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Living in the West Loop Guide 🏬 | Chicago West Loop Neighborhoods, Things to Do & More

Last Updated on: 25th May 2024, 02:13 am

Preparing to move to Chicago or relocate within the city? With more than 2.7 million people living in 77 community areas and an even greater number of smaller neighborhoods, choosing the right place to live is your first challenge.

Chicago is generally divided into the North Side, West Side, and South Side. The Loop is the downtown or central business district, a small but densely populated area on the south bank of the Chicago River. To the south is the South Loop area while west of the river is known as the West Loop.

Living in the Chicago West Loop neighborhood offers urban living at its finest with gorgeous Chicago skyline views, the best dining in the city, great nightlife, and walkable communities. Here’s why you should consider moving to the West Loop!

Where Is the West Loop in Chicago?

The West Loop is just west of the Chicago Loop on the West Side. Its boundaries are the Chicago River to the west, Ashland Avenue to the east, the Lower West Side to the south, and Goose Island to the north. It’s part of the larger Near West Side, one of Chicago’s 77 community areas.

It’s bordered by:

  • River North across the Chicago River, popular with designers and known for its large concentration of art galleries
  • West Town to the north, which includes River West, Noble Square, Ukrainian Village, and Humboldt Park
  • The Illinois Medical District, one of the country’s largest medical districts
  • Little Italy to the South
  • University Village and the University of Illinois Chicago to the south
  • The Chicago Loop or downtown Chicago to the east across the river
  • East Garfield Park to the west

The West Loop Chicago neighborhood has an ideal location near Chicago’s top attractions like the Miracle Mile in the Near North Side, and major employment centers. It’s served by the CTA Green Line and Blue Line and is home to two major transportation hubs: the Ogilvie Transportation Center and Union Station. It’s the flagship station for Amtrak in the Midwest and is served by seven regional corridor routes, six Metra commuter lines, and eight national long-distance routes.

The Jane Byrne Interchange is one of the main freeway interchanges in the downtown Chicago area and the junction of I-90/I-94, I-290, and Ida B. Wells Drive.

Main roads in the West Loop include Halsted Street (north-south), S Ashland Avenue (north-south), W Randolph St (east-west), and W Jackson Blvd (east-west).

West Loop Chicago IL Map

Chicago West Loop History & Overview

Like most areas of Chicago, the West Loop area has a rich history. It was once an industrial center full of warehouses and factories with a large immigrant population. Greektown was home to thousands of Greek immigrants who arrived in the area in the 1840s.

The neighborhood was home to Fulton Market, a large outdoor wholesale market in the 19th century. The West Loop area was also once home to Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios. The building was demolished to make way for the new McDonald’s headquarters.

Many of these large factories and warehouses are now apartments, condos, and restaurants. Over the past two decades, rapid gentrification has transformed the once-industrial area into a hip destination for fine dining and nightlife.

Today, the population of the West Loop is about 25,000 while the larger Near West Side is home to 67,900 people. The most populated areas are West Loop Gate and Fulton River District.

Residents are highly educated, with 36% holding a bachelor’s degree and 34% holding a graduate or professional degree. The community’s median household income is $98,569, much higher than the Chicago median of $65,781. In neighborhoods like Greektown, Fulton River District, and West Loop Gate, the median household income exceeds $100,000.

What Is it Like Living in the West Loop?

The West Loop Chicago lifestyle is perfect if you’re looking for luxury living and a vibrant community close to the attractions in the Loop and downtown Chicago. The community is a major hub for entertainment and dining yet close to employment hubs like the University of Illinois Chicago and the Illinois Medical District. It’s also home to several national and regional headquarters, with a Google Chicago office in Fulton Market.

The West Loop neighborhood is popular with young professionals, millennials, singles, and artists, but it’s also home to many young families.

There are many districts or neighborhoods in the West Loop, each with their own culture and atmosphere:

  • Greektown – The center of Greek culture in Chicago and once home to over 30,000 residents, this mostly commercial district is home to tons of Greek restaurants with a museum and an annual festival.
  • Fulton River District – Just northwest of the Loop and nestled against the Chicago River, it’s been ranked the #4 best place to live in America with excellent public transportation and a location at the crossroads of downtown Chicago and the West Side.
  • Fulton Market District – This former meat-packing and industrial district is now the headquarters for many major companies and a hotspot for coffee shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, and shopping. Green Street in Fulton Market is one of the country’s most expensive streets!
  • West Loop Gate – The district is home to the major commuter transportation options in the area but one of the quietest areas of the West Loop.
  • Madison Street Corridor – Popular with millennials, young professionals, and families, the Madison Street Corridor is close to everything, with major supermarkets, entertainment, parks, and schools easily within reach.
  • Jackson Boulevard District – This small district is picturesque, with tree-lined streets and single-family homes. It’s a nice break from the towering apartment and condo buildings and high-rises elsewhere in the West Loop.
  • Randolph Restaurant Row – Restaurant Row is famous for its dining scene with many of the top-rated restaurants in Chicago within walking distance.

Things to Do in West Loop

Ready to explore what to do in West Loop Chicago? Here’s an overview of the must visit spots, attractions, and places to eat in the neighborhood.

Top West Loop Activities & Attractions

The United Center in the West Loop is the country’s largest arena and hosts 200+ events and live music year-round. The United Center is the landmark attraction in the neighborhood and home to the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Chicago Children’s Theatre is one of the best places to visit for families in the area with year-round plays and acting classes.

The area is home to a number of parks, the largest of which is Union Park. The 13-acre Union Park is a great place to explore or take the kids in the summer. The park offers a playground, pool, basketball courts, a fitness center, and a theater right in the heart of the West Loop. The small 1.3-acre Mary Bartelme Park is a great place to take a walk or enjoy a sunny day with your four-legged friend. It’s known for its sunken dog park!


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Looking for cultural activities? Check out WNDR Museum, an immersive and interactive art museum with multi-sensory exhibits that combine art and technology. The National Hellenic Museum in Greektown documents the history of Greek immigrants in Chicago and the rest of the country.

You’ll also love strolls through the Fulton Market District. Puttery is one of the most fun things to do in Fulton Market. Located just off Randolph Street is a 21+ indoor miniature golf course and bar with lounges, a sky terrace, and two different courses. You’ll also find dozens of amazing Fulton Market restaurants like Time Out Market Chicago, a huge industrial building with fantastic cocktails, a rooftop deck, and communal seating.

When you’re in the mood for live music, check out Bottom Lounge, which features underground music and a great beer selection, or City Winery, a huge venue with a winery, Mediterranean cuisine, and a picturesque garden courtyard.

West Loop Restaurants on Randolph Street – Chicago’s Restaurant Row

While living in the West Loop, you’ll always be minutes from Restaurant Row, an iconic destination for fantastic food and cuisine from Chicago’s top chefs. It’s home to many of the best West Loop restaurants with a diverse selection to fit any taste. Here are just a few of the top places to eat!

Girl & The Goat is one of the most popular Randolph Street restaurants. Chef Stephanie Izard delivers innovative small plates in a sophisticated setting. Check out the menu and be sure you make a reservation for dinner!

Leña Brava is a fun place for special events or date night with Mexican cuisine cooked over a hardwood fire and a diverse menu of cocktails, wine, and mezcal.


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Au Cheval is another top pick. This open-kitchen diner-style restaurant and bar is known for its elevated diner fare and amazing burgers. Be aware that brunch is always a madhouse, and there’s usually a wait.

West Loop Bars

One of the perks of moving to the West Loop is enjoying the area’s fantastic nightlife. There are tons of great bars to visit, from wine bars and lounges to your classic neighborhood bar just down the street.

Kaiser Tiger is often called the best bar in Chicago and for good reason. There’s a seasonal beer garden, tons of beer on tap, bar games, and a great menu of pub fare. Lone Wolf, also on Randolph St, is another popular option with an old-school vibe, cocktails, and craft beer.


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Looking for something a bit different? Check out Emporium Arcade Bar, one of the best nightlife destinations in Fulton Market for retro game enthusiasts! They have over 60 whiskeys and a large beer menu with dozens of old-school games.

Is West Loop Chicago Safe?

The West Loop neighborhood is a safe place to live. While it isn’t one of the safest neighborhoods in Chicago, that’s to be expected when living in the urban core of a major city.

The Near West Side had 16 homicides in 2023, but the number of murders has trended downward since 2021. Once the murder capital of America, the Chicago crime rate has dropped significantly in recent years, and it now has a homicide rate lower than cities like Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Atlanta.

You can use the Chicago Police Department ClearMap to see crime in the West Loop. The West Loop and larger Near West Side are within Police District 12.

West Loop Neighborhood Schools

Families living in Chicago’s West Loop are served by Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Students in the neighborhood are zoned to attend Wells High School and Skinner Elementary. Most of the community except the northern and western areas are within the charter school preference boundary for Noble-Bulls High School, the college preparatory charter is ranked #198 among high schools in Illinois.

The West Loop area is just north of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and close to the City Colleges’ Malcolm X College and Chicago-Kent College of Law.

West Loop Real Estate – Average Rent + West Loop Condos & Homes for Sale

What can you expect from West Loop Chicago real estate? The median price of West Loop homes for sale is $418,000 or $380 per square foot. The vast majority of homes in the area are condos, which range from industrial warehouses converted into lofts to luxury high rises. One-bedroom West Loop condos for sale range from the mid $200s to the low $600s, depending on the neighborhood and building.

By comparison, the Chicago median home price is $365,000. The West Loop is one of the most expensive places to live in the city. You can learn more about the Chicago cost of living with our complete guide!

You can explore West Loop homes for sale to get an idea of how far your budget will stretch.

As a renter, you’ll pay $2,600 average rent in the West Loop, about $180 lower than the average rent in the Loop but $350 more than the Chicago average.

Does living in the city’s West Loop area seem perfect for you? Federal Companies is ready to give you the stress-free moving day you deserve. Call our top-rated Chicago movers at (800) 747-4100 for a free moving quote to get started.


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