Chicago Neighborhoods: The Loop

The Loop is “downtown” and the heart of Chicago’s bustling business district. It gets its name from the CTA’s elevated tracks that loop the area and provide unparalleled transportation to the rest of the city and the suburbs. In the last few years, its residential opportunities have grown tremendously as city dwellers seek to live, work and play in close proximity.

The Loop is named after the part of Chicago where its famous elevated trains circle the city. This area is a bustling commercial center with a skyline full of diverse architectural styles. It’s also home to urban residents who enjoy being in the heart of a world-class city.

Major Components

Some of the most important and best-known buildings in the Loop are frequented by hundreds or even thousands of people each day.

The Sears Tower held the title of “World’s Tallest Building” for many years; even today, there is some debate over this title. The Sears Tower still holds the title for the height of the highest occupied floor and height to the top of the roof. The building is 110 stories tall and rises 1,454 feet above the ground.

Chicago’s present City Hall was dedicated in 1911; before this, the City Hall had moved location more than once due to the Chicago Fire. The main entrance of City Hall is on LaSalle Street and is guarded by four relief panels sculpted in granite, depicting four features of municipal government: city playgrounds, public schools, the park system, and the water supply system.

The Daley Center (formerly called the Chicago Civic Center) was built in 1965. It was the first public building in Chicago to be built in the modern style and was constructed in steel and glass. The Daley Center is the site of the famous Picasso sculpture, unveiled in 1967. Also in the Loop are the Thompson Center and other federal buildings.

On LaSalle Street, widely regarded as the financial center of the United States, resides the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, as well as the Chicago Stock Exchange (CHX). The Chicago Stock Exchange (CHX) was established in 1882, with Charles Henrotin as chairman and president. Trading hours are from 10 am to 4 pm (EST) daily, and the floor is a whirlwind of activity. Other banks on LaSalle include Northern Trust, Harris Bank, Chase and LaSalle Bank.

Major corporations are headquartered in the Loop, such as IBM, Boeing, Wrigley and The Tribune Company; several other companies have large offices in the Loop as well.

Cultural/ Theater District

The Art Institute of Chicago, on the eastern side of the Loop, is enormous, with a collection of over 5,000 years of art. The museum features exhibitions year-round, as well as lectures, workshops, performances and more on a daily basis. On the other side of the Loop lies the Civic Opera House. The Civic Opera House, home to the Lyric Opera of Chicago, opened in 1929. The building has a 45-story office tower and two 22-story wings on either side, so that the Opera Building seems like a throne facing the Chicago River. The mezzanine foyer has thirty-one boxes. Above this level are two balconies, each of which seat 800. In total, the Civic Opera House seats 3,563 people.

Also in the Loop are a number of theaters. In the early 1990’s, plans began for a live-theater district in Chicago. The plans included the renovation of four historic theaters. Today, these plans are complete and the Theater District spans several blocks in the Loop and includes six major theaters. These include the Ford Center for the Performing Arts (was Oriental Theater), The Chicago Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre, the Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Goodman Theatre and the LaSalle Bank Theatre (was Shubert Theatre). The Theater District is within walking distance of the Civic Opera House, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Art Institute and Grant Park, thus creating a vibrant cultural life within Chicago’s business district.

The “L”

The original “L” lines were opened in 1888. Although there was not much demand for an elevated train line at that time, the “L” system has continued to expand and is now one of the busiest in the world.

Although the train system is called “elevated”, it is both a subway and an elevated system. The “L” consists of seven distinct lines, known by various colors. The “L” runs all over the city, and even to some suburbs. It connects urban dwellers directly to Chicago’s two major international airports and forms a comprehensive link to almost every nook and corner of the city in synchronization with the bus system.

Lower Wacker

Scene of a real-life car chase and movies such as “Batman Begins” and “The Blues Brothers”, Lower Wacker is one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets. Locals know that Lower Wacker, which lies beneath Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue alongside the Chicago River, is an excellent way to bypass traffic and congestion. Circling about two-thirds of the Loop, Lower Wacker is actually at ground level (Wacker and Michigan are actually elevated) and in some places Wacker is actually tri-level instead of bi-level; the levels are designated “upper”, “lower” and “lower, lower” Wacker.

Navigating the darkened corridors of Lower Wacker, drivers feel as though they are in an underground tunnel; it can be exciting during the day, and downright foreboding at night. Pedestrians are rarely seen walking along the sidewalks on Lower Wacker, although there are cars whizzing by at all hours. A quick drive down Lower Wacker is worth the possibility of getting hopelessly lost; it is a street unlike any other.

Neighborhood/Character

The Loop, although primarily a business district, is refreshingly full of works of art. Outdoor sculptures populate the Loop, such as the famous figure by Pablo Picasso, built in 1967 and made of Cor-Ten Steel to match the Daley Plaza, which it ornaments. Other outdoor sculptures include works by Marc Chagall, Joan Miro and Alexander Calder.

The Loop leads into several recreational areas as well. Grant Park is right at the edge of the Loop, across Michigan Avenue. This is the site of numerous festivals throughout the year, including the Jazz Festival, the Blues Festival, the Taste of Chicago and several film festivals. Grant Park is also home to Buckingham Fountain and the Grant Park Symphony.

Millennium Park, a newer addition to Chicago, has a bandshell and the “Bean”, a huge sculpture that is already a major tourist attraction.

The Chicago River is another source of entertainment; locals and tourists alike tour the River by boat, taking in the view and learning about Chicago’s architecture. Every year, the River is dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day.

Although the Loop has long been a place where only business people gathered, the neighborhood is changing. Everyone can find their niche in this quickly-growing, multi-dimensional haven of art, recreation, culture and history as well as business.

Chicago Theater

Chicago Theater, I’m sure you’ve probably seen the six-story sign is there to greet you, and welcoming you into an evening of amazing theater performance. Even if you’ve never been to Chicago, you’ve probably seen this sign. It’s a bold famous landmark of the city. And the inside really gives you a feeling of magnificent opulence.

Attractions

“The Picasso” (Untitled sculpture)

  • Art & Architecture

The Chicago Picasso, a gift from the artist to the people of Chicago, has become a beloved icon of the city and a source of civic pride.

Free Admission | 50 W. Washington St., Daley Plaza

Art Institute of Chicago

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Museums & Zoos,
  • Popular Attractions

An internationally-renowned museum, the Art Institute of Chicago presents a rich variety of rotating art exhibitions, and houses the third largest permanent collection in the United States, with over 260,000 art works and artifacts from around the world.

111 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.443.3600

Bank of America Theatre

  • Music,
  • Theater & Dance

The Bank of America Theatre originally opened as the Majestic Theatre in 1906. The theater was recently renovated in 2006 and has hosted the pre-Broadway world premieres of Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp’s Movin’ Out and Monty Python’s Spamalot, in addition to an extended run of the hit musical, Jersey Boys.

18 W. Monroe St. | 312.902.1400

Broadway in Chicago

  • Theater & Dance

The creation of Broadway In Chicago allowed the two theatre industry leaders (Nederlander Organization and Live Nation) to present a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of three of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop — Bank of America Theatre, the Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre and the Cadillac Palace Theatre.

17 N. State St. | 312.977.1701

CME Group (Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group)

  • Other Attractions

The Chicago Board of Trade is housed in an Art Deco building designed by Holabird & Root. Sitting regally at the termination of LaSalle St, it is crowned with a faceless sculpture of the Roman goddess Ceres.

Free Admission | 20 S. Wacker Dr | 312.435.3590

Cadillac Palace Theatre

  • Music,
  • Theater & Dance

The Cadillac Palace Theatre, designed by the Rapp Brothers, originally opened on October 4, 1926. The theatre was renovated and reopened in 1999 by Broadway in Chicago, and hosts musicals and events throughout the year.

151 W. Randolph St. | 312.902.1400

Calder’s Flamingo

  • Art & Architecture

Alexander Calder’s abstract stabile anchors the large rectangular plaza bordered by three Bauhaus-style federal buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe.

Free Admission | 50 W. Adams St | 877.244.2246

Chicago Architecture Foundation

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Museums & Zoos,
  • Popular Attractions

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) offers more than 80 different tours including: the Chicago Architecture Foundation “Architecture River Cruise” aboard the Chicago’s First Lady. Also offered: free exhibitions, programs and workshops, youth education, family programs and an architecture and design-themed retail store. www.architecture.org for full descriptions and schedule.

Free Admission | 224 S. Michigan Ave | 312.922.3432

Chicago Cultural Center

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Cultural Centers,
  • Museums & Zoos,
  • Music,
  • Popular Attractions,
  • Theater & Dance

The nation’s first free municipal cultural center, the Chicago Cultural Center is one of the city’s ten most popular attractions and is considered one of the most comprehensive arts showcases in the United States.

Free Admission | 78 E. Washington St | 312.744.6630

Chicago Loop Synagogue

  • Religious locations

The Chicago Loop Synagogue was founded in 1929 to serve the religious needs of those whose professional or business activities brought them to Chicago’s downtown business district. The synagogue is also an architectural marvel. Among other features, it contains a magnificent Abraham Rattner stained glass artwork which takes up almost the entire Eastern facade of the Synagogue, Rattner lithographs in the Bet Midrash and the entry to the Social Hall, and the Hands of Peace by Henri Azaz, which crowns the entrance to the Synagogue.

Free Admission | 16 S. Clark St. | 312.346.7370

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

  • Music,
  • Popular Attractions

Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the finest in the world, and in collaboration with an international roster of renowned conductors and guest artists, performs over a hundred concerts each year at its downtown home, Symphony Center, and their Ravinia Festival summer residency on Chicago’s North Shore.

220 S. Michigan Ave. | 312-294-3000

Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand

  • Other Attractions

The Farmstand’s promise – local, delicious, and edible – is fulfilled by hundreds of products, all from within 250 miles of Chicago.

Free Admission | 66 E. Randolph St. | 312.742.8419

Chicago: Start of Route 66

  • Other Attractions

Bet you did not know the infamous Route 66 aka “The Mother Road” makes it start in Chicago at the corner of Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue?

Free Admission | Jackson Blvd. and Michigan Ave.

Cliff Dwellers Club Art Gallery and Roof Terrace

  • Art & Architecture

Founded in 1907 the Cliff Dwellers Club is a private club and a non-profit organization for men and women either professionally engaged in, or who support, the fine arts and the performing arts. Their art gallery and roof terrace are available to the public by appointment 2-3 days in advance.

Free Admission | 200 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.922.8080

DCA Storefront Theater

  • Theater & Dance

The programs at the Storefront Theater are designed to foster the growth of Chicago’s emerging theater companies as well as to encourage public awareness and cultural appreciation of the performing arts.

66 E. Randolph St. | 312.742.8497

Daley Plaza

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Cultural Centers,
  • Music,
  • Sports & Recreation,
  • Theater & Dance

Daley Plaza features lunchtime performances, ethnic festivals, holiday celebrations and more. Throughout the summer, it hosts a weekly Farmers Markets vending fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers and plants and baked goods. The city’s great Christmas Tree and Santa House calls this home during the holiday season.

Free Admission | Washington & Dearborn

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Money Museum

  • Museums & Zoos

See what a million dollars looks like. Test your skills at detecting counterfeit bills. Learn how money and banking have evolved in the United States.

Free Admission | 230 S. LaSalle St. | 312.322.2400

Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre

  • Music,
  • Theater & Dance

The Oriental Theatre originally opened on May 8, 1926. Since then it was renovated and reopened in 1999 as the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre.

24 W. Randolph St. | 312.902.1400

Former Headquarters of Montgomery Ward Company

  • Historical Landmarks

Aaron Montgomery Ward popularized the mail-order catalogue in the late 19th century, providing rural customers with lower prices and a better selection of goods than those offered at their local general stores. Additionally, Ward’s successful legal battles to prevent development of what is now Grant Park eventually earned him a reputation as “protector of the lakefront.” The headquarters of the Montgomery Ward company were located at 6 N. Michigan Ave. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 6 N. Michigan Ave.

Fulcrum Point New Music Project

  • Theater & Dance

The mission of the Fulcrum Point New Music Project is to be a Chicago leader of diverse new music; presenting multi-media performances, generating educational programs, and commissioning innovative works.

30 E. Adams St. | 312.726.3846

Goodman Theatre

  • Theater & Dance

The Goodman Theatre was established in 1925, and has since been an active part of Chicago’s vibrant theatre scene. The city’s largest and oldest not-for-profit theater, the Goodman has occupies a landmark historic building in Chicago’s Loop Theater District.

170 N. Dearborn St. | 312.443.3800

Harris Theater for Music and Dance

  • Music,
  • Theater & Dance

From September to May, the non-profit Harris Theater in Millennium Park partners with Chicago’s premiere performing arts and cultural institutions, bringing music and dance to the public.

205 E. Randolph St. | 312-334-7777

Historical Site of John Jones Tailor Shop

  • Historical Landmarks

John Jones’s tailor shop on this site was Chicago’s main stop on the Underground Railroad. Jones focused on repealing the Black Laws, which denied African-Americans the right to sue, testify in court, make contracts, or receive a public education. Jones’s pamphlet The Black Laws of Illinois and a Few Reasons Why They Should Be Repealed proved instrumental in the repeal of the laws. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | S. Dearborn St. & W. Madison St.

Hotel Allegro

  • Historical Landmarks

The Hotel Allegro began as the Bismarck Hotel, which was built in the late 1890s. It went through several renovations throughout the decades, including a phase in the 1920s when the first building was razed and the new Bismarck opened on the same site. The hotel’s latest renovation was in the late 90s, when it was renamed to the Hotel Allegro.

Free Admission | 171 W. Randolph St. | 312.236.0123

Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Music,
  • Parks & Gardens,
  • Popular Attractions,
  • Theater & Dance

The Jay Pritzker Pavilion outdoor concert venue at Millennium Park is home to the Grant Park Music Festival and other FREE concerts and events.

Free Admission | 201 E. Randolph St., between Michigan Ave and Columbus Ave | 312.742.1168

Lakeshore East Park

  • Parks & Gardens

Lakeshore East Park is a quiet park tucked amid high-rises on all four sides. It features a dog park, a playground, a series of fountains and wireless internet access.

Free Admission | E. Randolph St. & N. Field Blvd.

Lurie Garden at Millennium Park

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Parks & Gardens,
  • Popular Attractions

Explore Millennium Park’s breathtaking Lurie Garden in all four seasons of the year designed by the team of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel.

Free Admission | 201 E. Randolph St., between Michigan Ave and Columbus Ave | 312.742.1168

Macy’s on State Street

  • Art & Architecture

Macy’s Midwest flagship store, in the historic Marshall Field’s building on State Street, features such architectural notables as the first and largest Tiffany glass-tiled ceiling in the world, and a fountain designed by famed Chicago architect Daniel Burnham.

Free Admission | 111 N. State St. | 312.781.4483

Millennium Park

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Beaches & Pools,
  • Music,
  • Parks & Gardens,
  • Popular Attractions,
  • Theater & Dance

Millennium Park is an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design. The result of a unique partnership between the City of Chicago and the philanthropic community, the 24.5-acre park features the work of world-renowned architects, planners, artists and designers.

Free Admission | 201 E. Randolph St., between Michigan Ave and Columbus Ave | 312.742.1168

Monadnock Building

  • Art & Architecture

Built in two phases during the late 1880s and early 1890s, the Monadnock reveals the change in modern architectural construction in the late nineteenth century. The north portion of the building utilizes load-bearing masonry, while the south addition employs steel-frame construction. The south portion appears much lighter as compared to the heavy north portion, whose base has six-foot thick walls. Today, the first floor is home to such shops as Florodora and restaurants as Cavanaugh’s Bar & Restaurant.

Free Admission | 53 W. Jackson St. | 312.922.1890

Moon, Sun, and One Star (Miss Chicago) by Joan Miro

  • Art & Architecture

Located between the Cook County Administration Building and the Chicago Temple Building, the sculpture Moon, Sun, and One Star (Miss Chicago) by Joan Miro uses symbolism to suggest an earth deity in the female form.

Free Admission | 69 W. Washington St.

Pedway

  • Other Attractions

To provide an alternate route for pedestrians during inclement weather, the Chicago Pedway opened in the early 1950s. It continues to grow today, consisting of tunnels, ground-level concourses and overhead bridges that connect Metra stations, CTA stops, hotels, and skyscrapers throughout the downtown area. One can find shops, restaurants and public art. Look for entrances throughout the Loop, including one at the recently opened Block 37.

Free Admission | 1 W. Randolph St.

Reliance Building

  • Art & Architecture

Designed in two phases in the 1890s by D.H. Burnham & Co., the Reliance Building is a fine example of an early skyscraper. Steel construction allowed the liberal use of windows, while improvements in elevator technology enabled its height. It is now home to the Hotel Burnham and the Atwood Café (1 W. Washington St.), both named after the building’s chief designers.

Free Admission | 32 N. State St.

Rookery Building

  • Art & Architecture

On the National Register of Historic Places and a Chicago Landmark, the Rookery was designed by famed architectural partners Burnham and Root. Built during a transition period in architectural construction, it uses both load-bearing masonry and a skeletal frame. Frank Lloyd Wright redesigned the two-story skylight lobby in 1905 – 1907.

Free Admission | 209 S. LaSalle St. | 312.553.6100

Santa Fe Building

  • Historical Landmarks

The Railway Exchange Building was constructed in the early twentieth century on Michigan Avenue. Daniel Burnham built a “penthouse,” where the Plan of Chicago was famously prepared. It now houses the Chicago Architecture Foundation and shop as well as the Chicago offices of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill.

Free Admission | 224 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.922.0478

Silk Road Rising

  • Theater & Dance

Silk Road Rising showcases playwrights of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean backgrounds, whose works address themes relevant to the peoples of the Silk Road and their Diaspora communities.

77 W. Washington St. | 312.857.1234

Skydeck Chicago (formerly Sears Tower Skydeck)

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Other Attractions,
  • Popular Attractions

See breathtaking views of Chicago from the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building. Voted one of the Seven Wonders of Chicago, no trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to Skydeck Chicago. Make it your first stop for a 360-degree view of Chicago from 103 floors above the Loop that you can’t get anywhere else.

233 S. Wacker Dr. | 312.875.9447

The Chicago Theatre

  • Music,
  • Popular Attractions,
  • Theater & Dance

The Chicago Theatre is one of the most iconic theatres in the city of Chicago and hosts a variety of events, from concerts, comedians, meetings, cultural events, and tours.

175 N. State St. | 312.462.6000

The Sullivan Center (formerly the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building)

  • Historical Landmarks

One of Louis Sullivan’s most famous buildings, the Sullivan Center was originally built for the Schlesinger and Mayer department store in 1901 and sold to Carson Pirie Scott in 1904. The building’s lower two stories, particularly the State & Madison Street entrance, showcase Sullivan’s signature cast iron ornamentation. The building is now mostly used for offices and features a gallery on the seventh floor for the work of the School of the Art Institute students.

Free Admission | 1 S. State St.

The Town-Ho’s Story by Frank Stella

  • Art & Architecture

Located in the lobby of the Metcalfe Federal Building, The Town-Ho’s Story by Frank Stella uses rough materials that reflect Chicago’s industrial origins. The title comes from Herman Melville’s, Moby Dick.

Free Admission | 77 W. Jackson Blvd.

Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial

  • War Memorials & Military Monuments

Chicago’s Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, located on the Riverewalk between Wabash Avenue and State Street, is one of the largest in the nation outside of Washington, D.C. It features a fountain and a black granite block with the names of Illinois soldiers either killed or missing in action.

Free Admission | W. Wacker Dr. & N. State St.

Dining

Beard Papa’s

  • Food Retail: Desserts

A Japanese chain imported to the states, Beard Papa’s specializes in cream puffs. Get the original or the eclair, stuffed with vanilla or chocolate custard. It also serves coffee and milkshakes.

108 N. State St. | 312.960.9000

Berghoff

  • German

Herman Joseph Berghoff opened the Berghoff bar in 1898 to share his Dortmunder-style beer, which he served with free sandwiches. During Prohibition, the Berghoff remained in business by expanding as a restaurant, and in 1933, it received the first liquor license in Chicago following the end of Prohibition. Today, it is a Chicago Landmark, and it continues to serve its signature beer and hearty German fare.

17 W. Adams St. | 312.427.3170

Catch 35

  • Seafood

A great place for pre-theater dinner, Catch 35 serves a variety of fresh seafood, often prepared with a subtle Asian flair. The classy lounge features live jazz most nights of the week.

35 W. Wacker Dr. | 312.346.3500

Crêpe Bistro & Martini Bar

  • Creperies

Located in the Chicago Theatre District, Crepe Bistro & Martini Bar serves a variety of crepes, from savory to sweet. Their large martini menu offers any house martini for $5 everyday. And don’t miss the live accordian music every Thursday and Friday from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.

186 N. Wells St. | 312.269.0300

Cupcake Counter

  • Food Retail: Desserts

The Cupcake Counter is a small kitchen in downtown Chicago serving cupcakes in “everyday” flavors like chocolate and carrot cake as well as “surprise” flavors like maple pecan and lemon. Everything is baked fresh daily ensuring the most satisfactory treat.

229 W. Madison St. | 312.422.0800

Custom House Tavern

  • American (New)

The recently revamped Custom House Tavern features contemporary American cuisine made with ingredients primarily from local farmers. Floor to ceiling windows provide a soaring cityscape view. Craft beers, a unique wine list and housemade cocktails are all steps away from Michigan Avenue and theatres.

500 S. Dearborn St. | 312.523.0200

Delis and Diners in the Loop

  • American (Traditional)

Whether on your lunch hour or taking a quick break from site-seeing, the Loop is home to several diners and delis, including Ada’s Famous Deli (14 S. Wabash Ave), Maller’s (5 S. Wabash Ave), and Pittsfield Café (55 E. Washington St).

5 S. Wabash Ave.

Dining at Hotel Allegro

  • Various

The historic Hotel Allegro (171 W. Randolph St.) hosts several options for fantastic food and drinks: Try 312 Chicago for memorable meals featuring Italian cuisine; or, stop by Encore Lunch Club & Liquid Lounge for sandwiches, salads and hand-crafted cocktails.

171 W. Randolph St.

Dining at the Palmer House

  • American (Traditional)

The elegant and iconic Palmer House Hilton Hotel in the Loop caters to your every whim, including fine dining and amazing drinks. Enjoy conversation over drinks Potter’s Lounge, or experience upscale fine dining rooted in French and Italian traditions at Lockwood.

17 E. Monroe Ave.

Dining at theWit Hotel

  • Various

One of Chicago’s newest hotels, theWit (201 N. State St.) offers several dining options, including Cibo Matto for modern Italian, State and Lake for artisanal American cuisine, and Roof, a year-round rooftop lounge featuring handcrafted libations and specialty snacks.

201 N. State St.

Everest

  • French

One of the country’s premier dining rooms, Everest is located on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange. Chef/proprietor J. Joho’s world-renowned French cuisine and award-winning wine list have earned Everest international recognition.

440 S. LaSalle St. | 312.663.8920

Hannah’s Bretzel

  • Sandwiches

Featuring two locations in the Loop, one location on 180 W. Washington and another on 233 N. Michigan Ave, Hannah’s Bretzel offers a delicious alternative to chain sub shops. Most sandwiches are made from organic ingredients and served on doughy pretzel bread.

180 W. Washington St. | 312.621.1111

Heaven on Seven

  • Cajun / Creole

Located on the seventh floor of the Garland Building, this Heaven on Seven is the original. It’s famous for its spicy Cajun-Creole menu, specializing in breakfast and lunch. It only serves dinner once a month, so you must consider the Michigan Avenue location for an evening meal.

111 N. Wabash Ave. | 312.263.6443

Miller’s Pub

  • American (Traditional)

Established in 1935, Miller’s Pub has been a Loop staple for years. It was purchased by four brothers in 1950, who kept the original name and made it famous through their canadian baby back ribs. Over the years, celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Harry Caray have visited the cozy wood-paneled space. Stop in for a meal, choosing from an extensive menu, or a drink at the bar, which has been used a backdrop for numerous films.

134 S. Wabash Ave. | 312.263.4988

Park Grill & Café

  • American (New)

Located within the friendly confines of Millennium Park, the Park Grill and the Park Café offer an opportunity to have an upscale meal or just a burger and still be in proximity to the Pritzker Pavilion, the Bean, and the Crown Fountain.

11 N. Michigan Ave. | 312.521.7275

Pastoral

  • Food Retail: Specialty Food

Pastoral is a Europeanesque gourmet wine, cheese, and bread shop. All of their products are made by small producers, many of which are imported from Europe. Perfect for a picnic, you can choose your own items in the store or call 24-hours in advance and Pastoral will prepare a pre-packed picnic for two.

53 E. Lake St. | 312.658.1250

Pierogi Heaven

  • Polish

One of the few, if not only, restaurants in the Loop devoted to authentic pierogi, this no-frills eatery caters to the lunch and early evening crowds with a wide selection of savory and sweet dumplings filled with everything from kraut and mushrooms to plums.

169 N. Wells St. | 312.263.9305

Plymouth

  • American (Traditional)

With spectacular views of the city amongst Chicago skyscrapers, Plymouth offers three full floors that include, a restaurant, two bars, and a rooftop deck that serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

327 S. Plymouth Ct. | 312.362.1212

Poag Mahone’s

  • American (Traditional)

Housed in a bar that suggests a nineteenth-century saloon, Poag Mahone’s is famous for its 9 ounce burgers and mini burgers.

333 S. Wells St. | 312.566.9100

Pre-Theater Dining in the Loop

  • Various

The Loop offers many great spots to enjoy a delicious meal before a show, like Great Street (1 W. Wacker Dr.), featuring contemporary American cuisine; Petterino’s (150 N. Dearborn St), which celebrates the Golden Age of Glamour and the Theater while offering delicious cuisine and a menu full of favorites; Rhapsody (65 E. Adams St), a contemporary restaurant offering an imaginative American menu with global accents; and Trattoria #10 (10 N. Dearborn St), for classic Italian dishes with a contemporary flair.

10 N. Dearborn St.

Sugar Bliss

  • Food Retail: Desserts

Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique bakes all cupcakes from scratch daily using only the highest quality, natural ingredients. Featuring over twenty rotating flavors, from traditional red velvet to unique orange creamsicle, each cupcake is frosted with a signature bloom.

115 N. Wabash St. | 312.845.9669

Traditional Favorites in the Loop

  • Various

Perfect for lunch or an after-work drink, neighborhood staples like Exchequer (226 S. Wabash Ave), Monk’s Pub (205 W. Lake St) and Ronny’s Steakhouse (100 W. Randolph St) keep locals and tourists coming back.

46 W. Washington Ave.

Vivere/The Italian Village

  • Italian

In 1927, The Italian Village opened serving traditional Italian fare. Today it has expanded and is now home to three Italian restaurants located on each floor: The Village, is the original, La Cantina Enoteca specializes in seafood dishes, and Vivere features “new” Italian cuisine.

71 W. Monroe St. | 312.332.4040

Shopping

Trendy neighborhoods like Printers Row, West Loop, South Loop, and Millennium Park attract residents who enjoy fine dining, nightclubs, galleries, and museums. The nearby Magnificent Mile offers high-end shops, and there are many activities and events available in parks along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Although the Magnificent Mile is just to the north, the Loop does attract shoppers. State Street, once known as unpaved and muddy State Road, was renovated and transformed in the late 1800’s to become the classy, polished avenue it is today.

On State Street is the historic Marshall Field’s store (now Macy’s), which is known for its celebrity signings and appearances, its annual holiday window displays and its famous twin clocks which have been a meeting point for Chicagoans for decades. The Carson Pirie Scott flagship store is another historic building that is over 100 years old. Truly, State Street is a shopper’s haven in its own right, with over 100 stores including Old Navy, Filene’s Basement, Lerner, The Body Shop, Sears and the Children’s Place.

Other popular stores are scattered throughout the loop, such as Nine West, Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers and The Gap.

Central Camera

  • Photography Stores & Services

Albert Flesch worked the camera department of Siegel-Cooper, one of the largest department stores of its day, until 1899 when he opened up his own store, Central Camera. Remaining family owned and now in its third generation of operation, this one-stop-shop supplies all your camera and photography needs. They can outfit you with either digital or film cameras, accessories, dark room equipment, or anything photography related you’re looking to buy, sell, trade or repair.

230 S. Wabash Ave. | 312.427.5580

Jeweler’s Row

  • Jewelry

An official Chicago Landmark, Jeweler’s Row began in 1912 with a jewelry “mall” on Wabash. Jeweler’s Row now spans two blocks from Washington to Monroe and features numerous jewelry shops.

100 N. Wabash Ave.

State Street Shopping

  • Department Stores

Chicago shopping began on State Street, often called “That Great Street,” in the heart of the Loop. One of the city’s first major retail outlets, the flagship Marshall Field’s State Street store (now Macy’s) has been a Chicago icon and world-class shopping destination for more than 150 years. The store is an architectural and historical marvel, offering ten selling floors of premier ready-to-wear clothes, collections by Chicago-based designers and the finest home lines. It stretches from Randolph on the north to Congress on the south.

144 N. State St.

Syd Jerome

  • Men’s Clothing

Located in the Loop for 50 years and awarded “The A-List” sector of the “Best in Class” by Esquire magazine, Syd Jerome specializes in menswear. The shop provides custom suiting as well as suits by designers such as Zegna, Armani, Canali and Brioni.

2 N. LaSalle St. | 312.346.0333

Tours

Lincoln Park, Lakeview & Wrigleyville

  • Bus,
  • Walking

Plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment options make this one of the city’s most popular areas among hip, young city dwellers. Discover these neighborhoods and their histories on this Chicago Neighborhood Tour.

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

MetroWalkz: Loop / Architecture Self-Guided Walking Tour

  • Audio & Self-Guided,
  • Walking

Discover the architectural treasures of Chicago’s Loop! This tour will give you a good overview of Chicago’s downtown, with a focus on several architecturally significant buildings. MetroWalkz.com’s easy-to-use maps and insider narratives make it easy to discover Chicago at your pace, on your schedule.

Free Admission | 78 E. Washington St. | 312.504.7058

Art in Transit: CTA Public Art

  • Bus,
  • Elevated Train ‘L’,
  • Walking

This Chicago Neighborhood Tour takes you to discover the wealth of art displayed throughout the Chicago Transit Authority’s rail system. See mosaics, sculptures, paintings and other original artwork by renowned local and international artists.

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

Avondale & Old Irving

  • Bus,
  • Walking

This Chicago Neighborhood Tour takes you to see magnificent homes, gorgeous churches and stunning Prairie style landmarks in two of the city’s hottest neighborhoods, where hipsters and blue collars workers hang out side by side.

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

Beverly

  • Bus,
  • Walking

This Chicago Neighborhood Tour takes you to visit beautiful Beverly, Chicago’s historic Irish neighborhood, where an important collection of American art and marvelous architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright await.

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

Bridgeport

  • Bus,
  • Walking

This Chicago Neighborhood Tour traces several phases of Chicago’s history through Bridgeport’s monumental churches and other working-class relics, and its recent transformation into one of the city’s hottest new arts and dining scenes.

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

Bucktown, Humboldt Park & Logan Square

  • Bus,
  • Walking

This Chicago Neighborhood Tour takes you to experience the three distinct and uniquely Chicago characters that are Bucktown, Humboldt Park and Logan Square on the city’s Near West Side.

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

Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady

  • Boat

Considered the best tour in Chicago, the architecture river cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady is an excellent way to see the city from the vantage point of the river.

N Michigan Ave & Wacker Dr | 847.358.1330

Chicago Architecture Foundation: Downtown Walking Tours

  • Walking

Chicago Architecture Foundation walking tours get you up close to some of the most famous buildings in the world. Each tour is guided by an expert docent and takes an in-depth look at buildings and sites around downtown Chicago.

224 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.922.3432

Chicago Cultural Center Building Tours

  • Walking

Gaze at the world’s largest Tiffany stained-glass dome, as well as beautifully ornate, multi-colored mosaics, marble and molding during guided architectural tours of the Chicago Cultural Center. Tours are presented Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 1:15pm.

Free Admission | 78 E. Washington St. | 312.744.6630

Chicago For Kids Audio Tour

  • Audio & Self-Guided

Take an adventure to Chicago’s coolest places without ever leaving your home! The FREE Chicago for Kids Audio Tour will take kids on adventures throughout the city and features eight destinations, games and challenges that highlight the rich culture and history of Chicago.

Free Admission | 78 E. Washington St

Chicago Greeter

  • Walking

Chicago Greeter is a free service of the Chicago Office of Tourism that matches visitors with a friendly, enthusiastic, and city-savvy local for a informal, insider’s orientation to the city. Visitors are paired with volunteer Chicago Greeters’ chosen interests, availability and language preferences.

Free Admission | 77 E. Randolph St. | 312.744.8000

Chicago Greeter: InstaGreeter Free Walks

  • Walking

Enjoy a free one hour walkabout in downtown Chicago! InstaGreeter walks are available on a first-come, first-served basis, Friday through Sunday, from 10 am to 4 pm, from the Chicago Cultural Center Visitor Information Center (77 E. Randolph St.)

Free Admission | 77 E. Randolph St. | 312.744.8000

Chicago Theater Stories Walking Tour

  • Walking

Hear stories about the people, places and events from Chicago theater history during this storytelling walking tour of the Chicago downtown theater district.

150 N. Michigan Ave. | 773.508.4894

Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Hop-On / Hop Off Tour

  • Bus,
  • Trolley

With your Hop On Hop Off ticket, you will enjoy a two hour, fully narrated tour that covers 13 magnificent miles of Chicago’s downtown and the Loop.

Address varies | 773.648.5000

Chicago’s Magnificent Churches

  • Bus,
  • Walking

A perennial favorite, this Chicago Neighborhood Tour takes you to see some of Chicago’s most stunning churches and sacred spaces, and discover the religions, cultures and communities that make up this great city.

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

Elegant Gold Coast

  • Bus,
  • Walking

Chicago Neighborhood Tours takes you to experience the glitz and glamour of the rich and famous in the Gold Coast – the historic stomping grounds of Chicago’s 19th century elite. See the monumental homes and opulent hotels where well-heeled Chicagoans lived and played.

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

FIRE! The Great Chicago Fire

  • Bus,
  • Walking

On this Chicago Neighborhood Tour, learn about the city’s valiant efforts to fight the Great Fire of 1871, and its dramatic rebirth from the fire’s devastating aftermath to become one of America’s first modern cities and the Chicago we know today.

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

Graceland Cemetery

  • Bus,
  • Walking

See lavish monuments forever immortalizing some of Chicago’s leading citizens on a guided tour of historic Graceland Cemetery. Behind these walls are 119 acres of some of the city’s most beautiful green spaces and noteworthy names.

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

Gray Line Bus Tours: The Grand Tour

  • Bus

A comprehensive 4-hour bus tour of highlights, including stops in neighborhoods in the North and South sides of the city.

17 E. Monroe | 312.251.3100

Greektown, Chinatown & Little Italy

  • Bus,
  • Walking

Discover the history and architecture of these popular ethnic enclaves and learn about the proud immigrant communities that built them on this Chicago Neighborhood Tour of Greektown, Chinatown and Little Italy.

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

Historic Hotels of Chicago

  • Bus,
  • Walking

Chicago’s hotels were internationally renowned for their opulence and luxury in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Relive the grandeur of the Gilded Age on a guided tour of some of the city’s most historic and architecturally stunning hotels on this Chicago Neighborhood Tour.

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

Historic Parks & Boulevards

  • Bus,
  • Walking

Chicago city planner Daniel Burnham envisioned acres of beautiful green spaces and wide, majestic tree-lined boulevards in his ‘City Beautiful’ movement. Experience the City in a Garden – Chicago’s motto – on this Chicago Neighborhood Tour of historic parks and boulevards.

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

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)

Hops & Barley: Pubs & Micro-breweries

  • Bus,
  • Walking

Craft beers are all the rage, with Chicago being home to some of the country’s most exciting new microbreweries. Go behind the scenes with Chicago Neighborhood Tours to witness the secrets of artisanal beer making, and swing by several local pubs for a taste of these special brews.

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

Hyde Park & Kenwood

  • Bus,
  • Walking

Experience the history and majesty of Hyde Park and neighboring Kenwood on this Chicago Neighborhood Tour. These communities are home to stately mansions, landmark Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, and many more surprises.

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

MetroWalkz: Magnificent Mile Self-Guided Walking Tour

  • Audio & Self-Guided,
  • Walking

This tour provides something for everyone: Great architectural gems, a brief river walk, outstanding shopping and interesting cultural experiences. The Magnificent Mile (North Michigan Avenue) is a Chicago “must see”! MetroWalkz.com’s easy-to-use maps and insider narratives make it easy to discover Chicago at your pace, on your schedule.

Free Admission | N. Michigan Ave. & E. Wacker Dr. | 312.504.7058

MetroWalkz: Millennium Park Self-Guided Walking Tour

  • Audio & Self-Guided,
  • Walking

Stroll through Millennium Park, one of Chicago’s great public spaces. See Cloud Gate (affectionately dubbed “The Bean”), Crown Fountain, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Lurie Garden and more. MetroWalkz’ easy-to-use maps and insider narratives make it easy to discover Chicago at your pace, on your schedule.

Free Admission | Michigan Ave. & Monroe St. | 312.504.7058

Out and Proud: LGBT Chicago

  • Bus,
  • Walking

Chicago is home to one of the most vibrant gay and lesbian communities in the country. Explore the heart of the city’s LGBT community, Boystown, and its lively offshoot, Andersonville, with Chicago Neighborhood Tours, and discover other LGBT-oriented neighborhood attractions.

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

POLSKA! Chicago’s Polish Downtown

  • Bus,
  • Walking

Chicago’s sizeable Polish population has made a huge impact on the city’s history and architecture. Explore the ornate churches, historic theaters and other landmarks that have sustained Chicago’s Polish community on this Chicago Neighborhood Tour.

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

Pullman Historic District

  • Bus,
  • Walking

A visit to Pullman is like looking at a snapshot in time. This perfectly preserved neighborhood was a model community designed for employees of George Pullman’s railcar factory. Get a glimpse of this landmark community’s fascinating history with Chicago Neighborhood Tours.

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

Rosehill Cemetery

  • Bus,
  • Walking

See opulent tombs memorializing famous Chicagoans with Chicago Neighborhood Tours’ excursion to Rosehill Cemetery. Its ornate limestone gate, a Romanesque chapel, and a Mausoleum replete with Tiffany windows are among Rosehill’s most stunning architectural gems.

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

STRIKE! Chicago Labor History

  • Bus,
  • Walking

The Haymarket Tragedy was a powder keg for labor reform in 19th century Chicago. Experience this and other cornerstones of labor history on this Chicago Neighborhood Tour led by everyone’s favorite historian, Tim Samuelson!

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

Taste of Albany Park

  • Bus,
  • Walking

A taste of Albany Park is a taste of the world. Visit one of our nation’s most diverse zip codes with Chicago Neighborhood Tours, and and enjoy authentic ethnic cuisines at several neighborhood eateries.

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

Taste of Devon Avenue

  • Bus,
  • Walking

South Asians near and far flock to Devon Avenue for its ethnic grocers, shops and restaurant, and now you too can explore the area like an insider! Discover this popular cultural and culinary destination with Chicago Neighborhood Tours.

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

Taste of Edgewater & Uptown

  • Bus,
  • Walking

Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, Swedish, West African – these are just some of the many cultures represented by the stellar dining scene in Edgewater and Uptown. Expand your culinary horizons on this globe-trotting food tour with Chicago Neighborhood Tours.

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

Taste of Pilsen & Little Village

  • Bus,
  • Walking

It’s a fiesta for the senses in the heart of Chicago’s Mexican American community! Get a taste of the neighborhood with Chicago Neighborhood Tours before digging in to the most authentic Mexican cuisine to be had anywhere in Chicago.

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

Taste of the Neighborhoods

  • Bus,
  • Walking

Join Chicago Neighborhood Tours for one of our most popular tours to savor cuisines from all over the world! Sample small plate dishes in neighborhoods throughout Chicago, and don’t forget to save room for dessert!

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

The Great Migration: African American Heritage

  • Bus,
  • Walking

This Chicago Neighborhood Tour takes you to historic Bronzeville to see hallmarks of arts, music and culture in this vibrant community that generations of African Americans built following the Great Migration from the South in the early 20th century.

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

Wicker Park & Ukrainian Village

  • Bus,
  • Walking

Take this Chicago Neighborhood Tour to see how diverse groups shaped the character of these vibrant West Side communities into two of Chicago’s hottest neighborhoods to live and play in.

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

Events

Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade

  • Kid and Family Events,
  • Parades

The City of Chicago has scheduled its annual Wreath Laying Ceremony and Memorial Day Parade for Saturday, May 26, 2012. The Wreath Laying Ceremony will begin at 11 am at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington Streets). The parade will step off at noon and proceed south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street.

Free Admission | State St. & Lake St. | 312.744.3315

Columbus Day Parade

  • Kid and Family Events,
  • Parades

The 2012 Columbus Day Parade will take place on Monday, October 8th.

Free Admission | Columbus Drive & Balbo | 708.450.9050

Daley Plaza Farmers Market

  • Culinary Events,
  • Farmers Markets

Looking for fresh fruits and vegetables? Visit the Daley Plaza Farmers Market every Thursday from May 24 until October 18.

Free Admission | 50 W. Washington | 312.744.3315

Federal Plaza Farmers Market

  • Culinary Events,
  • Farmers Markets

Visit the Federal Plaza Farmers Market every Tuesday from May 29th until October 30th for fresh fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers.

Free Admission | Adams St. & Dearborn St. | 312.744.3315

McDonald’s® Thanksgiving Parade

  • Kid and Family Events,
  • Parades

Celebrate the 79th Anniversary of the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, Chicago’s Magical Holiday Tradition, which marches down State Street on Thursday, November 22nd.

Free Admission | State St. & Congress

Location & Area

  • North Boundary: 200 N Lake
  • South Boundary: 300 S Jackson
  • East Boundary: 45 E Wabash
  • West Boundary: 200 W Wells
  • Primary Zip Code: 60611

Current Trends and Facts of Loop Chicago

While always a destination for the world’s businesses, the Loop is an easy walk to the Michigan Avenue shops and office buildings, and LaSalle Street financial centers. After hours, the Loop comes alive with restaurants, boutiques, books, and antique stores.

With a golf course, two marinas and Grant Park nearby, and the city’s great theaters and museums within easy walking distance, residents find that it is easy to incorporate recreation and culture into everyday life.

Home Pricing

The real estate market in neighborhoods near The Loop is as diverse as the people who make up the city. Studio condominiums start at $120,000. Full-amenity high-rises, spacious townhouses, and urban lofts range in price from $150,000 to the millions.

History of the Loop

Although many believe the term “The Loop” comes from the elevated “L” trains that do indeed form a loop around the downtown area, the name actually comes from the route of a streetcar that served Chicago in 1882.

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the Loop was a hotbed of architectural activity. In 1900, the Loop had the world’s greatest concentration of skyscrapers. Architects such as William Le Baron Jenny, Louis H. Sullivan, Daniel H. Burham and many others were innovating modern high rises at this time.

In 1900 the Masonic Temple was the most famous building in Chicago; it stood 21 stories and 302 feet tall, and was the world’s tallest building. It enjoyed fame and tourist visits until it was torn down in 1939.

Other skyscrapers in the Loop, that have since been torn down, included the Chicago Stock Exchange (1894-1972) and the Marshall Field Wholesale Store (1885-1930). Others that were built during this time are still standing. These include the Public Library (which is now the Cultural Center), the Fisher Building, the Monadnock Building and the Carson Pirie Scott building.

The Loop’s destiny was formed by the railroads that went through the area. In 1971, the last of the Chicago’s stockyards was closed down and the Loop’s business-oriented future began with the building of the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in 1974. This building brought on thousands of high-paying jobs in the field of finance and law, among others. In 1975, Water Tower Place opened and spurred developers to consider the downtown area as a new horizon for shopping and entertainment.