Have you ever heard someone in Chicago referring to “the Loop?” Maybe you’ve even noticed it on the maps inside the trains. Like all major cities, Chicago tends to have its own terms and expressions for local sites and attractions, and the Loop is one of those terms.
In general, a loop is anything — a rope, piece of string, shoelace — that wraps around itself to form a circle. (Think about the two loops that are formed whenever you tie your shoes.) In Chicago, the train tracks form a loop around certain streets downtown, so when Chicagoans refer to THE LOOP they are talking about the streets and buildings downtown that are encircled by the train tracks.
Not all downtown buildings are inside the Loop though, so people will often refer to businesses as being “in the Loop” or “Off-Loop” — much the same way New Yorkers describe theaters as being on Broadway or Off-Broadway.
You’ve probably seen the trains going around the Loop right outside our classroom windows, but if you’ve never ridden the train around the Loop, you should. The view is pretty spectacular. The Brown, Orange, Green, Pink, and Purple lines circle the Loop multiple times throughout the day, so hop on and enjoy the ride!