This post is in partnership with @properties
Moving from a place like Miami to Chicago, you get used to the standard reaction. That reaction is “OMG WHY?” Why would we pack up all our belongings and move from somewhere so sunny, warm and studded with Caribbean restaurants and palm trees, to Chicago? Why would we leave behind almost guaranteed blue skies year-round for months of cold and snow? Around the winter time, honestly sometimes I wonder. But all it takes is a stroll around my neighborhood to remind me of why I love Chicago and why I live here. Let me tell you about my neighborhood, the South Loop!
As the name indicates, South Loop is just south of The Loop, the main downtown area of Chicago. That would be anywhere south of Congress between Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. To the north, it’s bordered by Printer’s Row, which was the printing hub of Chicago back in the nineteenth century. My neighborhood is adjacent to Chicago’s Chinatown, which is filled with extraordinary culinary and cultural places to explore. Bronzeville is one of Chicago’s seats of black culture and history, and that’s just south of my neighborhood. South Loop is near to all of this and more. And it’s right on the outskirts of downtown, so it’s like a quieter, more residential space in the midst of a lot happening.
The neighborhood is really starting to grow rapidly now, but we moved here in 2009 and chose the South Loop for very specific reasons. A lot of that hinged on proximity to the highway for my husband’s job at the time, and also we needed underground parking (in an effort to avoid snow shoveling). Over time we discovered the neighborhood’s unique character and charm. In the summer we can ride our bikes to the lake for a day at the beaches or the museums. We live within walking distance to sporting arenas and outdoor music festivals and one of the biggest convention centers in the Midwest. Our neighborhood is diverse and friendly and convenient, walkable with lots of public transportation options.
I find so much beauty in the everyday moments in my neighborhood. I love it for its diversity and walkability, for the views of our world class skyline. I love that this is a place so close to the city, but so peaceful. If you live here, you’re walking distance to major supermarkets, banks and more gym and fitness places than your average neighborhood. We’ve got access to almost every big box or mainstream retail chain so that’s super convenient. But big box stores aside, I love our local small businesses — so many owned by POC and women. That’s where the character of a neighborhood comes out. So if you ever visit the South Loop and are looking for places to go, you might wanna try some of my favorites!
Akhirah’s makes amazing fresh beignets, pralines and chicory coffee. Burger Point is delicious and makes everything fresh. For a seafood boil experience there’s Asian Cajun and lowcountry. For Jewish deli deliciousness, there’s Eleven City Diner and Half Sour. Being near Chinatown there is a LOT to choose from in terms of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and more. Jamaican? Try 14 Parish. Looking for a sandwich? Steve’s Bite is pretty good. For breakfast, there’s Little Branch Café or The Bongo Room. Thirsty and looking for a fun bar? Try Bureau Bar, M Lounge, Weathermark Tavern or the rooftop at Reggie’s. For a brewery experience, I recommend Baderbrau and Vice. We’ve even got cool boutiques, like L&A Healing Studio (a truly eclectic space featuring fitness classes, indie designers, a Saturday indoor fair and more), Succezz (dope sneaker shop), and Curve Culture Boutique (plus sizes!)
Convenience and location initially drew me to my neighborhood, but the developing character and community of local businesses keep me in my neighborhood. When it came time to quit renting and buy a home, I needed expert advice. We looked around a LOT when the time came to make our decision. I had to consider so many factors and looking at carefully staged photos online wasn’t enough. An expert realtor helped us make the right decision at the right time. So if you’re looking to move to Chicago or within Chicago, you should put yourself in expert hands. @properties is the #1 real estate brokerage firm in Chicago and the North Shore plus numerous city and West Suburban neighborhoods. @properties’ real estate brokers know this city because they live here too, and local expertise is everything when you move to a city that’s so big and exciting and unique.
If you live in Chicago, check out @properties Instagram, where they’re doing a cool campaign for the month of February. #TheLifeWeShare is all about creating community right where you live and finding the beauty in our neighborhoods. And you can win some amazing prizes! All you have to do is snap a photo of how you celebrate the beauty in the everyday moments that make up your life and share it on Instagram using the hash tag #TheLifeWeShare and tagging @atproperties. Follow @atproperties and each week they will announce one winner for a series of special giveaways.
Click here to check out @properties and start that search for your dream home. Their blog also has great info about local neighborhoods. Click here to check them out on Facebook and Instagram, and good luck if you enter #TheLifeWeShare contest – I’m DYING to go to Aire Ancient Baths myself!
This post was sponsored by @Properties, but the opinions are all mine.