Culture + Style

Eye for Design? Head to Chicago’s River North to See and Shop the Best in Contemporary Design

Chicago’s River North neighborhood has always been a hot destination for trendy restaurants and nightlife, but in recent years it has also become a hub for some of the city’s best design.

In 2013, the design community got together to form the River North Design District, which soon filled with Chi-town’s top galleries, furniture stores and showrooms. The style-centric neighborhood was the perfect fit for the AC Hotel Chicago Downtown to call home. The hotel has a keen focus on design with clean lines, modern amenities and appreciation for detail, not unlike the stores that surround it.

Want to find the best in design? These eight spots in River North just scratch the surface.

theMART

This design mecca could be considered its own neighborhood, as the building spreads out over two city blocks and houses 25 floors of businesses. Not all of them are design related — or open to the public — but there are plenty of amazing and welcoming showrooms like LuxeHome or Kohler to explore. TheMART is also home to various sample sales and awesome design shows, like the One of a Kind Show, held twice a year.

The Golden Triangle

This 18,000-square-foot mecca of design is full of both vintage and modern pieces from Asia and Europe. The store caters to both design professionals and the general public.

The space is comprised of rooms that are themed to showcase different aesthetics based on the products offered, from lighting to furniture to art, and feature unique antique pieces you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

Jean Albano Gallery

river north chicago
(Photo: Courtesy of Jean Albano Gallery)

This gallery features mixed media, sculptures and cartoon art alongside more typical mediums. Head here if you’re looking to find a variety of cutting-edge contemporary works.

Luminaire

This three-story loft building is full of modern pieces like bold lighting and statement furniture. Each floor of the showroom offers a dedicated interior design architect to help you plan out the perfect pieces for your own space.

Organic Looms

This store focuses on beautiful handwoven area rugs from artisans around the world. There is something for every style, from traditional to abstract, in myriad sizes and colors. The owners travel the globe every year to form relationships with their artisans and scope out the latest styles and designs.

Casa Spazio

river north chicago
(Photo: Courtesy of Casa Spazio)

Italian luxury meets modern aesthetics at this showroom where you can find furniture and accessories for every room in the house. They usually house about 25 Italian brands and can help with space planning and interior design.

Printworks Gallery

Stepping into Printworks is almost like stepping into an art museum. In fact, many of its past exhibitors’ works are featured at the world’s most acclaimed museums, like the Tate in London and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The gallery specializes in works on paper, so expect to see drawings, artist books and various prints.

Catherine Edelman Gallery

If photography is what inspires you, this longstanding gallery — in business since 1987 — has you covered. The gallery features both well-established and emerging artists whose work covers a variety of subjects.

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