Unique among the colleges in Chicago, Loyola offers a campus on the serene shores of Lake Michigan as well as a campus in the cosmopolitan bustle of downtown—spanning the whole of what this world-class city offers. Chicago serves as an expanded campus for Loyola students, providing endless opportunities for cultural and professional experiences.
Just as Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, each of Loyola’s campuses retains its own identity and sense of a collegiate community within its larger urban environment. Learn more about the best college campuses in Chicago—then schedule a visit to see them for yourself.
The Chicago metropolitan area is home to more than 8 million people, with 2.7 million residing within city limits. It's home to innumerable museums and cultural institutions; thousands of restaurants; and hundreds of theaters, concert venues, and art galleries. More than 550 parks dot the city, including the magnificent Millennium Park, historic Grant Park, and Chicago’s lakefront playground, Lincoln Park. In sports, Chicago has seven professional teams, from the Bears to the Cubs to the White Sox, not to mention Loyola's own Ramblers.
Chicago’s instantly recognizable skyline and diverse entertainment options have made it a popular tourism destination—as well as the setting for many films, including The Blues Brothers, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Dark Knight, and the latest Transformers movie.
Chicago is the birthplace of the skyscraper and home to such spectacular buildings as the John Hancock Center, Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), the Merchandise Mart, the Wrigley Building, and the new Trump Tower.
Loyola’s Water Tower Campus is located in the shadow of the Hancock Center and the Old Chicago Water Tower that survived the Great Chicago Fire. It's also just steps away from the famed Magnificent Mile shopping district. It’s also just minutes away from Millennium Park, the Chicago River, the theatre district, Soldier Field, the Museum Campus, and more. Make sure to leave time during your visit to take in the view from the observation decks atop the Hancock or Willis towers, see your reflection in Cloud Gate (aka "The Bean"), and explore the concrete canyons in the Loop.
A fun and easy way to see the city is by taking a tour with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Tours are available on foot, by boat, or by double-decker bus and focus on aspects of Chicago’s history and culture in addition to its renowned architecture.
Chicago is famous for its culinary scene. Some popular local specialties include deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs (hold the ketchup), Italian beef sandwiches, and jibaritos. This city caters to all cuisines, and you can use Web sites like Metromix and Yelp to find an option that meets your taste and budget. You can also browse the fresh produce, meat, and baked goods at the Green City Market or one of the many neighborhood farmers' markets.
Chicago comes alive with multiple art, food, and cultural festivals every weekend during the summer—and many more throughout the rest of the year. Sample the city’s best at the annual Taste of Chicago in Grant Park, Ribfest in North Center, or the Roscoe Village Burger Fest. Enjoy the music at Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Music Festival, Jazz and Blues Fest, and numerous neighborhood festivals, or take the Metra up to the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park for a concert under the stars. Peruse art at the Old Town Art Fair or all over the city during Chicago Artists Month in October, and enjoy red carpet screenings at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Be sure to visit at least one of Chicago's many museums. The Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Adler Planetarium all feature impressive exhibits and engage visitors in interactive learning experiences. Notable permanent exhibitions include the Field Museum's “Sue” (the largest, most complete, best preserved T. rex ever discovered), “Journey to the Stars” at the Adler Planetarium, the captured German U-505 submarine at the Museum of Science and Industry, and one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of art in the world at the Art Institute. Most of these museums are located downtown, just minutes from each other on Chicago’s gorgeous lakefront, and the MCA is just steps away from the Water Tower Campus across Michigan Avenue. Don’t forget to also check out Loyola's own museum, the Loyola University Museum of Art.
Chicago boasts countless live music venues, ranging from large arenas like the United Center to outdoor stages like Pritzker Pavilion to more intimate locations like the world-famous Metro, House of Blues, Schubas, and the Vic Theatre. Chicago is a must-stop location for many acts, which means you can find a concert somewhere in the city any night of the week. Pick up a copy of the Reader, Chicago's free alternative weekly, for show listings.
Chicago is a sport-crazy town with famously loyal fans, some of whom are still celebrating recent World Series and Stanley Cup championships. Local professional teams include the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Fire, Sky, Cubs, and White Sox. Many more semi-professional and amateur sports teams call the city home as well, and there are countless opportunities to get involved in competitive sports yourself, both at Loyola and in social leagues. Check the Tribune for game times during your visit.
Loyola's Water Tower Campus is located steps away from Chicago's Magnificent Mile, an international shopping destination just across the street from Water Tower Place. Other popular shopping neighborhoods include the Gold Coast for designer fashion, Lakeview for vintage clothing, and Wicker Park for unique boutiques.
Chicago is home to an extensive network of theatre and performing arts, and, even more notably, improv comedy. Chicago’s famed improv clubs Second City and iO Improv have produced some of film and television’s funniest talent, including Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, Chris Farley, Tim Meadows and Bonnie Hunt.
For more traditional theatre, catch a performance at the Steppenwolf, Goodman, or Chicago Shakespeare theatres, or many other smaller venues. Broadway in Chicago brings hit musicals to the downtown theater district, such as Wicked, The Lion King, and Mamma Mia!
The Lincoln Park Zoo is the largest free zoo in the country. Other popular destinations for animal lovers include the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Shedd Aquarium (the largest indoor aquarium in the world), and Brookfield Zoo in suburban Chicago. There’s also plenty of wildlife in the city’s 552 public parks and county forest preserves. The Chicago Park District maintains several nature areas, including six bird sanctuaries along the lakeshore and in Jackson Park.