Nestled alongside picturesque Lake Michigan, this upscale Chicago neighborhood boasts a rich history, a vibrant dining scene, and world-class shopping. It is an ideal destination for business travelers looking to mix business with pleasure. Read more to learn everything business travelers need to know to navigate Chicago’s Gold Coast.

Chicago’s famed Gold Coast nestles right up to the magnificent Lake Michigan shoreline. One of the most affluent neighborhoods in the U.S., the Gold Coast is bordered by Lincoln Park and Old Town to the north and River North and the Loop to the south. Tree lined streets of historic mansions and brownstones weave between strips of nightlife, exclusive restaurants, and high-end retail.

Business travelers headed to Chicago’s Gold Coast will find a bit of it all: proximity to downtown transposed with an intimate neighborhood feel complete with green space, worldly cuisine, bustling nightlife, shopping and a big sandy beach. 

City Metrics

High Walkability/Public Transportation Options

Median Age is 45

Cityscape: Historic Architecture/Tree-line Street/High Rise Condominiums

Chicago’s weather

Gold Coast weather:

Like most of Chicago, the Gold Coast experiences all four seasons — sometimes to the extreme.. 

Spring | March to May | 50s-70sF (10-15°C).

Tip: Grab an umbrella as afternoon showers can happen quickly.

Summer | June to August | 70s-90s°F (25-37°C) “Warm & Humid”

Fall | September to November | 40s-60s°F (20-5°C) “Mild Temps getting colder as you get closer to November”

Winter | December to February | 20s to 30s°F (-5 to 5°C) “Cold & Snowy”

Lake Effect: The Gold Coast’s proximity to Lake Michigan can influence its weather. Snow is very possible during the winter, especially in the northern parts of the area, so be sure to check your weather app for up-to-the-minute weather changes.

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City Customs & Business Culture

Due to the affluent nature of the Gold Coast, suits, ties, and formal business attire are recommended for all gender identities, unless you know the business culture to be different. 

Chicagoans are known for their professionalism and punctuality, so be sure to be on time or call ahead. Handshakes are the proper greeting at most business meetings. It is also customary to exchange business cards. Clear, direct, and concise communication is preferred, but don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if you found something unclear or confusing.

Currency/Average Cost of Goods:

USD is the currency in Chicago. Most locations accept all forms of payment (cash, debit, credit cards), although contactless payment is preferred.

Average food costs include (as of 2022):

  • Inexpensive Meal $20
  • Mid-range Meal for Two People $82
  • Domestic Beer $7
  • Cappuccino $5.23
  • Soda $2.63
  • Water $2.24
  • Average cost of goods in the Gold Coast is more expensive than other areas of Chicago due to its affluent nature.

Chicago Social Etiquette & Manners

Chicago, like any major city, has its own set of social and cultural etiquette rules. Here are some general etiquette standards to keep in mind when traveling to Chicago.

  • Politeness and Respect — Chicagoans are generally friendly and polite, so a simple “please,” “thank you” and a “respectful attitude” will go a long way.

  • Tipping — Tipping is customary in Chicago, so tip servers in restaurants, bartenders, taxi drivers, and other service providers. The standard tip for restaurant service is around 15-20% of the bill.

  • Public Transportation — When using public transportation, especially during rush hours, yield your seat to the elderly, pregnant women, or individuals with disabilities. And, always let passengers off the train or bus first before boarding.

  • Sidewalk Etiquette — On a busy sidewalk, try to maintain a quick pace, don’t stand shoulder to shoulder in groups, and stay to the right to allow others to pass.

  • Personal Space — Chicagoans appreciate personal space, so maintain a comfortable distance when interacting with others, especially in crowded areas like public transportation.

  • Smoking Rules — Smoking is prohibited in many public places, including restaurants and bars. Pay attention to no-smoking signs and designated smoking areas.


The Gold Coast is generally considered safe, especially in comparison to some other neighborhoods in the city. Again, due to the affluence and upscale area, along with its significant residential and tourist presence, the Gold Coast is considered one of the safer areas of greater Chicago. 

That said, it’s essential to take precautions to minimize your risk. Just like any major city, it’s advisable to research specific areas you plan to visit and take appropriate safety measures and follow our Chicago Traveler Safety Tips. 

Chicago Traveler Safety Tips

  • Always take precautions and stay in well-lit and populated areas
  • Use reputable, licensed transportation
  • Avoid displaying cash and valuables
  • Travel in groups
  • Avoid public intoxication
  • Trust your instincts
  • Use your phones SOS feature if someone threatens you
  • Dial 911 for emergencies


Chicago is served by two major airports, O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Midway International Airport (MDW). The choice of airport often depends on your travel plans, destination, and proximity to your desired areas in Chicago or the suburbs.

O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

Located in the northwestern part of Chicago, approximately 17 miles (27 kilometers) from downtown Chicago.

  • O’Hare primarily serves the northern, northwestern, and western areas of Chicago, as well as the surrounding suburbs.
  • International Flights: O’Hare is one of the busiest international airports in the United States and offers numerous international flights to destinations around the world.
  • Transportation: O’Hare is well-connected to downtown Chicago and the suburbs via the ‘L’ train system (the Blue Line), taxis, shuttles, and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft.

Midway International Airport (MDW)

Midway International Airport is situated on the southwest side of Chicago, approximately 10 miles (16 kilometers) from downtown Chicago. While it does offer some international flights, Midway is known for its domestic routes within the U.S.

  • Midway primarily serves the southern and southwestern areas of Chicago, as well as nearby neighborhoods and suburbs.
  • Transportation: Midway is accessible from downtown Chicago and surrounding areas via the ‘L’ train system (the Orange Line), taxis, shuttles, and rideshare services.

Traveling to The Gold Coast in Chicago from O’Hare

  • An Uber ride from O’Hare Airport to the Gold Coast can range between $40 – $55 for a standard UberX ride. Fees will be higher during peak hours or busy times. An Uber ride from Midway to the Gold Coast is a bit cheaper with estimates ranging from $25-$40. Prices will vary depending on time of day, so be sure to check the Uber for the best estimate.  

  • Taxis between O’Hare Airport and the Gold Coast can run from $40 – $60, excluding gratuity. From Midway International to the Gold Coast, a taxi can cost between $30 – $45 excluding gratuity. Fees can vary, so make sure to check with your taxi driver for the most up-to-date rates before hiring the car.

Getting Around

To efficiently use public transit in Gold Coast and its surrounding areas, start by obtaining a Ventra Card, a reusable contactless fare card, which can be used on buses and trains. Using the Ventra app or website, business travelers can access schedules, maps, and real-time updates for a seamless and cost-effective way to explore the Gold Coast and its surrounding areas, including both O’Hare and Midway airports.

The ‘L’ train system (including the Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Pink, Brown, and Purple Lines) is the backbone of public transportation within the city. Additionally, the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) buses complement the ‘L’ system, covering various routes.

Red Line: The Red Line is the closest ‘L’ train line to the Gold Coast. You can take the Red Line and get off at the Clark/Division station, which is located in or very close to the Gold Coast. From there, you can easily walk to your central locations within the Gold Coast.

Brown Line: The Brown Line also serves the Gold Coast. You can take the Brown Line and get off at the Sedgwick station, which is also within walking distance of the Gold Coast.

Many buses also serve the Gold Coast. Check out the Central Transit Authority’s website for up to date bus and train schedules.

Business Services

The Gold Coast offers business travelers access to a plethora of business support services such as conference centers, event, catering, language, printing, copying, courier and shipping services, coworking spaces, networking organizations, and general business support services such as notary, legal, accounting, and consulting.

Home’s Essentials

The Gold Coast offers various options for pharmacies, supermarkets, and stores to purchase hygiene products.


  • Walgreens & CVS Pharmacy:

    The Gold Coast has numerous national and regional pharmacies chains, some open 24/7. Most of the pharmacies offer prescription services, over-the-counter medications, personal care and health and beauty products.  

Supermarkets/Grocery Stores:

  • Jewel-Osco:
    Located in various parts of downtown Chicago, Jewel-Osco is a popular supermarket chain offering a wide selection of groceries, fresh produce, and household items.
  • Mariano’s: Mariano’s has a few locations in the downtown area and provides organic and gourmet products.

  • Whole Foods Market: Whole Foods Market has a downtown location offering organic and natural foods, fresh produce, and a variety of health-conscious options.

Hygiene and Personal Care Products:

  • The best place to find hygiene and personal care products in the Gold Coast are at local pharmacies or supermarkets. Walgreens and CVS will have most of what you need on an immediate basis. If you are looking for more high-end cosmetics and skincare products, Sephora is a popular beauty retailer with a store near the Gold Coast. Ulta Beauty is another cosmetics and beauty product retailer with a range of skincare, makeup, and hair care products, but is located a bit further away. 

Business Attire Shopping

The Gold Coast offers a variety of excellent shopping options for business attire, from upscale department stores to specialty boutiques.North Michigan Avenue shopping district has it all.

Nordstrom — Nordstrom is known for its high-quality business attire, including suits, dress shirts, dresses, and professional accessories. 

Neiman Marcus — Neiman Marcus offers a wide selection of designer business clothing, including suits, dresses, shoes, and accessories.

Bloomingdale’s — This upscale department store offers a range of business attire for men and women, from formal suits to professional separates.

Hermès — Hermès is a prestigious luxury boutique synonymous with elegance, craftsmanship, and timeless style. They offer a curated selection of high-end fashion and accessories, including iconic silk scarves, luxurious leather goods, and impeccable clothing collections.

Prada — Prada is an iconic Italian luxury brand renowned for its cutting-edge designs, innovative materials, and a blend of modern and classic aesthetics.


The Gold Coast is home to some fantastic food and restaurant options. Below are a few “musts” for anyone traveling to the Windy City.

Steakhouse Dining

The Gold Coast is known for its exceptional steakhouse restaurants. Give “Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse,” “RPM Steak” and “Glenelg Public House” a try for some premium cuts and an upscale dining experience. 

Italian Cuisine

Italian cuisine is well-represented in the Gold Coast. ”Goccia” is a favorite (limited seating; need a booking!) and “Spiaggia” is definitely a must for upscale Italian. There are several other options that offer delicious pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, and other Italian specialties.

Steakhouse Dining Seafood Restaurants

If you’re a seafood enthusiast, you’re in luck. The Gold Coast has excellent seafood restaurants, such as “Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab.” 

Brunch Spots

The Gold Coast loves a good brunch. Try “3 Arts Club Cafe” for a unique brunch experience set in a beautiful atrium. 

Global Flavors

From sushi and Thai cuisine to Mexican and French restaurants, there’s a diverse range of international dining options on the Gold Coast. Consider “Sandrino” (Serbian), “BBQ Village” (Korean BBQ), “Flavours on Charcoal” (Brazilian), and “Le Colonial” (Vietnamese-French fusion).

Chicago’s Diverse Food Scene

  • Chicago’s downtown area is home to a wide array of international cuisine. Explore Randolph Street’s “Restaurant Row,” where you’ll find everything from upscale Mexican (Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill) to contemporary American (Blackbird) and Japanese (Momotaro). Alternatively, head to Eataly for a taste of Italy right in the city.

Local Attractions

The Gold Coast offers the business traveler a lot of options during their down time. The area is known for its upscale ambiance, historic architecture, and proximity to a variety of attractions and cultural landmarks. Here are some of the local attractions and points of interest in and around the Gold Coast:

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Magnificent Mile

This iconic shopping district, located along North Michigan Avenue, is renowned for its upscale boutiques, department stores, restaurants, and cultural institutions. It’s a hub for shopping and entertainment.

Oak Street Beach

Situated along Lake Michigan, Oak Street Beach offers a relaxing spot to sunbathe, swim, and enjoy lakefront views. It’s a popular destination during the warmer months.

Historic Mansions

Take a stroll through the Gold Coast’s tree-lined streets to admire its historic mansions and elegant architecture. The neighborhood boasts some of Chicago’s most iconic and well-preserved historic homes.

Washington Square Park

A picturesque park in the heart of the Gold Coast, Washington Square Park features a beautiful fountain, green spaces, and benches, providing a peaceful escape from the city bustle.

Newberry Library

This independent research library hosts exhibitions, lectures, and cultural events. It’s a great place for book enthusiasts and those interested in history and culture.

Chicago History Museum 

Located nearby in Lincoln Park, this museum showcases Chicago’s rich history through engaging exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays.

Saturday Social Chess

Every Saturday during the school term, from 8:20 AM to 12 PM there are chess boards available and open to the public at the Meeting Place. Whether you’re a seasoned chess player or just starting out, this is the perfect opportunity to improve your skills, meet new people, and have fun.

Interesting City Fact

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In the late 19th century, The Gold Coast earned its name as a hub of wealth and luxury as many of the most affluent Chicago residents rebuilt their homes in the area after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. As a result, the neighborhood became known for its luxurious mansions and grand townhouses, making it a symbol of affluence and exclusivity. Many of the iconic mansions still stand today, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich history of the area.


“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.”

-Daniel Burnham, Chicago Architect and Urban Planner

Looking for furnished luxury apartments for rent in Chicago’s Gold Coast? Contact us!