Each and every one of Chi-Town’s visitors will unmistakably make a stop in The Loop, the buzzing metropolitan heart of Chicago. It’s without a doubt the most iconic section of the city and serves as a perfect place to start your venture into the Windy City. No matter if you’re on an official boat cruise along the Chicago River or just hopping on a train that rides the elevated tracks throughout this area, you can never shake the feeling of awe you have when you’re moving through the heard of Chi-Town for the first time ever.
Naturally as most Chicago neighborhoods do, The Loop is home to some of the most renowned public art, ranging from galleries, statues and architecture. Every railway line leads here, and a few minutes in this bustling area will be all you need to realize that you’re in the eye of the storm that is Chicago. To really feel like a True Chicagoan, a walk by the Sears Tower and the Chicago Board of Trade is a must-do. But it’s not just tall buildings, busy people trains and concrete – The Loop is home to the activity-filled Millennium Park and the festive Grant Park, as well as the fun-filled Maggie Daley Center nearby.
Since it’s the heart of Chicago, it’s naturally home to some of the most architecturally-striking buildings in the whole city. The Loop is abundant with captivating buildings that every architecture buff will instantly recognize. One easily recognizable example is the Willis (or Sears) tower which soars at 1450 feet (422 m) on Wacker Dr, and held the title for tallest building in the world for almost 25 years. It’s currently the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and of course the tallest building in Chicago.
A nearby neighbor on Columbus Drive known as the Aqua Skyscraper is yet another unmissable part of Chicago’s immense skyline. The Aqua tower is an 82-story residential building which was designed with irregularly shaped concrete floors which work together to give its facade a wavy, undulating motion, hence its name.
If you’re in this area there’s no way you can miss the 72-story Legacy at Millennium Park skyscraper on S Wabash Ave. The aesthetically slender tower was built as a residential building as well as a facility for School of the Art Institute of Chicago on its lower floors. Its facade was designed to preserve the historically significant terracotta masonry work on the buildings lining Wabash avenue, and is undoubtedly quite the sight to behold even for Chicagoans who see it daily. This building, and others like it, expresses the architectural prowess of Chicago as any onlooker who has even the slightest appreciation for manmade beauty will acknowledge its beauty.
The Loop is also home to some of the oldest, most respected working establishments in the US.
One of the most peculiar and iconic stores in this district is Central Camera – a business located on Wabash Ave that’s had its doors opened since 1899, containing a jaw-dropping amount of spare camera parts and standalone cameras and recorders that will make your head spin. This store is admittedly the world’s most proficient camera retailer, so if you’re a photographer then make sure to head on down here.
There’s also a humble little comic book store known as Graham Crackers located on 77 E Madison St, which is home to thousands upon thousands of comic books, some even as old as Stan Lee himself.
And if you get hungry there’s always Luke’s Italian Beef on 215 W Jackson Blvd, a hidden gem right next to the Sears tower that serves some of the best Italian beef sandwiches in the Loop area. If you want an authentic taste of Chicago there’s no better place to look for it than here.
There is a mindblowingly-long list of things to do and sights to see in the Loop, the heart of Chicago serves as a perfect beginner’s ‘training ground’ for newly arrived visitors. It has everything a tourist could need and then some; the Loop is just the introduction to what Chicago has to offer, and is sure to provide any new visitor with the time of their lives thanks to the encyclopedia of things, sights and activities it has to offer.