The business epicenter and transportation hub of downtown Chicago
Housing the famous Theater District, and as the core of some of the country's largest financial institutions, the Loop is the heart of downtown. Filled with architectural landmarks that would impress even the most well traveled historian, this lively and dynamic neighborhood is a dream come true for those seeking some of the best of Chicago. Packed with skyscrapers, office buildings, and residential high rises, the area is crowded and fast-paced during the day. Heavy in businesses, the Loop clears out a bit post workday, but a growing number of locals remain to live and play.
Convenience to transportation options is paramount for many, drawing residents to the area by the truckload. Proximity to entertainment options, the lake and vibrant surrounding neighborhoods make the Loop an attractive option for the younger, working crowd. The area is bordered to the west by the Chicago River, Lake Michigan to the east, Wacker Drive to the north and Congress Parkway to the south. It is immediately surrounded by River North, River West and the South Loop neighborhoods, each offering their own temptations in terms of things to do and in easy walking distance.
Landmarks & Scenes:
The Loop plays host to some of the most sensational architecture in existence. From The Rookery Building to Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) to the Board of Trade to the Wells Street Bridge, awe-inspiring design is everywhere. When most people think of Chicago they think of the Willis (Sears) Tower. 110 stories of Chicago iconography and stunning architecture all rolled into one magical skyscraper. Recognized for over 25 years as the world’s tallest building, it remains the 2nd tallest building in the U.S today.
Food & Drink:
The Daley Plaza, in the heart of the Loop, has a farmers market every Thursday throughout the summer months and is a great place to stock up on fruits and vegetables for busy professionals working in the business district. Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe or Yolk South Loop are great breakfast/brunch options, while Eleven City Diner is a well-loved Jewish Deli. Looking for something a little fancier? Check out Catch 35 or The Gage. And don't forget Lou Malnati's Pizzeria if you're craving a slice of Chicago deep dish pizza.
The famed State St. was once a thriving pedestrian mall and the hub of Chicago shopping. After being thrust into the shadow of its glittery neighbor (the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Ave.), retail business fell by the wayside. Now, Big names populate the street, though plenty of smaller niche stores are popping up as well. On top of amazing shopping, many of the buildings in the area have unique architecture. One of Marshall Field's Clocks is affixed to Macy's. Built in 1879, the Marshall Field Building (Macy's) remains the second largest singular store in the world and features a five-story Tiffany Mosaic dome.
The Loop is a mecca of entertainment for its renowned theater district alone, but it doesn't stop there. Catch Wicked, The Book of Mormon, The Sound of Music, Hamilton, and countless others at one of the many legendary theaters in this landmark district of the Loop. Pritzker Pavilion has an incredible summer time series of (free!) music provided by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. If you venture over to one of the concerts, bring a blanket, vino and snacks. The crowd is low key, the music is amazing, and the backdrop of the city behind the stage is priceless.
Sports & Outdoors:
Located next to 300 acres of green space (Grant & Millennium Parks), two harbors, the lakefront path and the beach, outdoor amusement is at your doorstep. Home to many music and food festivals, Grant Park is always hosting popular, well-known events like Lollapalooza and Taste of Chicago. The Lurie Garden in Millennium Park is an oasis of flowers, plants, and trees in the middle of the urban Loop area, and Buckingham Fountain is among the world's largest fountains. The garden is 5 acres and perfectly displays the official City of Chicago motto of 'City in a Garden'.
Arts & Culture:
The Loop is iconic in its architecture, classic in scenery, and rich in culture. There are numerous walking and boat tours, and the Art Institute of Chicago showcases world-class art and exhibits. At hte Boeing Gallery South in Millennium Park, sculptures dot the landscape in and around the park, and are always interesting enough to hunt out and explore new installations.
The Loop is a tourist haven for many, so family-friendly activities are plentiful. The Crown Fountain in Millennium Park is a perfect play place for children during hot summer days. Directly south of the Loop you can find The Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and The Field Museum.