Around the Bend

Take a Loop Tour on the Brown Line

Chicago's incomparable architecture is known the world over and one of the best and most affordable ways to check it out — without taking an expert-led architectural boat tour — is to hop on CTA's Brown Line...


Chicago’s incomparable architecture is known the world over and one of the best and most cost effective ways to check it out — without taking an expert-led architectural boat tour — is to hop on the Brown Line. Start by getting on the train at the Merchandise Mart in River North heading toward the Loop. You’ll enter the Loop after crossing a bridge over the Chicago River. Some of the stations and wooden platforms give off nostalgia as you pass by numerous architecturally and historically significant buildings outlined below:

The Harold Washington Library (400 S. State):  ·Constructed of red brick and large granite stones designed in the Beaux Arts style, the library named in honor of Chicago’s first African-American mayor, features large aluminum scenes depicting owls sitting in foliage on the roof’s corners.

The Chicago Theater (175 N. State) – The glowing vertical iconic sign of this historic theater is visible from the train’s windows at the Lake station.

Miller’s Pub (134 S. Wabash) – This is one of Chicago’s oldest and still-operating restaurants. Pop in for an Old Fashioned and 14 oz. prime rib at lunch and pretend it’s 1964.

The Jeweler’s Building (15 S. Wabash) – Designed by Adler & Sullivan, the building is also known as the Iwan Reis Building and is part of the city’s Jeweler’s Row District.

Chicago Board of Trade (141 W. Jackson) – This temple to finance, the CBOT is a gorgeous 45-story art deco building topped by a statue of Roman goddess of agriculture, Ceres. LaSalle Street ends at the building, essentially forming an urban canyon, before starting again farther south of the CBOT.

Palmer House Hilton (17 E. Monroe) – Built by Potter Palmer, one of Chicago’s wealthiest men, as a wedding gift to his wife, the Palmer House is one of the grandest old hotels in Chicago. Its ornate, multi-story lobby offers a peek into Gilded Era Chicago.

Fisher Building (343 S. Dearborn) – Originally constructed in 1896, it is now the oldest 18-story building in the city that hasn’t been demolished.

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