There are some Chicago neighborhoods where the neighborhood and community boundaries are absolute. These are defined by rivers, rail lines, Lake Michigan or other physically obvious borders. Other neighborhoods are nebulous, varied, arguable, disputed, exaggerated, omitted and lied about.
The South Loop is a neighborhood where everyone agrees on three of the boundaries, and argues about the southern boundary. Without question, the northern boundary is Congress, the western boundary is the Chicago River and the eastern boundary is Lake Michigan. As to the southern edge of the South Loop, some will tell you it goes as far south as Roosevelt. Others argue it ends at 15th Street. The more logical end would be at 18th Street others argue, or Cermak, say a different contingent. From Roosevelt to Cermak marks a total difference of a mile.
There is disagreement even between neighborhood associations, historians, local residents and businesses. The greater Community Area south OF the Loop is known as the Near South Side, . Depending on your point of view, the South Loop barely enters the Near South Side, is partially in the Near South Side, or is almost completely in the Near South Side.
The Near South Side, Community Area #33 contains additional areas including Central Station, the Prairie Avenue Historic District and Motor Row District. Together, these neighborhoods offer up amongst the greatest collection of buildings for Chicago architecture fans. The most well known of the buildings are regularly presumed to sit within Chicago’s Loop, though they are all comfortably in the confines of the Near South Side such as Soldier Field and the monumental civic works that are the buildings of the Museum Campus, the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planaterium. It is home to the oldest home in Chicago, the Clarke House, and to surviving reminders of the time when the city’s most famous and wealthy citizens lived along and around Prairie Avenue. There are remnants of Chicago’s Musical past and the historic Motor Row District on South Michigan.
Free-Mini Tour of the South Loop and the Near South Side
On Monday June 15, I will host and lead a free tour for the City of Chicago’s Bike to Work Week touring the South Loop and the Near South Side. We’ll get a chance to visit all of these great sites, all for free, after work, on your bike on Monday June 15. Meet up with us at Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park.
The event is free, but is limited to 150 riders so
And, as much as I hate to Internet yell…..ALL RIDERS MUST WEAR A HELMET. This is a city ride and our ride and we have to insist you wear a helmet on your head. Please bring and expect to wear a helmet, loaners will NOT be available for this ride.
Night Tour of the Near South Side
Later that week on Friday June 19 at 8PM, we will meet at Buckingham Fountain once again for the Night Tour of the Near South Side. The night tours allow riders to catch a unique view of the downtown areas with more reasonable amounts of traffic. In areas of very dense concentrations of significant and impressive architecture, the night acts as a filter to help us focus on ones we can see best at night, offering a great way to experience the city. Come join us for the Night Tour of the Near South Side.
The Rest of the Summer Tour Schedule
The summer should prove very fun indeed. In addition to the two new Near South Side tours, we will also hold two tours for the first time ever for the remaining summer rides. On Saturday July 11, our much delayed debut of the Tour of Evanston will be held beginning at Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston. We will also debut our re-scheduled Tour of Dunning and Montclare on Saturday August 8 at Shabbona Park in Chicago.
I hope to see many of you this summer out and about, or at one of the tours. Thanks for taking a moment to read.