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