The Loop refers to the business district located just south of the main stem of the Chicago River. Although Chicagoans do not agree on the origin of the Loop’s name, it is said to have derived from a streetcar from the 1880s or the CTA “El” tracks that looped through the city. The Loop was the place where the strands powering cable cars turned around on a pulley in the center of the city. The concept was then extended to the ring of elevated rail tracks for rapid transit lines that connected the downtown area to the neighborhoods. The lines were completed in 1897 and created the intracity transportation system that is still used to this day. The placement of the nineteenth-century railroad depots couldn’t have been better. They were located at the edges of the central business district, creating a circle of stations around the hub of the city.
As the city’s business center, the Loop hosts some of the largest corporations, including, Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), which is the world’s largest options and futures contracts open interest exchange; the headquarters of United Continental Holdings, one of the world’s largest airlines, AON, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and many more major corporations.
The Loop is located walking distance to all the major shopping areas including, Michigan Avenue, The Shops at North Bridge (located on Michigan Avenue), State Street, and Block 37 (located on State Street). The Loop is a great place to dine, offering many great options. There are so many historic restaurants in the Loop that have become local legends, including, The Berghoff restaurant, which was established by a German immigrant, serving traditional German cuisine and steins of beer in an old-world setting, The Walnut Room, which was the first-ever department store restaurant when it opened in the former Marshall Field’s in 1907, and Italian Village, Chicago’s oldest Italian restaurant. Other historic restaurants include Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Kinzie Chophouse, Catch 35, Trattoria No. 10, and Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse.
0 minutes to Chicago Loop
28 minutes to O’Hare Airport
18 minutes to Midway Airport
Distance to Downtown
The Loop is between the Chicago River on the North and Roosevelt Road on the South, and from Lake Michigan West to Interstate 90/94. The Loop is the hub of the transportation network in Chicago. The CTA includes the train system with 7 different color coated routes, and plentiful bus routes. For those traveling by car, access to I-90/94 and I-290 is close by.
The Loop is home to Grant Park, a 500-acre space, which hosts huge outdoor summer festivals, concerts, and events. The Loop is also most known for the Art Institute of Chicago, State Street, which hosts a historic shopping district, and of course the Sears Tower, which was created in 1973 and was once the tallest building in the world for a quarter of the century. If you are into the arts, the Loop has plenty of options for you to explore, including, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Goodman Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet, and the Chicago Cultural Center.
The Loop is at the heart of so many colleges and universities. With more than 58,000 students attending 22 colleges and universities downtown, it is the largest college town in Illinois. The following colleges and universities have campuses in the Loop: DePaul University, Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, Columbia College Chicago, and Harold Washington College.