The Loop is named after the elevated train that makes a loop through the center of the area. The home of Grant Park and Millennium Park, the Art Institute, the Museum Campus and more there are enough free and cheap things to do here that you never have to venture out into other neighborhoods. It’s the center of the city and the most convenient location to all main attractions. Map.
Many websites and guidebooks talk about the Loop as though the sidewalks roll up at 5PM and there’s nothing to do after that. Or that there are no excellent dining options. That may have been the case twenty years ago but it isn’t now. Condos have sprung everywhere along Michigan, Wabash and State Street as well as along east Randolph Drive. Thousands of students live along State Street and Wabash Avenue. Read about it here.
To keep up with the latest news on deals, discounts and free events in Chicago, sign up for the daily Chicago on the Cheap newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook and on Twitter. You can also consult our Calendar.
Free and cheap things to do:
The Chicago Cultural Center offers free music, dance, film, lectures, kids activities and other events year round.
The Chicago Public Library also offers free music, dance, film, lectures, kids activities and other events year round. The main Chicago Library, Harold Washington Library Center is located at 400 S. State Street at Congress Drive.
Grant Park is our main park and offers events throughout the summer. Free art tour Grant Park
Millennium Park (part of Grant Park) is the world renowned park with free things to do all summer: Free things to do in Millennium Park.
Take a walk through the new Maggie Daley Park (part of Grant Park)
The Art Institute is ranked as the World’s Best Museum Free Thursday evenings at the Art Institute.
Save at least 50% on admission to multiple museums and attractions by purchasing either CityPass: Access to five Chicago Attractions on the Cheap or Go Chicago Card: see top attractions on the cheap.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers excellent paid tours year round as well as some free events.
Shop along State Street. Cheat Eats around State Street
Dining and drinking
Where to buy groceries in the Loop:
Target, (Loop), 1 S State St, (312) 279-2133. Typical Target that sells groceries.
Walgreens, 30 N. Michigan, “Super” Walgreens, 151 N. State Street Sells takeaway food, sushi, huge liquor department and more.
Areas adjacent to the Loop: