Top things to do

Top Choice Museum in South Loop & Near South Side

Field Museum of Natural History

The Field Museum houses some 30 million artifacts and includes everything but the kitchen sink – beetles, mummies, gemstones, Bushman the stuffed ape – all tended by a slew of PhD-wielding scientists, as the Field r…
Top Choice Blues in South Loop & Near South Side

Buddy Guy's Legends

Top local and national acts wail on the stage of local icon Buddy Guy. The man himself usually plugs in his axe for a series of shows in January (tickets go on sale in November). The location is a bit rough around t…
Top Choice Spanish in South Loop & Near South Side

Mercat a la Planxa

This Barcelona-style tapas and seafood restaurant buzzes in an enormous, convivial room where light streams in through the floor-to-ceiling windows. It cooks all the specialties of Catalonia and stokes a festive atm…
Top Choice Cafe in South Loop & Near South Side

Spoke & Bird

The South Loop has been begging for a leafy patio like the one at Spoke & Bird. Bonus: it's surrounded by several cool old manors in the Prairie Avenue Historic District. Relax with a locally made brew and nifty…
Top Choice Books in South Loop & Near South Side

Sandmeyer's Bookstore

It's not big, it's not flashy and it doesn't host many author events. Instead this small Printer's Row spot offers an old-school bookstore experience of creaking wood floors and jazz piping softly through the speake…
Park in South Loop & Near South Side

Northerly Island

This hilly, prairie-grassed park has a walking and cycling trail, bird-watching, fishing and an outdoor venue for big-name concerts. It's actually a peninsula, not an island, but the Chicago skyline views are tremen…
Breakfast in South Loop & Near South Side

Yolk

This cheerful diner is worth the long wait – you'll dig into the best traditional breakfast in the South Loop. The omelets include lots of healthy options (the Iron Man is made from egg whites and comes loaded with …
Museum in South Loop & Near South Side

Museum of Contemporary Photography

This small museum focuses on American and international photography from the early 20th century onward, and is the only institution of its kind between the coasts. The permanent collection includes the works of Henr…
Pizza in South Loop & Near South Side

Lou Malnati's

Lou Malnati's is one of the city's premier deep-dish pizza makers. In fact, it claims to have invented the gooey behemoth (though that's a matter of never-ending dispute). Not in dispute: the deliciousness of Malnat…
Dumplings in South Loop & Near South Side

Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings

The name doesn't lie: it's all about dumplings in this bright room under bamboo lanterns. They come steamed by the dozen, with fillings such as lamb and coriander, ground pork and cabbage, sea whelk and leek, and so…