6 Things to Do…in the West Loop!

Originally built in the 1850s, Old St. Pat's Church in the West Loop survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

From giant sandwiches to tiny French pastries, there’s so much to eat, see, and do in the West Loop!

  • Catch a train to France: If you need to take a Metra train from or into Ogilvie station in the West Loop, you can end or begin your day’s journey with a trip to Chicago’s new French Market on the north side of the station. There, you can grab breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just a bag full of fresh vegetables, meat, or seafood to take home. Also tempting are the arrays of desserts, like delicate French macarons, refreshing gelato, authentic crepes, or warm baguettes. Whatever your tastes or budget, you can walk away full and happy from the French Market’s array of vendors.
  • Visit a church that survived the Great Chicago Fire: When you visit Old St. Patrick’s Church (also known as Old St. Pat’s) you’ll see a building that is one of Chicago’s oldest public buildings. Originally built in the 1850s, the church survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and you can take a tour. If you visit on July 15 or 16, 2011, you can also attend “the world’s largest block party,” an annual event held outside the church where you can enjoy food, drink, and live entertainment (the Plain White T’s and Barenaked Ladies are this year’s headlining acts). The party also has a reputation for being a singles event: Old St. Pat’s claims that over 70 couples have met at the party and subsequently gotten married.
  • Be inspired by the Haymarket Memorial: Sculpted by Mary Brogger, the Haymarket Memorial commemorates the site of the historic Haymarket bombing in 1886, which has become a powerful symbol for a diverse cross-section of people, ideals and movements. Its significance touches on the issues of free speech, the right of public assembly, and fights for justice and workers rights. The sculpture marks the precise location where the historic events occurred.
  • Sing outside the Lyric Opera House: Chicago’s Lyric Opera House sits on the banks of the Chicago River, with an imposing building constructed in the 1920s. Inside, one of the most world-renowned opera companies performs year round to music and theater lovers alike. Catch a performance between September and March each year and you’ll have an average of eight different productions to choose from, some of which could be world premiers.
  • Grab a hefty sandwich (if you can lift it): Manny’s Deli in the West Loop offers visitors hundreds of reasons to sit down and enjoy a big meal. With a menu of Jewish deli favorites that seems never-ending, you’ll be hard-pressed to walk (or waddle) away hungry after a stop here.
  • Sniff your way to candyland: Any day in the West Loop can be improved by taking in a big breath of fresh air – especially when that air is filled with the sweet smell of Blommer chocolate. Founded in 1939, the Blommer Chocolate Company has been filling the air of downtown Chicago with a sweet “just baked cookie” aroma for almost a century now. Grab a sweet bite at their retail shop at this still family-run business that’s grown to be one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in North America!

For more information on neighborhood, including detailed attractions, shopping, and dining listings, check out our printable neighborhood guide and interactive Google map.

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