There are so many things to do in the West Loop – this neighborhood is home to more than just restaurants. Visitors can explore art galleries, shop at independently owned boutiques, play arcade games, see the Bulls, or attend a concert.
In the past two decades, this neighborhood has transformed from a meat packing district to the hub of Chicago’s trendiest and best restaurants. You can read all about restaurants in the West Loop in our dining guide.
Last updated: April 2022
Read More About The West Loop
Best Restaurants in the West Loop
Where is the West Loop?
As its name suggests, the West Loop is directly west of the Loop. It is bordered by Ashland Avenue, Grand Avenue, the I-290, and the Chicago River.
Greektown, the Fulton Market District, and Restaurant Row are located within the West Loop.
How to Get to the West Loop:
You can take the Green Line or Pink Line to the Clinton, Morgan or Ashland el stop or you can take the Metra to Ogilvie Station or Union Station.
Parks and Outdoor Activities:
A 13+ acre park that is just south of the Ashland/Lake Green and Pink line train stop. The park has tennis courts, baseball fields, a swimming pool, basketball courts, an athletic field and a playground. A field house has a gym, fitness center, and locker rooms. The park hosts the Pitchfork Music Festival, movies in the park, and concerts.
Mary Bartelme Park
This small park has city skyline views, a fountain plaza, a play area, and a dog park.
A 7 acre park with baseball fields, basketball courts, a playground, and a field house.
Heritage Green Park
A small park with a sculpture from Galway, Chicago’s sister city in Ireland.
Fulton River Park
A small park with a playground and a shaded lawn.
Greektown is a mini neighborhood along South Halsted Street that is home to several traditional Greek restaurants and the National Hellenic Museum. There are two mini temples located at Monroe and Van Buren Streets. Chicago has the third largest Greek population of any city in the world, and this neighborhood celebrates that. If you head to Greektown before a Bulls or Blackhawks game, you can catch the Greektown trolley that takes you right to the United Center – it’s so convenient. You can read about Chicago’s best Greek restaurants here.
The oldest church in Chicago is one of the few buildings that predates the Chicago Fire in 1871. This church was build in 1854 and remains the home of a Roman Catholic parish.
You might recognize the Great Hall with its 110-foot tall atrium and barrel-vaulted skylight from My Best Friends Wedding or the grand staircase from The Untouchables. Union Station opened in 1925 and looks unassuming from the outside with its limestone facade, but the interior architecture is stunning. The station is still used by Metra and Amtrak.
Both Time Out Market and the French Market are located in the West Loop. You can read all about Chicago Food Halls here. These are perfect places for a casual meal – especially if you want to try different types of cuisine.
Located in Greektown, this museum highlights the contributions of Greeks and Greek Americans to American culture and history. One of the core exhibits, “Reaching for the American Dream”, traces the path of Greek immigration to America.
This is less of a museum and more of an immersive art experience/place to take cool instagram photos. General admission is a whopping $32 (about twice the price of The Art Institute of Chicago).
Things to Do in the West Loop:
Restaurant Row is a stretch of Randolph Street extending from Halsted Street to Ogden Avenue. This is where restaurants including The Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, Bar Siena, Au Cheval, Leña Brava, and La Josie are all located. When star chefs started to open restaurants in the West Loop, this is where they went. Now, you can find restaurants throughout the neighborhood. A complete guide to West Loop restaurants is a separate post.
Fulton Market District
The Fulton Market District is a section of the West Loop including West Fulton Market Street that extends south to include Restaurant Row. In general, people use the term “Fulton Market District” to refer to the restaurant dense area of the West Loop neighborhood.
An antique and vintage market that takes place one weekend a month. In the summer, it takes place outside on Randolph Street the last weekend of the month, in colder months the market moves inside. The market is considered one of the best flea markets in America.
Epiphany has eight gallery spaces and collaborates with artists, curators, galleries, and non-profits to provide exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and art classes. The space also hosts performance art including dance, theater, and live music.
An indoor trampoline park with 14 attractions including trampolines, wipeout, a trapeze bar, and a rock climbing wall. The space hosts toddler time, kid’s birthday parties, adult only nights, and summer camps.
A rock climbing and fitness facility offering rock climbing and yoga classes. There are classes for children as young as 5, plus classes for older children, teens, and adults.
An urban axe throwing bar. There are some walk-in hours and you can even join an axe throwing league. Private coaching is available when you book in advance.
An arcade and a full bar that often hosts DJs. Games include pinball machines, air hockey, arcade games, and more.
A bar and restaurant with a bowling alley, bocce, ping pong, karaoke, and a variety of games.
House of Vans
An indoor skate park, music venue, gallery space, and retail store located just south of Randolph Street at 113 N Elizabeth Street. The space hosts free skate sessions in addition to special events.
Breweries and Distilleries in the West Loop
West Town is home the Chicago Brewing District, a section of the neighborhood that is home to Goose Island, On Tour Brewing, Greater Central Brewing Company, All Rise Brewing, District Brew Yards, and Finch Beer. These breweries are on the Kinzie industrial corridor, on the border of West Town and the West Loop.
Located across the border into the West Loop, this is the in-house brewery for Cobra Lounge, a live music venue.
The District Brew Yards’ tasting room has a large beer hall, a casual patio, and 40 beers on tap. Four Chicago breweries share the space: Around the Bend, Burnt City Brewing, Bold Dog Beer Co. and Casa Humilde. The space is 21+ and dogs are allowed on the patio.
The On Tour Brewing Company’s tasting room and patio are open Wednesday through Sunday. Guests are encouraged to bring their own food. The patio space is don friendly.
A brewery that creates beer according to German purity laws which dictate that beer should only be made from malt, yeast, hops, and water. The result is classic German style beers like Pilsner, Hefeweizen, and Helles. The taproom is open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays.
An independent family-owned brewery that is located in the Chicago Brewing District, but that isn’t open for tours. You can visit Finch’s brewpub, The Perch, in Wicker Park.
Goose Islands Fulton Market taproom and brewery offers tours and taproom exclusive beers and a selection of Bourbon County Stout.
A family-friendly and dog-friendly taproom with a huge patio and over a dozen beers on tap. Visitors are welcome to bring their own food and the brewery also hosts pop-ups with local business to offer food onsite. Midcoast hosts many events including charity fundraisers, a regatta, and bike tuneups. There is live music on Thursdays and they often open up early on weekends to host events for children.
A distillery focused on creating fruit brandies like apple brandy, plum brandy, pear brandy, and grappa. The tasting room offers cocktails and flights and public tours of the distillery are offered (reservations are required). Cocktail classes are available too.
The United Center is a hub of activity. Both the Bulls and the Blackhawks play here, plus it is a venue for major concerts. Blackhawks games are a true Chicago experience.
When the Bulls and Blackhawks aren’t playing, the United Center hosts major concerts. Many locals prefer this venue over Soldier Field since you don’t need to worry about the possibility of rain.
City Winery is a winery, concert venue, and restaurant. There is always something happening here.
A live music venue, restaurant, and bar with a packed schedule featuring a wide variety of bands. General admission tickets to most shows are $20-$25.
House of Vans
This event spaces does host music events, check their instagram for more information.
A theater devoted to offering plays for children such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar Showand The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. They also have a summer camp and acting classes.
Kavi Gupta Gallery, McCormick Gallery, and Carrie Secrist Gallery are all located in the same building at 835 West Washington Boulevard.
A top contemporary art gallery that hosts over a dozen exhibitions each year. The gallery has two West Loop locations, one at 835 West Washington Boulevard and another at 219 North Elizabeth Street.
A painting, drawing, and sculpture gallery featuring abstract expressionist works and art by contemporary local artists.
Carrie Secrist Gallery
A gallery highlighting contemporary art from established and emerging artists in a wide range of mediums.
An exhibition space for the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The gallery is open to the public Thursdays – Saturdays and admission is free for all.
Shopping in the West Loop:
The shopping options in the West Loop have expanded in the past few years. People tend to come here to eat not shop, but there are some lovely locally owned boutiques and some brands you are probably familiar with located here. Some national retailers like Free People, Lululemon, Warby Parker, and Anthropologie have locations in the West Loop, in addition to the shops listed below.
A clothing shop specializing in elevated essentials for men and women. They also offer made to measure custom pieces. Their goal is to make high quality clothing that will stand the test of time.
A shop focused on American-made men’s clothing with a hipster vibe. They have a great selection of denim and outerwear.
A locally based female owned company that makes handcrafted small batch food grade skincare products. In addition to selling their own line of products, the shop hosts wellness events like meditation classes, yoga, and craft classes. On weekends they have a mask bar where guests can participate in DIY facials where they make their own face masks.
Madewell – denim edit
This Madewell location specializes in carrying men’s and women’s denim. You can find more than the brand’s cult favorite jeans here – they do have a selection of other items.
A boutique carrying contemporary women’s clothing from designers in LA and New York.
A shop owned by Kristin Cavallari that sells jewelry, home goods, and kids clothing.
Maria Pinto is a local fashion designer known for her timeless yet modern style. She gained attention when Michelle Obama wore her designs during her time as first lady.
A massive bookshop selling both new and used books. They also run a literacy program that has helped over 5,000 students.
Find upscale streetwear and designer sneakers for men and women here.
Annual Events in the West Loop:
If you love barbecue and country music, this party is for you. The three-day event takes place in July and attracts some of the top pit masters and country musicians. Note: this festival has changed locations a couple of times, but now it is near United Center.
Old St. Pat’s announced that they will no longer host the World’s Largest Block Party and they are hosting a St. Patrick’s themed event instead. The block party with a pop-up pub will coincide with the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade and will feature live music.
You could call this festival the cooler more indie version of Lollapalooza. This outdoor multi-stage music festival takes place at Union Park over three days in July. This year the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Run the Jewels, and The National are headlining.
A three day music electronic music festival that takes place at the United Center in July.
Taste of Randolph Street
Most Chicago neighborhoods have their own street festival. Taste of Randolph Street brings local restaurants and live music together for a weekend long street festival.
Taking place in Fulton Mark from April 21-24, 2022, this art fair brings together affordable and original artworks from 110 independent artists, installations, performances, and DJs.