Chicago is a city of loops, thanks to the “L” — or elevated — train lines that snake the city. The South Loop, extending below the downtown loop, along Grant Park and Lake Michigan, hosts many of Chicago’s most beloved cultural institutions, including The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, not to mention brilliant sunrises.
The neighborhood is also bursting with activity and energy, thanks to rapid development, as new glass high rises glimmer among the historic mansions of “Millionaire’s Row” on Prairie Avenue. All throughout, rollicking music clubs and unique restaurants offer ample opportunity imbibe after a day of education and wonder.
Chicago’s Museum Campus is a beauty to behold, thanks to 57 acres of lakefront park, where you can choose your own cultural adventure. At the Field Museum of Natural History, crane your neck at towering dinosaur fossils, including Maximo the Titanosaur, the largest dinosaur ever unearthed. Also on the campus is the Shedd Aquarium, home to more than 30,000 creatures, including dolphins, beluga whales, sharks, seahorses, and more, all living inside a stunning lakeside Beaux Arts building from 1930. America’s first planetarium, the Adler Planetarium, calls the campus home, too. The city’s light pollution may blot out the stars nowadays, but here, you can step into the historic Atwood Sphere to see what the Chicago sky looked like back in 1913, when the stars burned bright. South of the campus is Soldier Field, a gathering space for stars of a different sort.
Harbor breathes fresh culinary air into the South Loop, a Great Lakes-themed restaurant channeling locally sourced ingredients into creative dishes like walleye with cashew pesto, heirloom grain, gremolata and red grape gastrique. The creative energy of the South Loop explode in its many musical offerings, which also happen to be great places to grab a drink. Since 1947, Jazz Showcase has hosted the top names in jazz, from international greats to locally grown talents: Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Hargrove, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and countless others.