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Guide To Living In The South Loop In Chicago

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood is essentially a sampler platter for city living.

It’s hard to imagine a place more perfectly situated than this collection of new high-rises, loft conversions and classic haunts stretching from McCormick Place’s conventioneers northward to Buckingham Fountain’s tourists. To the east are some of the best lake views in the city, to the west the forward-looking development of the Chicago River’s South Branch, anchored by beautiful Ping Tom Park and its gateway to Chinatown.

Why choose living in the South Loop? There are many reasons as there are fish in the Shedd Aquarium (one of the jewels of the neighborhood’s Museum Campus).

Everybody Wants to Visit

Bears fans flock to Soldier Field. DePaul’s men’s and women’s basketball teams bring Big East talent to Wintrust Arena. McCormick Place is the largest convention center in North America. The Museum Campus brings field trippers and culture buffs year-round to the aquarium, Adler Planetarium and Field Museum of Natural History. In fair weather it serves as a lovely jumping-off point for a leisurely stroll south to Northerly Island or north to Buckingham Fountain or, a bit further, to Millennium Park’s famous Cloud Gate sculpture (better known as the Bean).

Better yet, developers recognized as much. Since the 1990s, State Street and Michigan and Wabash Avenues in the area around Roosevelt Road have seen an explosion of high-rises, rowhouses and loft conversions.

Getting Away Is Easy

Locals know it is just as easy — as in “very” — to get to Chinatown, Little Italy, Greektown or a White Sox, Bulls or Blackhawks game as it is to get to work or a traveling Broadway production in the Loop.

More to the point, Lake Shore Drive and Interstates 55, 90, 94 and 290 are quickly accessed, and there are dozens of commuter rail and bus lines running through the area.

However, Why Leave?

Jones College Prep High School is one of the best in the state. Students from Columbia College and nearby Roosevelt University — not to mention Chicago’s main library branch, the Harold Washington Library Center — further deepen the area’s academic bent. If you work in the Loop, your commute can be measured in steps. Grocery stores and all manner of retail shopping are plentiful.

No Chicago neighborhood would be complete without a great pizza place or five. Here are some to try in the South Loop: Lou Malnati’s, Flo & Santos, Aurelio’s, Pizano’s, Giordano’s and Gino’s East.

Beyond the ‘Za

Dining in the South Loop can be as fussy as you’d like, from great gastronomy to good grub.

At the special occasion end of the spectrum is Moody Tongue Brewing Company, which in 2021 earned two Michelin stars for its hyper-seasonal tasting menu served with beer pairings curated by the house brewmaster.

Locals love Umai for sushi, small plates at Tapas Valencia and the paellas at Mercat a la Planxa.

Top-notch comfort fare can be found at Eleven City Diner, a diner-meets-Jewish-deli known for huge sandwiches and ice cream floats.

Music and More

Buddy Guy’s Legends is legendary for more than just its namesake’s famous January residency. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist’s club has been dishing up the blues on South Wabash since 1989.

The Jazz Showcase opened in 1947 and is still bopping on Plymouth Court.

Reggie’s Rock Club has only been around for five years, but the South State Street dive — in the best sense of the word — features an eclectic range of up-and-comers in every genre you won’t find at the Showcase or Legends.

Looking for something a little naughtier? The drag scene at Lips — going strong for 25 years — often finds curious conventioneers wandering over from McCormick Place to share a drink with the fabulous locals.

Savor South Loop Living

Living in the South Loop Chicago is to look outward, across the lake or skyline, at a museum exhibit or the latest trade show demonstration. Going to a game, getting one going in the park, jogging along the lakefront or jamming at Reggie’s, the South Loop is meant to be experienced.

Let the experienced pros at Downtown Apartment Company find your gateway to all the South Loop’s possibilities. Browse our latest South Loop listings here.