River North is bounded by Michigan Ave, Oak St and the Chicago River. It’s a sub-neighborhood of the Near North Side community area.
Unlike most neighborhoods its size, River North has no sub-neighborhoods of its own. One possible exception, recognized by some, is the Cathedral District – the area bounded by Michigan Ave, Ontario St, Chicago Ave and State St.
River North’s current desirability and success make it unlikely that real estate agents and developers, the driving force behind most new neighborhood names, will subdivide it into smaller areas.
Although they have no names, River North has three very different sub-neighborhoods.
The area from State St east to Michigan Ave is dominated by hotels, office towers, high-end shops and posh residential high-rises stretching north from the Trump Tower.
The central part of River North, from State St west to the El tracks, is very much a mixed bag that’s home to an eclectic mix of buildings and uses, and is most recognizable by its destination restaurants and clubs.
West of the El tracks River North becomes a largely residential enclave, with little retail / commercial development north of the Merchandise Mart, but with a solid contingent of restaurants scattered about.
If you’re considering a move to River North, explore the different sub-neighborhoods to develop a comfort level with the vibe in each of them.