The South Loop/Printer’s Row area is famous for being crowded during Chicago Bears games, but that’s not all the neighborhood is known for. Its prime location in downtown Chicago is the epicenter of tourist attractions and a beloved spot for locals. From Museum Park to renowned jazz clubs, South Loop is the place to be. Here are five things to see and do in the neighborhood.
Founded in 1947, Jazz Showcase is the oldest jazz club in Chicago. Every night of the week, the Jazz Showcase features live music from local jazz musicians and international artists. The ‘#1 Jazz Club in Chicago’ is famous for hosting Jazz legends like Count Basie, Joe Williams, Hank Crawford, and countless others. Admirers of music will enjoy performances by artists, both up-and-coming and established. The vibe inside Jazz Showcase is both intimate and lively, evocative of 1950s jazz clubs.
It’s called Printer’s Row for a reason. This neighborhood within a neighborhood was once the center of Chicago’s publishing industry. While most of the old printing buildings have been converted into lofts, the area honors the neighborhood’s rich history with the annual Printer’s Row Lit Fest in June. On Dearborn Street, the festival offers new and antique books sold by booksellers from across the country, panels with over 200 authors, and an arts and poetry stage. The free two-day event is a book lover’s dream.
Founded in 1976 by Columbia College Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography presents a collection of modern photography from artists and photographers. The Museum of Contemporary Photography also works with local and regional communities to foster a increased appreciation of the arts, both on an educational and artistic level. In collaboration with Columbia College, the Museum holds exhibits on a range of topics relevant to today’s audience. Previous exhibitions have included topics on Chicago youth, Black masculine identity, and motherhood.
Surely the only place in Chicago to transport you out of this world is the Adler Planetarium in the South Loop neighborhood. The Adler Planetarium was first opened in 1930 by Chicago businessman Max Adler, who planned for the museum to be a ‘classroom under the heavens.’ Today, it is just that. Overlooking Lake Michigan, the Adler Planetarium offers shows, events, and exhibits focused on the exploration of the universe. Experience the moon landing from the perspective of a NASA captain, view an 18th-century model of the solar system, look through the Dearborn telescope, or take a journey through the galaxies.
A stop in the South Loop is not complete without visiting the Field Museum of Natural History. Originally created as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, the Field Museum still remains, and currently features 30 permanent natural history exhibitions. Once inside the massive museum, take a walk through the workings of ancient Egypt, explore the civilization of the Aztec empire, view the hall of exquisite gems and rare jewels, or marvel at Sue, the largest and almost fully complete Tyrannosaurus Rex ever uncovered. By Alyssa Reyes