Not so long ago, it was just a hole in the ground; now it’s arguably the city’s most luxe neighborhood. Welcome to Lakeshore East.
Skyscrapers like Aqua (center) form a natural barrier around Lakeshore East Park, adding to the development’s sense of intimacy (not to mention making it a real challenge to find).
When Lakeshore East opened in the aughties, we chuckled at the idea that the parcel of land tucked away—no, really tucked away—just south of the Chicago River could ever feel like a neighborhood. When starchitect Jeanne Gang’s Aqua building started winning awards, we raised an eyebrow. Now, with a renowned park and school, and another Studio Gang building, the 95-story Vista Tower, on the way, we’re filled with questions.
Do people actually live there? Are they holding Jeanne Gang hostage, her ransom payable only in skyscrapers? And why is it impossible for Uber drivers to find? Here’s what we do know about this 28-acre master-planned community by the lake.
Where the action is: The area is loosely bordered by Columbus, Randolph, Harbor Drive, and Wacker.
The crowd: Internationals looking for a second (or third) pied à terre; upwardly mobile families; celebs like Lady Gaga.
Handbag of choice: Marc Jacobs Wingman Stripes Shopping Bag ($595), for market trips to Mariano’s.
Guilty pleasure: Shrimp tacos with truffle parmesan tots at Brown Bag Seafood Co.
Green overload: Grant Park, grant schmark. No need to commune with the masses when you’ve got a six-acre botanical park with fountains, walkways, and enough trees to make you think you’re in Michigan.
Baby name: Merrill (as in Skidmore Owings, natch), after the iconic firm behind the development’s master plan.