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South Loop Chicago Neighborhood 🏙️ | What Living in Chicago’s South Loop Is Like

Last Updated on: 16th August 2023, 10:21 pm

Thinking of relocating to a popular and historic neighborhood in Chicago? You should consider moving to South Loop. Commonly known as Chicago’s front yard, South Loop is known for being the home of the iconic Grand Park and other notable attractions. With a central location and an affordable cost of living compared to other popular neighborhoods in Chicago, South Loop is a great place to live for young professionals and anyone who wants to experience everything the Windy City has to offer. So to help you decide where you want to go, here is a look at living in South Loop.

Where Is South Loop, Chicago?

South Loop is located in between the Chicago River and Lake Michigan in South Chicago. The exact boundaries of the neighborhood are unclear, even to residents, although it’s generally considered to be the area south of Ida B. Wells Drive and north of 26th Street. Because the boundaries are inexact, the total size of the neighborhood is up for debate, but it’s thought to be around 2.3 square miles.

The South Loop zip codes are 60605 and 60616. South Loop is adjacent to the larger community called Near Southside, which also contains neighborhoods like the Prairie District, Motor Row District, and Central Station. South Loop is also bordered by Chicago’s Chinatown and Little Italy. The Loop is also considered the heart of Chicago’s downtown area and within walking distance from some of the top attractions in the city. Several major thoroughfares, including Lake Shore Drive and the Stevenson Expressway, also border the neighborhood.

Residents will also find plenty of opportunities for public transportation. All lines of Chicago’s L System serve the neighborhood for at least a portion of the day. The Millenium and Van Buren Stations of the Metra are in the Loop and offer direct access to many different parts of the city. The South Shore Line at the Millenium Station also serves Northwest Indiana and the Chicago suburbs.


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Map of South Loop Chicago

South Loop History and Overview

South Loop began as one of Chicago’s first residential districts and was home to primarily working-class immigrants, mainly from Ireland. It became a haven for businesses that were destroyed during the Chicago Fire of 1871 and slowly transformed into a more commercialized area. During that time, it also started to attract wealthier residents like George Pullman and Marshall Field, who built extravagant mansions along Prairie Avenue.

By the early 20th Century, the South Loop was full of railroad lines which attracted a darker element, and the area became known for its brothels and gambling parlors. The wealthy soon moved to the Gold Coast in the North Side, and the decline in the printing and railroad industries left much of the area desolate and abandoned. But revitalization efforts of the 1980s brought new life and economic development to the South Loo, and today, it’s one of Chicago’s most happening neighborhoods. 

South Loop Demographics

  • South Loop population: 31,855
  • South Loop median household income: ~$113,000
  • South Loop educational attainment: 95.8% have at least a high school diploma, and 76.5% have a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • South Loop median age: 32
  • South Loop foreign-born population: 13%
  • South Loop racial and ethnic composition: 45% White (32% non-Hispanic), 24% Asian, 22% Black, 4.7% Hispanic, 2.9% two or more races

According to a report by NBC Chicago, the Loop is the fastest growing neighborhood in Chicago, and the population has grown by 44% since 2010. The 2020 census also shows that it’s also one of the fastest growing downtown areas in the country because there are so many amazing benefits to living in South Loop.


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What’s It Like Living in South Loop?

South Loop is a clean, walkable neighborhood with easy access to Hyde Park and other parts of downtown. It’s full of everyday amenities such as grocery stores, coffee shops, libraries, restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Residents also have plenty of options for public transportation to get anywhere in the city. It’s slightly quieter than other areas of downtown, which is great for residents looking for easy access to action and nightlife but don’t want to deal with crowds and noise. It’s also full of gorgeous, historic architecture and offers fantastic views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.

South Loop is also slightly more affordable than other adjacent neighborhoods but offers plenty of value for your money. It’s not quite as hip and bustling as other areas, such as Wicker Park and West Loop, so those looking for immediate access to excitement and nightlife may want to look elsewhere. But it’s great for young professionals and families who want to be close to amenities but don’t need to be in the heart of the action. Moving to South Loop offers a front-row seat to some of the best restaurants, parks, and attractions that Chicago offers, but it’s also removed from much of the crime and other problems plaguing the nearby southside. So those searching for a safe, trendy neighborhood with a high quality of life should consider moving to South Loop.

Things to Do in South Loop – Best Restaurants, Attractions, and Shopping

From great restaurants to some of the best parks in the city, residents will find no shortage of fun things to do in South Loop. Mercat a la Planxa is one of the best restaurants in South Loop for those looking for Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, with a large selection of tapas and paellas in an upscale setting. If you’re craving a classic Chicago-style deep-dish pizza should stop by Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, a family-owned chain and one of the best places to eat in South Loop. Lowcountry is another great South Loop restaurant serving Southern-style seafood with craft cocktails and beer.

For shopping, residents should check out the Southgate Market on Canal Street, a sprawling indoor mall with retailers like Whole Foods, Marshalls, and PetsMart. The Roosevelt Collection Shops is another popular destination, an outdoor shopping plaza with stores like H&M and Banana Republic, restaurants, and a movie theater. 

Grant Park is one of the most notable South Loop attractions, with 319 acres of land that contains Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum Campus. Field Museum is a science and history institute in Museum Campus that features the world’s largest T-Rex. Residents should also check out Soldier Field, an open-air stadium where the Chicago Bears play that also hosts Major League Soccer, concerts, and other exciting events.

The Chicago Parks District maintains more than ten parks in and around South Loop. If you are looking for more fun things to do in South Loop, they frequently host community events that are free to the public.

Here’s where to find the best South Loop attractions:

Soldier Field, 1410 Special Olympics Dr, Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 235-7000



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Schools in South Loop

Chicago Public Schools is the South Loop school district. Students Pre-K through 8 will attend the highly respected South Loop Elementary School, which ranks within the top 30% of all public elementary schools in the state of Illinois. According to US News and World Report, it ranks as the #731 elementary school in Illinois and #451 middle school in Illinois.

Some students will go on to attend Wendell Philips Academy High School, and others are zoned for Wells Community Academy High School. Jones College Prep, a public high school with selective enrollment, is also located in South Loop. Although Chicago public schools don’t always get the best reputation, South Loop is zoned for some of the best institutions in the city.

There are also several private schools in the area, including Day Star Academy, The British International School of Chicago, and the American Montessori Academy of South Loop. UC Chicago Medicine also has a campus in South Loop.

Is South Loop Safe?

Due to its close proximity to the Southside of Chicago, which is notorious for its high crime rate, many residents want to know if living in South Loop is safe. Yes, South Loop, Chicago is safe; however like any urban area, it does experience crime. According to Areavibes, the violent crime rate in the Loop is 333% higher than the national average, and the property crime rate is 528% higher than the national average. However, Chicago police have recently taken measures to crack down on crime, which include improved lighting and more security cameras near schools. Most residents living in South Loop report that crime is not a major concern and as long as you take proper precautions.

South Loop, Chicago Real Estate

The South Loop real estate market is relatively affordable for being in such a central location in a major city. According to Redfin, the median listing price of South Loop homes for sale is $347,000, and the median price per square foot in the neighborhood is $314. South Loop is known for its historic architecture and features plenty of great examples of Romanesque Revival buildings, as well as contemporary housing. Residents will also find a healthy mix of condos, townhomes, rowhouses, and high-rise buildings.

Renters planning on moving to South Loop also have a variety of options. According to RenctCafe, the average South Loop rent is $2456 per month, which is 36% higher than the national average. However, tenants have a variety of both affordable and luxury options. Prices start around $1,500 for a one-bedroom and go up to $11,600 for a 3-bedroom.

Ready to experience all the fantastic benefits of living in South Loop? Trust the best movers in Chicago to make your relocation easy and efficient. Call 800-747-4100 today for a free, personalized moving estimate.


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