8.4 out of 10

The Loop

Ranked 2nd best neighborhood in Chicago
41.880582537878 -87.6254737850065
Great for
  • Public Transport
  • Shopping Options
  • Eating Out
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Internet Access
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Cost of Living
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists

Reviews

1/5
2yrs+

"Chicago Native"

I've lived in the city my entire life - the loop is where a lot of businesses are located and where tourists congregate. Anyone who thinks it is a great place to live, must either be an out-of-towner or too new to the city to know any better. There is not a "neighborhood" because there are less than half a dozen properties in the entire defined loop area that are residences. The closest actual residential areas are either north, south or west of the loop. Most of what is in the Loop is just steel, brick and glass - people don't live here. If by chance you do live here, you wouldn't really know who your neighbor was because they would be indoors or when outdoors, would physically be somewhere other than the loop, such as parks to the east, north or south, or shopping, primarily west, north or south, away from the loop area.
Pros
  • Great to see the architecture, not much else
  • The heart of the city
Cons
  • It is not a neighborhood, it's a congested business district
  • Busy, busy, busy
  • Expensive to live there
  • Loud during the day
  • not much open at night
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
2yrs+

"The Loop - Where It's All At"

The Loop is the area that’s surrounded by the El tracks, which form a loop downtown. I think now most people refer to all of downtown as the Loop – it stretches a little bit farther in each direction. This is the business district of Chicago, with all of the hustle, bustle and skyscrapers.

The architecture is a major draw to this area. There are plenty of world-famous buildings. The Sears Tower (NOT Willis!) is obviously the most well-known, but others like the Monadnock building and the Harold Washington library are just as impressive. An architecture tour of the Loop is HIGHLY recommended, even if you’re from Chicago! I’ve also kayaked the river downtown and that offers awesome views of the buildings too. However, you will get covered in disgusting river water and nearly killed by tour boats, so watch out!

The parks are another great asset of the Loop. Grant Park and Millennium Park, which are right next to each other, are both good spots. Grant Park is grassy and green, and a lot of the city’s summer festivals are held here. Millennium Park is totally modern and home to some really interesting art pieces.

Speaking of art, there are TONS of sculptures scattered around the Loop, so be on the lookout for them! The Art Institute of Chicago, long one of my favorite spots to visit, is also here. They just added on a modern art wing a couple of years ago, and if you’re a fan of the style it’s a must.

There’s also the Board of Trade, theaters, and lots of shopping (mostly chain stores though) along State Street. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is in the Loop too. There’s really no shortage of things to do.

The bars and restaurants downtown cater to the business crowd, and that’s mainly who you’ll find there, along with tourists. There’s also a bunch of college campuses downtown, including DePaul and Roosevelt. Bars and restaurants close really early. In fact much of the Loop totally shuts down late at night because everybody’s gone. It’s definitely more of a daytime neighborhood to visit.
Pros
  • Great for tourists
  • Lots of activities
Cons
  • not much open at night
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"If you're feeling Blue, The Loop is for You"

I love the Loop, and though I’ve never lived there, it is a dream location for me.

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and I would get to go downtown from time to time visiting my dad, who is a lawyer who works just north of the Loop on Lasalle St. Between my freshman and sophomore year in college I worked as an assistant for my dad, and I walked through the Loop everyday, and I fell in love. The first few weeks were intimidating, with so many confident businesspeople walking past me on their daily route to work, but after only a few days I was one of them, and I got to know some of the ins and outs of the area.

First, the Loop is still mostly a business area, although there are an increasing number of residential locations that are reasonably affordable, if you’re so inclined to move there. During the business hours Monday through Friday, most streets will be busy with business traffic, although at night and on weekends it isn’t quite so populated. The completion of Millennium Park has opened the area up more to tourists, and the cultural sites bring in a more casual visitors.

And oh, the culture. The obvious first: Harold Washington Library , the Art Institute of Chicago , Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Chicago Cultural Center. If you want art and class, it’s here. There are a number of tours for the those not acquainted with the area. For me (which doesn’t mean uncultured), the best you’ll do for culture is Buddy Guy’s Legends. Buddy Guy is one of the greatest bluesmen of all time. He studied under Muddy Waters, and inspired such guitar greats as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Clapton even calls him the world’s best blues guitarist. I visited Buddy’s old club, which just moved to a new location still in the loop, a few times, once to see Buddy play a show, and if you like live music, there is no better place in Chicago. Special guests show up from time to time, like Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and others, for impromptu performances. You can get good food, of which I will personally recommend the ribs and the Blues burger, and take in a great show. Most nights the cover is only about $10 to $15, although when a special guest is performing, or during January when Buddy plays a few nights a week, entry will cost you about $40. I haven’t been to the new location yet, but I plan to go in the next few weeks, maybe around the same time that the Crossroads Guitar Festival comes to town, since special guests would be in town and might show up.

For my tastes, the Loop is outstanding. I like to going out and enjoying myself, but I like it quiet from time to time. The Loop is relatively safe, and I while some consider it dead at night, I think it’s just a matter of knowing where you want to go. There are plenty of options for travel, since the Loop refers to the train that surrounds the area, and during the day there’s so much going on that you can get a nice balance between hectic and relaxed. If you’re like me, and like a little blues with your burger and drink, the Loop is highly recommended.
Pros
  • Exciting and fast paced!
  • Pretty safe, especially during the day
  • Great for tourists
  • The heart of the city
Cons
  • Loud during the day
  • Kinda slow at night.
  • Expensive to live there
  • Busy, busy, busy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"What trip to Chicago would be complete without visiting The Loop?"

When you think about "downtown Chicago," The Loop comes to mind complete with its tall buildings and skyscrapers and no shortage of attractions. The famous Grant Park, a focal point for many of the state's more high profile events, is definitely one of the key highlights. While visiting Grant Park you have easy access to Lake Michigan as well as Buckingham Fountain. In fact, this is the same park where the famous Taste of Chicago event takes place every year. This event sees more than 3 million visitors!

Cultural highlights such as the Joffrey Ballet, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Goodman Theater and the Lyric Opera of Chicago can all be found in The Loop. All of this combines with great views of the city's skyline including iconic architectural wonders, such as the Willis Tower and the Aon Center.

Art and sculpture lovers will be quite fascinated to see the abundance of great outdoor sculptures from the like of Pablo Picasso and many ofter famous artists. In fact, The Loop sports a truly impressive amount of outdoor sculptures that are sure to impress one and all.
Pros
  • Great for tourists
  • Lots of activities
Cons
  • Busy, busy, busy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
2yrs+

"Busy Urban Oasis"

After having called Chicago home for a number of years, I can’t say the Loop is my favorite neighborhood, but it’s certainly not my least favorite. I’ve never wanted to live in this busy commercial district, but I certainly would consider it a must for some of the best architecture and exciting happenings in the city. A must for tourists, the Loop is located in the heart of Chicago. Many people commute to the Loop for work, as it is the center of commerce in the city.

Skyscrapers are probably the most noted part of the Loop. Everywhere you look you’ll find some of the most famous skyscrapers in the world. Historic skyscrapers include the Chicago Board of Trade Building and Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). If you’re into the hustle and bustle of city life, the Loop is the area to find it.

Simply put, this neighborhood is a must for visitors to Chicago and a staple for locals. The heart of many of the city’s theaters, galleries, and other prominent points of interest
Pros
  • Lots of activities
  • Great for tourists
  • The heart of the city
Cons
  • Busy, busy, busy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
2yrs+

"Custom House Tavern"

We just went recently for lunch and they were having a $5 burger special. We chose the Mushroom Sandwich and Reuben. The Reuben came with some kind of kraut that was a great addition to the corned beef

For the dinner, I remember we had some special tasting menu and it was fantastic. I believe they change their menu seasonally and everything on it is great.

Highly recommended for the South Loop lunch or a splurgey dinner!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Tourists
  • Students
4/5
2yrs+

"The heart of Chicago"

The Loop is the nickname given to the heart of the city. The attractions, restaurants, sights, and stores that attract millions of tourists each year are formed in the shape of a "loop", which is how the nickname came to be. This is the heart of Chicago, and where the hustle and bustle of the Windy City truly lives. With apartments throughout the area, they remain in the higher price range as it is such a popular part of Chicago. Plenty of restaurants and grocery stores in the heartland of Chicago for all price ranges, needs, and food cravings. You are 5 minutes from exiting the center of Chicago and about 5 minutes from Lake Michigan. Great location as long as you don't mind traffic, a busy city, and plenty of noise and city lights.
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Transformers 3"

More and more Chicago is a destination for filming movies. Chicago has a unique feel and incredible architecture that are often used in tv and film.

Lots of movies and tv shows have been shot here or had scenes filmed here. Recently, Transformers 3 took over Michigan Avenue. It was a pain in the butt for anyone who wanted to drive downtown as it was closed to traffic and the Michigan Ave. bridge was closed to even pedestrian traffic; but it was really cool to watch the film industry invade our city.

So while it can be a pain; it is a good thing for our city as it brings jobs (even temporary ones) and gives it publicity.

It also gives local celebrity hunters someone to keep their eye out for.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
2yrs+

"Get to the Loop!"

As a resident of the city, I’m not sure I would ever consider living in the Loop – the place is just too busy for my residential tastes. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend the Loop to anyone who was briefly visiting Chicago, had just arrived to the city, or just needed something to do on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

The Loop is likely the best place to feel that you are in the midst of the city skyline – architecture towers over you, including the Sears Tower (FYI: much of this area was leveled by 1871’s Great Chicago Fire, making room for much of what is here today). This is also the home of the Art Institute and Millennium Park – home of that shiny silver sculpture better known as Cloud Gate (you know the one, just about everyone who has ever been here takes a self-photo of their own distorted reflection in it.)

Even the streets in the Loop are tourist-friendly – they are laid out on a grid, making it easy to understand which way you are headed, even if you aren’t very familiar with the area. Many hotels are to be found in the area, and if you can afford to stay here then I recommend that you do – you’ll be close to many of the best tourist attractions Chicago has to offer.
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
2yrs+

"Hello, Big City!"

The Loop is where all of Chicago's heavy hitters are located. It is the business district and houses the financial corporations. It is the home of high rise buildings, corporate offices and the Tower as well. It can be considered the true center of the city and does itself justice in that respect.

The food is great, the nightlife is fantastic and the public transportation to and from the area can not be beat, but it is a noisy and well traveled area that might not be the most suitable home for someone who isn't feeling such a vibe. At the end of the day there is no respite for the weary and you will feel as if you are in a very concrete jungle very quickly. With all that being said for someone who works in the area, who loves to eat and have a good time, all while staying in a small area then the Loop is the exact fit for you. The energy can be contagious, but at the same time the hustle can drag you down. The Loop is a personal thing. You might love to visit it, but hate to live in it. It's very individual in that regard.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Oasis Neighborhood in the West Loop"

I love my neighborhood in the heart of West Loop. I live in a high-rise complex of four 49-story buildings known as Presidential Towers at the corner of Madison Street and Clinton Street. This area – which used to be known as “Skid Row” - has become quite the vibrant hub of city living in the past 10 or so years. While the complex is undergoing its own renovation to accommodate the growing population and popularity, the surrounding area has become interspersed with all the infrastructures that make a neighborhood comfortable for a city-dweller. Casual-dining restaurants, fast-food shops, upscale dining spots, cleaners, grocery store, local watering-hole/pub, public transportation; everything is within ½ a mile. Although it is just 4 blocks from the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), it is just far enough away from the madding crowd that congestion is not an issue. There is even on-street metered parking!

Besides the Willis Tower, this area is only a few blocks west of the Central Business and Financial district. Alas, the West Loop is naturally separated from it by the south branch of the Chicago River. In the six years that I’ve been living here, I’ve often stopped for a brief respite at one of the several plazas along the river, to enjoy the sight of tour and private boats as they cruise along.

The location and proximity to the central Loop is unbeatable! Only a 5-10 minute bus ride or a 15-20 minute walk east and you’re in the heart of the Loop: the intersection of Madison and State streets. These two streets are the dividing lines between the city’s north, south, east, and west regions. But I digress….

The West Loop contains one of the few structures that survived the Great Fire of 1871 – Old St. Pat’s church. For the past 25 years, the church has produced the “World’s Largest Block Party” and boasts of several connections that resulted in marriage at the church. The Block Party attracts many local residents and local visitors from all over the city.

Lest you think the area is a concrete canyon of high-rise apartments, condos, and commercial business, let me assure you: it’s not there yet! In fact, just across the street from Old St. Pat’s is a lovely patch of green that covers a full quarter of a city block. It is a small, city oasis with real grass, small trees, and benches – perfect for a midday respite or small picnic in the city.

For a little ethnic flavor, just go a few blocks west to Greek Town - one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. Authentic Greek cuisine restaurants abound on the stretch of Halsted between Jackson Boulevard and Randolph Street.

I love this area for the neighborhood feel, walk-ability, conveniences, and proximity to every where else I want to go. Heck, if I wanted to go as far away as California, I could take a train from Union Station - only 4 blocks away!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

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