With the Merch Mart (home of 1871, Braintree, MATTER, Motorola, and several other digital pillars), ContextMedia (and its 600 new jobs), a handful of shared spaces (Catapult and Industrious), and a number of converted lofts populated by startups, River North is the tech epicenter of Chicago. Coincidentally, it's also the city's epicenter for "sexiness," too.
Today, Thrillist, a digital lifestyle media property, released a list of the ten sexiest neighborhoods in the U.S., with River North coming in at number five.
While explaining the selection, the piece singles out the neighborhood's high concentration of art galleries, suggesting that "people with money can buy art, and that's who's moved into the collection of new high rise lofts." (What?) Thrillist also highlights River North's proximity to the Mag Mile and Oak Street shops, as well as the presence of the Trump Bar, as reasons for its inclusion. So, yes, there's certainly a queasy undercurrent of "wealth-constitutes-sexiness" hanging over the ranking that warrants a flat-out dismissal.
But tech is sexy and Chicago knows that the real reason the River North neighborhood is on this list is due to the innovation and innovators fueling the area. And though Pilsen, the West Loop, Goose Island, Wicker Park, and many other 'hoods are contributing to and driving the fastest growing sector in Chicago's economy, River North is still the most condensed, high volume tech hub in the city.
River North was behind Miami's South Beach (#1), LA's South Bay (#2), Dallas' Uptown (#3), and Miami's Brickell neighborhoods and ahead of South Tampa (#6), SoHo (#7), Atlanta's Buckhead (#8), D.C's 14th St. (#9), and Boston's Back Bay (#10).
Thrillist also ranked the sexiest neighborhoods in the world and you can view that list here.
(Image via Wiki Commons).