Chicago Weekender: South Loop

The South Loop is one of Chicago’s fastest-growing residential neighborhoods.

Many of the large, light-filled warehouses and factory lofts of the area’s industrial past have been reborn as stylish condos, and the presence of Columbia College Chicago has bolstered the area’s reputation as a cool, cultural enclave. The South Loop Lakefront is also home to glass condo towers that boast what many believe are the best views of the city.

Grant Park | Monroe Harbor

Start your weekend with a Friday-evening stroll along Lakefront Trail in “Chicago’s Front Yard,” the exquisitely landscaped and expansive 319-acre Grant Park. An active public space, Grant Park plays host to musical and theatrical performances as well as festivals of all sorts throughout the year. This fall, as part of the multi-venue World Music Festival Chicago that will run September 11-22, Grant Park will help launch festivities on Friday, September 11, with the assistance of Passistas Samba Dance Troupe & Planeta Azul Band, a Brazilian music-and-dance ensemble. The Passistas are Chicago’s best-known Brazilian dance company. True to form, the group’s performance will begin with dance lessons from 6-7 p.m. followed by music from 7:30-9:30. All ages are welcome.

Mercat a la Planxa | 638 South Michigan Avenue, Renaissance Blackstone Hotel

If your Samba session in Grant Park has you eager for a hearty meal that’s rich in flavor and variety, head to Mercat a la Planxa, where you can sample chef Jose Garces’s original take on traditional Catalonian tapas. Inventive tastes of Barcelona include the chef’s signature espinaca a la Catalana (Catalan-style spinach), Marcona almond gazpacho with smoked sturgeon and pickled gooseberries, butternut squash dumplings, rabbit agnolotti with brandied cherries and truffle-chestnut purée, and tocino con cidra, or cider-braised pork belly. Desserts such as sweet potato cake with cardamom cream cheese and candied pecans or horchata ice cream with dark chocolate, cinnamon, puffed rice, coconut cream, and Marcona almond brittle are unlike anything you’ve had elsewhere, and the extensive wine list hails almost exclusively from Spain.

Art Institute of Chicago | 111 South Michigan Avenue

What better way to spend a Saturday in Chicago than by visiting the standout attraction in South Loop, the Museum Campus, an array of institutions including the Field Museum of Natural History, the Adler Planetarium, and the Shedd Aquarium. Nearby, the Art Institute of Chicago houses one of the finest collections of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts in the world. The AIC is the second-largest museum in the United States after New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and one the nation’s most visited, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors each year. The permanent collections span the millennia of art itself, featuring over 260,000 works of art, some dating back as far as 5,000 years.

Antiquities aside, the AIC is renowned for its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection. Its galleries are home to iconic paintings like Paul Cézanne’s “The Basket of Apples,” six of Claude Monet’s “Haystacks” and several of his “Water Lilies,” plus George Seurat’s pointillist masterpiece (and subject of the broadway musical Sunday in the Park with George) “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” American painters are well represented, too: the Institute is home to Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” Mary Cassatt’s “The Child’s Bath,” and Edward Hopper’s atmospheric “Nighthawks.” You could spend all day taking in the permanent collections, but don’t miss the temporary exhibitions focused on special topics and single artists. This fall, check out Kesa: Japanese Buddhist Monks’ Vestments, which includes breathtaking examples of the traditional rectangular garments worn by Buddhist monks and priests in Japan. A Voyage to South America: Andean Art in the Spanish Empire focuses on works produced during the viceregal, or colonial, period (i.e., when Spain ruled the Andes) including devotional paintings, portraits, and maps.

Dining options near the Museum Campus include Zapatista (Mexican) and Gioco (Italian) on South Wabash Avenue, with plenty of other choices on surrounding streets.

Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation | 2120 South Michigan Avenue

Another great choice for a Saturday afternoon is Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation, where the legacy of the blues legend is alive and well. Located on the former site of Chess Records, which has been called one of the greatest American blues labels, Blues Heaven Foundation hosts guided tours that feature vintage memorabilia and historic artifacts such as the original Ampex reel-to-reel recorder used in the studio. Guides also share stories of the great musicians who recorded here including Bo Diddley, Etta James, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and Aretha Franklin.

What to Know About Buying Real Estate in South Loop

Are you thinking about buying a home in the South Loop? Heres what you need to know about this fast-growing neighborhood and the real estate in South Loop Chicago!

Lofts and Location

South Loop is generally dominated by high-rise buildings that are dedicated to a variety of loft living arrangements. These lofts tend to be both fun and full of character, as many of been converted from old printing and publishing houses, giving many places an industrial style. Brick and concrete are dominant materials on the outside, but timber supports are often used indoors.

Space in this area is very valuable, but if a loft is a little too small for your tastes there are also a number of newer and renovated brick townhouses for you to consider. When it comes to location, you have close proximity to Grant Park, Lake Michigan activities, Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, Buckingham Fountain, and more.

Hip and Historical

South Loop has a reputation as a youthful, energetic neighborhood. This is probably because it is so close to a number of different college campuses, including DePaul University, Roosevelt University, and Columbia College.

However, the Loop is also known for its historical value. Not only is it in the center of a variety of museums including the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry, it also shows its own history with all of those converted buildings.

Lots of Activity

The Loop continues to transition into a more residential area as more and more buildings are converted to apartments and homes. This is good news for those looking for South Loop condos, but it also means that prices are on the rise – recently homes here have jumped in price by around 50% in just one year! This trend is likely to continue, so the sooner you act the more you may be able to save when it comes to picking out your ideal loft.

To find out more about South Loop condos and what the hottest neighborhoods are, contact a Chicago real estate agent today!

What $1M Can Get You in Chicago South Loop

A million dollars isnt what it used to be, but it still goes pretty far in the South Loop Chicago real estate market. Chicago is one of the best real estate markets in the country for buyers right now because, though its a world class city, home prices are far below those in New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco.

If youre looking for a South Loop Chicago condo, theyre available with every amenity under the sun. The best buildings have spacious interiors, 24/7 security, pools and exercise centers. In a luxury building youll never need to worry about parking thanks to dedicated secured lots.

Of course, you wont need a car unless you want one. The South Loop is well-connected to Chicagos public transit grid, offering easy access to downtown and all the major employers in the area. Besides work, you may not even want to leave the neighborhood. South Loop has fantastic restaurants and great entertainment options, plus its one of the safest regions in the city.

Best of all, South loop Chicago homes for sale are seriously undervalued. A $1 million home will offer three or more bedrooms, two or more baths, and great views of the city. This elite neighborhood has every attraction you could ask for, and its all possible for less than seven figures.

How to Avoid Overpaying for Your South Loop Chicago Mortgage

A busy professional interested in buying a new residence couldnt do better than homes for sale in the South Loop. The area offers all of the amenities of living in the best part of the city: easy access to transportation, museums, and restaurants, as well as the culture and social events that make Chicago great. South Loop Chicago real estate offers a wide range of prices and sizes, to fit the small family or single family lifestyle.

Finance Matters: How to Make Sure Youre Not Overpaying On Your Mortgage

Once you find the perfect place, its time to double check the points of your mortgage. Being well informed is the best way to make your decisions. Here are some key points you should be aware of when comparing lenders offers:

  • Interest Rate. In short, the interest rate is the rate of interest youre charged to borrow the money needed to secure your home.
  • APR. A lot of people completely overlook this when deciding on their price for a home, only looking at the interest rate. The APR is the cost of the loan in total, including all of the fees and points that might vary from lender to lender this is the real number you should be paying attention to when comparing.
  • Fees. Mortgage loans generally come with a variety of fees. Ask them to separate and itemize these fees for you, so that you can better compare one lender with another. Some fees may be negotiable, dont just acquiesce to a loan when youre not comfortable with the terms.
  • Lock the Rate. Locking the rate is important because it will fix your rate and fees, giving you time to finalize and close on the home.

To find out more about homes for sale, contact your South Loop realtor today!

How to see the view from your new South Loop condo – before it’s been built

New technologies, such as drone photography, will assist buyers in the market for a South Loop condo. Gold Coast’s 840 N. Lake Shore Drive Chicago

When a new South Loop condo building is still under construction, it can be difficult for home buyers to imagine the views, the neighborhoods vibe and the overall living experience the project will deliver. But, as Multi-Housing News explains in a recent article quoting Related Realty’s president, David Wolf, realtors and developers across the country are helping prospective buyers envision their new home in a variety of ways, including co-branding buildings through local retailers or hosting special events. But, perhaps the most effective – and innovative – means to demonstrate the views buyers can expect in a yet-to-be-built South Loop condo building, comes from technology.

Using drones to photograph the various vantage points from each floor of a building, allows condo buyers to see the views from inside their new home. This removes the guesswork for condo buyers wondering how fabulous a view will be from any floor, and from any direction. It also enables buyers to get a sense of the neighborhood from a unique perspective.

Read more in Multi-Housing News about how realtors and developers of upscale South Loop condo buildings are making it easier for buyers to visualize the anticipated living experience. To learn more about buying or selling a condo in any one of Chicago’s key neighborhood, please contact

Luxury Real Estate Options in the South Loop

The Loop forms the heart of Chicago’s central business and cultural district. Home to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Art Institute of Chicago, the famous Grant Park and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Loop district is one of Chicago’s best-known tourist attractions and provides a wealth of cultural, economic, entertainment and educational opportunities.

The South Loop is one of the Loop’s most desirable areas, and the South Loop Chicago real estate market is the city’s fastest-growing. Spanning the area between Jackson Boulevard south to the Stevenson Expressway and from the Chicago River to Lake Michigan, the South Loop is home to neighborhoods including Dearborn Park, Museum Park, Printers Row, Burnham Park, Central Station and Prairie District.

Condos and lofts constitute most of the South Loop Chicago homes for sale, with one-bedroom pricing from about $175,000 to more than $300,000. Two-bedroom residences are typically priced around $400,000, with some reaching $1 million. Pricing for three-bedroom townhomes starts around $500,000. Pricing remains stable even with significant growth in the South Loop in recent years.

A South Loop Chicago condo is only a 30-minute drive to Chicago O’Hare International Airport and is close to major highways. The bustling South Loop area is also home to Soldier Field and the Chicago Bears. Grant Park, known as “Chicago’s Front Yard,” is reachable by a short ride on Chicago’s rapid transit system, which serves the Loop area with nine stations. To find out more about the South Loop neighborhood, please call us today.