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(Above) Visitors to Cloud Gate along Michigan Avenue. Photo by Chicago Loop Alliance.

6-Nov-23 – Economic activity in the Loop, July through September, continued its return to pre-pandemic levels, according to a new report by Chicago Loop Alliance.

Pedestrian activity on State Street and Michigan Avenue was up in the past year to 75 percent of its pre-pandemic level, thanks to events such as Lollapalooza, NASCAR, and CLA’s Sundays on State, according to the State of the Loop report released on October 25.

A 77 percent occupancy rate among hotels in the Loop in September was the highest-ever hotel occupancy rate in Loop history, said the report, generating revenue of $264 million.

Michael Edwards

“A general decrease in incidents of crime, coupled with consistently improved public transportation, resulted in more workers returning to the office – albeit at a slower pace than hoped – to meet projected recovery rates,” said Michael Edwards (left), President/CEO of Chicago Loop Alliance.

“More international and leisure tourism, major sold-out events, and a very strong residential market created increased pedestrian activity throughout the Loop,” said Edwards.

The alliance also credited “a robust arts and theater scene” with attracting more than 800,000 people to downtown art and cultural institutions, where according to CLA they collectively spent more than $200 million.

“Despite the hard times facing the theater industry in particular, arts and culture remain the Loop’s secret sauce,” said the report.