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
We begin with the first item on our list, views, and note that none of the buildings in the Loop proper qualify as “view buildings.” The exception will be 111 West Wacker, which is slated to open later this year and isn’t included in our selections.
If views are your top priority, you’ll want to focus on the New East Side buildings, most of which have impressive views.
South-facing units at Millennium Park Plaza have spectacular views of Grant Park and Millennium Park. The building’s architect inexplicably provided limited window space to take advantage of those views, which will be obliterated if plans for a high-rise on the site move forward.
Aqua has dramatic views in all directions – from the condo portion of the building, but only from the upper reaches of the apartment floors. The photo was shot from the condo penthouse level.
North-facing units at Coast and Columbus Plaza have outstanding views along the river and of the cityscape from upper floors.
We think first place in the views category goes to corner three-bedrooms at North Harbor Tower, which have 270-degree views from triangular bay windows.
Chime in with a comment if you disagree with our selections.
You’ll find links to our objective, visually-rich apartment reviews of Loop 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: Grocery shopping convenience.