If you truly want to be in the center of it all in Chicago, then a visit to the Loop neighborhood is in order. The Loop, which includes well-known Chicago landmarks like The Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park, is a must-see spot for both Chicagoans and tourists alike. The area boasts an assortment of restaurants, bars, museums and even public parks. Here’s what you need to do the next time you’re ready to explore Chicago’s Loop.

History Of The Loop

Chicago’s Loop has seen so many historic moments that it’s almost impossible to distill the area’s history into a few sentences. So let’s talk highlights. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 devastated the city, but you can still see some of the structures that survived, including the Chicago Water Tower (which is now an art gallery). Home Insurance Building, the first skyscraper according to The Guardian, was located at LaSalle and Adams Streets and was demolished in 1931. The iconic architecture of the Loop has made it a popular filming location for TV shows and movies.

Eat And Drink:

Flo & Santos
1310 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 566-9817
www.floandsantos.com

You’ll likely work up an appetite after a day of exploring Chicago’s Loop, so consider tucking into lunch or dinner at Flo & Santos. The South Loop restaurant serves up pizza and pierogi, as well as Polish sausage, Chicago-style Italian beef and salads. Flo & Santos also offers an assortment of drinks so you can wash down your meal with beer, sangria, cocktails and more on the menu. The restaurant is near the Museum Campus and Grant Park, making it a quick stop after sightseeing.

Miller’s Pub
134 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 263-4988
millerspub.com

Cool your heels and maybe do some people-watching when you belly up to the bar at Miller’s Pub. The beloved Chicago landmark offers a wide selection of beer, with about 20 types on tap and even more in bottles and cans. Fancy a cocktail? Miller’s Pub pours a number of cocktails, including the Dark and Stormy, The Cisco Kid and Horse’s Neck. On the food side, Miller’s Pub offers salads, seafood, pasta and barbecue ribs. As noted on the pub’s website, reservations are recommended.

Hot Spots: The Chicago Theatre
175 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 462-6300
www.thechicagotheatre.com

Think of the Loop, and you likely think of the area’s numerous venues for concerts, theatrical productions and even stand-up comedy. But if you have to pick just one venue to see a live performance, then consider The Chicago Theatre. Located in the heart of Chicago, the theatre boasts a wide range of performances by musicians, comedians and so much more. The upcoming schedule includes The Lumineers, Martin Lawrence and John Mellencamp, to name just a few of the top acts set to take the stage in the next few months. The Chicago Theatre is also located near a number of top bars and restaurants for a perfect post-show drink or meal.

Must-Experience Events: Taste Of Randolph Street
900 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607
tasterandolph.com

Combine food, music and fun, and you get the idea behind Taste of Randolph Street. Now in its 20th year, the festival celebrates some of the best food in the area. While you’re there, make time to catch a few live performances, as this year’s musical acts include Peter Bjorn & John, MSMR, Atlas Genius and Joshua Davis Trio. The fun times keep going with after-parties, too. This year’s festival will be held June 17-19.

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.