Chicago Loop Alliance has extended its free new program to give Chicagoans and visitors an outdoor activity that will lead them off the beaten path downtown: a Loop Mural Walk. The self-guided walk features 21 murals on three routes, for a 2.1-mile combined journey through alleys and other oft overlooked spaces in the Loop. Chicago Loop Alliance announced the walk on June 9, and it was originally set to last through July 4. The organization has extended the program through Labor Day. The Loop Mural Walk is available now through Sept. 6 at LoopChicago.com/MuralWalk.
Featuring work by international household names as well as emerging artists, the Loop Mural Walk highlights a hidden side of the Chicago Loop many may have never seen before. Participants are invited to use their smartphones to follow turn-by-turn directions or forge their own paths to these masterful works of street art, many by artists of color whose perspectives and stories in these spaces are important to witness. While a few of the featured murals are prominent, well-known pieces, many others are more obscure, often left behind after Chicago Loop Alliance’s popular ACTIVATE alley events.
While getting back downtown for this free outdoor activity, Chicago Loop Alliance invites participants to check out exclusive deals from nearby Loop businesses at LoopChicago.com/LoopDeals. So far, according to a survey of people who have taken the Loop Mural Walk, 78 percent said they visited a Loop business before, during or after the walk. Anyone who shares their journey on social media using #LoopMuralWalk is entered for a chance to win a $100 gift card to The Dearborn.
“We’re encouraged by the feedback we’ve received so far on the Loop Mural Walk, so we decided to extend the program through most of the summer,” said Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards. “It really is a fantastic, free way to attract people back to the Loop. And while they’re here, the idea is that they will patronize local businesses and reconnect with the downtown community.”
While there are some well-known murals on the walk, including Eduardo Kobra’s “Tribute to Muddy Waters” on State Street, most are more obscure works hidden in alleys, loading docks and other locations most don’t walk past in their day-to-day lives.
The Loop Mural Walk is broken into three routes, depending on how adventurous one might be feeling. Using a smartphone, anyone can follow one route, two, or all three. The northeast Loop mural route takes participants through lower level streets and past construction zones, offering the most challenging experience. The State Street route leads mural walkers through historic Couch Place alley before heading down State Street. And the southern Loop route begins in the Sullivan Center’s loading dock before leading participants down to Ida B. Wells Drive to see the largest mural Chicago Loop Alliance has ever commissioned.
More information on these routes and the murals themselves, including audio descriptions, can be found at LoopChicago.com/MuralWalk now through Sept. 6.