Why I Love Being a South Loop Mom

Written by: Didi Lewis

I grew up on the city’s north side and honestly never imagined I would be living nor raising my two children in the South Loop.  Yet here we are, just south of Roosevelt Road on a tree-lined street that almost feels suburban until I look north and see the Chicago skyline.  And now I can’t imagine any other neighborhood feeling so right for my family.  I’m almost hesitant to share why I love it so much because family life in the South Loop seems to be one of the city’s best kept secrets. 

I love our proximity to downtown and all that is amazing about our city.  Being this close to the lakefront and so many cultural amenities means we rarely run out of local things to do and places to go.  We can walk to Shedd Aquarium, check out the fish, catch a 4-D movie and a dolphin show, and walk back home – all before lunchtime.

I love that we have no fewer than eight parks within a one-mile radius from our home, not including Grant Park and the Museum Campus. Visit any South Loop playground on a nice day and you’ll find kids of all ages and strollers galore.  Some of our favorite parks include:

·      Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens:  Lush, historic outdoor grounds in the Prairie District, free indoor playspace (with a kids’ climbing wall!), recently renovated fieldhouse, and the newest location of Kids Science Lab

·      Cottontail Park:  Nestled between busy Clark and State Streets, it’s a gated green oasis with a full playground, sandbox, circular pavement perfect for riding bikes and scooters, and great glimpses of the skyline.

·      Ping Tom Park:  Adjacent to Chinatown and on the river, with a public boat dock, brand new fieldhouse, indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, and roof deck with sweeping skyline views.

I love the quality school options the South Loop offers, from a solid neighborhood public school to well-regarded private schools.  Parents of infants and toddlers also have a variety of daycare centers and preschools to choose from. 

I love having quick access to several CTA lines, making family life without a car completely doable.  Parents who work downtown have an easy commute, or can even walk to their offices.  For my family, that translates to more time my husband and I can spend with our kids.

I love seeing more retail and restaurants move into our ‘hood – shopping, dining, a full-amenity movie theater at Roosevelt Collection, and more.  Some of our favorite local restaurants include the city's first outposts of Waffles, Yolk, and Eleven City Diner, and family friendly neighborhood joint Weathermark Tavern, with a fun nautical theme and killer fish fry.  We don’t spend much time driving nor sitting in traffic because we can walk to almost everything we need.

Most of all, I love the incredible diversity and sense of community I feel in our neighborhood.  Every day, my children are surrounded by people of many different cultures – from our next-door neighbors, to friends at school, to playmates at the park.  As a lifelong Chicagoan, I have truly never experienced this kind of diversity anywhere else in the city, and I’m so grateful it exists right here in the South Loop for my multi-racial family.  

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 7:11 PM