The best attractions in West Loop
Just like this chain's locations in New York City, Napa and Nashville, the West Loop's City Winery serves plenty of food, beverages and live music. The booking leans heavily on adult contemporary artists (Bilal, Bob Mould) and legacy acts (Dr. John, Lucinda Williams), attracting an older crowd that enjoys dinner and a show. If you're looking for a music venue with a wine list that goes deeper than "red or white," stop by City Winery for a glass or two.
With 30,000 square feet of space devoted to dining, bowling alleys, private karaoke rooms and vintage arcade games, Punch Bowl Social's Fulton Market outpost is a destination for post-workday hijinks. After chowing down on burgers, fried chicken and hot dogs, grab an adult milkshake at the bar before trying to pick up a spare on the lanes or making a fool of yourself in the VR lounge. If games aren't your thing, you can at least snap a few Instagram photos amid Punch Bowl Social's kitschy decor.
Even when it's not hosting summer music festivals like Pitchfork or North Coast, this West Loop park is worth visiting for the amenities. You can take a dip in the swimming pool, check out the vintage auditorium, visit the fitness center or show off your skills on the basketball or tennis courts. It's also a nice destination for a walk after you finish a meal at a nearby restaurant on Randolph Street or Fulton Market.
A combonation skatepark, music venue and event space, House of Vans is an old Randolph Street warehouse that has been transformed into the ultimate hangout. Outfitted with a bar (taken from the defunct Goose Island brewpub in Wrigleyville), skateboard ramps and a stage, this shoe-company–sponsored venue hosts free (with RSVP) programming, shows and skate nights throughout the year.
The Fulton Market offshoot of the retro Wicker Park arcade bar offers the same classic video games and craft pours as the original location. You'll find pool tables, air hockey, ’80s arcade cabinets and pinball machines scattered throughout the room, surrounded by people who are probably passing time while waiting for a table at a Fulton Market restaurant.
Just off the bustle of the restaurant-studded stretch of Halsted Street in Greektown, the first and only major museum in the country dedicated to Greek-American culture is housed in a 40,000-square-foot building. The permanent collection includes artifacts and documents that portray the Hellenic immigrant experience and the genesis of Chicago’s own Greek community.
This classic Chicago landmark opened in 1925 as a replacement for an 1881 train station and remains in operation today as a transportation hub for Amtrak and Metra trains in and out of the city. Film buffs will want to stop by Union Station's Great Hall, which has been featured in movies like The Untouchables, My Best Friend's Wedding and Flags of Our Fathers, among others. If you have time to poke around, find the two Henry Hering statues—one holding a rooster and the other holding an owl—which represent the around-the-clock nature of this bustling station.
More than 200 vendors hawk their antique housewares, furniture, ephemera, clothing and more at this indoor-outdoor festival. Stop in for vintage clothes and jewelry, a vinyl swap meet, a fancy food market and global goods bazaar or bring your own items for appraisal. This event typically occurs on the last weekend of each month. During the warm-weather months of May–September, the market adds an outdoor area, offering even more vintage shopping and a beer garden.
The children’s play area at this West Loop park is ADA accessible, which allows for inventive, non-linear play without traditional play equipment, though it does have swings, slides and a lot of other cool things to run around on. In the rest of the park, canines love the sunken dog park, complete with a continuously filling, oversized dog bowl, ramps, ledges, steps, and an artificial grass exercise area. The viewing hill is up to six feet high and provides a stunning view of the park with a backdrop of the Chicago skyline.
Before food halls started springing up throughout the city, Chicago's French Market was one of the only places in town where you could sample cuisine from multiple local restaurants. In addition to great grub, you'll also find a European-inspired marketplace, with fresh fruit, veggies and baked goods that you can bring home for dinner. Good luck snagging a seat during the weekday lunch rush—this place hasn't gotten any less popular.
This expansive West Loop rock climbing facility offers classes for beginners and advanced climbers, allowing you to get a feel for scaling the gigantic walls that dominate the building's main hall. During the day, Brooklyn Boulders hosts a co-working space, where creatives can gather to work together and the go climbing on their lunch break.