Printer’s Row is a highly sought-after sub-neighborhood in Chicago’s South Loop. Living in Printer’s Row, Chicago, residents love the historic character reflected in the architecture and facades of old buildings, (like the Pontiac Building, 1891, and the Duplicator Building, 1886), the creative energy from the abundance of music venues, art schools, and independent coffee shops, and all the green space and tucked away parks and hidden gems. Printer’s Row is generally designated by the Chicago River as the western border, Plymouth Court as the eastern border, Ida B. Wells Drive to the north, and Polk Street to the south.
After Dearborn Station was completed in 1885, the Printer’s Row neighborhood began to take shape as the printing center of the Midwest because it allowed materials (and workers) to move conveniently in and out of the neighborhood. Dearborn Station is still in tact today and has been converted into retail space.
Major publishing houses like Rand McNally, M.A. Donohue and Company, Franklin Printing, and R.R. Donnelley and Sons all set up shop in Printer’s Row.
Many of the buildings in Printer’s Row that were used as printing and publishing facilities have retained landmark status and have mostly been converted into residential lofts. These buildings are characteristic of what’s been deemed, the “First Chicago School” of architecture, a style which dates to the 1880s and includes work by the revered Daniel Burnham, one of the masterminds behind the World’s Fair. Many of these buildings feature large windows that were originally installed with the hope that they would let in maximum natural light for book binding, type setting, and other highly detailed printing work.
The Printer’s Row literary scene is very much alive today. Each June the Printer’s Row Literary Festival draws about 150,000 attendees to Dearborn Street, making it the largest book fair in the Midwest, according to Publisher’s Weekly.
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The South Loop is conveniently situated near public transit and access points, making it an easily accessible neighborhood whether you’re commuting to or from the suburbs, other Chicago neighborhoods, or even from out of town.
CTA Orange Line
The orange line runs through the South Loop and takes riders around the Loop and out to Midway International Airport. If you’re looking for the fastest way to or from Midway or just looking to save on Uber fare, the orange line could be a great option.
CTA Red Line
The red line runs south to 95th Street and north through River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Uptown, Edgewater, and Rogers Park, with on campus stops at Loyola and DePaul Universities. Northwestern University in Evanston is also conveniently accessible via red line, as multiple red line stops are also serviced by the purple line to Evanston and Wilmette.
CTA Green Line
Take the green line for direct access to Oak Park or the best way to McCormick Place. The green line also provides access through the West Loop and west side near Rush University Medical Center.
CTA Blue Line
If you fly in and out of O’Hare International Airport often, the South Loop has multiple blue line stops that provide direct access to O’Hare. The blue line takes passengers either through the West Loop, UIC’s campus, and out to Forest Park, or through the Loop, Fulton Market, River West, Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square, Jefferson Park, Rosemont, and directly inside O’Hare Airport.
Metra and Amtrak
Catch the Metra trains out to the western, north shore, and south shore suburbs and Indiana from the Lasalle and Van Buren stations in the South Loop or Ogilvie and Union Stations, which are just a short walk from the South Loop and are also serviced by Amtrak.
Multiple major highways pass directly through the South Loop. Hop directly on I-90 for access throughout Chicago’s northern or southern neighborhoods and suburbs, I-290 for access to Chicago’s western neighborhoods and suburbs, or I-55 to head southwest past McCormick Place toward Saint Louis.
Lakeshore Drive runs through the South Loop and is one of the most expedient ways north and south along the eastern edge of Chicago. Take Lakeshore south through Hyde Park to the University of Chicago campus or north through Rogers Park.
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