Welcome to Chicago
Chicago, Illinois is one of the most beautiful cities in the country and boasts a rich, industrial history. It is the home of the Chicago hot dog, Giordano’s famous deep-dish pizza, Willis Tower, and, of course, the notorious rivalry between the Cubs and White Sox.
Chicago is a melting pot of so many different cultures escaping persecution, famine, or a place to start fresh. There is something about this great city that always makes it feel like home, even if you never lived there. But, for the lucky people who do live there, they have a plethora of places to choose from in which to settle down.
Most large cities are divided into several neighborhoods and Chicago is no exception. With 77 different community areas, there is no doubt that each neighborhood contains its own unique characteristics. For example, Wrigleyville is home to the historic, ivy-covered Wrigley Field.
Wrigley Field is one of the oldest baseball stadiums in the country. The Magnificent Mile, another neighborhood in this beautiful metropolis, offers luxury shopping and architectural beauty that is second to none. The Gold Coast is an affluent neighborhood with historic mansions, more luxury shopping, and a booming nightlife.
Another famous area of Chicago is the Loop. The Loop is surrounded by the Chicago River to the north and west. Lake Michigan is of course to the east. The lake is east of everything in Chicago, for the directionally-challenged! Roosevelt Road is the boundary line of the Loop to the south. The Loop is home to famous landmarks like Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago, Grant Park, and the Lincoln Memorial. It got its name from the cable car turnarounds and the elevated railway (the El) that encircled the area back in the nineteenth century.
Focusing on the West Loop and South Loop, each neighborhood has its own unique offerings to those looking to relocate to the area. Both with its own history, architecture, shopping, food, and nightlife, one would have a difficult time choosing between these areas.
The history of the West Loop, or Near West Side, is truly fascinating. Hull House, a settlement house co-founded in 1889 by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr, was a place of safety for European immigrants. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 also started in the Near West Side on DeKoven Street at the O’Leary barn.
The South Loop was one of Chicago's first residential districts and is currently undergoing a skyline altering transformation with many new residential buildings being completed within the last year. Irish, working-class immigrants settled south near the river, while the wealthy built houses along Michigan and Wabash Avenues. The Chicago Fire of 1871 spared the area, however, Loop businesses affected found temporary homes there while the city was rebuilt. The South Loop includes the Motor Row District along South Michigan Avenue as well as nearby Prairie Avenue District, the "Millionaire's Row" that was lined with mansions belonging to Chicago's wealthiest elite during the end of the nineteenth century.
The West Loop makes up the area directly west of the Loop, lying along the western bank of the Chicago River. Its boundary line is approximately Grand Avenue on the north, Ashland Avenue on the west, the Eisenhower Expressway in the south, and the Chicago River on the east.
The South Loop makes up the area directly south of the Loop and is part of the Near South Side. Most of the area south of Ida B. Wells Drive between Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, except Chinatown, is referred to as the South Loop. As development has spread south, some say the southern boundary line has also spread south to 26th Street.
Things to Do
Due to new development and gentrification, each area has a load of fun things to do and experience. The West Loop was home to factories and industrial businesses but has since seen an explosion of trendy restaurants around Randolph Street and Fulton Market. There is something for everyone in the West Loop, from bakery to butcher shop to brewery and fine dining. Besides food and a bustling nightlife, the West Loop offers boutique shopping and an art scene including folk art, sculptures, European prints, and textiles. Nearby Greektown will also provide a wealth of pastimes, including a new cultural center.
The South Loop is home to the world-famous Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium. Remember going there for field trips in grade school? Grant Park, “Chicago’s Front Yard,” can also be found here. Catch the Chicago Bears playing at Soldier Field or visit Vice District Brewing Company and Motor Row Brewing, both located in the South Loop. Buddy Guy’s Legends, one of the city’s most legendary blues clubs, is best known for serving up the well-loved Chicago-style blues and New Orleans-inspired food every night of the week. The vibe in this area is much mellower than other parts of the city for those looking for a balance of urban life.
Places to Live
For new residents, the West Loop offers several residential options. Once manufacturing warehouses, these buildings have been converted to contemporary lofts. The West Loop is definitely a revitalized urban mecca, without being right in the busyness of downtown.
A development race has picked back up again in the South Loop with high-rise communities planned to draw even more retail, restaurants, and businesses into the area. A wonderful choice for this area is the beautiful Coeval community. This residence offers spacious floor plans with amazing city views, amenities including a state-of-the-art fitness center and serene outdoor terraces for its residents to find their zen in the hustle and bustle of the Windy City. Conveniently located just blocks from Soldier Field and the Field Museum, this community has all the bell and whistles new residents are searching for in Chicago.
South Loop or West Loop?
Due to its large size and busy atmosphere, it can be really difficult to decide which area of Chicago is right for you. Luckily, due to the rapid renovation, development, and beautification of Chicago’s lakefront, the decision really does not have to be hard. The turnaround of this neighborhood has been truly remarkable. Come see for yourself! The South Loop neighborhood of this awesome city has so much to offer. Whether it be cuisine to die for, great shopping and fun extracurricular activities, a hopping nightlife, or historical museums, you can find it all in the South Loop.
This is Chicago - as long as you are here, you have chosen well! Chicago is the greatest city in the world. Maybe we are biased, but it is pretty amazing. With its rich history, worldly culture, numerous things to do, and beautifully restored places to live, you will feel at home here.