Best Things to Do in The Loop, Chicago

Sights & Attractions in The Loop

The Loop is Chicago's downtown neighborhood and it is at the heart of the city's tourism scene. This area is filled with iconic attractions, classic architecture, theaters, restaurants, and shopping. It's where you'll find Millennium Park, the Chicago Riverwalk, the theatre district, and State Street. There are river cruises, architectural tours, as well as a vibrant nightlife scene with music festivals, and live music venues. For many tourists, this is the neighborhood where they spend the most time.
Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago dates back to 1879 and is found in Chicago's Grant Park. It's home to one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country where it houses a large collection of more than 300,000 works including Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist and Grant Wood's American Gothic.
111 South Michigan Avenue, Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60604
Willis Tower
Willis Tower
The Willis Tower, still called the Sears Tower by most locals, is a 110 story skyscraper that was completed in 1973. For 25 years it was the tallest building in the world. The tower's observation deck is famous for its glass boxes, with glass floors, which give visitors a unique view of the city.
233 South Wacker Drive, Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60606
Planning a trip to Chicago? You might also be interested in Best Things to do in Hyde Park, Chicago and A Culture Lover's Guide to Chicago.
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
The Chicago River is an iconic part of the city, and it runs parallel to the lakeshore through the heart of the city. The Riverwalk is along a popular stretch of the river, and it's lined with many great restaurants and some of Chicago's most impressive architecture. You can wander along the Riverwalk, rest at one of the many benches, take in the impressive views or simply people watch.
Loop, Chicago, IL, 60601
Cloud Gate (The Bean)
Cloud Gate (The Bean)
"The Bean" is a 110 ton stainless steel sculpture that was designed by Anish Kapoor. It's surface is a mirror and the shape of the structure was inspired by a drop of liquid mercury. During the winter months, there is a public ice skating rink surrounding The Bean.
201 E Randolph St, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, 60602
The Chicago 'L'
The Chicago 'L'
While many cities have underground subway systems, Chicago built a railway system that was actually elevated above ground, thus giving it the name 'L'. But it's more than just historic, as millions of locals and visitors ride the system every year to get around Chicago - above, on, and below ground. If you want to go for a ride above the streets, the downtown Loop area of central Chicago is the best place to do so as you'll see the most sites in a short period of time, and it only costs a few bucks.
Loop, Chicago, Illinois
The Chicago Theatre
The Chicago Theatre
This famous theatre resides in the heart of Chicago. Visitors will be greeted at the entry with the large and frequently photographed "Chicago" sign out front, and then mesmerized by the gorgeous and historic interior with murals on the ceilings and sculptures throughout. The venue puts on a large number of shows from concerts to theatre productions and plays and musicals throughout the year. If you're in town, grab a ticket to any event and you won't be dissapointed.
175 N State Street, Loop, Chicago, Illinois
Federal Plaza
Federal Plaza
In addition to showcasing the large sculpture known as "The Flamingo", Federal Plaza also hosts a farmers market every Tuesday
S. Dearborn Street, Loop, Chicago, Illinois
American Writers Museum
American Writers Museum
Located near Millennium Park, this unique writers museum is the first of its kind in the United States. It offers an overview on the history of American writing including a variety of genres such as fiction, poetry, journalism, and more. It highlights several specific authors and has a number of relics from the history of writing.
180 North Michigan Ave, Loop, Chicago, IL, 60601
Interested in more travel advice for Chicago? Check out Chicago for Music Lovers and The Best Shopping Districts and Markets in Chicago.
Symphony Center
This music complex is home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the Institute for Learning, Access, and Training.
220 South Michigan Avenue, Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60604
Historic Michigan Boulevard District
Historic Michigan Boulevard District is a historic district in the Loop community area. It's considered a Chicago Landmark and has a number of important historic buildings, particularly along Michigan Avenue.
94 East Ida B. Wells Drive, Printer's Row, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
Boeing Galleries
The Boeing Galleries, which include North Boeing Gallery and South Boeing Gallery, are a pair of outdoor exhibits located in Millennium Park. The galleries display a series of contemporary and modern art works.
Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60601
Chase Promenade
Chase Promenade is a tree-lined pedestrian walkway in Millennium Park. It spans 8 acres and hosts regular exhibitions and festivals.
Chase Promenade Central, Loop, Chicago, Illinois
Michigan–Wacker Historic District
Michigan-Wacker Historic District includes parts of the Chicago Loop. The area has two bridges and many impressive high rises and skyscraper buildings that date back to the 1920s.
Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60601
Civic Opera House
The Civic Opera House is the second largest opera auditorium in the North America. It is the permanent home of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
20 North Upper Wacker Drive, Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60606
Planning a trip to Chicago? You might also be interested in A Fashion-Lovers Guide To Chicago and A Nature Lover's Guide to Chicago.
Lurie Garden
Lurie Garden is a 2.5 acre garden in Millennium Park. It has a number of plants including perennials, bulbs, shrubs, and trees. It's also notable for being the location of the world's largest green roof.
Loop, Chicago, Illinois
James C. Petrillo Music Shell
This outdoor amphitheater is in Grant Park and hosts many large music festivals including Lollapalooza, the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Chicago Blues Festival, and more.
251 South Columbus Drive, Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60601
Aqua is a more recent addition to the Chicago skyline. It was completed in 2009 and is considered to be a recognizable building for its dramatic undulating balconies that were designed to look like waterfalls. The building houses a hotel, apartments, and condominiums and it reaches 859 feet in height.
225 N Columbus Dr #220, Loop, Chicago, IL, 60601
Pritzker Military Museum & Library
This museum houses a number of artifacts, books, photographs, maps, and other items relating to the history of the American military. The museum fee includes a military themed tour and a number of exhibits on the history of American wars.
104 S Michigan Ave, Loop, Chicago, IL, 60603
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Money Museum
This free museum will teach you all about money. You can keep your hard earned cash while you learn all about historical currencies, how the Federal Reserve works, and more. It's a fascinating and unique museum for anybody with or without money.
230 S LaSalle St., Loop, Chicago, IL, 60604
The Gateway
Situated on a wide median on State Street between Wacker and Lake is this park area with seating, public art, and nice areas to relax, meet with friends, or have a meal.
State and Lake, Loop, Chicago, Illinois
If you're looking for more information about Chicago, read A Train Lover's Guide to Chicago and Activities and Things to Do in the Fall in Chicago.
Aon Center
Previously known as the Standard Oil Building, this is the third tallest building in Chicago. It was built in 1973 and at one time it's white facade, now white granite, was wrapped in Italian Carrara marble.
200 E. Randolph St., Loop, Chicago, IL, 60601
Daley Plaza
In the center of Daley Plaza, visitors will find the famous Picasso sculpture. This public square hosts a variety of events including live music, food trucks, festivals, markets, and more. In fact, almost every day of the year at noon some sort of performance art event takes place here in the plaza.
50 W. Washington Street, Loop, Chicago, Illinois
How much does it cost?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $12 to $619. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $112. A few of the best options are below.

Where to Stay in Chicago

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.

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If you're looking for more information about Chicago, read An Art Lover's Guide to Chicago and Best Places To Enjoy A Picnic In Chicago.
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