Chicago Loop guide: Things to do in downtown Chicago

Discover downtown Chicago's best restaurants, bars, lunch spots, events, museums, tours and things to do with our Chicago Loop guide



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Willis Tower: Stand on The Ledge of the iconic skyscraper and peer down at streets and buildings in the Chicago Loop (while remaining calm).

Willis Tower: Stand on The Ledge of the iconic skyscraper and peer down at streets and buildings in the Chicago Loop (while remaining calm).

Downtown Chicago—or, in local parlance, the Chicago Loop—is not just for business people and tourists. Everyone knows about the Chicago River, Grant Park, Willis Tower (we're still prone to calling it Sears Tower; sorry, Willis!), Lollapalooza and the Art Institute. But downtown Chicago offers many more things to do—museums, tours and attractions on the lesser beaten path. The West Loop has become the culinary destination of the Midwest, if not one of the best in the world. With DePaul University, Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute, there are plenty of events catering to students. You can catch some of the top jazz or blues concerts in Chicago at a club in the South Loop. Heck, there are even farmers' markets in the shadows of skycrapers. If it's happening in the Loop, we have it covered.

Ultimate Loop eating and drinking guide

There are more options than you think.

Best Chicago tours

Explore the Chicago Loop by boat, bike, Segway and more.

Ride a Divvy bike

Get places on a cheap rental bike.

Loop lunch: Steal vs. splurge

We know where you should eat.

Five don't-miss stands at the French Market

Where to find the softest breads and fanciest pastries.

Cheap lunch in the Loop

It's not all fine dining and Giordano's downtown.

Grant Park

Explore Buckingham Fountain and more.

Downtown Chicago gay life

Go beyond Boystown.

West Loop shopping

Jan’s Antiques, Morlen Sinoway and more.

Take a walking tour of Chicago's gangland past

Missing this would be criminal.

West Loop alfresco guide

An all-outdoor bar and restaurant tour through Chicago's Restaurant Row.

Touring the Chicago Pedway

Keep dry and warm in Chicago's underground walkway.

Air and Water Show

Get the lowdown on which beaches, rooftop bars and skyscrapers give you the best views.

Wheeler Mansion Market

Explore this South Loop market.

Millennium Park

  • Free

There's more to it than the Bean.

  1. Michigan Ave between Monroe and Randolph Sts
More info

Willis Tower Skydeck

  • Price band: 2/4

Get the best view of the Windy City.

  1. 233 S Wacker Dr
More info

Harold Washington Library Center

  • Free

Spend a rainy day checking out the core of the Chicago Public Library System.

  1. 400 S State St
More info

The Field Museum

An educational hot spot on the Museum Campus.

  1. 1400 S Lake Shore Dr
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Shedd Aquarium

Take a stroll through the world's largest indoor aquarium.

  1. 1200 S Lake Shore Dr
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Buddy Guy's Legends

Find nightly blues performances and great food at this famous venue.

  1. 700 S Wabash Ave
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Jazz Showcase

Catch some jazz at this downtown venue.

  1. 806 S Plymouth Ct
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Goodman Theatre

Experience the best of Chicago theater at the Goodman.

  1. 170 N Dearborn St
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Chicago Theatre

Music, theater and more draw crowds at this colossal Loop venue.

  1. 175 N State St
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