According to Wikipedia, the Gold Coast is the wealthiest neighborhood in Chicago and the second wealthiest neighborhood in the United States. Only Manhattan's Upper East Side is more affluent.
The Gold Coast consists mostly of high-rise apartment buildings on Lake Shore Drive, facing Lake Michigan, but also includes low-rise residential blocks inland. As with many neighborhoods, its exact borders are subject to dispute, but generally extend from North Ave. south to Division St. and west to LaSalle St. and also includes the areas east of State St. south to Oak St. and east of Michigan Ave. south to Walton St. It is also the home of Chicago's best restaurants, clubs and bars, and the entree point to the Magnificent Mile shopping area along Michigan Avenue (4 blocks away).
The Gold Coast was an unexceptional neighborhood until 1885, when Potter Palmer, former dry goods merchant and owner of the Palmer House hotel, built a fanciful castle on Lake Shore Drive. Over the next few decades, Chicago's elite gradually migrated from Prairie Avenue to their new homes north of the Loop.
The "Gold Coast Historic District" was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 30, 1978.
Proprietor Russ Rosenzweig's favorite places in and around the Gold Coast:
Within a few blocks you will find my favorite restaurants in Chicago.
Le Colonial(www.lecolonialchicago.com) is a sultry and seductive oasis for the best French-Vietnamese food in Chicago. Start your visit upstairs, in my favorite bar.
For a lavish steakhouse experience, I enjoy Morton's (www.mortons.com), whose CEO spent an evening with me and my fellow EO Chicago members, as well as the Gibson's/Hugo's Frog Bar/Lux Bar triangle (www.gibsonssteakhouse.com).
For a lower key affair, I love Bistro Zinc (www.bistrotzinc.com) for an authentic Parisian Bistro, and the Third Coast Cafe (www.3rdcoastcafe.com) for a low key, friendly neighborhood coffee house that features live music by candle light most evenings.
For a perfect summer outside eatery and people watching, Tavern on Rush, and newly opened french cafe Le Pain Quotidien is my local favorite breakfast place; for a quick lunch bite, PJ Clarke's Chicago is only one block away or check out the famous historical place renovated as Pump Room right cross the street!
And yes, we do have the famed beverly hill's Sprinkles Cupcake! For a good chocolate or almond croissant, I recommend La Fournette or Henderickx Belgium Bread Crafter, a tiny artisan bakery on Walton. Also for breakfast, Oak Tree Restaurant and Bakery and Hash House A Go Go.
A warm welcome to the epic new RH's Cafe 3 Arts Club Cafe at Goethe and Dearborn, a stunning venue for brunch/lunch. And for Mexican cuisine, Velvet Taco is the best in Chicago. I recommend simply ordering your tacos to go and enjoying them in the garden.
For your very special day, check out the Michelin Star restaurant Alinea.
By day, I recommend bike rides along the fabulous Lake Michigan bike path. The Florsheim House will gladly arrange for bike rentals and tour guides who take you on the ride of a lifetime with stops at the Shedd Aquarium (www.sheddaquarium.org), Adler Planetarium(www.adlerplanetarium.org)and Field Museum of Natural History (www.fieldmuseum.org/. For more cultural, we can arrange for you to dine at the resplendent University Club of Chicago or the Club at Symphony Center before your afternoon or evening at the Art Institute of Chicago(www.artic.edu/aic/) or Orchestra Hall (www.cso.org).
We also recommend a neighborhood walking tour of the Gold Coast with some of the most magnificent homes in Chicago, where Florsheim Mansion is often featured in the tour.