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Chicago Communities Research Guide: Central, Near North, and Near South Side

Developed by Professors Rosie Banks and Todd Heldt, this guide lists and describes print and digital resources about Chicago neighborhoods.

Central, Near North, and Near South Side


(The Loop, New Eastside, Printer’s Row, South Loop)


60601, 60602, 60603, 60604, 60605, 60606, 60607, 60661


North: Chicago River

East: Lake Michigan

South: Roosevelt Road

West: South Branch of Chicago River

Featured Annotation

Art Institute

Located in the Loop, the Art Institute is iconic.Student researchers interested in Chicago’s art scene should definitely visit.The Art Institute is free to Illinois residents on Thursdays from 5-8pm; however, do check other opportunities.If one has children under the age of 18, one can check out a Kids’ Museum Pass from any one of the Chicago Public Library branches.Up to 4 people can then visit for free.Of particular interest may be the areas of the Art Institute focused on Chicago art and photography as well as the Thorne Room, which contains the miniatures.One can find a hearty display of miniatures and stories of Chicago’s miniaturists there. Also connected to this are the Nutshell Studies of Forensic Sciences and the miniature dioramas created by Frances Lee Glessner.


Other Primary Sources of Interest


  • Clarke-Ford House
  • Cultural Center: Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.
  • Art Center: Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Drive
  • Historic Building: The Rookery Light Court, 209 S. LaSalle Street
  • Library: Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State Street
  • Museum: Chicago Design Museum, 108 N. State Street
  • Museum: American Writer’s Museum, 180 N. Michigan Avenue
  • Community Organization: Greater South Loop Association,
  • Community Organization: South Loop Neighbors,
  • Historical Society: Chicago Jewish Historical Society, 610 S. Michigan Avenue
  • Museum: Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S. Michigan Avenue

Near North Side

(Cabrini-Green, Dearborn Parkway, The Gold Coast, Goose Island, Magnificent Mile, Near North Side, Old Town, River North, River West, State Parkway, Streeterville)


60610, 60611, 60622


North: North Avenue

East: Lake Michigan, including Filtration Plant and Navy Pier

South: Chicago River

West: North Branch of Chicago River

Featured Annotation

National Public Housing Museum

While the Jane Addams Hull House is an obvious choice as a resource on the Near West Side with real Chicago history in terms of the settlement house movement and social services, the National Public Housing Museum in River North ( ) also covers valuable ground, preserving the history of now mostly demolished Chicago high-rise housing projects as well as putting them in context of national movements toward affordable and public housing. Located at 625 N. Kingsbury St., the National Public Housing Museum is exploring. It does not seem as if they have a full museum; however, their office is located at the above-given address, and they are happy to share their archival materials upon request.

Other Primary Sources of Interest

  • Museum: McCormick Bridgehouse and River Museum,
  • Museum: Chicago’s Children’s Museum, Navy Pier
  • Monument: Statue of George “Cap” Streeter, Grand Avenue and McClurg Court
  • Museum: Intuit: Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art,
  • Museum: Loyola University Museum of Art, 820 Michigan Avenue
  • Foundation: Poetry Foundation, 61 E. Superior Avenue
  • Museum: Museum of Contemporary Art, 250 S. Grand Avenue
  • Art Center: City Gallery in the Old Water Tower, 806 N. Michigan Avenue
  • Museum: International Museum of Surgical Science, 1524 North Lake Shore Drive
  • Library: The Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton Street,
  • Historic Building: Richard H. Driehaus Museum, 40 East Erie Street
  • Historic Building: James Charnley-Pesky House, 1365 N. Astor Street,
  • Art Center: Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, 4 West Burton Place
  • Art Center: Carl Street Studio, West Burton Place
  • Area: Chicago Riverwalk,

Near South Side

(Dearborn Park, Near South Side, Museum Park, Central Station, Prairie Avenue Historic District)



60604, 60605, 60607, 60616



North: Roosevelt Road

East: Lake Michigan, including Burnham Park Harbor

South: 26th St.

West: Federal to Cermak and then Clark to 18th St. and then South Branch of Chicago River

Featured Annotation

Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance

The Near South Side has a plethora of resources, including the Clarke House Museum ( ), which makes the claim for the oldest house in Chicago as well as the Glessner House within with Frances Lee Glessner created the Nutshell Studies of Forensic Sciences. However, the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance has immediate relevance as they are currently engaged in a discussion to carve certain aspects of the Near South Side into its own community area, #78.  This is worth exploring as a way of understanding communities, community areas, and neighborhood identity in more depth.


Other Primary Sources of Interest

  •  Museum: Museum Campus (Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium), Grant Park
  • Historic Building: Glessner House, 1800 S. Prairie Avenue
  • Historic Building: Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue
  • Memorial: Cottonwood Tree - Fort Dearborn Massacre - War of 1812, NE corner of Prairie Avenue and 18th St.
  • Museum: Clarke House Museum, 1827 S. Indiana Avenue
  • Park: Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens, 1801 S. Indiana Avenue