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The Loop or The Chicago Loop are the terms used to designate the historical center of downtown Chicagomarker. Most accurately, the term refers to an area bounded by a public transit circuit along Lake Street on the north, Wabash Avenue on the east, Van Buren Street on the south, and Wells Street on the west, but in general use it refers to the whole central business district.

Chicago's central business district is bounded on the west and north by the Chicago Rivermarker, on the east by Lake Michiganmarker, and on the south by Roosevelt Road. The term The Loop has different meanings. The term most explicitly applies to the area surrounded by the loopmarker circuit formed by 'L' train tracks, and a preceding 1880s cable car loop, but common usage defines it as the area bounded by the Chicago River on the north and west sides, Congress Parkway to the south, and Columbus Drive to the east.

In official city parlance, delineated by the University of Chicagomarker in the 1920s, the Loop is community area of Chicago number 32, bounded by the Chicago River to the north and west, Roosevelt Road to the south, and Lake Michigan to the east, though the original boundary is strictly the area circled by the elevated CTA tracks. As the downtown area and its many high-rises expanded out past the community area over the years, "The Loop" has been used more generally to denote the entire downtown.


According to the 2000 census, 16,388 people live in the Loop. The median sale price for residential real estate was $710,000 in 2005 according to Forbes.

Architecture and features

Loop architecture is dominated by high-rises. Notable buildings include the Home Insurance Building, considered the first skyscraper (demolished in 1931); the Chicago Board of Trade Buildingmarker, a National Historic Landmark; and Willis Towermarker, the tallest in the United States. Some of the historic buildings in this district were instrumental in the development of high-rises. Chicago's rational street numbering system originates in the Loop at the intersection of State Street and Madison Street.

This area abounds in shopping opportunities, including the Loop Retail Historic District, although it competes with the more upscale Magnificent Mile area to the north, and with suburban shopping malls. It includes Chicago's former Marshall Field'smarker department store location in the Marshall Field and Company Buildingmarker; the original Sullivan Centermarker Carson Pirie Scott store location (closed February 21, 2007); and Sears on State.

It is the location of a number of government buildings, including City Hall/County Buildingmarker, the James R.marker Thompson Centermarker, the Richard J.marker Daley Centermarker, and multiple federal buildings. Chicago's Downtown Theatre District is also found within this area, along with numerous restaurants and hotels.

Chicago has a famous skyline which is home to many of the tallest buildings in the world as well as the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard Districtmarker. Chicago's skyline is spaced out out throughout the downtown area, giving it a graceful bridgelike appearance. Willis Towermarker, the nation's tallest building, stands at the west end of the Loop in the heart of the city's financial district, along with other buildings, such as 311 South Wacker Drivemarker and the AT&T Corporate Centermarker.

Chicago's third tallest building, the Aon Centermarker, is located just south of Illinois Centermarker, a complex at the east end of the Loop, east of Michigan Avenuemarker. Two Prudential Plazamarker is also located here, just to the west of the Aon Center.

The Loop contains a wealth of outdoor sculpture, including works by Pablo Picasso, Joan MirĂ³, Henry Moore, Marc Chagall, Alexander Calder, and Jean Dubuffet. Chicago's cultural heavyweights, such as the Art Institute of Chicagomarker, the Goodman Theatremarker, the Chicago Theatremarker, the Lyric Opera at the Civic Opera Housemarker building, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, are also in this area, as is the historic Palmer House Hilton hotel, found on East Monroe Street.

Chicago's lakefront, which is almost exclusively recreational park area from north to south, features Grant Parkmarker in this downtown area. Grant Park is the home of Buckingham Fountainmarker, the Petrillo Bandshell, the Grant Park Symphony (where free concerts can be enjoyed throughout the summer), and Chicago's annual two-week food festival, the Taste of Chicago, where more than 3 million people "pig out". A recent addition to Grant Park is the architecturally forward Millennium Parkmarker, which opened in the summer of 2004, featuring a Frank Gehry's Jay Pritzker Pavilionmarker, Jaume Plensa's Crown Fountainmarker and Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gatemarker sculpture and spanning what were formerly open railyards on the city's lakefront.

The Chicago River, which delineates the area, also provides entertainment and recreational opportunities, including the annual dyeing of the river green in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Trips down the Chicago River, including architectural tours, by commercial boat operators are great favorites with both locals and tourists.

The area is served by several community newspapers.

The Loop also hosts America's only city-based dusk-till-dawn cultural celebration, Looptopia. In 2008 the event was held on May 2.


New Eastside

The New Eastside is a mixed-use district bordered by Michigan Avenue to the west, the Chicago River to the north, Randolph Street to the south, and Lake Shore Drive to the east. It encompasses the entire Illinois Centermarker and Lakeshore Eastmarker developments, as well as separate developments like Aon Centermarker, Prudential Plaza, Park Millennium Condominium Building, Hyatt Regency Chicago, and the Fairmont Hotel. The area has a triple-level street system and is bisected by Columbus Drive. Most of this district has been developed on land that was once used by the Illinois Central Railroad rail yards. The early buildings in this district such as the Aon Center and One Prudential Plazamarker used airspace rights in order to build above the railyards.

The triple-level street system allows for trucks to mainly travel and make deliveries on the lower levels, keeping traffic to a minimum on the upper levels.

Upcoming buildings include the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Tower and the Aqua building, part of Lake Shore East that is being built by Magellan development. Construction has begun on Aqua, with an expected completion date in 2009. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel & Tower project is struggling with financing.

The New Eastside is served by the following Chicago Public Schools: Ogden School and Wells Community Academy High School.

Printer's Row

Printer's Row, once known as Printing House Row, is a neighborhood located in the southern portion of the Loop community area of Chicago. It is bounded by Congress Parkway on the north, Polk Street on the south, Plymouth Court on the east, and the Chicago River on the west. The signature street is Dearborn Street where the annual Printer's Row Book Fair is held. Originally, the buildings in this area were used by printing and publishing businesses. Today, the buildings have mainly been converted into residential lofts. Part of Printer's Row is an official landmark district.

Printer's Row is zoned to the following Chicago Public Schools: South Loop School and Phillips Academy High Schoolmarker.

South Loop

Most of the area south of Congress Parkway and east of the Chicago Rivermarker, possibly excepting Printer's Row, is referred to as the South Loop. The southern boundary of the neighborhood is under debate. While the southern boundary for the community area is Roosevelt Road, the term "South Loop" is often used to describe an area that extends as far south as 18th Street or Cermak Road. Numerous shops south of Roosevelt Road with "South Loop" in their name hint that this more generous definition may be gaining recognition.

The more restrictively-defined area includes River City, the northern half of Dearborn Park, and portions of State Street, Wabash Avenue, and Michigan Avenue. The more generous definitions would include the Central Station development, Dearborn Park II, the Prairie District, and even the northern growth of Chinatown. In 2006, the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was formed to provide representation for thousands of South Loop residents.

The major landowner in the South Loop is Columbia College Chicagomarker, a private school that owns 17 buildings. Also to be found here is the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, championed by Mayor Daley.

South Loop is zoned to the following Chicago Public Schools: South Loop School and Phillips Academy High Schoolmarker. Jones College Prep High School, which is a selective enrollment magnet school drawing students from the entire city, is also located in the South Loop.

Weather permitting, large scale flea-marketing takes place here.

The South Loop was home to one of the largest homeless shelters in the city, the Pacific Garden Missionmarker, from 1923 to 2007. The new location is further south, at 1458 S. Canal St.

The Chicago Journal newspaper covers the neighborhood and other urban communities.

West Loop Gate

While a portion of the Near West Sidemarker traditionally called West Loop Gate is frequently abbreviated to "West Loop," Chicagoans also use West Loop to refer to the portion of the Loop community area along the eastern bank of the Chicago River.

Historic Michigan Boulevard District

The Loop also contains the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard Districtmarker, which is the section of Michigan Avenuemarker opposite Grant Parkmarker and Millennium Parkmarker.

Notable landmarks in the Chicago Loop

Government and infrastructure

The James R.marker Thompson Centermarker has state government offices; Illinois State Board of Education has an office in the Thompson Center.

The United States Postal Service operates the Loop Station Post Office at 211 South Clark Street.


Aon Corporation maintains its headquarters in the Aon Centermarker. United Airlines operates its headquarters at 77 West Wacker Drive. United moved its headquarters to Chicago from Elk Grove Township, Illinoismarker in early 2007.

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is located in an office in the Aon Center, the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago has an office in 35 East Wackermarker, the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in the United States is located in an office at 303 East Wacker Drive, and the US Mexico Chamber of Commerce Mid-America Chapter is located in an office in One Prudential Plazamarker.

McDonald's was headquartered in the Chicago Loop until 1971, when it moved to Oak Brook, Illinoismarker.

Diplomatic missions

Several countries maintain consulates in the Chicago Loop. They include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Israel, the Republic of Macedonia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Turkey, and Venezuela. In addition the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of the Republic of China is in the Chicago Loop.


Colleges and universities

Columbia College Chicagomarker is located in the Chicago Loop.

Argosy University has its head offices on the thirteenth floor of 205 North Michigan Avenue in Michigan Plaza. The system moved its headquarters to Michigan Plaza from 20 South Clark Street, also in the Chicago Loop, on June 30, 2008. On the same date the school moved its classroom space from the Apparel Center at 350 North Orleans Street in the Near North Sidemarker to the thirteenth floor of 225 North Michigan Avenue in Michigan Plaza.

Primary and secondary schools

Chicago Public Schools serves residents of the Chicago Loop. Its main administrative offices are in the 125 South Clark Street Building in the Chicago Loop.

Some residents are zoned to the South Loop School in the Chicago Loop, while some are zoned to the Ogden School. Some residents are zoned to Phillips Academy High Schoolmarker, while others are zoned to Wells Community Academy High School.

See also


  1. Pacific Garden Mission, Chicago Tribune
  11. Cross, Robert. " Inside Hamburger Central." Chicago Tribune. January 9, 1972. G18. Retrieved on September 17, 2009.
  12. " Board meeting schedule." Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved on November 7, 2009.
  13. " 125 South Clark Street." MB Real Estate. Retrieved on November 7, 2009.
  14. " Near North/West/Central Elementary Schools." Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved on November 7, 2009.
  15. " West/Central/South High Schools." Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved on November 7, 2009.

External links

West Loop

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