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The West Loop | Chicago

SITE-SEEING AND LANDMARKS

So what’s the perfect day in the West Loop? Make a reservation at Nia Restaurant for dinner at 7:30pm. Spend a whole day in the area shopping at exclusive boutiques, visiting landmarks, browsing some art, picking some fresh produce in the Fulton Market district, sipping some coffee at the Jupiter Outpost café, and take photographs of the unique warehouses-turned-into-residential-lofts.

Arrive at Nia Restaurant at 7:30pm and sit down with a bottle of Domaine Skouras “Megas Oenos” from Peloponnese, Greece. Start off with a Nia House Salad and order the Garlic Shrimp, Goat Cheese Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, Beef Brochette, and the Chickpee Puree. Then keep ordering at your heart’s delight and try the variety of hot and cold tapas that Nia Restaurant has to offer!

Remember, mezedes are meant to be shared amongst a gathering of close friends and families. The more company, the merrier!

ABOUT THE WEST LOOP NEIGHBORHOOD

Chicago’s West Loop Neighborhood is quarters to businesses and residents who enjoy a dynamic and rapidly growing urban environment. The West Loop is one of the youngest and quickest growing neighborhoods in Chicago. This area is comprised of prosperous restaurants, blooming boutiques and shops, a mushrooming gallery district, and uniquely spacious residential lofts. Visitors are instantly drawn to the West Loop for its food, attractions, and nightlife.

HISTORY

West Loop Chicago

The West Loop neighborhood is undoubtedly one of the city’s up-and-coming trendy neighborhoods. The area was first occupied in the 1800’s by immigrants who were looking for employment. Although few homes were built here, much of the area was a warehouse district – plentiful of factories and businesses. Upon the founding of Greektown in the late 1800’s, commercial sites began to spring into the area.

In the 1920’s, more people of diverse ethnic and religious crowds, flooded into the area. The opening of the Chicago Campus of the University of Illinois (in what is now called the University Village neighborhood) attracted even more inhabitants to the area. Regardless of this increase in population, the area was still a dangerous and undesirable area to reside in.

Two decades ago, the West Loop began a slow but steady transformation. Warehouses were converted to loft building and restaurants were making their presence. Upon the realization of the West Loop’s proximity to The Loop, its demographic began to alter. Today, this gentrification of the West Loop has brought families, professionals, and students to the neighborhood. Once a manufacturing corridor, the now contemporary West Loop is a trendy, art-edgy neighborhood, full of spacious lofts, beautiful art galleries, exclusive retail shops, inviting cafes and fashionable nightspots.

The West Loop area is broken down into these neighborhoods: United Center Park, Little Italy, University Village (home to the University of Illinois at Chicago), Tri-Taylor, Greektown, Maxwell Street: West Loop Gate, Fulton River District, and the Illinois Medical District.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

There are an abundance of high-end restaurants in the West Loop Neighborhood. Randolph Street, where Nia Restaurant sits, is also known as Restaurant Row. Nia Restaurant thrives among the likes of renown restaurants such as Vivo, Sushi Wabi, Redlight, The Publican, Marche, Jaipur, De Cero Taqueria, Avec, Blackbird, and other top-rated restaurants.

With the West Loop’s growth of becoming one of Chicago’s trendier neighborhoods, there are sure to be a number of bars and clubs. After having a delicious meal and wine at Nia Restaurant, enjoy the night at one (or more!) of some of these popular bars/clubs: Beer Bistro, Market, Theatro, Bon V, Pasha, Madpoison Ultra Lounge, Dugan’s, Chromium, and the well-known Plush.

LIVING

The West Loop has changed significantly since its beginnings as an industrial area filled with warehouses. This area is quickly becoming the place to be, with some of the most sought-after living spaces. Often referred to as the Loft District of Chicago, the West Loop is full of condominium and loft buildings that were warehouses in earlier history. These now residential spaces are luminous and well-ventilated with vast windows and unique floor plans. Inhabitants of the West Loop area span from young families to students to professionals.

GALLERY DISTRICT

Chicago’s West Loop is a cultural nucleus, with a gallery district boasting of up-and-coming art. The FLATFILEgalleries deals primarily in photographic art, and provides art to such clients as Ralph Lauren. PRIMITIVE spans 30,000 sq. ft. with 4 floors of authentiic and exclusive: museum grade furniture, artifacts, textiles, jewelry, and fashion from all over the world. Other galleries include Fassbender Stevens Gallery, Packer Schopf Gallery, Mars Gallery, The Architrouve, Kavi Gupta, The MB Gallery, The Thomas McCormick Gallery

Unique festivals and markets also take place during the spring, summer, and fall months. Noteworthy ones include: Taste of Randolph Street Festival, Randolph Street Market Festival, Chicago Antique Market, Pitchfork Music Festival, Walk the West Loop, Market Days, etc.

What better way to pair a fine meal at Nia Restaurant with some art viewing?

SITE-SEEING AND LANDMARKS

So what does the West Loop area have to offer you and your camera?

Everyone knows the Big O! Harpo Studios, home to the world-famous Oprah Winfrey Show, is where the show is taped and where Oprah’s offices are located. The Museum of Holography features an exhibit area as well as a school and is committed to the “advancement of holography as an art form.” The Hull House is the most well-known settlement house co-founded in the late 1880’s and is situated in the University Village neighborhood.

West Loop Chicago

Other historic landmarks that deserve a trip include: Groesbeck House, Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, Union Station, First Baptist Congregational Church, United Center, etc.

From Our Blog:

    • Bachelorette Party at Nia

      Bachelorette party

      Wedding season is here! Now get ready for billowing white tulle, open declarations of love and lets not forget the best of all, bachelorette parties. So if your Best Friend Forever will be tying the knot soon, see her off with something classy, definitely not trashy.

      Where to begin? Our suggestion: throw out any and all ideas involving strippers, rubber penises, Life Saver t-shirts, and scavenger hunts involving the acquisition of men’s underwear. No good can come of these things. You want the bride-to-be to have a night to remember, fondly

      Don’t schedule the party too far in front of the big day, but don’t wait until the last minute, either.  a good time frame is anywhere from six weeks to a month before the wedding. A bachelorette party scheduled too early can feel anticlimactic, whereas one scheduled right before a wedding can bump up against the bride’s nerves, and might interfere with pre-wedding dieting or exercise. (We are not endorsing bridal boot camp or any crazy weight loss practice that has its own show on E, but you know we all know people that do the whole pre-wedding diet thing often, so it would be wrong to pretend it didn’t happen.) And forget the whole night-before-the-wedding thing. Nothing worse than being hung over on a day you know you’ll spend being stared at by people and photographed.

      Be sensitive to other people’s budgetary constraints, and don’t make the bride pay for anything. According to the Knot, while it’s customary that a host pays for a bridal shower, the attendees pay for the bachelorette party themselves — and the bride doesn’t pay for anything. If you are the one organizing, the event, do make sure attendees know this, and of course be sensitive to what they can afford in order to avoid any type of embarrassment or hurt one’s feelings. A wedding party consisting of mostly 24-year-old recent college graduates with roommates aren’t going to be able to afford to spend the same kind of money as a group of 32-year-olds with professional degrees and condos. And don’t force anyone to be there — the wedding party is already expending considerable time and cost to help the bride celebrate, and costs can really add up.

      The bachelorette party is supposed to be a time for the bride to hang out and relax with her girl friends, and unless the bride specifically requests that the theme for her party be An Evening of Cocks (because some ladies really love that stuff, and more power to ’em), try something different. Instead, get creative. Tapas at Nia is a great way to do that! A tapas style luncheon or dinner allows th bride and her friends the hang out before the main event.  If she’s a party girl, plan a “cocktail party” with girlfriends, martinis, and passed appetizers or appetizer stations. Tapas is a perfect solution for either type of party. And if strippers are a must, our private dining room is completely private and has a seperate entrance.

      Let Nia help you with all of the little details from decorations to music. Conveniently located in the heart of Chicago’s “Restaurant Row” Nia is easily accessible from the loop, by public transportation and the expressway making one less thing for you and your guests to worry about. Get ready to relax, share food, laughs and good company in a memorable setting at Nia.

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