Wednesday, September 16th, 2015
The West Loop is probably downtown Chicago’s fastest growing rental neighborhood, and for more than one or two good reasons. It’s conveniently located, there are numerous nearby retail offerings, and the community boasts both family-friendly and singles ready apartment offerings in form of traditional one or two bedroom rentals, luxury penthouses and even loft-style apartments. The neighborhood is bounded by Ashland Avenue to the west, the Chicago River to the east, Grand Avenue to the north and the Eisenhower Expressway to the south. It encompasses the Fulton Market District that’s home to so many contemporary art galleries and the Greektown we all remember from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. With so many acclaimed restaurants, you’d almost have to be renting an apartment there to have the chance to sample them all. Though it’s typically referred to simply as The West Loop, the area’s still the Near West Side to old-timers and as West Loop Gate to recent trendy transplants.
Once upon a time it was just a warehouse district, but that was before the boom that resulted in those warehouse spaces being converted into lofts and apartments. Over the past two decades, the West Loop has seen a massive surge in development. And, as the loop rebounds from the recession, apartment buildings, corporate offices, restaurants, bars, grocery stores and countless other forms of construction have taken places in the area. West Loop’s central downtown location and easy access to the Loop offers renters easy access to the rest of Chicago. The modern and energetic culture attracts young creative professionals, artists and apartment seekers wanting to live in a burgeoning Chicago neighborhood.
Renters, other residents and the neighborhood’s business owners come together via the West Loop Community Organization to take an active part in civic decisions that will affect the area, from parking to traffic. They also sponsor a variety of events and generally promote continued development in the neighborhood. West Loop’s cultural opportunities include the Hubbard Street Dance Company new permanent facility, the Redmoon Theater’s unique stage productions and kid’s summer camp. The neighborhood hosts more than its fair share of summer festivals, including: Union Park’s Taste of Randolph Street, which combines great food and music for three days in June. Music fans get to head back into the park the following month for the Pitchfork Music Festival and at the end of the summer for the Northcoast Music Festival. The Randolph Street Market, featuring vintage and modern furniture and decorative objects, as well as fashion, jewelry and art also happens there eight times a year. Nearby Union Park boasts facilities for basketball, baseball, swimming, and volleyball plus a range of organized activities for children. The neighborhood also boast several smaller green spaces such as Mary Bartelme Park and Skinner Park (where dogs and their owners play). And if music, sports and food festivals aren’t your thing, the Manning branch of the Chicago Public Library is convenient to virtually every apartment.
The West Loop is home to two of the top schools in the Chicago Public Schools system—Whitney Young High School and Skinner Classical School.
Both the CTA’s Blue Line and Green Line “L” trains run through the neighborhood, but walking’s easily the most popular form of transportation through West Loop. Easy access to both I-290 and I-90/94 make driving easier for West Loop residents than it is for those living in other areas of the city.
There are simply no two ways about it, West Loop’s restaurant, club and gallery scenes are the hottest in Chicago. From The Girl and the Goat, Little Goat and The Publican to The Aviary, Randolph Street’s “Restaurant Row” is where new resident renters will find the latest in cutting edge foodie hot spots.For the traditionalists, Greektown and their famous flaming cheese are just a short walk away. Hipster delis and coffee shops dot close to every corner. If you’ll be cooking rather than hitting the restaurant scene, the wholesale distributors in the Fulton Market are open to the public. For everyday food shopping, there’s a large supermarket and numerous neighborhood grocers. Shoppers visit West Loop primarily to gallery hop, but a few fun fashion boutiques have opened and Greektown boast its share of shops and exotic wares. The neighborhood doesn’t slow down in the late evening, as residents queue up at clubs like Chromium and Transit.