The West Loop lies along the western bank of the Chicago River. It is bounded by Grand Avenue on the north, Ashland Avenue on the west, the Eisenhower Expressway on the south and the Chicago River on the east. It is the main zone within the Near West Side that is situated as part of the downtown area. Fantastic restaurants line Randolph Street. The area has experienced rapid gentrification and is a haven for young families.
A former manufacturing and warehousing area, many of the buildings have been converted to loft condominiums, restaurants, night clubs, and art galleries. It is also the former home of Harpo Studios, owned by well-known talk show host Oprah Winfrey, and the production site of her syndicated television show. On Monday January 4, 2016, Harpo Studios signs were taken down, officially marking the end of an era.
The Near West Side , one of the 77 community areas of Chicago, is on the West Side, west of the Chicago River and adjacent to the Loop. The history of the Near West Side of Chicago includes the founding of Hull House, a prominent settlement house. The Great Chicago Fire started in the Near West Side. The area is home to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the United Center and the Illinois Medical District.