Chicago: Downtown Loop Area


Chicago’s “Loop” area (the area south of the  Chicago River) is a great place to walk around, even if you don’t have a particular destination in mind.  The city is so rich in its architectural heritage, you’ll soon develop a stiff neck, staring upwards.

One building you should visit, or at least admire from the outside, is the Sears Tower.  Surprisingly, it’s not always a prominent feature on the Chicago skyline, depending on where you stand, since the building is on the western side of the loop.  When you’re standing just below it, though, it’s an impressive sight.

An elevator ride to the Skydeck atop the Sears Tower costs about $12 for adults.  Its website tells you exactly what to expect.  One thing you won’t experience at the top is the howling winds at 1,300+ feet, since the skydeck is completely enclosed.

Your walk around town will inevitably take you across the Chicago River several times.  In all, there are 45 movable bridges that span the river, many built in the early 1900’s.  This is the view from State Street looking east (the Wrigley building is in the middle)…

… and looking west.  That tall building on the left is the R.R. Donnelley building.

As you look southeast, you can see the Aon Center (the city’s second tallest structure as of 2006), and right next to it, “2 Pru”, or Two Prudential Plaza.  On the left is the Mather Tower, built in 1928.

Note: This trip was first published in 2006.

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