February 2, 2023

5 Good-for-You Things to do in South Loop, Chicago

By Amelia Sharp
5 Good-for-You Things to do in South Loop, Chicago

Chicago downtown has a ton to offer for those who love getting outside and engaging in healthy activities. From a large assortment of jogging and running trails, to healthy cuisine and endless opportunities for intellectual enrichment, Chicago is a health-conscious visitor’s dream.

Whether you're staying in a Chicago South Loop hotel while traveling or simply looking for some fun in your hometown. Find healthy things to do to stay fit in your neighborhood in downtown Chicago, there are endless engaging activities for you in Chicago’s South Loop area. We’ve listed five of the best things to do in this vibrant and lively part of town.

 #1: Visit Lakeshore Drive

Start your day with a morning jog or walk along the beautiful Lakeshore drive.

If you're looking for a great workout spot and have a deep appreciation for nature, the trails along Lake Michigan's shoreline in Chicago's South Loop are the perfect activity for you while staying downtown.

This area boasts bike paths and jogging or walking paths. That means fitness enthusiasts of all capabilities can enjoy one of Chicago’s most beautiful views while getting their heart rate up. 

Lake Shore Drive, South Loop Chicago

With plenty of scenic stops along the way and ample opportunities for wildlife viewing, you'll never grow bored on this wonderful part of Chicago's landscape. Plus, with access points at multiple locations throughout Chicago's South Loop, there are no excuses to not get out and experience the beauty of these wonderful paths. You can get some exercise and vitamin D - all while seeing the beautiful city skyline and its most faithful companion, infamous Lake Michigan.

The 5 mile stroll is accessible and can easily be combined with a workout - those keen on fitness could choose to run, while those who may prefer a slower pace can take their time to admire the natural beauty of their surroundings while walking.

Choose one of many trails that span along the lake - whether it's Grant Park's harbor-side pedestrian path or Burnham Park’s aquatic paradise, you are sure to feel inspired and energized after some fresh air.

A jog or walk along Chicago’s Lakeshore drive is the perfect way to start your day. Whether you're visiting the South Loop or a local, immersing yourself in nature and taking in the breathtaking views of Lake Michigan is sure to set you off on the right foot. 

 #2: Visit a South Loop Museum

Next up, if you’re looking to learn more about Chicago’s history or are simply craving some intellectual nourishment, visit one of the most famous South Loop museums, such as the Field Museum or the Shedd Aquarium. The Art Institute of Chicago and The Field Museum are both excellent options for those looking to explore history and art, whereas The Shedd Aquarium provides thrilling underwater encounters with a number of different species. 

Here is a little bit more information about both of these museums:

Lion outside of Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago's Art Institute boasts a world-renowned collection of artwork. Spanning from the prehistoric period to modern art, this museum features paintings, sculptures and photographs from all over the world. Its richly diversified collection ranges from masterpieces by Monet and Renoir, to an extensive collection of American folk art and ancient Greek ceramics. Visitors can also enjoy the museum's special exhibitions which showcase works from some of the greatest artists in history.

Learn more about the Art Institute of Chicago here.

Field Museum Main Hall

The Field Museum of Chicago is one of the largest natural history museums in the United States. Located on Chicago's lakefront, this museum houses a vast collection of artifacts and specimens collected from around the world, which span billions of years of Earth's history. From dinosaur fossils to ancient artifacts, visitors can explore some of nature's most mysterious secrets through interactive exhibits and up-close encounters with biodiversity. The Field Museum offers educational programs for all ages to explore the wonders of the natural world, making it a must-stop destination for any traveler visiting Chicago.

Discover how to visit the Field Museum of Chicago here.

Kid sitting in Shedd Aquarium

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, The Shedd Aquarium is one of Chicago's most renowned attractions. This state-of-the-art aquarium is home to over 32,000 animals from all across the world, including piranhas, otters, seahorses and jellyfish. From immersive exhibits to interactive touch tanks, visitors have the unique opportunity to explore underwater habitats and learn about ocean life in this incredible setting. With its spectacular exhibits and educational programs, The Shedd Aquarium provides an unforgettable experience for nature lovers of all ages.

Discover Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium here.

The South Loop of Chicago is home to a variety of fantastic healthy activities, but don't miss out on a chance to visit one of the area's renowned museums for some intellectual enrichment. Take the afternoon to explore either museum and learn about the Earth or artistic history. Finish up your day with a delicious meal at one of the many nearby restaurants to really round out your experience.

#3 Visit A South Loop Gym

Fit Results Group Fitness Class

South Loop Chicago is home to some of the best gyms in the entire city. This region has hundreds of fitness classes - daily. Whether you're looking for an affordable membership fee, a gym day pass, a variety of classes and services at one gym, or state-of-the-art equipment to do a solo workout, there's something here for everyone. 

From spin classes and boot camps to boxing and yoga, these gyms provide high-quality fitness services that are sure to keep you motivated and fit while visiting Chicago. So if you're looking to get your sweat on in South Loop Chicago, look no further than one of these top gyms:

  1. Fit Results Gym South Loop: For the best group strength training classes and personal training.
  2. 105F Yoga: For awesome yoga classes.
  3. AIR Yoga: For the best aerial yoga classes and core training in South Loop Chicago.
  4. Pure Barre South Loop: For the best pilates and barre classes.
  5. Title Boxing Club or Warrior Evolution MMA for MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes.

#4 Refuel with a Healthy & Delicious Lunch at a South Loop Restaurant

Grilled Salmon and Potatoes with mixed salad

The South Loop of Chicago is full of hidden high-quality culinary gems waiting to be discovered. With hundreds of award-winning South Loop Chicago restaurants, it’s hard to steer you wrong. But we’ll give you our personal best picks.

Farm-to-table restaurants in Chicago offer a tasty and nutritious way to either charge up or refill after a day exploring the South Loop area. Whether it's sandwiches with freshly baked bread, salads topped with locally sourced produce, or mouthwatering nature-inspired cuisine, you're sure to find something on a South Loop restaurant menu that speaks to your taste buds. 

If you value freshness and nutrition in your meals, then a lunchtime stop at one of these beloved locales is definitely a must-do in Chicago for your visit to the South Loop:

  1. Yolk South Loop.

If you're looking for a delicious and nutritious bite, then Yolk South Loop should be at the top of your bucket list. With multiple locations throughout Chicago's South Loop, these bustling breakfast and lunch spots offer an impressive selection of health-conscious meals, from acai bowls to egg white omelets, that won't disappoint (or ruin your diet).

If you're in the mood for something sweet, let yourself indulge in their homemade thick shakes - made without artificial ingredients and packed with protein, fruit and other goodies that will energize your next workout (or nourish your last one). So whether it's pre- or post-sweat grub sesh, make sure to carve out some time to savor the wholesome cuisine at one of the area's Yolk locations. Your taste buds will thank you!

  1. The Spoke & Bird Cafe

The Spoke & Bird Cafe in Chicago South Loop is the perfect spot for people looking for delicious and healthy dining options. With seasonal menus and sustainable ingredients, this local establishment is sure to please every taste and dietary requirement. 

The restaurant's signature dishes include vegetarian-friendly options such as quinoa bowls, delicious salads, and power-packed sandwiches. The cafe also offers gluten-free items like vegan pancakes with coconut nectar syrup or chia pudding with fresh fruit. For those looking for even healthier alternatives, The Spoke & Bird Cafe offers smoothie bowls packed with antioxidant-rich superfoods such as acai berries and maca powder.

  1. Native Foods

Last, check out Native Foods in the Chicago South Loop. This restaurant provides guests with a wide selection of creative, plant-based meals that are both delicious and nutritious. From vegan tacos, enchiladas, and burritos to veggie burgers, wraps, and salads, Native Foods has something for everyone. 

This restaurant's emphasis on sustainability means that all of their dishes are made from organic ingredients that are locally sourced whenever possible. Additionally, the menu features many gluten-free options like cauliflower “tortilla” bowls and protein-packed power bowls. Guests can also indulge in healthy desserts such as raw slices or homemade shakes created with almond milk and coconut cream.

  1. Honorable mention: South Loop Market, Chicago

We didn’t want to leave you without an honorable mention of one of Chicago’s most notorious food markets: South Loop Market. If you're seeking a speedy, inexpensive meal in the South Loop while touring Chicago, then don't forget to pay a visit to South Loop Market. This spot offers quality nourishment - whenever or whatever time of day. This market offers tasty and protein-rich options that cater to those who are conscious of their health and food choices. 

From fish tacos to falafel sandwiches, there are plenty of delicious meals to choose from at the South Loop Market. Additionally, all menu items are labeled with helpful symbols so it's easy to pick out vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free options. With fantastic prices and an extensive selection of nutritious meals, the South Loop Market will fulfill your cravings in no time!

Last, if you’re looking to have some fun come nighttime, there are a variety of incredible South Loop bars. (Just make sure to hydrate properly)!


#5 Get a South Loop Massage

Couple getting massage

Travel and exercise sometimes result in sore muscles, aching joints, and some unavoidable stress. One of the best ways to relax and soothe your muscles from hours of wandering and exploring Chicago's South Loop is to get a massage. Whether you're looking for a deep tissue massage, a Swedish relaxation massage, or an aromatherapy session, this vibrant community has something for every type of health-conscious visitor hoping to unwind.

You can rest easy knowing that South Loop massage therapists offer the highest quality massages, which are tailored to each individual’s needs and desired level of pressure. Enjoy the beautiful views of the South Side right before finding relief from any pain or stress with a South Loop massage. It’s an experience sure to leave you feeling physically and mentally revitalized.

Some of our favorite places for a relaxing or deep-tissue healing massage in South Loop, Chicago are:

  1. Elements Massage South Loop. *This company typically offers massage deals to first-time clients.
  2. The NOW Massage South Loop.
  3. Thai Lotus Bodywork.

There are plenty of things to do in the South Loop that are both fun and good for you. Start your day with a walk or jog along Lakeshore drive, visit one of the many museums in the South Loop, refuel at a healthy lunch spot, or get a massage. You can also head over to Fit Results gym to get real results with expertly-coached fitness classes. 

No matter what you choose to do, you're sure to have a great time in the South Loop. We can’t wait to see you around!

By Amelia Sharp

Amelia Sharp is growth/communications professional and experienced copywriter. She focuses on creating helpful and informative content for large enterprises and rapid-growth startups in the realms of medicine, healthcare, fitness, tech, AI, and beyond. She specializes in creating strategies and generating targeted content for brands such as Healthline, Winalist, and more. With an expansive background in journalism, medical writing, and professional editing, she is passionate about helping brands growth their audiences and helping readers obtain accurate, high-quality information.