Celebrate the arts in this downtown neighborhood.
Chicago Tour: The Loop
Credit: RWP / Alamy

The downtown track of Chicago’s ‘L’ train encompasses most of the neighborhood known as the Loop. Home to some of Chicago’s most prominent institutions and landmarks, the Loop offers one great attraction after another. Public art dots these downtown streets. Walk on Washington between Dearborn and Clark to see sculptures by Picasso and Miró. From Washington, head south on Dearborn to see sculptures by Calder and Chagall. If you dare, step out on The Ledge, a glass box that extends from Willis Tower 1,352 feet in the air. Visit Macy’s on State for shopping in the spectacular Marshall Field Building. Catch a show at one of Chicago’s renowned theaters in the Theater District. And just off Michigan, don’t miss the stunning interior of the Chicago Cultural Center, where you can choose from a huge selection of neighborhood brochures to help plan your visit.

The Gage

A stone's throw from Millennium Park, the Gage is a gastropub specializing in faithful but wholly unique reinterpretations of comfort food and classic pub grub. Housed in three Chicago School buildings that date from 1890, the two-level space incorporates tin ceilings, old factory windows, and subway tiles. Fish and chips are big with the lunch crowd, and at dinner, dishes like caramelized lobster with lemon quinoa enter the picture. The beer list focuses on imports and American craft brews like Affligem Abbey Ale from Belgium and New Holland Brewery’s Dragon's Milk Stout. For stiffer thirsts, though, the Gage offers an extensive "Water of Life" whiskey menu.

Chicago Cultural Center

Located in the Loop, the Chicago Cultural Center is known for both its impressive architecture and its free programming, which includes more than 1,000 events each year. The building, originally constructed in 1897 to house the Chicago Public Library, is a Neoclassical structure featuring Carrara marble, colorful mosaics, gilded coffered ceilings, and the world’s largest Tiffany glass dome, consisting of more than 30,000 pieces of glass. Special events range from concerts and art exhibitions to dance performances, plays, and family events like the annual Dance-Along Nutcracker. Visitors can also dine in the lower-level café and unwind in the reading area.

Hop On Hop Off Tour

Experience downtown at your own pace with Chicago’s Hop On Hop Off Tours. Tours leave from 14 downtown locations every 20-30 minutes. Visitors can buy tickets at various locations, including the Park Shop below the Bean in Millennium Park or online.

Trattoria No. 10

Theater patrons choose Trattoria No. 10 not only for its proximity to the theater district, but also for its fresh, classic Italian cuisine. Try the signature ravioli, made in-house, as an appetizer or an entrée. Present your Goodman Theater ticket stub and receive a complimentary dessert.

Goodman Theater

Several distinguished stages make up the Loop’s theater district. Goodman, Chicago’s oldest and largest nonprofit theater, has entertained locals and visitors for more than 80 years. Catch a production in Goodman’s landmark building. Check the website for upcoming performances.

Macy’s on State

Identified as a National Historic Landmark, Macy’s on State occupies the extraordinary Marshal Field & Company Building. Shopping is a grand experience here. Don’t forget to go to the fifth floor and look up—you’ll be dazzled by the magnificent Tiffany Favrile glass ceiling.


Specializing in artisanal cheese, bread, and wine, Pastoral is a neighborhood favorite. Its sandwiches, made with crusty bread from beloved Bennison’s Bakery and stacked with top-quality meats and cheeses, are some of the best in the city. On a fine day, consider ordering a Pastoral picnic, or just walk out with a beautiful washed rind “Hooligan” cheese and toothy baguette.