South Loop, a Chicago Neighborhood Guide

The South Loop is an exciting, vibrant, growing area that is setting new standards for Chicago’s urban dwellers. Located immediately south of Chicago’s Loop, it’s a preferred location for those who want to live, work and play in one dynamic area. The South Loop’s pocket neighborhoods include Printer’s Row and Dearborn Park.

Community

Within walking distance of the Loop, Museum Campus, the lakefront, and Grant Park, the South Loop is seeing an influx of young professionals and families who want to work and play just minutes from home. A new exhibit at the Field Museum; a free concert at Millennium Park; roller-blading along the lakeshore; strolling along Michigan Avenue. Living here, the gems of the city are within easy reach. Of course, Soldier Field and McCormick Place lay to the east of South Loop on the lakefront.

To cater to the thousands of new inhabitants in the area, developers are building condominiums, lofts, and even townhomes. Commercial space is also being planned all over the area. The South Loop is studded with new construction and the area is unusually dynamic; space is available but is being claimed by developers rapidly.
Although still a relatively new neighborhood, the South Loop has an active community organization known as the South Loop Neighbors. It organizes activities such as the Annual Photo Show, which invites inhabitants of the area to submit personal photography which highlights the culture and history of the area, and the Annual Loft Walk, which takes visitors on a tour of several private residences in the neighborhood.

The South Loop is still growing, and while several upscale eateries have already appeared in the neighborhood, many more are on the way. Among the dining, choices are Opera, Gioco, Kroll’s South Loop, Chicago Firehouse Grill, and Prairie Rose Restaurant.

Certainly, the neighborhood is becoming increasingly self-sufficient, with everything its inhabitants need close at hand. Apart from dining and shopping, services such as churches, childcare centers, and grocery stores are becoming more visible. If the last few years are any indication, this growth spurt is just the beginning.

Despite the frantic building boom, the South Loop retains a mellow vibe. It is neither busy nor crowded and invites its residents to take peaceful strolls along the sidewalk. The neighborhood finds a balance between growth and peace, and its inhabitants are pleased with the result. Already, this is one of the more pleasant areas in Chicago, and as it becomes more fully developed, its allure will only grow.

History

Chicago’s South Loop is one of the city’s fastest-growing neighborhoods. As the Loop area becomes saturated, people are taking advantage of the prime real estate just south of the Loop and discovering a new, exciting place to live. Yet as recently as ten years ago, the South Loop was an area that few people would ever want to visit.

A decade ago, there wasn’t much in the South Loop area besides warehouses and parking lots. There were very few residences and much of the neighborhood seemed dusty and unused. The area has a long history; land speculators began assessing the area as far back as 1830, yet it remained largely industrial for over 150 years. It is, in fact, a bit of a mystery why the neighborhood, with its proximity to so many attractive parts of the city, had been ignored for so long. At any rate, it is being ignored no longer.

Developers are now attacking the South Loop in a frenzy, snatching up whatever land they can. It is rare to see so many new developments in one place; cranes are a common sight and buildings are being thrown up to the sky at startling speeds. A buyer has unlimited options, it seems. The last few years have brought more change to the South Loop than the last century. Indeed, its future holds still greater change.

The South Loop is bordered on the north by Roosevelt Road, on the east by Michigan Avenue, on the south by 18th Street and on the west by Union Avenue.

South Loop Neighborhood Map of Chicago

South Loop is south of Congress Parkway and east of the Chicago River, excepting Printer’s Row. The southern boundary for the community area is Roosevelt Road; though often describes an area as far south as 18th Street or Cermak Road. It includes River City, the northern half of Dearborn Park, and portions of State Street, Wabash Avenue, and Michigan Avenue.

This map provides the approximate locations of the points of interest that are described in the partner articles regarding the South Loop neighborhood. See the links above for access to those articles.

Location & Area

  • North Boundary: 300 S Jackson
  • South Boundary: 1200 S Roosevelt
  • East Boundary: 100 E Michigan
  • West Boundary: ~400 W Chicago River
  • Primary Zip Code: 60605

Current Trends and Facts of South Loop Chicago

The area has been steadily increasing in popularity, driven by its proximity to the Loop, the lakefront, Soldier Field and picturesque Grant Park. South Loop’s neighborhood is an easy walk to Michigan Avenue and the financial centers of LaSalle Street.

Chicago’s Museum Campus, with the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium, is the cultural anchor of the neighborhood. The beautiful campus, surrounded by Lake Michigan, creates wonderful opportunities for culture and education just about every day of the year.

Home to Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute, the South Loop neighborhood draws many promising artists to the city.

It is also steps from the Loop, which gets its name from the CTA’s elevated tracks that loop the area. Residents enjoy unparalleled transportation to the rest of the city and the suburbs via train, bus, and “L”.