Located just west of downtown Chicago, the West Loop neighborhood is home to critically acclaimed restaurants, major tech company headquarters, nightlife and more. Formerly the meat-packing district and produce center, many of the former warehouses have been adapted into hip office spaces, luxury apartments, and retail and restaurant spaces. Separated from the Loop by the Chicago river and the expressways, West Loop is walking distance to parts of the central business district while having a distinct character of its own. On the north east, pocket parks dot S Desplaines St. Towards the south end of the neighborhood is Greektown, where longstanding restaurants near Halsted street like Greek Islands continue to serve up traditional fare. On Randolph street, the restaurant row includes Michelin star restaurants and concepts from celebrity chefs like Stephanie Izard and Rick Bayless. Intersecting Randolph St is Green St, which is where the popular Soho House Hotel and its restaurants is located. On the west end of the neighborhood on W Madison St is the United Center where the Chicago Blackhawks and Bulls play and national touring acts have concerts. Many restaurants in West Loop offer outdoor rooftop or patio seating.
West Loop apartments are often located in rehabilitated brick loft buildings though there are an increasing number of high-rise buildings in the area as corporate offices like Google and McDonalds in the Fulton Market District have attracted more people to the neighborhood. Apartment buildings like the Duncan at the corner of Ashland and Monroe offer amenities including outdoor spaces with a fire pit, rooftop decks, fitness center, and indoor pool. Formerly known as the Near west side YMCA, this property has historic details like an original basketball that provide plenty of charm. The city of Chicago listed the Duncan on its list of landmarks in 2019. Head to the Duncan property page to view floor plans for studio and one bedroom apartments. Renters expect a variety of amenities from new construction and renovated vintage buildings, and the real estate market has met demand. On trend with Chicago apartments that are in downtown, river north, gold coast, Streeterville, and south loop, renovated kitchens have subway backsplashes, granite or quartz countertops, have city views, and are pet friendly.
Transportation options include the pink and green line CTA with 2 stops, Morgan and Ashland, located in the West Loop. Near the expressway, the blue line CTA stops include the UIC-Halsted Stop and Racine. The I-90/Dan Ryan Expressway sits to the east of the West Loop and I-290/Eisenhower Expressway borders the neighborhood to the south, separating the West Loop from UIC and Illinois Medical District. A proposed plan to revitalize the Illinois Medical District will provide more walkable areas spanning between the West Loop and Medical District and add apartments, hotels, boutiques and restaurants. The recent renovation of the historic Cook County Hospital building is the anchor of this renovation. Both Ogilvie train station and Union station are just east of the neighborhood, which provide access to Chicagoland suburbs via the Metra rail line.
Of any Chicago neighborhood, the West Loop is perhaps the first that comes to mind for its restaurant scene. From fast casual to Michelin stars, there is always something new and exciting to try. Celebrity chefs like Stephanie Izard and Rick Bayless have opened new concepts on Randolph street. Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat restaurant, which opened after her Top Chef win in 2010, is one of the toughest reservations to get in town. Across the street, Au Cheval is also tough to get in, but worth the wait for their tantalizing cheeseburger which has been rated one of the best in America many years in a row. The following are our recommendations, broken down by meal time.
West Loop is an active neighborhood year-round.
Shopping in West Loop includes high fashion and streetwear boutiques. Madison Street between Ogden and Morgan Street is very walkable, with realty offices, fast-casual and sit-down restaurants, book shops, and boutiques. Most grocery stores carry a variety of beer, wine, and liquor options, but for more specialty items, there are lovely bottle shops and wine stores in the neighborhood. Most shopping areas in the West Loop are very walkable and don't require a car, as parking can be scarce. Less walkable but good for car trips, there is a Target which offers curbside pickup at 1101 W Jackson Blvd near the landmark west loop apartment building and I-290.
the Duncan (1515 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60607) spans nearly an entire city block and combines the best of apartment living with rich amenities including a full fitness center with indoor pool and spa, lobby that acts as a co-working space with an attached coffee shop and bar, as well as three roof terraces for warm-weather fun. Built originally as a YMCA/YWCA, an original basketball court, brick exterior, and preserved architectural details make the Duncan a truly authentic home.