The Loop neighborhood is Chicago’s exciting downtown. Ride just under 2 miles (3 kilometers) on the elevated L trains that have followed a rectangular loop over the city streets since 1897. Step off the train to visit restaurants, cultural attractions, shops, clubs and beautiful parklands. Shop along historic State Street and stroll on the Riverwalk north of the Loop for dining and entertainment.
Enjoy Chicago’s cultural scene in the Loop. See exhibits and programs at the Chicago Cultural Center during the day and choose from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Joffrey Ballet or the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for evening performances. Attend a Broadway show at the Ford Oriental Theatre.
Venture out on the glass-bottomed ledge of the Skydeck on Willis Tower’s 103rd floor. At 1,450 feet (443 meters), this is one of the world’s tallest buildings. View up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) away across four states.
East of the Loop is Millennium Park, planned and opened around the year 2000. This vast space features the lovely Lurie Garden, which offers educational programs for children and adults. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the Great Lawn performance space seats more than 10,000 people. Many events held here are free.
The park’s art is large and unique. Gaze at Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, reflecting the city skyline and overhead skies on shiny steel plates. Because of its curved shape with concave underside, locals call this the Bean. The 50-foot (15-meter) towers of Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain project faces of Chicago citizens, with water appearing to spout from their mouths. Look for the current exhibits of modern and contemporary art in the outdoor Boeing Galleries.
Extending south along Lake Michigan is the rest of Grant Park. Stroll through this large park to enjoy its gardens, sculptures and the gorgeous Buckingham Fountain shaped like a rococo wedding cake. Enter the Art Institute of Chicago, filled with American and Impressionist art.
Between sightseeing outings, stop for authentic Chicago-style pizza across the Loop neighborhood.