10 Things We Love About the West Loop

There’s no place quite like the West Loop. What was once a meatpacking district has quickly grown to become one of the hottest neighborhoods in Chicago. From world-class restaurants to iconic festivals and great parks, it’s no wonder people flock to this side of town.

Whether you’re on a leisurely visit or looking to call the West Loop home, it’s sure to welcome you with open arms. Here are just a few things we love about this vibrant neighborhood:

Restaurants Galore

When your local dining scene includes a handful of Michelin-starred restaurants and chefs like Stephanie Izard, you know you’re in good hands. The West Loop is home to some of the best restaurants in the city and offers something for every taste. Stroll over to Monteverde for handmade pasta, Au Cheval for their famous burger (trust us, it’s worth the wait), Swift & Sons for a juicy steak, Parlor for pizza, or Green Street Smoke Meats for Texas-style BBQ.

Consider yourself a foodie? You’ll have to try the neighborhood’s most celebrated spots such as Girl and the Goat, Blackbird, Oriole, and Next. Dinner reservations are always in high demand so make plans as soon as you can!

If you’re having trouble deciding on a cuisine, head over to Time Out Market Chicago, where some of the city’s best food and drinks are housed under one roof.

Convenience

Whether you prefer to travel by foot or public transit, the West Loop offers the ability to do both. Offices located in the Loop are within walking distance, while attractions near the lake are a quick ‘L’ ride away. Just take the Green or Pink line from the Morgan station and you’ll be at Millennium Park or the Art Institute in minutes.

The accessibility doesn’t stop there. Commuters have easy access to Metra trains at Ogilvie and Union Station, as well as the expressway.

Nightlife & Entertainment

With the United Center nearby, you can grab a drink and a bite to eat before heading to a concert, Bulls, or Blackhawks game. Pro tip: A few bars in the West Loop offer shuttle service to and from United Center events. If your night is only just beginning when the game ends, hop on one of the shuttles at the corner of Madison & Wood and they’ll drop you off at their establishment.

A trip to the West Loop also means you can enjoy an innovative cocktail experience at the Aviary and a variety of other options including the beer garden at Kaiser Tiger, SoHo House’s Fox Bar, The Press Room, CH Distillery, and City Winery, where you can see a roster of talented artists and try locally-crafted wines.

Plenty of Green Space

Combining history and modern design, Mary Bartelme Park could almost be considered an art exhibit with its stainless-steel gates and picturesque view of the Chicago skyline. The park offers an inventive, non-linear play area for kids and a dog park complete with over-sized dog bowls, ramps, and a pet-friendly exercise area.

In the summer, pack a blanket and picnic for Movies in the Park – a seasonal event where you can see everything from the classics to recent releases for free. Warm weather also brings fresh produce to the park with Green City Market, which runs every Saturday from June through October.

A few blocks west, Skinner Park is over seven acres and features a community garden, athletic field, baseball field, and a basketball court. There’s also a pumpkin patch in the fall, Movies in the Park in the summer, and sports programs at Skinner Gym in the winter and spring.

Photo by Landscape Performance Series

Skinner Elementary School

Skinner Elementary is one of the top-ranked CPS schools in the city. Throughout the year, students can take advantage of thriving after school programs and clubs like basketball, dance, debate club, and student council. They also have access to the Park Kids After School Program. Offered at more than 100 parks in the city, Park Kids provides a fun setting for kids ages 6 to 12 to participate in sports, games, and arts & crafts.

A Rich History

Few neighborhoods have undergone a transformation quite like the West Loop. What was once a warehouse and meatpacking district is now a magnet for trendy restaurants, office buildings, and boutique hotels.

With new spots taking over former warehouse spaces, Fulton Market District has a cool industrial vibe that architecture buffs can appreciate.

Shopping

From clothing to jewelry to gifts, there are a variety of boutiques to browse in the West Loop. Find unique items at The Fig Tree or Smitten Boutique, or head into Tribeca Boutique or Billy Reid for clothing and accessories. Newer to the block is Uncommon James, which focuses on timeless and on-trend jewelry and carries select items from the brand’s home collection.

Major Corporations Call It Home

The West Loop’s robust growth has attracted an impressive lineup of businesses. Big names such as McDonald’s, Dyson, and Google have headquarters here, bringing jobs and livelihood to the neighborhood.

As an extension of Chicago’s central business district, the West Loop’s innovative spirit gives startups the opportunity to rub shoulders with seasoned business executives.

Festivals to Discover

Chicago’s iconic festival season officially begins in the summer, and the West Loop is home to a few of the city’s notable celebrations.

Aptly located along Randolph Street, the Taste of Randolph is one of Chicago’s most popular street fests, offering incredible menus and unique flavors from award-winning restaurants. Live entertainment floods the streets as attendees try new foods and explore the neighborhood.

Another well-known festival is the Taste of Greektown. Over 30 years old, the annual event brings the best of Mediterranean cuisine, spirits, and culture to the area, as well as live music and entertainment.

Photo from Star Events

Variety of Housing to Fit Buyers’ Needs

From new-construction condos to lofts, townhomes, and apartments, residents have an array of housing choices.

With its development boom and growing number of million-dollar condo sales, the West Loop also has emerged as a luxury neighborhood and one of the most sought-after residential areas in the city.

Written by @properties
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