River West

by: Greg Nagel
Ask Nagel Realty

River West

[Feature Photo:  The high-rise buildings looming in the distance show River West’s proximity to the Loop.]

River West Borders & Overview

Bounded by the highway and the river and bisected by numerous train lines, the River West neighborhood was, for many years, somewhat forgotten. In recent years, however, value-seeking homebuyers have discovered the charm of this neighborhood, and development has followed. Walkable to the Loop, West Loop, and Michigan Avenue and well-served by public transportation, River West is truly centrally located.

River West’s borders:  Division Avenue to the north, Grand Avenue to the south, 90/94 to the west, the Chicago River to the east.

The commercial center of the River West neighborhood is the intersection of Grand, Halsted, and Milwaukee.  Milwaukee Avenue in particular has become a hotspot for development, with new luxury apartment buildings surrounding both the Chicago and Grand Blue Line stops, many taking advantage of the Transit-Oriented Development designation. Restaurants, bars, and shopping have quickly followed.

A little further west, Grand Avenue offers a quieter neighborhood feel, with restaurants lining the area near Ogden.

In the interior of the neighborhood, the streets may not be as picturesque as the neighborhoods to the west due to the area’s industrial past, but value-seeking homebuyers can find single-families and condos accessible to everything, a rarity in the city. And while the train yards and highways may keep some away from the neighborhood, they also create some amazing views of downtown.

River West Home Inventory

True to the industrial roots of the River West neighborhood, many of the old factories in the neighborhood have been converted into loft condos, while new luxury apartment buildings have sprung up near both the Chicago and Grand Blue Line stations. The interior streets feature many single-family homes, townhouse developments, and three-flat condo buildings.

luxury apartments at Grand & Milwaukee
A new luxury rental building is anchored by a Starbucks at the corner of Grand and Milwaukee.

River West Schools

Known for its innovative collaborative curriculum, Bennett Day School offers a private alternative in River West for Pre-K through 12th Grade.

exterior of Bennett Day School

River West Eats

Piccolo Sogno:  One of the early pioneers in River West dining, Piccolo Sogno offers contemporary Italian cuisine and pizza in one of the nicest outdoor spaces to be found in the city.

Windy City Cafe: Overlooking the Chicago Blue Line Station, this classic Chicago diner offers hearty breakfast and lunch fare in a decidedly urban setting.

The Dawson:  A striking two-level dining room with expansive outdoor spaces features handcrafted cocktails and an eclectic upscale menu, making for a great date spot.

interior of The Dawson restaurant

River West Shopping

Intuit Center: Even if you don’t know your Henry Darger from your Lee Godie, you can explore the world of outsider art at this Milwaukee Ave museum.

inside Seek Vintage shop

River West Organizations

For businesses in the River West neighborhood, the West Town Chamber of Commerce offers services and champions their interests. For residents, a community group named Neighbors of River West seems to meet sporadically but does not have an online presence. For community-minded new residents, this might offer an opportunity to better organize the group and get your neighbors involved

River West Transportation

You’d be hard-pressed to find a neighborhood with more transit options than River West.  With Blue Line stops at both Chicago and Grand, train access to the Loop is easy (if crowded), and the 56 Bus runs along Milwaukee for a slightly less packed, if slower, option. For car owners, numerous highways converge in the neighborhood with numerous entry/exit points. For the more active, Milwaukee Ave also offers dedicated bike lanes, and the whole neighborhood is easily walkable to many other neighborhoods and attractions.

Walk Score
Transit Score
Bike Score

River West Vibe

While many other neighborhoods claim “central” locations, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that fits that bill better than River West. Emerging out of a former industrial area bisected by highways and train lines, River West has taken these seeming handicaps and turned them to its advantage, utilizing the old industrial infrastructure to create a unique, vibrant, and distinctly urban neighborhood. For value-seeking homebuyers who want to be in the middle of everything, River West may be the answer, and nobody knows River West better than Ask Nagel!

Greg Nagel

Greg Nagel is the Managing Broker/Owner of Ask Nagel Realty and a Top 1% producer of all Chicago brokers. He has been featured on two episodes of HGTV’s number one show, House Hunters. Check out the 200+ five-star reviews of Greg’s work from his clients on Zillow.