Chicago Relocation

Chicago’s Loop – Make No Small Plans

March 17, 2014

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Chicago neighborhoods
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John D’Ambrogio

Ah, the loop. Downtown. The Windy City. Urbs in Horto. The City of Big Shoulders. Chi-Town. The Second City. Well, it all starts here – The Loop. My Kind of Town. Downtown Chicago, our business district, the only place 90% of tourists (and a fair number of suburbanites) see. And well, if you could only see one area, this is it. The Loop rocks.

The Loop is the center for commercial, theater and finance in the little village on the water once called “Shikaakwa.” That’s the 17th century French interpretation of the Illini word for “The Stinking Onion.  This eventually evolved into the word Chicago. So there’s your history lesson for the day.  Second largest business district (thanks Manhattan), hence “Second City.”

Love architecture? Well, look no further my friend. Thanks (unfortunately) to the Chicago Fire of 1871 (witnessed by my firm’s founder Lyman Baird) the city by the lake had a clean slate just in time for the arrival of the world’s first high rise – 1884′s Home Insurance Building. As I crane my head to the corner of my window I can see one of the most historically significant structures in the city the Rookery Building.  It’s importance extends beyond it’s housing the architects Root, Wright, Sullivan, & “Make No Small Plans” Burnham.
You want cool bulidings? Try the Auditorium Building, the Art Institute, the CBOT, Chicago Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, Fine Arts Building, the Palmer House, the Sears Tower (no, it’s not the Willis Tower), Symphony Center. After you visit those, we can give you 25 more…. actually, try the Chicago Architectural Foundation for some extremely cool info and bus/walking/El/bike tours! The river is a particularly great way to see The Loop.

The Loop is narrowly defined as the area inside the elevated trains that literally “loop” around the business district.  The trains make up the pink/green/orange/brown/purple lines -or the area more broadly defined as Congress Ave./The Lake (Michigan Ave.)/ and The Chicago River.  And as you’ve already read about “South Loop”, “North Loop” and “West Loop” we pretty much like to overlap neighborhoods whenever possible.

Compared to pretty much anywhere else in the city, you won’t find much residential real estate in The Loop.  And what is there is pretty much exclusively high-rise and expensive. Which makes sense, especially since it’s surrounded by many areas where you can easily walk to within 10 minutes.
That being said, Chicago’s first non-native resident was Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable, often cited as a French Canadian of African descent (although little is known to verify this claim). Fort Dearborn eventually followed as this became a small village where the river meets the lake.

So lace up the gym shoes (that’s what we call sneakers out here in the Midwest), put on multiple layers based on weather, and take a lovely walk around the world’s most beautiful city!


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