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Guide To Living In The Loop In Chicago

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

Not named for the elevated rail tracks that currently surround much of the neighborhood, but rather for a cable car network that first staked Chicago’s economic center, the Loop now more generally refers to the downtown Chicago area bordered north and west by the Chicago River, Michigan Avenue to the west, and Ida B. Wells Drive to the south.

Living in the Loop remains a singularly Chicago experience, a high-rise lifestyle amid world-shaping architecture and tons of touristy fun.

Here’s why the Loop is the ultimate home base for those who want a residence that at once touches the sky and feels the pulse of the city below.

Activities for All

Grant Park, running the eastern length of the Loop, is the hub for all manner of fun. Taste of Chicago, an amazing annual food fest, makes its home there. Music events including Lollapalooza, Blues Fest and Jazz Fest are fixtures on the calendar. The annual Chicago Marathon, featuring one of the largest marathon fields in the country, starts and ends in Grant Park.

Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park, capping Grant Park’s north end, draw visitors eager to interact with outdoor art, an outdoor climbing wall and a skating ribbon, among other attractions. Buckingham Fountain, one of the world’s largest, enchants with water and light shows throughout the warm-weather months.

Iconic Eye-Candy

Though the Home Insurance Company, completed in 1885 and generally acknowledged as the world’s first skyscraper, is long demolished, many great examples of the Loop’s embrace of groundbreaking architecture and public art remain. Among many, some notable Loop buildings include the former Marshall Field and Company building (now Macy’s), featuring its Tiffany ceiling; the Rookery, a Daniel Burnham design later refreshed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s only downtown work; the 1893 World’s Fair gem that is the Art Institute; and one of Mies van der Rohe’s final designs, the Chicago Architecture Center. Meanwhile, any walk through the neighborhood might bring you past works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Joan Miro and Alexander Calder.

Next-Level Nightlife

There is a certain loftiness to the nightlife options in the Loop. The Theatre District is home to a handful of houses that feature touring companies and tryouts with Broadway connections. The Lyric Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are in the Loop. The Chicago Theatre brings national music and comedy acts to the neighborhood.

If a cocktail is more your speed, Miller’s Pub is a classic hangout underneath the El tracks on Wabash. In an area where terrific rooftop bars abound, Cindy’s Rooftop, at the pinnacle of Michigan Avenue’s stunning Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, is trending hot for its spectacular views and carefully curated drink list. Brando’s Speakeasy is the city’s karaoke headquarters.

Then there’s the dining:

  • The Berghoff is Chicago’s oldest restaurant. Since 1898, it has thrived by delivering classic German fare and beer.
  • Everest brings a dash of French elegance to the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange.
  • Cafecito, near Roosevelt University and Columbia College, is known for its amazing Cuban sandwiches.
  • The Italian Village, for its traditional Italian fare, and Catch 35, for its seafood, have been Theatre District staples for decades.

Living on the Edge

Part of the beauty of Loop living is its easy access to everything else. If you can get past the amazing Chicago Riverwalk to venture just slightly north, there’s the Mag Mile, Navy Pier and the whole of the Gold Coast. On the west side of the river is Union Station, where you can board a train for just about anywhere. Public transportation options are beyond plentiful, as is expressway access.

The South Loop, West Loop and Lakeshore East are all burgeoning neighborhoods in their own rights, yet satellites of the Loop — none more so than Lakeshore East (otherwise known as the New East Side). A 28-acre community of new high-rises offering luxury rentals, condos and townhomes, Lakeshore East is essentially a northeast extension of the Loop. It offers stunning views of the lake, the riverwalk, and Millennium and Maggie Daley Parks, and its acreage includes roughly 40% greenspace.

Landing in the Loop

Living in the Loop in Chicago can be an amazing experience. Whether you’re walking to work in the LaSalle Street canyon, a Broadway-bound play or an amazing meal in just about any direction, your life will be made better by having the perfect launching pad for your adventures.

Downtown Apartment Company is your mission control when it comes to locating the living quarters to suit you. Browse our latest Loop listings here.