The Loop is Chicago’s most postcard-perfect neighborhood, representing an ideal mix of culture, business, and history. From high-rise luxury condos to charming homes in Printer’s Row, every property affords amazing views of the city’s landscape. With its location alongside Lake Michigan, the Loop is a great spot for morning jogs, walks, and bike rides by the water. Families appreciate the wide range of free activities and kid-friendly attractions such as Millennium Park. Art aficionados find a home in the Chicago Cultural Center, the Chicago Art Institute, and the numerous world-class theaters within the Loop.
Office workers appreciate theLoop's convenient location near major corporate buildings. Over breaks, workers enjoy the wide variety of quick-stop lunch spots such as Heaven on Seven, Taza, and the Illinois Institute of Art's Back Stage Bistro. Sometimes workers bypass lunch for shopping in nearby boutiques, malls, and department stores including Filene's Basementand the historic State Street Macy's.
Many of the state's finest universities are located in the downtown Loop, making it a hot spot for young locals. Roosevelt University students can be seen studying in the Harold Washington Library. Local galleries display the work of students from Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute. A number of city colleges offer college credit programs for high school seniors and evening classes to accommodate daytime workers.
With such a wide array of incredible options for living, working, and playing, residents of all ages love the Chicago Loop.
As the primary business hub of Chicago, the Loop is its most centrally located and publicly accessible neighborhood. Residents enjoy its lakefront location and the recreational opportunities it offers, including boating, swimming, and scenic biking. Locals also appreciate the Loop's Retail Historical District and the shopping convenience of the Magnificent Mile.
While the term Chicago Loop often refers to the area bound by Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive, the Loop’s official parameters extend as far as Roosevelt Road to the south. Situated between the Chicago River to the north and west and Lake Michigan to the east, the Loop provides picturesque waterfront views.
Surrounding neighborhoods include the Near North Side, Near West Side, Near South Side, and University Village to the southwest.
Standing at 1,450 feet and 110 stories, Willis Tower is the tallest building in the United States and the fifth tallest free-standing structure in the world.
The Loop showcases a number of outdoor sculptures created by world-famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Henry Moore, and Joan Miró.
The Chicago Loop was home to the historic Home Insurance Building. Built in 1885 and demolished in 1931, it was considered the world’s first skyscraper. The LaSalle National Bank Building now stands in its place.
The Chicago Board of Trade Building was designated a National Historic Landmark on
June 16 of 1978. With its large-scale stone carvings, including a three-story tall statue of Ceres, the building is emblematic of Chicago’s art deco architecture.
The Historic Michigan Boulevard includes numerous historic landmarks such as the Blackstone Hotel, the Lake View Building, the Gage Building, and the Auditorium Theater. The Auditorium has hosted the performances of numerous famous persons from Theodor Roosevelt to Jimi Hendrix.
Population (2000) - Total 16,388
Density 10,377.7/sq mi (10,342.5/km2) population up 37.09% from 1990
Median income $75,248
The Loop currently defines itself by the ring of elevated rail tracks that runs through Chicago’s business district. However, the “loop” term originates from a circle of lines and a giant pulley that powered the city’s cable cars until 1897. Throughout the 19th century, all of the city’s railroad depots were located along the fringes of the business district, creating the circular hub of stations that can still be seen today.
Many of Chicago’s diverse ethnic groups established roots within the Loop area. By the 1850s, the area southwest from State and Madison housed German, Irish, and African American immigrants. As the commercial district expanded toward the rail stations, transient home units and poorer immigrants were pushed beyond the tracks.
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 ravaged the central part of the city, including the illustrious Potter Palmer hotel and a number of commercial buildings on State Street. Mindful of the fire’s damage, 1880s architects turned to a more sturdy material: steel. Thus, they developed the skyscrapers that are now a symbol of Chicago’s business district.
At 1,450 feet and 110 stories, Chicago’s Willis Tower looms over these skyscrapers; in fact, it is the tallest building in the United States. When it was completed in May of 1973, the Willis Tower was the tallest building in the world. In February of 1982, two television antennae were added, increasing the total height to 1,707 feet (later raised to 1,730 feet when lengthened in 2000 to improve reception for NBC.)
Willis Tower was formerly known as the Sears Tower, named for Sears, Roebuck and Company. With over 350,000 employees, Sears was the largest retailer in the world when architects Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill were commissioned to design the office building. In 2003, Sears’ naming rights to the building expired. The rights were bought in March of 2009 when Willis Group Holdings Ltd., a London-based broker, leased a large portion of the tower.
The Loop is the most walker-friendly neighborhood in Chicago, making it easy for homeowners to explore their community. With so many theaters, restaurants, and entertainment destinations, it’s almost impossible to be bored! In addition to convenience, Loop properties offer spectacular views of Chicago’s iconic high-rises, making it an ideal spot for lovers of the city’s architecture.
Real Estate property management companies include: Chicago Graystone, Distinctively Chicago, Beitler Real Estate, MB Real Estate, and the Magellan Development Group.
Chicago Loop apartments range from studios to luxury lofts. Loop rent properties cater to a wide variety of lifestyles, needs, and income levels, ranging from just $650/month to $2000/month. Low-rise apartments feature walk out balconies while high-rise apartments feature outdoor terraces: perfect for entertaining! Indoor features include modern kitchens, in-unit laundry, downstairs work-out rooms, and fantastic window views.
Chicago Loop real estate offers a broad range of home options. Many downtown workers, young couples, and small starting families enjoy the elegance of Loop condos. Aspiring cooks flourish in gourmet kitchens with custom cabinetry, walk-in pantries, marble counters, and chic wet bars. Buyers who work from home appreciate the open floor space and natural lighting, which create a pleasantly productive environment. Large master bedrooms, real wood entertainment centers, and living room fireplaces create a relaxing in-home haven. Architechtural details such as showcase staircases, chandeliers, lumina lighting, custom tiling, and glass mosaics give downtown condos a distinguished character.
Printer’s Row offers a variety of Loop single-family homes and townhouse options. As the former location of Chicago's publishing presses, this neighborhood provides a rich, historic setting. Popular styles include brick bungalows, vintage flats, stately Windsor homes, exquisite Italiante homes, and Victorian homes. Loop homes boast one of a kind vistas overlooking the Chicago River, Navy Pier, and other local landmarks. Families enjoy their walking distance from nearby schools, restaurants, and child-friendly distantions such as Millenium Park.
Loop home interiors showcase unique designs, ornate trim and panelings, and an amazing flow of living space. The value of Downtown Chicago homes is defined not only in appearance, but by their brilliant legacy. Loop properties are not just houses, but beautiful pieces of history.
Real estate prices in the Loop range from an average of $250,000 for a one bedroom condominium, $350,000 for a two bedroom, and $350,000 + for a three bedroom. The average single-family home ranges from 1-2 million.
Due to its central location, The Loop is known for being Chicago’s most convenient neighborhoods for public transportation. The CTA Green, Orange, Brown, and Pink lines all run through the Loop at Clark and Lake, State and Lake, Randolph and Wabash, Madison and Wabash, and Adams and Wabash stops.
The CTA Brown Line, Orange Line, and Pink Line include stops at State and VanBuren and Washington and Wells, and the Brown and Pink Lines make additional stops at the State and VanBuren Harold Washington Library, LaSalle and VanBuren, and Quincy.
Travelers and commuters may also easily transfer to the Blue line at Clark and Lake or State and VanBuren, or the Red line at State and Lake.
The CTA bus lines include many stops within the Loop, and almost every line connects with at least one train station. Loop bus routes include Route 1 Indiana-Hyde Park, Route 2 Hyde Park Express, Route 6 Jackson Park Express, Route 10 Museum of Science and Industry, Route 14 Jeffery Express, Route 20 Madison, Route 29 State, Route 36 Broadway, Route 56 Milwaukee, Route 124 Navy Pier, Route 130 Museum Campus, Route 134 Stockton/LaSalle Express, Route 135 Clarendon/LaSalle Express, Route 136 Sheridan/LaSalle Express, Route 144 Marine/Michigan Avenue Express, Route 145 Wilson/Michigan Express, Route 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express, Route 148 Clarendon/Michigan Express, Route 151 Sheridan, and Route 157 Streeterville/Taylor, to list a few of the most major lines.
Route 56 Milwaukee is a convenient transportation option for Loop residents as it travels in a full circle downtown along Des Plaines, Michigan,Washington, Madison, and Jefferson Avenue.
Route 124 Navy Pier provides a direct line to Navy Pier, Chicago's most popular family destination. The line also passes the Ogilvie Transportation Center, Union Station, and the Millennium Metra Station, providing easy access to Chicago's suburbs.
Route 130 Museum Campus takes passengers to a number of major downtown Chicago destinations including the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and the world famous Field Museum.
Bus lines Route 1 Indiana-Hyde Park, Route 2 Hyde Park Express, Route 6 Jackson Park Express, and Route 10 Museum of Science and Industry run through Chicago's historic Hyde Park, connecting Loop residents to the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry.
The Loop also contains four major Metra Railway hubs: the Ogilvie Transportation Center, Union Station, Millennium Station, and the Chicago LaSalle Station. The LaSalle station runs on the Rock Island District Metra through Beverely Hills, Morgan Park, and a number of major city and south suburban stops. The final stop is Joliet.
Millenium Station is the final stop on the Metra Electric Line, which runs from Blue Island through University Park, Chicago State University, historic Pullman, Hyde Park, and the 11th Street Museum Campus.
Ogilvie is the final stop on all Metra Union Pacific Lines including the Union Pacific North Line, Union Pacific Northwest Line, and the Union Pacific West Line. The North Line runs through stations in Rogers Park, Wilmette, Ravinia Park, Waukegan, and other north suburbs before reaching the final station in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Northwest Line runs through Irving Park, Edison Park, and other northwest suburbs before reaching Harvard. The West Line stops in historic Oak Park and runs as far west as Elburn.
Union Station is the end destination for the Milwaukee District North Line, North Central Service, Milwaukee District West Line, BNSF Railway, Heritage Corridor, and Southwest Service. The Milwaukee District North Line runs to Fox Lake. The North Central Service runs out to Antioch. The Milwaukee District West Line runs to Big Timber, Elgin. The BNSF Railway runs as far west as Aurora. The Heritage Corridor runs to Joliet, passing through Summit, Willow Springs, Lemont, and Lockport. The Southwest service travels through the south suburbs to Manhattan.
A number of major highways runs through the Loop, making it one of the most car-accessible neighborhoods for residents who prefer to drive. Loop highways include Lake Shore Drive to the east, Roosevelt Road to the south, the I-90 Kennedy Expessway, and the I-290 Eisenhower Expressway to the west.
The Kennedy Expressway runs north into Goose Island, Wicker Park, Logan Square, Roscoe Village, Avondale, Six Corners, Portage Park, and Albany Park before splitting into I-90 and the I-94 Edens Expressway. Southbound, the Kennedy Expressway becomes the Dan Ryan Expressway and runs through Armour Square, Douglas, Oakland, Kenwood, Back of the Yards, Washington Park, and Englewood before splitting into I-94 and the Chicago Skyway Toll Road, which leads into northwest Indiana.
The Eisenhower Expressway runs west through the Near West Side, Garfield Park, Cicero, Berwyn, Oak Park, Forest Park, Maywood, Broadview, Westchester, Bellwood, and Hillside before running into the I-294 Tri-State Tollway.
The Loop has the highest walk score out of all Chicago neighborhoods, earning 96/100 points. Thus, residents often forgo cars, parking, and gas costs altogether! However, drivers enjoy access to dozens of local parking garages.
The Chicago Loop is home to some of the state’s most well respected liberal arts and design programs, including Roosevelt University, Columbia College, the School of the Art Institute, and many more.
Roosevelt University has been a thriving and diverse learning community since the school opened its doors in 1945. The college was opened just two weeks after the death of Franklin Roosevelt. Moved by the event, the school's founder, Edward J. Sparling, renamed the college in the late president's honor. From that point, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt became a major spokeswoman and inspiration for the institution, promoting the goal of "enlightening the human spirit." Today, the school offers 126 prestigious degree programs with an eye toward academic excellence, progress, and activism.
Columbia College is one of the state's largest and most creative media arts colleges with a wide range of unique academic programs. This beautiful campus provides exceptional facilities for film and sound production, editing, and performance, including the historic Getz Theater. Undergraduate majors range from traditional dance, music, theater, and journalism programs to degrees in Creative Nonfiction Writing, Videogame Art Design, and Early Childhood Education.
The School of the Art Institute is one of the oldest accredited art and design schools in the country. With its connection to the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, SAIC is the largest school-museum campus in the United States. The design faculty are among some of the world's most distinguished audio and visual performers, painters, poets, architects, and artists, bringing students a wealth of practical knowledge and innovative ideas.
The South Loop Elementary school offers a beautiful campus in Dearborn Park, walking distance from the Roosevelt station on the CTA Green, Orange, and Red lines: Perfect for dropping off the kids on your way to work!
Brandos (343 South Dearborn Street (773) 216-3213), is known for its laid-back atmosphere and killer karaoke. The bar is styled as a casual yet elegant speakeasy with friendly staff and themed nights. There are a number of food and drink specials, including $2 Tuesdays and rotating martini specials.
For a scenic bar experience, Loop residents recommend The Roof (201 North State (312) 239-9501). On a chilly evening, customers can warm themselves around the cozy fire pits that line the interior. On warmer nights, the patio is of Chicago’s prime spots for star gazing and people watching.
The Chicago Loop is dotted with friendly neighborhood pubs and sports bars. Local favorites include Cavanaugh’s (53 West Jackson Boulevard (312) 939-3125), Poag Mahone’s (333 South Wells Street (312) 566-9100), and Miller’s Pub (134 South Wabash Avenue (312) 963-4988).
The Loop is Chicago’s epicenter for pleasure as well as business, home to the city’s most treasured cultural venues.
The Art Institute of Chicago (111 South Michigan Avenue (312) 443-3600), boasts a vast collection of works from the Old Masters to contemporary artists. In addition to beautiful paintings and sculptures, the Art Institute features collections of medieval arms and armor, prints and drawings, European decorative arts, modern photography, textiles, and the Thorne Miniature Room. Each season offers exciting new exhibitions highlighting specific artists, collections, or stylistic movements. Along with it numerous exhibits, the Art Institute offers free admission from 5:00-8:00pm every Thursday.
The Chicago Cultural Center (78 East Washington Street (312) 744-6630), is a melting pot of creative events that are often free to the public. The Cultural Center exhibits the work of up-and-coming musical, visual and, performance artists. Foreign film screenings, lectures, and discussion groups are regularly featured. With its long arched windows and remarkable Tiffany glass dome, the Center is a masterpiece in and of itself.
The Gene Siskel Film Center 164 N State Street (312) 846-2600, screens both foreign and American films. From the golden age to the avant garde, the glossy to the gritty, the classic to the creepy, there is something to delight any cinema buff. A comfortable art gallery cafe area provides a place to eat and chat after the movies. Gene Siskel Film Center Ticketsare $4 for School of the Art Institute faculty, $5 for Film Center members, $7 for students, and $10 for general admission.
The Loop is home to a number of palatial historic theaters, providing a luxurious atmosphere for concerts, operas, musicals, plays, and more. The Oriental Theater (24 West Randolph Street (312) 977-1700), is a gem of old Chicago architecture with its ornate wooden carvings and lush velvet drapes. Local enthusiasts commend the Oriental’s sight line and acoustics, which provide an ideal setting for the Broadway productions it stages.
The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (800 East Grand Avenue (312) 595-5600) brings high art to the accessible location of Navy Pier. Shakespeare Theatre Plays feature a broad range of Shakespearean tragedies, histories, light comedies, romances, and modern reinterpretations. Locals can earn special deals and VIP seating by purchasing a 2-play subscription online.
Downtown Loop residents also enjoy shopping in the wide array of boutiques on theMagnificent Mile. This splendid retail strip along Michigan Avenue features fine restaurants, spas, and shopping centers such as the Water Tower Place (845 North Michigan Avenue), the 900 Shops (900 North Michigan Avenue (312) 915-3916), and the Shops at Northbridge (520 North Michigan Avenue). From little black dresses to must-have designer jeans, these upscale shops answer anyone's fashion wish list. Popular stores include Bloomingdale's, Gucci, the Armani Exchange, Sephora, and Macy's.
The Loop serves up a wide array of restaurants that satisfies all palates, schedules, and budgets.
Backstage Bistro (18 North Wabash Avenue, (312) 475-6920), is highly recommended for its gourmet taste at modest prices. The restaurant is run by students of the culinary program at the Illinois Institute of Art and features a widely varied menu that changes every 12 weeks. Gourmands rave about the free dessert, including a decadent chocolate lava cake.
Heaven on Seven (111 North Wabash Avenue Ste 700 (312) 263-6443), is heaven on earth for diners seeking Cajun Cuisine in an eclectic atmosphere. The décor mixes old saloon and kitschy diner with a Mardis Gras flair. Locals love the gumbo and the many unique brands of hot sauce. Vegetarians appreciate the restaurant’s impressive selection of meatless dishes.
Taza (176 North Franklin Street (312) 201-9885), offers excellent Middle Eastern food in a kid-friendly environment. Diners recommend the falafel and the chicken shawarma plate. Take-out and delivery is available for those on the go.
The University Club of Chicago (76 East Monroe (312) 726-2840) is the preferred upscale dining destination in the Loop. Established over a century ago by a group of college alumni, the club takes pride in its historic roots. The restaurant provides an elegant environment, breathtaking views of the lake, and food worthy of its rich surroundings.
The Magnificent Mile is home to a number of outstanding gourmet eateries. Phil Stephani's 437 Rush (437 North Rush Street (312) 222-0101)) offers one of the most sophisticated dining atmospheres in the Loop. The executive chef Federico Comacchio received his culinary training in Italy and cooked for top restaurants in Genoa, Milan, Paris, Puerto Rico, and Belgium. The 437 Lunch Menu includes a number of seafood specials such as insalata di salmone and linguini al frutti de mare, vegetarian dishes such as ravioli alle erbette and risotto agli asparagi e robiola, and savory plates such as costoletta alla milanese. The dinner menu boasts premium steaks and a wide range of fresh seafood offerings, including Pacific Ahi Tuna, Lake Superior Whitefish, Pacific Chilean Sea Bass, Maine Lobster Cocktail, Oysters, and Alaskan King Crab.
The Markethouse Restaurant (611 North Fairbanks Court (312) 224-2200) highlights the produce of local and organic farmers in chic contemporary dishes. The restaurant serves everything from breakfast brunch to gourmet dinner to classy cocktails such as The Driscoll, a mix of Pama, orange juice, cranberry juice, and Patron Silver. The 30 Minute Executive Lunch provides a great way to impress savvy diners and clients on the go, serving specials such as the brie and spiced apple sandwich, the grilled jumbo gulf shrimp, and the giant iceberg lettuce "wedge" drenched in bacon, brioche croutons, and blue cheese dressing.
Le Colonial (937 North Rush Street (312) 255-0088) is a romantic upscale French-Vietnamese Restaurant that captures the atmosphere of 1920s southeast Asia. the restaurant features a main floor dining area, seasonal cafe, bar, and lounge on a stately all-season terrace. Le Colonial serves everything from rustic oxtail soup to delicately flavored chao tom shrimp rolls to elegant ca song tuna tartare. Both the restaurant and lounge are great to reserve for private parties.
Grant Park can be found between Randolph street on the north, Roosevelt Road on the south, Michigan Avenue on the west, and Lake Shore Drive on the east. The park is home to architectural must-sees such as Buckingham Fountain and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Grant Park is also the site of the yearly Taste of Chicago, the world’s largest food festival. Running from the Friday before July 4th to the Sunday after, the Taste features vendors of Polish Sausage, Chicago-style pizza, and ethnic favorites such as Pad Thai and Cuban Pork. The festival hosts nightly band and film performances in arenas such as the Petrillo Music Shell.
The Petrillo Music Shell provides the setting for a number of Chicago festivals, including the Chicago Blues Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, and Lollapalooza. Lollapalooza is one of the nations largest music festivals and has featured major performers such as Lady Gaga, Devo, Gogol Bordello, and Erykah Badu. Tickets can be purchased for general admission passes, VIP passes, and air conditioned private cabanas.
Millennium Park--an art garden within Grant Park--is a popular attraction for tourists and residents alike. Children splash in a shallow wading pool of the illustrious Crown Fountain. Adults enjoy the moving faces of Chicago citizens projected on its 50-foot glass towers. The park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion hosts numerous concerts and music festivals throughout the year, including the Grant Park Music Festival. Of course, no visit is complete without a picture of the Cloud Gate “bean,” a steel sculpture that reflects Chicago’s majestic skyline.
The Printer’s Row Literary Festival serves as a forum for book-sellers, book lovers, and authors to gather each year in the historic publishing district. Recent speakers include celebrated writer Luis Alberto Urrea and graphic novelist Daniel Clowes. The festival is located between Congress Parkway on the north, Polk Street on the south, Plymouth Court on the east, and the Chicago River on the west.
The Federal Plaza Farmers Market and Daley Plaza Farmers Market bring a bit of green to the downtown Loop. In addition to fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, market vendors sell baked goods, flowers, herbs, free-range meat, and a number of specialty items. Local shoppers can munch on treats such as roasted nuts, chocolate croissants, and shortbread cookies as they browse among booths. Office workers often stop by on their lunch hours to supplement their grocery shopping.
The Randolph Street Market runs from May through September, showcasing over 200 vendors of vintage clothing and antique furniture, books, art, jewelry, and more. The market is home to the famous Chicago Antique Market and the Indie Designer Market, bringing together merchants from around the globe. Season passes to the market can be purchased online, including summer-long admission and free valet parking.
Throughout the holiday season, the Christkindlmarket brings beautiful German-made handicrafts, ornaments, nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, toys, and dolls to the Chicago Loop. Vendors also sell delicious Germans foods such as sausages, potato pancakes, and pastries. Thirsty shoppers enjoy the German beer booths and the Gluhwein, a sweet, warm cinnamon-spiced wine punch.