Full of new growth while retaining some of its old grit and character
Surrounded on all sides by excitement, there is something appealing for everyone. Hole in the wall bars, five star restaurants, world class architecture, picturesque parks and lakefront paths, museums, shopping, theater...and on and on. The industrial feel of the area is ever present and part of its charm, though the days of run down, abandoned warehouses and eerily empty streets are long gone. Now a quintessential foodie destination for locals and tourists alike, this vibrant community is in the midst of an incredible growth spurt with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The West Loop is situated due west of the financial district (the Loop) which is located in the heart of downtown. Neighbors include Little Italy/University Village, the South Loop, West Town and River North, to name a few. The West Loop has quickly evolved into a walking paradise for locals. Shopping (big names and small) as well as the famed Restaurant Row on Randolph St. is about a 10-20 minute jaunt on foot, depending on where you're coming from. Cabs are easy to come by, numerous bus lines run in and out of the area at all hours of the day as does the Blue Line, Green Line and Metra.
Landmarks & Scenes:
The University of Illinois at Chicago is on the southern end of the West Loop and features a small district of restaurants, bars, nightlife and entertainment; it is often referred to as University Village.
If there's a swanky new restaurant in town, chances are it's opening in the West Loop. With Restaurant Row as a well known anchor for fabulous food and drinks, the neighborhood is booming with options. Foodies and wino's rejoice! Drinking and dining in Chicago doesn't get much better than this. Carmichael's Steakhouse has been a Chicago favorite for almost 70 years. The neighborhood has changed and new buildings have been built, but Charmichael's has remained the same and for good reason.
One of several new stores along Madison Ave. The Fig Tree sells all the kitschy, fun, and entertaining gift items or home decor that you could want. Like many neighborhoods in Chicago, the West Loop has your pets covered with several dog parks and this local pet store.
Offerings in the West Loop include art galleries, the United Center, exclusive nightclubs, Little Italy, UIC Pavilion, Greektown, Restaurant Row, and that's just the beginning.
Sports & Outdoors:
With access to some fantastic parks and home to some of the most enjoyable street and music fests that Chicago has to offer, West Loop residents have tons of ways to enjoy the outdoors. Visit Mary Bartelme Park, which is almost 2 acres of green space, a children's playground, and dog-park. Johnny's Icehouse is a large field house, specializing in hockey for students and players of all ages, and is also the practice facility of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Arts & Culture:
Since 1980, The Merit School of Music has existed to provide local Chicago students with musical and art education. It currently puts on classes, camps, events, shows, and community fundraisers. Brew and Grow; if you brew beer, make cheese, ferment wine, grow your own vegetables or want to learn any of it, head here, to one of the most eclectic teaching spots in Chicago.
For families, The Cone hosts ice cream socials, there are free movies being played in the park during the summer, and the recent addition of a local farmers market makes this community an ideal space for families looking for entertainment.