Few places are as meeting-friendly, yet hip and interesting, as Chicago's South Loop, a colorful 74-square-block neighborhood that is home to iconic Chicago museums, lakefront parks and popular South Loop event venues, including gourmet restaurants and luxury hotels.
Once the headquarters of Al Capone, South Loop still boasts a roaring 20s feel with its strong blues and jazz scene, such as Buddy Guy's Legends blues club, owned by acclaimed musician Buddy Guy; as well as the acoustic Jazz Showcase club, housed in the historic Dearborn Station building.
South Loop venues are within close proximity to downtown Chicago and features fantastic public transportation options, including access to all four Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) rail lines. The neighborhood is located only eight miles from Midway International Airport and 20 miles from O'Hare International Airport.
Bordered by two of Chicago's main thoroughfares, Congress Parkway and Cermak Road (as well as the Chicago River and Lake Michigan) South Loop is also home to McCormick Place Convention Center, which is chief among the largest meeting venues in Chicago and in the top tier of facilities in the U.S. Made up of four state-of-the-art buildings, the center features 2.6 million square feet of exhibit halls, 600,000 square feet of meeting space throughout 173 meeting rooms, four ballrooms, assembly seating for 18,000 people, a 4,249-seat theater, three 300-person theaters and 5,000 parking spaces. The center campus is linked by an expansive series of pedestrian promenades and sky bridges that offer retail shops, restaurants and other amenities. What's more, the center is connected to the 800-room Hyatt Regency McCormick Plaza.
Among the dining venues in South Loop that double as private event spaces, Opera serves modern Chinese in a striking setting, while Gioco is a hip Italian restaurant housed in two 1890s buildings (complete with a Prohibition-era speakeasy). Chicago Fire House serves American classic cuisine in a 1905 firehouse, while Zapatista specializes in regional Mexican fare and Kroll's South Loop functions as the neighborhood pub.
Unique venues in South Loop include the world-renowned Field Museum, which showcases more than 35 world-renowned natural history and culture exhibitions, as well as the Adler Planetarium, home to three full-size theaters, space science exhibitions and an astounding astronomical instrument collection. Groups can also gather amongst 32,000 aquatic animals at the awe-inspiring Shedd Aquarium or charter a luxurious Free Spirit Yacht Cruise to sail Lake Michigan or the Chicago River while taking in the Chicago skyline.
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