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Things to do in The Chicago Loop

The real question is there anything not to do when in the Chicago Loop. This is the heart of the Windy City we’re talking about. There are historical, cultural, and culinary destinations galore. You can fill 1000 pages full of things to do in Chicago, but this post focuses on the era that the Elevated L loops around. In addition, the business district, there’s the theater district, and State Street which is like the Times Square of Chicago. Here are some of the Loop’s most iconic and visited destinations.

Millennium Park

A symbol of the Chicago Loop is Millenium Park’s Cloud Gate or the bean. Of course, the park as a whole is a splendid way to spend the day. About 25 million visitors from around the world visit Millenium Park annually, making it an international destination as well as the most visited place in Chicago. The City Beautiful Style really shows here with roots back to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Popular spots in the park include the Pritzker Pavillion, the Crown Fountain, the Lurie Garden, and Grant Park. One of the largest fountains in the world, The Buckingham Fountain, is here along the very lake it is supposed to represent.

Millennium Park

201 E Randolph St

Chicago, IL

60602

Art Institute of Chicago

You’ve seen Ferris Bueller play hooky here and the lions out front; now experience it for yourself. This is another one of Chicago’s major attractions that draw in annual crowds of the millions. They have George Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, and Grant Wood’s American Gothic. Of course, there is also other 300,000 contemporary and classical art they have. A full day of observing can be done here.

Art Institute of Chicago

111 South Michigan Avenue

Chicago, IL

60603

Skydeck at The Willis Tower

Visit the top of the Willis Tower, or Sears Tower, if you still call it that, like a true Chicagoan. Go 108 stories and 1,450 feet up to the top of the building that held the title of world’s tallest for 25 years since 1974. A couple of Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters here as well. The Skydeck enables a 360 view from the top floor on a glass-bottom platform. It’s both inspiring and thrilling.

Willis Tower

233 S Wacker Dr

Chicago, IL

60606

Broadway in Chicago

The Loop isn’t just home to the business district of Chicago; the theater district is also integrated into it too. All around State Street, you can find several theaters with stageplays, concerts, and stand-up. The famous theaters include the classic Chicago Theater, the Nederlander (formally The Oriental), the Cadillac Palace, CIBC, and more. This year they’re doing classic contemporary musicals with Fiddler on the Roof, Jersey Boys, and Moulin Rouge.

Chicago Theater District

175 N State St

Chicago, IL

60601

Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago doesn’t have a strip-like Vegas does, but it has a Riverwalk. The way the Chicago River flows through the city gives it a unique urban touch only seen here. Restaurants, bars, and shops are set up along the concrete riverbanks. Some of which are fine dining establishments with renowned dishes. Several hotels also set up shop around the Loop and by the Riverwalk for scenic views and real estate. Boat and architectural tours travel up and down the river regularly, with everyone on board waving to bystanders on the Riverwalk.

Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago, IL

60601

Chicago Cultural Center

Who would’ve thought that Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs would be one of the city’s landmark attractions? This neoclassical building was once the central library of Chicago and now sees millions of visitors each year. This is often where figures such as the President would visit Chicago and meet the Mayor. Exhibits include the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial, Preston Bradley Hall, and the Sidney R Yates Gallery. Art includes neo-classical pieces.

Chicago Cultural Center

78 E Washington

Chicago, IL

60601

American Writers Museum

The American Writers Museum opened just five years ago, and it is already making a splash. We have several museums for illustrations and pictures, but not a whole lot for the collection of words. Travel not into the library of such American writers like Ernest Hemmingway and Ray Bradbury but also their minds and creative process.

American Writers Museum

180 N Michigan Ave

Chicago, IL

60601

State Street

The work that Potter Palmer, Marshall Field, and Levi Leiter put in the 1860s to transform State Street into a commercial center paid off. While their business has been defunct after more than a century of operation, its original buildings under new management can still be visited. You haven’t had a shopping experience like one in the State Street Macy’s, formally Marshall Field’s. ABC-7 also has their news studio here along with the Carons, Pirie, Scott, and Company Target. You don’t have to shop at high-end places to have a good time. The hotels, however, are high-end and historical, like Palmer House. During the summer, the street closes for traffic on weekends with block parties.

State Street

Chicago, IL

60601

Medieval Torture Museum

Opening just last year, see all the nightmarish ways people were executed when it was still believed the Earth was the center of the solar system and women were accused of witchcraft to the time of civil revolutions. Exhibits like the gallows, the pendulum, and the iron bull are interactive, and you can even dunk a witch. Audio tours are available to get the full scoop on terrifying sadistic ways of dealing out justice.

Medieval Torture Museum

177 N State Street

Chicago, IL

60601