The Goose Island neighborhood of Chicago is an artificial island, and the only island on the Chicago River. The North Branch of the Chicago River and the North Branch Canal surrounds this 160 acres island. Mayor Daley declared the island a Protected Manufacturing District in 1990, but the surrounding land shares the namesake and features luxury high-rises with one-bedroom apartments renting for well over $2,000 per month, and two-bedroom apartments at least $3,000. Goose Island is currently in a period of reinvention, referred to as Goose Island 2.0, Silicon Island, and Innovation Island.
Chicago’s first mayor, William Ogden, created Goose Island when his excavating company cut a path through the Chicago River between North Avenue and Chicago Avenue in pursuit of brickmaking clay. The Ogden’s Canal was formed and later rejoined the river, isolating this piece of land in the process. The island became heavily industrialized; with grain elevators, several coal plants, and a railroad. The few residents, mostly workers, moved off the island by the turn of the 20th century in conjunction with the nickname “Little Hell” given in reference to the billowing smoke coming from the factories.
Goose Island’s distinct industrial ambiance has transformed into a popular nightlife destination. Although the island itself is still strictly industry, waterfront views and close proximity to the city make Goose Island a popular choice for nightclubs, bars and hip restaurants. The Goose Island 2.0 project is attracting Millennials looked to rent and buy apartments before the land values rocket further. It is still very much a work in progress, but this in itself is attractive to Chicagoans that are long tired of the economic slowdown that has been slow to leave Chicago.
You may show up here looking for the Goose Island Brewery, only to find out it’s actually in Wrigleyville. Don’t be disappointed, there’s so much more here: have a delicious burger at the aptly named ‘Burger Bar’; embrace the impressive views at rooftops like ‘Estate Ultra Bar’; or catch a comedy show at ‘iO Comedy Club’. Stop by ‘The Matchbox’ to have one of their mixologists craft you one of their signature cocktails. You’ll find that the Northwest side of the island and the intersection of Halsted and North Avenue are packed with great food and drink options.