South Loop, IL

South Loop showing street scenes and night scenes
South of downtown Chicago, this neighborhood features cultural activities, sports and convention centers and a great dining and nightlife scene.

The South Loop offers waterfront access and some of Chicago’s most popular attractions. Tour cultural sites, watch professional football or enjoy the breeze blowing in over Lake Michigan as it fills the sails of hundreds of boats.

Spend several days exploring the attractions of Museum Campus. Field Museum is named for Marshall Field. See the extraordinary science and natural history exhibits initiated by this major city benefactor more than 120 years ago. The collection now includes more than 30 million specimens.

Nearby in Shedd Aquarium are animals from 80 water habitats of the world, including the Amazon River, Great Lakes, Caribbean Sea and vast oceans. Enhance your kids’ experiences with a submarine ride, play time in a penguin suit or a gentle touch of a sturgeon and a stingray.

From the ocean depths, move to the reaches of outer space at Adler Planetarium. Numerous exhibits and shows provide insight to space exploration and space bodies. On select days the Doane Observatory offers viewing of the sun or night stars. In summer, bring swimsuits to the 12th Street Beach south of the planetarium.

Find a different culture at one more Museum Campus location, Soldier Field. Here the Chicago Bears play professional football from August through December.

If you’re in Chicago for a convention, you’ll likely visit McCormick Place, one of the nation’s largest convention centers. Stroll to this impressive set of buildings to enjoy lake views and shop or dine inside. Its southern grounds include McCormick Bird Sanctuary, where millions of birds stop during spring and fall migrations.

North of Museum Campus is the large Grant Park with beautiful gardens and the impressive centerpiece, Buckingham Fountain. Attend a summer concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, with free seating on the Great Lawn.

Find great restaurants and clubs across the South Loop area. Be sure to sample Chicago deep-dish pizza. Purchase a CityPASS for discounted access and VIP entry to multiple venues, giving you more time to enjoy popular South Loop attractions.

Popular places to visit