Chicago Neighborhoods: South Loop

The South Loop is an exciting, vibrant, growing area that is setting new standards for Chicago’s urban dwellers. Located immediately south of Chicago’s Loop, it’s a preferred location for those who want to live, work and play in one dynamic area. The South Loop’s pocket neighborhoods include Printer’s Row and Dearborn Park.

Formerly a sparsely populated industrial area, the South Loop is now home to a thriving community of young professionals, students of nearby colleges, and Chicago’s former Mayor Richard M. Daley. The neighborhood features notable historical landmarks that include the 1836 Clarke House, one of Chicago’s oldest residences; a diverse dining scene; blues clubs and other nightlife options; and the convenience of the Museum Campus and Loop a short stroll away.

South Loop Attractions

Adler Planetarium

  • Museums & Zoos

The Adler Planetarium, America’s first planetarium, features three full-size theaters, and houses one of the world’s most important antique instrument collections. The Adler is a recognized leader in science education, with a focus on inspiring young people to pursue careers in science.

1300 S. Lake Shore Dr. | 312.922.STAR (312.922.7827)

Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Music,
  • Theater & Dance,
  • Universities & Colleges

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University offers the finest international, cultural and community programming in Chicago in a National Historic Landmark building. Designed and constructed by famed architects Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, the theatre has been a mainstay of Chicago architecture and theatre since 1889. In architectural grandeur and in the merit of the artists who have performed here, the Auditorium Theatre has no equal.

50 E. Congress Pkwy | 312.902.1500

Buddy Guy’s Legends

  • Music

Chicago’s premier blues club, owned by Buddy Guy himself, boasts the best local and national blues bands 7 nights a week. Guests can experience great Cajun food, see rare blues memorabilia and play pool. Legends even has live music during lunch Monday through Friday!

700 S. Wabash Ave. | 312-427-1190

Clarke House Museum

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Museums & Zoos

Clarke House Museum located in the Prairie Avenue Historic District is Chicago’s oldest house.

1827 S. Indiana Ave | 312.326.1480 (Glessner House)

Columbia College Chicago

  • Universities & Colleges

Columbia College Chicago, located in the city’s burgeoning South Loop, educates nearly 12,500 undergraduate and graduate students on both visual communications and scholarly arts.

Free Admission | 600 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.663.1600

Glessner House Museum

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Museums & Zoos

The Glessner House Museum was designed in 1887 by Boston architect H. H. Richardson and is considered a masterpiece of 19th century residential design. It is furnished with an important collection of English and American arts and crafts furnishings assembled by the Glessners over a period of more than 50 years.

1800 S. Prairie Ave. | 312.326.1480

Harold Washington Library Center

  • Libraries,
  • Popular Attractions

Open 7 days a week, the Harold Washington Library Center is the central library for the Chicago Public Library System. As with all Chicago Public Library locations, visitors are provided free access to a rich collection of books, the Internet and WiFi; sophisticated research databases; newspapers and magazines; high quality author discussions with nationally known authors such as Salman Rushdie and Tom Wolfe, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults.

Free Admission | 400 S. State St | 312.747.4050

John Mills van Osdel’s Former Home

  • Historical Landmarks

Chicago’s most well-known architect during the pre-fire period, John Mills van Osdel also helped the city rapidly rebuild after the fire of 1871. Van Osdel lived at 2310 S. Indiana Avenue. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 2310 S. Indiana Ave.

Marshall Field’s Former Home

  • Historical Landmarks

Marshall Field’s department store was a pioneer of modern retailing practices, emphasizing service to gain customer loyalty. In addition, Field’s philanthropic legacy includes the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History. Field lived at 1905 S. Prairie Avenue. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 1905 S. Prairie Ave.

McCormick Place

  • Other Attractions,
  • Sports & Recreation,
  • Theater & Dance

Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center is the premier convention facility in North America and is located just minutes from downtown Chicago.

Free Admission | 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive | 312.791.7000

Motor Row District

  • Historical Landmarks

Considered to be the largest, intact early “automobile row” in the U.S., Motor Row was home to as many as 116 different makers of automobiles including Ford, Buick, Fiat and Cadillac. Designed by architects such as Holabird & Roche, Philip Maher and Albert Kahn, the buildings located on Motor Row demonstrate how the automobile showroom and related product and service buildings have evolved over time. The Motor Row District includes several buildings along the 1400-2500 blocks of S. Michigan Avenue, the 2200-3400 blocks of S. Indiana Avenue, and the 2200 block of S. Wabash Avenue.

Free Admission | 2400 S. Michigan Ave.

Museum of Contemporary Photography

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Museums & Zoos

A part of Columbia College, the Museum of Contemporary Photography is the only museum in the Midwest dedicated to the medium of photography. The rotating exhibits often feature work from the museum’s permanent collection.

Free Admission | 600 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.663.5554

Myra Bradwell’s Former Home

  • Historical Landmarks

Forbidden to practice law because she was a woman, Myra Bradwell went on to found Chicago Legal News, the nation’s leading legal newspaper. Bradwell’s legislative advocacy eventually enabled women to become lawyers. Bradwell lived at 1428 S. Michigan Avenue. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 1428 S. Michigan Ave.

National Veterans Art Museum

  • Museums & Zoos

The National Veterans Art Museum, formerly the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, aims to inspire greater understanding of the real impact of war. The museum collects, preserves and exhibits art inspired by combat and created by veterans.

1801 S. Indiana Ave., 3rd floor | 312.326.0270

Old St. Mary’s Church

  • Religious locations

Originally known as Saint Mary of the Assumption, the present parish began its story in April 1833, when the “Catholics of Chicago” signed and sent a petition to Bishop Rosati of St. Louis. The current church was designed by Serena Sturm Architects, Ltd. and dedicated July 21, 2002. In 2003, the building won the Association of Licensed Architects Silver Award.

Free Admission | 1500 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.922.3444

Phillip Armour’s Former Home

  • Historical Landmarks

Armour & his brothers founded Armour & Co. in 1867, and it soon became one of the country’s largest companies. Armour pioneered the use of refrigerated railroad cars for delivery and increased profits by processing “everything but the squeal” of the animals for various products. In 1892, Armour donated $1 million to establish the Armour Institute of Technology, which became the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1940. Armour lived at 2115 S. Prairie Ave. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 2115 S. Prairie Ave.

Prairie Avenue District

  • Historical Landmarks

Following the Fire of 1871, the area around the 1800-1900 blocks of S. Prairie Avenue, the 1800 block of S. Indiana Avenue and 211-217 E. Cullerton Street was the city’s most fashionable neighborhood. Home to the Armour, Field, Kimball, and Pullman families, this area was once referred to as the “sunny street that held the sifted few.” Although many of the mansions were demolished in the mid-20th century, some remaining buildings provide a sense of the street’s former character. Two individual Chicago Landmarks, the Clark House and the Glessner House, are located within the district and are available to tour.

Free Admission | S. Prairie Ave. & E. 18th St.

Quinn Chapel AME Church

  • Religious locations

This church houses Chicago’s oldest African American congregation, which traces its origins back to 1844, when seven individuals formed a nondenominational prayer group that met in the house of one member. Named for Bishop William P. Quinn, the church played an important role in the city’s abolitionist movement. After the Chicago Fire destroyed the original church building, the congregation purchased the present site in 1890.

Free Admission | 2401 S. Wabash Ave. | 312.791.1847

Second Presbyterian Church

  • Religious locations

Designed by James Renwick in 1874, this beautiful Gothic Revival church boasts rich Arts and Crafts details and stained glass by such artists as Louis C. Tiffany, Healy and Millet, and Edward Burne-Jones. Second Presbyterian Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and offers weekly tours to the public.

Free Admission | 1936 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.225.4951

Spertus | A Center for Jewish Learning & Culture

  • Cultural Centers,
  • Museums & Zoos

Spertus is Chicago’s Jewish education and cultural center. It offers an innovative array of public programming, including exhibits, performances, films, and lectures some presented by the esteemed faculty who teach for its graduate programs.

610 S. Michigan Ave | 312.322.1793

St. Luke’s Hospital Complex

  • Historical Landmarks

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, St. Luke’s Hospital Complex was designed in the Gothic style by Charles S. Granger. Once a hospital, the building is now privately owned and may only be viewed from the outside.

Free Admission | 1435 S. Michigan Ave.

Three Peas Art Lounge

  • Art & Architecture

Three Peas Art Lounge is an art venue that supports burgeoning visual artists and cultivates a consortium of new art collectors in a comfortable and non-intimidating environment. Patrons can enjoy Metropolis coffee and tea, alcoholic beverages, or cheese selections and pastries while they browse the works of art.

75 E. 16th St. | 312.624.9414

Velvet Lounge

  • Music

Live jazz music club.

67 E. Cermak Rd. | 312.791.9050

Wheeler-Kohn House

  • Historical Landmarks

One of the last survivors of the stately mansions built on the city’s Near South Side prior to the Fire of 1871, the Wheeler-Kohn house was designed for banker Calvin Wheeler. Architect Otis L. Wheelock, who also designed the Delaware Building, Groesbeck House, and Haskell-Barker buildings, created the building in the Second Empire style in 1870. The second owner, clothier Joseph Kohn, added the window bay and front-porch canopy in 1885. Today, the mansion is home to an elegant bed and breakfast.

Free Admission | 2020 S. Calumet Ave. | 312.945.2020

Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation(former home of Chess Records Office and Studio)

  • Music

Come see the historic Chess Studios where legendary blues and rock musicians recorded!

2120 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.808.1286

South Loop Dining

Café Bionda

  • Italian

Café Bionda (meaning “blonde woman” in Italian) is an unexpected and classy gem, perfect for a special occasion. Start off with the complimentary bread and marinara dipping sauce, and then choose from a host of classic Italian dishes, paired with a nice wine.

1924 S. State St. | 312.326.9800

Chef Luciano and Gourmet Chicken

  • Other

The adjoining restaurants Gourmet Chicken and Chef Luciano have been serving gourmet food at budget-friendly prices since 1982 and 1992, respectively. Gourmet Chicken specializes in fried jumbo chicken wings and seafood, oven roasted chicken with rice pilaf, and homemade curries, while Chef Luciano focuses on fresh salads, broiled seafood, and pastas with homemade sauces. Both restaurants primarily offer takeout, but some seating is available.

49 E. Cermak Rd. | 312.326.0062

Grace O’Malley’s

  • American (Traditional)

Named after the 16th century noblewoman turned pirate, Grace O’Malley’s is a family-friendly Irish pub, serving up specialties like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie.

1416 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.588.1800


  • American (Traditional)

Family owned sports bar and grill, Kroll’s has 20 flat screen TVs, four large projector screens and 99 beer options, making it a great place to watch your favorite team play. Families and friends can also enjoy a nice meal of classic American food for lunch or dinner.

1736 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.235.1400

La Cantina Tequila Bar & Grill

  • Mexican

Voted Chicago’s Best Margaritas by listeners of radio station Kiss FM, La Cantina Tequila Bar & Grill serves over eighty different kinds of tequila. In addition to the great drink selection, La Cantina offers tasty Mexican dishes like steak a la tampiqueña. Rustic decor and live music on Fridays add to the pleasant atmosphere. Accessibility limitations. Please contact site for more information.

1911 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.842.1911

Little Branch Café

  • American (Traditional)

Open since 2007, Little Branch Café was inspired by the notion of a European Bistro, an eclectic combination of coffeehouse, bar and restaurant that serves delightful meals and beverages in a modest, well-designed space. Little Branch uses fresh and seasonal ingredients in all its food and drink options.

1251 S. Prairie Ave. | 312.360.0101

Ma & I

  • Thai

Ma & I’s menu meets the demand of today’s on-the-go health-conscious diner, maintaining the great taste and quality of Thai and Japanese cuisine in a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere.

1234 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.663.1234

Marble Slab Creamery

  • Food Retail: Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt

Satisfy your sweet tooth and cool off with real, all natural hand packed ice cream from Marble Slab Creamery, the only Chicago location of the tasty international chain. With over 60 rotating flavors like chocolate peanut butter and strawberry mint, you’ll find yourself coming every Monday for their 99-cent scoops.

1241 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.447.0633

Opart Thai House

  • Thai

Specializing in authentic Thai cuisine, Opart Thai House combines fresh ingredients for delicious and nutritious dishes. Known for their Tiger Cry appetizer, a skewered tender beef cooked to perfection with homemade hot sauce, Opart also has an extensive selection of seafood options.

1906 S. State St. | 312.567.9898


  • Asian Fusion

Voted the “Best Chinese in Chicago” by AOL Cityguide 2007, Opera offers a fresh, upscale take on pan-Asian food. The restaurant itself is vibrant with murals and beautiful lighting fixtures.

1301 S. Wabash Ave. | 312.461.0161

Panozzo’s Italian Market

  • Italian

Panozzo’s Italian Market is a deli specializing in Italian products such as breads, meats, wines, and cheeses. With many foods ready to eat, one could easily make an impromptu picnic. Or, call in advance to have a picnic prepared especially for you.

1303 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.356.9966

REGGIES Music Joint

  • American (Traditional)

With a record store, t-shirt store, bar, restaurant, and music venue (the Rock Club) all under one roof, REGGIES Music Joint is a versatile one stop shop for fun. The bar and restaurant, decorated with sports and music memorabilia, is a great place to watch the game, grab some food, or hang out during a live performance.

2105 S. State St. | 312.949.0120

South Coast Sushi

  • Japanese

Open since 2007, South Coast Sushi offers a wide variety of Japanese dishes, including inventive items such as the popper maki, the warm shrimp salad, and for dessert, banana maki.

1700 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.662.1700

The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant

  • Steakhouses

An old fire station converted into a restaurant, the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant retains much of the original architecture, including two fire poles, a tin roof and glazed tile walls. The menu at this warm and inviting restaurant focuses on steak and seafood, with specialties like the blue cheese crusted rib-eye and the fire roasted Alaskan halibut topped with crab meat.

1401 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.786.1401

Weather Mark Tavern

  • American (Traditional)

The nautically-themed Weather Mark Tavern is the perfect bar and restaurant for boating and sailing enthusiasts. Even non-boaters will enjoy the large menu, the daily specials, and the discount received with a ticket stub from a handful of Chicago Museums.

1503 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.588.0230


  • Mexican

Named after Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, Zapatista is especially popular for its made-to-order guacamole, daily $5 drink specials, and fajitas served sizzling hot in lava stone molcajetes.

1307 S. Wabash Ave. | 312.435.1307

Chicago South Loop Shopping

Entourage Man

  • Men’s Clothing

Catering to the well-dressed, urban and fashionable man, Entourage Man offers the newest and coolest fashions from a variety of high-end labels in sizes up to XXXL.

1355 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.353.2300

House of Sole

  • Shoe Stores

Listed by Time Out Chicago in 2009 as one of the top ten shoe boutiques in Chicago, House of Sole offers fashion-forward, comfortable shoes from a variety of international and U.S. based designers. In addition to shoes, House of Sole is a great destination for handbags, clothing, spa products, and handcrafted jewelry.

1237 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.834.0909


  • Shoe Stores

Succezz offers upscale sports and urban wear, specializing in designer t-shirts, jeans, and gym shoes. Co-owned by Chicago native and New Jersey Nets forward Bobby Simmons and fashion connoisseur Lavelle “V-Dot” Sykes, Succezz also allows customers to customize shoes with the fabric and color of their choice.

1329 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.431.1900

Chicago South Loop Tours

Chicago Blues Audio Tour

  • Audio & Self-Guided

Relive the history of Chicago blues with the downloadable Chicago Blues Audio Tour. Narrated by Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy, the FREE podcast explores ten historic blues sites, including Maxwell Street, Record Row, and the former home of Muddy Waters. It includes over 50 minutes of conversation and music, an interactive map, directions, archival photos, video, and interviews with blues musicians and historians. Available in Mandarin Chinese, English, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

Free Admission | 754 S. Wabash Ave

Chicago Poetry Tour

  • Audio & Self-Guided

The Chicago Poetry Tour, produced by the Poetry Foundation, is a chance to experience the history of the city through poetry. Featuring a range of Chicago poets past and present—Gwendolyn Brooks, Carl Sandburg, Li-Young Lee, Haki Madhubuti, Lisel Mueller, Stuart Dybek, and many more—and addressing a variety of neighborhoods and landmarks—the Loop, Bronzeville, Bucktown, Maxwell Street, Haymarket, Pilsen, and New Chinatown among them—the tour includes archival and contemporary recordings of poets and scholars, local music, and historic photographs. The tour can be experienced virtually online at, or downloaded into an mp3 player. FREE.

Free Admission | 78 E. Washington St. | 312-787-7070

Clarke House Museum Tours

  • Walking

Built in 1836, the Clarke House Museum is Chicago’s oldest home. This Greek Revival style house shows what life was like for a middle–class family in Chicago during the city’s formative years before the Civil War.

Free Admission | 1827 S. Indiana | 312.326.1480

Honor and Glory: Military Tributes

  • Bus,
  • Walking

This Chicago Neighborhood Tour traces America’s military history through local monuments and memorials. Learn about the role of the ‘citizen soldier’, and be awed by the imposing structures honoring veterans of our nation’s most storied conflicts.

77 E. Randolph St. | 312.742.1190 (TTY: 312.744.2947)

South Loop Chicago Events

Clarke House Museum Tours

  • Museum Exhibitions & Events

The Clarke House Museum is Chicago’s oldest home. Tours of this 1836 Greek Revival-style house reveal what life was like for a middle class family in Chicago, when the city was in its formative years before the Civil War.

1827 S. Indiana | 312.326.1480


Within walking distance of the Loop, Museum Campus, the lakefront, and Grant Park, the South Loop is seeing an influx of young professionals and families who want to work and play just minutes from home. A new exhibit at the Field Museum; a free concert at Millennium Park; roller-blading along the lakeshore; strolling along Michigan Avenue. Living here, the gems of the city are within easy reach. Of course, Soldier Field and McCormick Place lay to the east of South Loop on the lakefront.

To cater to the thousands of new inhabitants in the area, developers are building condominiums, lofts, and even townhomes. Commercial space is also being planned all over the area. The South Loop is studded with new construction and the area is unusually dynamic; space is available but is being claimed by developers rapidly.
Although still a relatively new neighborhood, the South Loop has an active community organization known as the South Loop Neighbors. It organizes activities such as the Annual Photo Show, which invites inhabitants of the area to submit personal photography which highlights the culture and history of the area, and the Annual Loft Walk, which takes visitors on a tour of several private residences in the neighborhood.

The South Loop is still growing, and while several upscale eateries have already appeared in the neighborhood, many more are on the way. Among the dining, choices are Opera, Gioco, Kroll’s South Loop, Chicago Firehouse Grill, and Prairie Rose Restaurant.

Certainly, the neighborhood is becoming increasingly self-sufficient, with everything its inhabitants need close at hand. Apart from dining and shopping, services such as churches, childcare centers, and grocery stores are becoming more visible. If the last few years are any indication, this growth spurt is just the beginning.

Despite the frantic building boom, the South Loop retains a mellow vibe. It is neither busy nor crowded and invites its residents to take peaceful strolls along the sidewalk. The neighborhood finds a balance between growth and peace, and its inhabitants are pleased with the result. Already, this is one of the more pleasant areas in Chicago, and as it becomes more fully developed, its allure will only grow.


Chicago’s South Loop is one of the city’s fastest-growing neighborhoods. As the Loop area becomes saturated, people are taking advantage of the prime real estate just south of the Loop and discovering a new, exciting place to live. Yet as recently as ten years ago, the South Loop was an area that few people would ever want to visit.

A decade ago, there wasn’t much in the South Loop area besides warehouses and parking lots. There were very few residences and much of the neighborhood seemed dusty and unused. The area has a long history; land speculators began assessing the area as far back as 1830, yet it remained largely industrial for over 150 years. It is, in fact, a bit of a mystery why the neighborhood, with its proximity to so many attractive parts of the city, had been ignored for so long. At any rate, it is being ignored no longer.

Developers are now attacking the South Loop in a frenzy, snatching up whatever land they can. It is rare to see so many new developments in one place; cranes are a common sight and buildings are being thrown up to the sky at startling speeds. A buyer has unlimited options, it seems. The last few years have brought more change to the South Loop than the last century. Indeed, its future holds still greater change.

The South Loop is bordered on the north by Roosevelt Road, on the east by Michigan Avenue, on the south by 18th Street and on the west by Union Avenue.

South Loop Neighborhood Map of Chicago

South Loop is south of Congress Parkway and east of the Chicago River, excepting Printer’s Row. The southern boundary for the community area is Roosevelt Road; though often describes an area as far south as 18th Street or Cermak Road. It includes River City, the northern half of Dearborn Park, and portions of State Street, Wabash Avenue, and Michigan Avenue.

This map provides the approximate locations of the points of interest that are described in the partner articles regarding the South Loop neighborhood. See the links above for access to those articles.

Location & Area

  • North Boundary: 300 S Jackson
  • South Boundary: 1200 S Roosevelt
  • East Boundary: 100 E Michigan
  • West Boundary: ~400 W Chicago River
  • Primary Zip Code: 60605

Current Trends and Facts of South Loop Chicago

The area has been steadily increasing in popularity, driven by its proximity to the Loop, the lakefront, Soldier Field and picturesque Grant Park. South Loop’s neighborhood is an easy walk to Michigan Avenue and the financial centers of LaSalle Street.

Chicago’s Museum Campus, with the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium, is the cultural anchor of the neighborhood. The beautiful campus, surrounded by Lake Michigan, creates wonderful opportunities for culture and education just about every day of the year.

Home to Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute, the South Loop neighborhood draws many promising artists to the city.

It is also steps from the Loop, which gets its name from the CTA’s elevated tracks that loop the area. Residents enjoy unparalleled transportation to the rest of the city and the suburbs via train, bus, and “L”.