AUG 2023

From scenic parks to vibrant nightlife: your ultimate guide to Chicago's heart.

Ever heard of the Chicago Loop and found yourself wondering what it's all about? 

Is it truly worth adding to your Windy City itinerary? 

As a local business rooted in the area, allow us to present our curated recommendations, highlighting the Loop's finest attractions and showing you why this district is a must-visit for tourists in Chicago.

What is the Loop, and why do tourists flock to it?

Located in Chicago's bustling center, the Loop is our vibrant pulse, a bustling blend of iconic architecture, world-class theaters, and mesmerizing public art installations. 

It's where history meets modernity, with streets echoing tales of jazz legends, comedy pioneers, and architectural marvels. 

From the awe-inspiring skyline views along the Riverwalk to the rich tapestry of cultural experiences in its museums and galleries, the Loop is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. 

Whether you're an art enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking the essence of Chicago, the Loop promises an unforgettable journey through the Windy City’s soul.

Parks and gardens


A view of The Bean in Millennium Park.

Did you know that the Loop is home to some of the most picturesque parks and gardens in America? 

If you're looking to soak in some green, or aiming for that perfect Instagram shot, head for the parks and gardens in the Loop! 

From the iconic Cloud Gate at Millennium Park to the adventurous skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park, there's a slice of nature and a dash of culture waiting for you at every corner. 

Millennium Park

Want to capture the essence of Chicago in a single snapshot? Here’s where to do it - Millennium Park!

Located in the heart of downtown, this park boasts some of our best places for killer Instagram shots, including the iconic Cloud Gate statue, a.k.a. "The Bean" and the interactive Crown Fountain installation. 

For a touch of tranquility, find your way to Lurie Garden, a somewhat serene garden towards the south of the Park, and relax amidst the shrubs and the trees, and the butterflies and the bees. 

Finally, music lovers should head for the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, which hosts some of our most famous musical and other performances like the annual Summer Music Series and the Chicago Jazz Festival.

Website: Visit their website.

Maggie Daley Park

To check out another of Chicago's best-known parks, take the BP Bridge from Millennium Park, and it'll lead you to Maggie Daley Park. 

This 20-acre gem boasts a 40-foot climbing wall and a unique quarter-mile skating ribbon. 

Whether you're ice skating on the ribbon in winter or exploring the Enchanted Forest playground in summer, there's something for everyone.

Pro tip: Traveling with kids? They'll be thrilled to explore the towers, bridges, and slides in the Slide Crater at Maggie Daley Park!

Website: Visit their website.

Lake Shore Park

Nestled at the confluence of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, Lake Shore Park is a lesser-known but beautiful park in the Loop.

With its grand staircase offering panoramic views, a dog park, and play pods for children, it's a serene escape amidst the urban landscape. 

Website: Visit their website.

Museums and galleries


A sculpture in the South Garden of The Art Institute.

Planning to immerse yourself in the world of art, history, and science during your Chicago trip? The Loop is teeming with museums and galleries that cater to every curiosity. 

From the mesmerizing masterpieces at The Art Institute to the thought-provoking exhibits at Mindworks, there's a treasure trove of experiences awaiting you. 

And if you're keen on exploring the darker shades of history or the intricacies of our financial system, you're in for a treat! 

So, are you ready to embark on a journey that promises to be both enlightening and entertaining?

Mindworks: The Science of Thinking

Most people begin with The Art Institute when talking about museums in the Loop, but let's switch things up a bit! 

Have you ever wondered about the intricacies of human behavior? 

Mindworks, a unique blend of a working lab and an interactive discovery center, dives deep into the world of behavioral science.

Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, it offers hands-on exhibits that unravel the mysteries of human behavior. 

Since its inauguration in 2021, over 28,000 visitors from more than 70 countries have embarked on this enlightening journey, making it a must-visit on your Chicago tour.

Website: Visit their website.

The Art Institute

Dreaming of witnessing the finest Impressionist paintings outside of Paris? 

The Art Institute of Chicago, a must-visit on any Chicago tour, boasts an unparalleled collection of masterpieces by legends like Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh. 

Wander through the Modern Wing, a creation of Renzo Piano, and get lost among works by Picasso, Dalí, and Pollock. 

With its diverse offerings, the Art Institute truly has something for every art lover. 

Remember to check their special hours and admission details to plan your visit perfectly!

Website: Visit their website.

Chicago Cultural Center

A stunning landmark, the Chicago Cultural Center boasts the world's largest Tiffany stained glass dome and offers over 700 free humanities programs annually. 

Explore various aspects of the arts and culture, and marvel at the center's breathtaking architecture inspired by ancient Greece, Rome, and the Italian Renaissance. 

And if you're in the mood for shopping, don't miss the local artisans' space, where 100% of sales support the artists.

Website: Visit their website.

Chicago Fed Money Museum

Ever wondered where you can see a cube stuffed with a million bucks? Here’s where - The Federal Bank of Chicago’s Money Museum, at 230 S. LaSalle St.

Not just the million-dollar cube, the museum also showcases a counterfeit money machine, a $1,000 bill known as the “Grand Watermelon”, and a money pit filled with over 140,000 coins.

But it’s not just about exciting exhibits - the museum offers visitors a deep dive into our nation’s financial system with a special focus on the Federal Reserve. 

Website: Visit their website.

Medieval Torture Museum

Ever wondered about the dark side of human history? 

The Medieval Torture Museum, the largest interactive historical museum in the U.S., offers a chilling look into the darkest parts of our past. 

Spanning over 6,000 square feet, it showcases over 100 unique implements and devices, each telling a tale of cruelty based on historical documents and engravings. 

Venture inside into the minds of fanatics, madmen, and tyrants, and explore an unprecedented collection that serves as a stark reminder: those who forget the past might just be doomed to repeat it. 

And for those seeking an extra thrill? Don't miss out on their "Ghost-Hunting Experience"!

Website: Visit their website.

Interactive experiences and adventures


All fired up over a mission here at Fox in a Box!

Ever thought about turning your Chicago trip into an unforgettable adventure? The Loop is not just about iconic buildings and scenic views; it's a treasure trove of interactive experiences waiting to be explored. 

Whether you're looking to challenge your mind at the Museum of Illusions or dive into a thrilling escape room scenario at Fox in a Box, there's something for every adventurer at heart.

Fox in a Box escape room (hi! - that’s us)

How about diving into a world of mystery and excitement in downtown Chicago?

At Fox in a Box, we offer immersive escape room experiences that transport you to movie-like settings in which you’re the action star!

From masterminding a prison breakout to matching wits with a serial killer and even breaking into a military bunker - you never know what’s coming at our Dearborn Galleria location.

Business travelers, if you're seeking a unique way to relax and bond with colleagues, our team-building options are a must-try.

Ready to lead your team on an escape room adventure in the Loop?

Website: Visit our homepage.

Museum of Illusions

The Museum of Illusions is not just another museum; it's a place where you can dive deep into numerous unique visual and educational installations. 

Designed to amuse, amaze, and stimulate, these exhibits unveil the mechanics behind mind-bending illusions while also shocking the senses and playing on perception. 

And if you're up for some fun, don't miss the "Dilemma" indoor playroom and shop, where you can challenge your mind and creativity.

Website: Visit their website.

Famous buildings


A view of the stunning exterior of the Board of Trade building.

The Loop boasts a rich tapestry of iconic structures, each narrating a unique chapter of the Windy City's storied past. 

From the pulse of the financial district captured in the Chicago Board of Trade Building to the dizzying heights of the Willis Tower, these landmarks are more than just bricks and mortar - they're a blend of history, art, and innovation. 

As you journey through downtown Chicago, prepare to be captivated by these marvels, each offering a distinct experience, be it a panoramic view from the 103rd floor or a luxurious stay in a historic gem.

Chicago Board of Trade Building

Want to see where the pulse of Chicago's financial district beats? Then head for the Chicago Board of Trade at the end of LaSalle St.

Nestled within an iconic Art Deco building, this 45-story tower boasts a distinctive sawtooth profile synonymous with Art Deco skyscrapers. 

A contrasting 24-story post-modern addition from 1980 showcases a sleek black and silver exterior. 

And to top it all, the building is graced by a faceless sculpture of the Roman goddess Ceres.

Website: Visit their website.

Willis Tower (earlier called the Sears Tower)

The Willis Tower has been an iconic part of the Chicago skyline since 1973. Standing tall at 110 stories, it's one of the world's largest skyscrapers. 

But it's not just about height; the tower underwent a significant transformation in 2017, making it a modern anchor in downtown Chicago. 

And for those seeking breathtaking views, the Skydeck offers a panoramic spectacle spanning up to four states. 

Don't miss "The Ledge," a glass balcony extending four feet outside the tower's 103rd floor, offering a thrilling experience 1353 feet in the air!

Website: Visit their website.

Reliance Building

Looking for a blend of historic charm and modern luxury in the heart of the Loop? The Reliance Building stands out with its window-covered facade and delicate terra cotta bands.

Now beautifully restored, it houses the chic Staypineapple Hotel and The Atwood restaurant, a tribute to Charles B. Atwood. 

While you're there, indulge in some delightful cuisine and marvel at the breathtaking interior. Perfect for both tourists and business travelers seeking a unique downtown Chicago experience!

John Hancock Center (875 North Michigan Avenue)

The John Hancock Center is a fusion of work and leisure, boasting modern spaces and awe-inspiring views both day and night.

Business travelers can host work lunches at renowned restaurants within the building, like The Signature Room or The Cheesecake Factory.

The Center’s crown jewel is 360 CHICAGO, an observation Deck on the 94th floor. It offers panoramic vistas of Chicago's majestic skyline, lakefront, and even glimpses of four neighboring states.

Adrenaline-seekers should check out TILT – a unique feature that leans you out over the city for a heart-racing perspective.

Website: Visit their website.

Public art installations

The Loop boasts some of the most iconic public art installations that have become synonymous with our vibrant cultural identity. 

From mesmerizing digital displays like Art on theMART to towering sculptures such as "Miss Chicago" by Joan Miró and the legendary Chicago Picasso, these installations are more than just art – they're a testament to the Windy City's heritage. 

As you stroll through downtown Chicago, these masterpieces offer a visual treat that's hard to miss, making them a top pick for tourists and art enthusiasts alike. 

Ready to embark on an artistic journey? Let's explore!

Art on theMART


The image is taken from Art on theMART’s website.

Ever wondered where you can witness the world's largest digital art platform in action? Look no further than Art on theMART in the Chicago Loop. 

This architectural marvel transforms the 2.5-acre façade of THE MART into a mesmerizing canvas, showcasing contemporary art projections. 

A testament to our dedication to public art, it's a must-visit for both art enthusiasts and casual tourists. 

The displays, which change with the seasons, are best viewed during their specific timings, making it a perfect evening activity in downtown Chicago.

Website: Visit their website.

Miro's Chicago

"Miss Chicago," as the sculpture is affectionately known, is a masterpiece by painter Joan Miró. Standing at an impressive 40 feet, this mixed-media sculpture represents a female figure with a moon at her core and a star crowning her. 

Made of steel, concrete, bronze, wire mesh, and ceramic tile, Miro's Chicago is a must-see for art enthusiasts and tourists alike. 

Fun fact: This sculpture faces another iconic piece, the Chicago Picasso, and was unveiled by Chicago’s first female mayor, Jane Byrne, in 1981.

Website: Visit their website.

Chicago Picasso

Standing at a majestic 50 feet and weighing over 160 tons, the Chicago Picasso is more than just a piece of art for the Windy City. 

Commissioned in 1963 and unveiled in 1967, this steel masterpiece was a gift from Picasso himself to the people of Chicago. 

Its unique design and rich history make it a must-visit spot during your Chicago tour, especially if you're keen on diving deep into our artistic heritage.

Website: Visit their website.

Scenic trails and routes


A view along the Riverwalk.

Some of the most breathtaking scenic trails and walking routes in Chicago run through the Loop.

Whether you're a business traveler looking for a serene escape after a long day or a tourist eager to soak in the city's beauty, these trails provide a unique blend of nature and urban charm. 

Ready to lace up those walking shoes and explore?

The Riverwalk

Looking for a picturesque escape right in the heart of the city? 

The Chicago Riverwalk, stretching 1.25 miles along the south bank of the Chicago River, offers a blend of breezy cafes, public art, and a plethora of water activities. In fact, Art on theMART, which we discussed earlier, is located along the Riverwalk.

From sipping wines at City Winery's garden to embarking on an informative architecture cruise, there's no shortage of things to do.

And if you’re looking for a bit of workout and exploration, rent a kayak and paddle your way through the Chicago River itself, with towering skyscrapers looming over you on both sides.

Website: Visit their website.

Lakefront Trail

Want to give your quads a workout while taking in the stunning sights of Chicago? 

The Lakefront Trail offers just that, stretching 18 miles and providing unparalleled views of Lake Michigan. 

This path not only showcases the city's natural beauty but also connects you to iconic neighborhoods, parks, and cultural hubs. 

It's a highlight for anyone on a holiday in Chicago, ensuring a memorable experience.

Website: Visit their website.

Theaters and Entertainment


The Loop boasts some of the most iconic theaters and entertainment venues in the Windy City. 

From the harmonious melodies of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to the dramatic performances at The Goodman Theatre, there's something for every performance enthusiast. 

Whether you're a fan of classic opera, Broadway musicals, or captivating concerts, downtown Chicago promises unforgettable experiences that will be a highlight of your Chicago tour!

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is celebrated as one of the world's premier orchestras. 

Collaborating with renowned conductors and guest artists, they perform over a hundred concerts annually at the Symphony Center and the Ravinia Festival. 

Their captivating performances and best-selling recordings make them a must-visit attraction in downtown Chicago.

Website: Visit their website.

The Goodman Theatre

The Goodman is Chicago’s oldest and largest not-for-profit theater and is renowned for its high-quality productions.

They perform both classic and contemporary works, echoing the voices of a wide range of artists. 

One of their most popular offerings is a theatrical version of A Christmas Carol - which they’ve been putting on for almost 50 years. The central character of Ebenezer Scrooge is portrayed by Larry Yando, the third actor to step into the role.

Website: Visit their website.

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Dreaming of a night filled with world-class opera in the heart of the Windy City? 

The Lyric Opera of Chicago, renowned globally for its artistic brilliance, offers a mesmerizing blend of spectacular music and enthralling theater. 

Not just opera, they also host star-studded concerts, Broadway musicals, and engaging community programs. 

The theater itself, a fusion of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, stands as the second-largest opera auditorium in North America.

Website: Visit their website.

The Chicago Theatre

With its 3,600-seat auditorium, not only does The Chicago Theatre host a variety of performances, from magic shows to popular music concerts, but its grandeur often leaves visitors in awe. 

Dubbed "the Wonder Theatre of the World" when it opened in 1921, its elegant lobby, majestic staircase, and breathtaking murals make it a must-visit during your Chicago tour.

Website: Visit their website.

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