The Beginner’s Guide to Downtown Chicago Architecture

The Beginner’s Guide to Downtown Chicago Architecture

The Windy City is world famous for its staggering range of architectural styles throughout the downtown business district known as The Loop. One of the best ways to see the iconic buildings near downtown is by taking a Chicago Architecture Tour with Shoreline Sightseeing, but afterwards you can use our Beginner’s Guide to Downtown Chicago Architecture to see some famous sights on foot.

The Monadnock Building

A Shoreline Architectual Boat Tour approaches the Kinzie Street Bridge

Located at 53 W. Jackson Blvd., the firm of Burnham and Root designed the Monadnock Building, and initial construction began in 1891. What makes it unique is that it’s the tallest iron frame building ever built with load-bearing exterior masonry. The bottom floor has many shops, so it’s worth strolling through to enjoy its turn of the century decor.

Chicago Federal Center

Just up the block at 219 S. Dearborn St. is the Chicago Federal Center. It is comprised of three buildings, including a courthouse, a post office, and the famous Kluczynski Federal Building, which is an easily recognized skyscraper in the Chicago skyline. Famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed each building in a stark, minimalist style. The Federal Plaza is also home to a giant, red steel sculpture by Alexander Calder named “Flamingo.”

Marshall Field’s / Macy’s

Further north and east at 111 N. State St. you’ll find the historic Marshall Field’s building now occupied by Macy’s. Arguably the first large-scale department store ever built in the region, Daniel Burnham designed and erected this building in 1907 for Marshall Field & Co. It has the worlds largest Tiffany vaulted ceiling, and you have to dine in the historic Walnut Room after shopping.

Cloud Gate / The Bean

A few blocks east on Michigan Avenue you’ll find Millennium Park, which is home to the famous interactive sculpture named Cloud Gate. Known by locals as The Bean, this hulking stainless steel structure by artist Anish Kapoor elegantly reflects the Chicago skyline on its western side. After taking in the many attractions in the park, you can also stop by the famed Art Institute of Chicago, which is a short stroll to the south.

Shoreline Sightseeing Offers the Best Chicago Architecture Tours

After exploring the downtown Loop district, come enjoy a Chicago Architecture Tour by boat from Shoreline Sightseeing. Take a moment to review our schedule, then see the Windy City’s giants in a whole new way.