighborhood is bordered by North Avenue, Halsted Street, the North Branch of the Chicago River and Division Street. It includes the North/Clybourn Red Line 'L' Stop as well as many nightclubs, the British School of Chicago, an Apple Store and some high rise housing. It is also home to the Weed Street District. This is a rapidly changing area with more and more retail going up as an extension of the big box stores on Clybourn Avenue and North Avenue. Lincoln Park is to the north and Cabrini–Green is to the southwest.

 

Rush Street  north of Chicago Avenue to Division Avenue has been a popular nightlife destination since the 1950s. Connors Park is a small, triangular park bounded by Rush, Wabash, Chestnut, and Delaware. Part of the Magnificent Mile district (west of Michigan, north of Chicago, east of State, and south of Oak), it has seen new development spilling over from Michigan Avenue. Much of the Loyola University Chicago Water Tower campus lies in this area.

 

River North is a neighborhood in the Near North Side to the Loop. It is bound by Michigan Avenue to the east, Chicago Avenue to the north, and the Chicago River to the south and west.

The River North neighborhood got its name from Chicago real estate developer Albert Friedman (chief executive of Friedman Properties Ltd.), who in 1974 started to buy, restore and build commercial property in the southeast sector. Much of the area was skid row at the time, so in an effort to attract tenants Friedman started calling the area "River North". Within a few years, Friedman found photographers, ad agencies and art galleries willing to rent the low cost space and coalesce into what is now the The River North Gallery District, which has the largest concentration of art galleries in the United States outside of Manhattan. Along with hundreds of art galleries, the area holds many bars, dance clubs, popular restaurants, and entertainment venues.

Subsections of River North include:

  • the gallery district, primarily along Superior and Huron streets between Wells and Orleans;
  • a theme-restaurant area with many tourist-oriented restaurants, surrounding Clark and Ontario;
  • "the Cathedral District," an area with many new residential skyscapers surrounding Holy Name Cathedral (Catholic) and St. James Cathedral (Episcopal), located near State and Superior, and Huron and Wabash, respectively;
  • a design district, with shops and showrooms selling commercial and luxury interior furnishings, in the blocks north of the Merchandise Mart; and
  • Kingsbury Park, an area of newly built residential high-rises surrounding Montgomery Ward Park, at Erie Street and the Chicago River.

River North is serviced by four "L" train stations: the above-ground Chicago-Brown and Merchandise Mart-Brown stations and the below-ground Chicago-Red and Grand-Red stations.

 

Streeterville  is the easternmost neighborhood downtown, north of the Chicago River. It is bounded by the river on the south, Michigan Avenue on the west, and Lake Michigan on the north and east.

Streeterville houses some of Chicago's tallest skyscrapers (such as the John Hancock Center) and most upscale stores, hotels, restaurants, as well as Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, School of Continuing Studies, Kellogg School of Management's downtown campus and School of Law. The Magnificent Mile portion of Michigan Avenue is part of Streeterville, as is the number one tourist attraction in Chicago, Navy Pier. The Museum of Contemporary Art is also located here.

Chicago River is the south border (right) of the Near North Side and Streeterville and the north border (left) of Chicago Loop, Lakeshore East and Illinois Center (from Lake Shore Drive's Link Bridge with Trump International Hotel and Tower at jog in the river in the center).Although there is general agreement that Streeterville is bounded on the west by the Magnificent Mile, some, including the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, claim the boundary extends to one block further to the west to Rush Street. One map by the Chicago Mayor's office differs on both the northern and eastern boundary, showing a boundary that includes only the southwestern (formerly, industrial) portion of this region bounded on the north by Grand Avenue and on the east by Lake Shore Drive as being included in Streeterville with the rest of the claimed region designated as part of the Gold Coast. A website dedicated to George Wellington "Cap" Streeter contradicts the city and agrees with other sources extending the northern boundary to Lake Michigan. One city guide not only uses Grand Street as the border, but also extends the district west several blocks. Although the Encyclopedia of Chicago does not explicitly lay out the boundaries of this region, it mentions buildings such as the John Hancock Tower and Water Tower Place, even though the land around the water tower and pumping station existed long before Captain Streeter made his claims. This article considers the black boundaries in the lead map above to be the guiding boundaries.

Although its main campus is in Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University has its Chicago campus here. Northwestern Memorial Hospital and its Feinberg School of Medicine is located in Streeterville. The Prentice Women's Hospital opened in October 2007, and construction started on the new campus of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago in April 2008. The Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies and part of its Kellogg School of Management are nearby. The Northwestern University School of Law is at Chicago Avenue and Lake Shore Drive, adjacent to Lake Shore Park and Lake Michigan. Next to the Park is the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. The downtown campus of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business has a Chicago River setting to the south. The east side of the Magnificent Mile portion of Michigan Avenue is part of Streeterville, as are Navy Pier, the most visited attraction in Chicago, and the John Hancock Observatory, the eighth-most visited attraction in Chicago.

The area east of Michigan Avenue and north of the Chicago River had a split personality for much of the 20th century - the northern portion upscale residential, retail, and university uses and the area near the Chicago River and Navy Pier dedicated to shipping and factories. At the end of the 1960s, however, residential complexes such as Lake Point Tower (1965) and McClurg Court Center (1971) began to appear among the warehouses and by the end of the century, residential and retail dominated the entire area. The neighborhood now has a reputation as part of a residential strip that balances the more industrial western portion of the Near North Side. In 2007, construction started on what would have been Chicago's tallest skyscraper, the Chicago Spire. It was to be located in the southeastern corner of the neighborhood, next to Lake Shore Drive. The Chicago Spire was originally supposed to be completed in 2010, but was later cancelled.

In the early 21st century, much of the southern part of the neighborhood that had previously contained warehouses and empty lots has undergone development, including the River East Center east of Columbus Drive. The River East Art Center serves as the primary retail hub apart from the Magnificent Mile. South Streeterville currently has numerous skyscrapers that are either proposed or already under construction such as Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and Residence Tower, InterContinental Chicago, 560 North Fairbanks, 600 Lake Shore Drive, Streeter Place and 630 North McClurg Court, which complement the River East Center, and NBC Tower.

 

Streeterville Historic Districts  Streeterville hosts several landmarks and places that have been designated as historic districts. The East Lake Shore Drive Historic District, which consists of a row of early 20th century luxury apartments, sits on the northern edge of the district opposite Lake Michigan. The Old Chicago Water Tower District is located along Michigan Avenue where Streeterville meets the border of the River North and Gold Coast (Chicago) neighborhoods at Chicago Avenue. The Water Tower District contains the only public buildings that survived the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. Also, part of the Michigan–Wacker Historic District lies within Streeterville at the southern end of the Magnificent Mile and contains numerous high rises and skyscrapers built in the 1920s.

The neighborhood hosts several individual landmarks. The neighborhood hosts a National Historic Landmark, the Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite, the home of the first settler in Chicago. Properties in the neighborhood listed in the National Register of Historic Places include 257 East Delaware, the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments, the Drake Hotel, the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, the Navy Pier and the Palmolive Building. Other Chicago Landmarks in the neighborhood include Allerton Hotel, Farwell Building, McGraw-Hill Building, Perkins, Fellows & Hamilton Office and Studio, Tribune Tower, and the Woman's Athletic Club. Notable buildings in the district also include some skyscrapers on the Magnificent Mile: John Hancock Center (1,127 feet), 900 North Michigan (871 feet), Water Tower Place (859 feet), Park Tower (844 feet), Olympia Centre (725 feet), One Magnificent Mile (673 feet), Chicago Place (608 feet), Palmolive Building (565 feet) and Non-Michigan Avenue skyscrapers in the neighborhood include the following: Lake Point Tower (645 feet), North Pier Apartments (581 feet), Elysées Condominiums (529 feet), 401 East Ontario (515 feet) and 400 East Ohio Street (505 feet). Some of the notable buildings in the district that have not been designated are Wrigley Building and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

The neighborhood hosts more than 25 hotels, including the Ritz Carlton, one of three five star hotels in the Midwestern United States,  and the historic Drake Hotel. The Peninsula Hotel, another of the three five star hotels in the Midwestern United States, and the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, the other of the Midwestern five star hotels are located in the neighborhood near Rush Street. These two hotels host the highest rated spas in Illinois.

The Magnificent Mile  is a stretch of North Michigan Avenue between the Chicago River and Oak Street in Streeterville. Although actually about three-quarters of a mile, the name "Magnificent Mile" has stuck.

Along this street is a mixture of luxury stores, restaurants, office buildings and hotels. The area has a high concentration of the city's major media firms and advertising agencies, including the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

It is the home of Chicago's famous Water Tower landmark, Water Tower Park with its historic clock, and the eight-level Water Tower Place shopping center which grew up next door to, and overshadowed, the comparatively diminutive landmark. The shopping center is anchored by Macy's North Michigan store. North of the shopping center can be found the famous John Hancock Center, the Art Deco Palmolive Building and the lavish Drake Hotel.

 

Washington Square  is a public square bounded by Dearborn, Clark, Delaware, and Walton streets. It was long known as "Bughouse Square," as orators of varying abilities often used its central platform for speeches. It is fronted on the north by the Newberry Library and partially bounded by the Washington Square landmark district. Immediately west of LaSalle Boulevard, separating this area from Cabrini–Green, is the Moody Bible Institute, and immediately east is Connors Park.

Census tract 811, a four-block area located between State, Dearborn, Chicago, and Division and straddling Washington Square and the Gold Coast, had 3,718 residents in 2000, giving it a population density of 90,614.2 inhabitants per square mile — the highest in Chicago.