Chicago’s best Loop / New East Side apartments – parks, beaches

Chicago’s Loop includes the area known as the New East Side, which in turn includes the Lakeshore East development. You’ll find all of your major apartment options in the Loop and New East Side on our at-a-glance list of downtown apartments.

Our goal is to help you find the apartment that best fits your needs. Renters simply have so many differing priorities – and budget constraints – that singling out an overall best building would be a pointless exercise. We’ll identify the Loop / New East Side buildings that rank highest on each of eighteen different criteria in three main groups:

Location. Views; Grocery shopping convenience; Public transit access; Close to parks, beach; Proximity to the expressway grid; Walking distance to the Loop; Most dining, nightlife nearby; Shopping

Building features. Affordability; Amenities package; Boutique ambiance; Pet-friendliness

Apartment features. Apartment finishes; Private outdoor space; Studio / convertible floor plan; One-bedroom floor plan; Two-bedroom floor plan; Three-bedroom floor plan

If being close to a beach is one of your priorities, you don’t want to live in the Loop / New East Side. None of the buildings are within easy walking distance of Chicago’s beaches, despite Coast‘s deceptive claim to being “your personal urban beachside resort.”

The Loop / New East Side buildings also lack easy access to playing fields and other active recreational activities, and have poor access to the 18-mile-long Lakefront Trail.

There’s a 4.6-acre park within the compact New East Side neighborhood. The park, which provides mainly passive recreational opportunities, includes a variety of shaded areas, seating areas, water features, a children’s play area and a dog park with a doggie drinking fountain.

The Tides, The Shoreham and Coast have the best access to the park and Aqua and North Harbor Tower are a few steps further from it.

New East Side residents also have convenient access to the many attractions and events at Millennium Park, Grant Park and the Chicago Riverwalk.

Millennium Park Plaza has the best proximity to Millennium Park.

The north part of Grant Park, east of Millennium Park, is being transformed into the 28-acre Maggie Daley Park. It’s certain to become a major attraction, drawing year-round crowds to near-magical children’s play areas, a climbing area, a skating ribbon, gardens, tennis courts and more.

North Harbor Tower is a short walk from the new Lake Michigan overlook adjacent to tennis courts at the east end of Maggie Daley Park.

Columbus Plaza and Coast have the easiest access to the Chicago Riverwalk, which is undergoing an expansion. There are a variety of dining and recreational opportunities along the river, and docks for seasonal tour boats and water taxis.

Chime in with a comment if you disagree with our selections.

You’ll find links to our objective, visually-rich apartment reviews of Loop / New East Side buildings, and links to near real-time availability checks for most of the buildings, at our downtown apartments at-a-glance list, and some tips and advice at our Guide to renting in Chicago’s Loop / New East Side.

We’ve also spotlighted the best apartments in River North, Streeterville, the South Loop and the West Loop / Near West neighborhoods.

Next topic: Proximity to the expressway grid.

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