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Get a glimpse into the Magnificent Mile

The Magnificent Mile, often referred to as The Mag Mile, is the place to be when it comes to shopping and entertainment in Chicago. It is the high-end section of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue and runs from the Chicago River to Oak Street. The vibrant area is quite possibly the most famous shopping place in the world and one of Chicago’s most attractive neighborhoods for visitors and locals. Let us dive further into the Magnificent Mile and look at what places to visit, where to eat and shop, and where to find a place to stay.

the magnificent mile

About the magnificent mile

The Magnificent Mile has a mix of high-end restaurants, stores, commercial buildings, and hotels all of which cater to visitors and tourists. It includes about 3.1 million square feet of retail space, 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 51 hotels and several other attractions. The Magnificent Mile garners up to 22 million visitors every year. It is not all about shopping and eating at the Magnificent Mile, you will also find a lot of cultural attractions that you can explore.

Things to See and Do

  • The Wrigley Building – As you twist and turn your way around Michigan Avenue, you won’t be able to miss the lofty Wrigley Building. It stands watching over the banks of the Chicago River and is easily one of the most noticeable buildings in the Windy City. It was built in 1920 by William Wrigley Jr. and has one of the most unique designs of a building you will ever see. It was inspired in part by the Seville Cathedral in Spain. It can be a must-see sight when the skyscraper is lit up at nighttime. You can take a guided tour of the Wrigley Building and find out all about its rich history and design. You will also find out how it was a crucial communication center during World War II.
  • Tribune Tower – It is yet another magnificent piece of architecture to admire along the Magnificent Mile. The 463-foot tall, 36-floor Gothic-style skyscraper is set on the banks of the Chicago River and is one of Chicago’s most stand-out buildings. Once you keep moving along Michigan Avenue, you will be able to admire the tower’s superb granite and lime front. There are pieces of other famous buildings from around the world such as the Great Wall of China and a stone from the Berlin Wall collected over here. The Tribune Tower was built in 1925 by the Chicago Tribune newspaper as their headquarters. While you are there, do not miss the Chicago Tribune’s printing plant museum which is next door. You will be able to see original printing presses from its early days.
  • North Bridge – You are guaranteed to have an exciting time shopping from the shops at North Bridge. They promise and deliver a world-class experience like no other when it comes to shopping. There are over 50 retailers including department stores, specialty shops, and wonderful places to have a bite. At the North Bridge, you will find high-end shops such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry, or Gucci and other affordable options such as H&M or Zara. It is not all about shopping as you can relax and have fun as well. There are several coffee shops and restaurants to relax and enjoy food. Make sure if you visit Chicago during the holiday season that you do not miss the shops over at North Bridge
  • Water Tower Place – It is situated in the heart of the Magnificent Mile and is one of Chicago’s must-visit attractions if you are looking to shop, eat, or simply explore the city. Draw your eyes towards the six-story atrium which is full of natural light and swarming with activity. Inside the Water Tower Place, you will find over 100 restaurants and stores. It has something for every person regardless of your budget or taste. Other than eating and shopping, you can also catch a movie at the AMC theatre or check out the exhibits at the Chicago Sports Museum.
  • 360 Chicago – At 360 Chicago, you can enjoy the city from a bird’s eye view and catch some of Chicago’s finest views from the observation deck. It gives you a panoramic view of Chicago city that you won’t easily forget. 360 Chicago is located on the 94th floor of the legendary John Hancock Building on Michigan Avenue. It is named 360 Chicago because it gives a 360-degree view of Lake Michigan and the city from the observation deck. While you are there, you can also enjoy exhibitions and displays that give out interesting information about the city’s rich history and culture.
  • 900 North Michigan Shops – If you have not had your fill of retail shopping yet, head to 900 North Michigan Shops for more upscale shopping. It is set within one of Chicago’s lofty skyscrapers and offers the perfect place to find sophisticated gifts and styles for everybody. Explore the mall or go to one of the 70 retail shops in the tower.
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Eat & Drink

If you are not sure about where you will be able to eat & drink at the Magnificent Mile, let us give you a little insight into the various cafes, coffee shops, and other fine establishments around the place with some spectacular views.

The Grand Luxury Cafe is a place to go if you are looking to enjoy a tasty meal with a lively atmosphere. You can relax, enjoy the ambiance, and have fascinating globally inspired dishes that will leave your mouth watering for sure. Make sure to leave some space for dessert as their Chocolate Cake is unforgettable.

At the Michelin star Purple Pig, you will have a world-class Mediterranean culinary experience. The food and wine are nothing less than majestic. Some dishes you can enjoy include creamy burrata, seared octopus, crispy lamb belly, and mortadella and all these come packed with pickles, jams, and meats.

Nothing beats the Signature Room at the 95th when it comes to stunning views and a remarkable dinner. It is on the 95th floor of the former John Hancock Center and it is a perfect place for romance.

If you are a person who enjoys craft brews, head to the Crushed Giants Brewing Company next. You can sip larger IPAs and snack on gourmet and loaded fries.

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Where to Stay

There is a wide array of mid-to-luxury range hotel accommodations available in the Magnificent Mile. Some of these are listed below.

  • Omni Chicago All Suites – It is a short walk from 360 Chicago and has top-notch amenities and stylish suites.
  • The Gwen – Located on Michigan Avenue, it is a place that won’t disappoint.
  • The Peninsula Chicago – It is a 5-star luxury retreat with amazing city views and high-end amenities.
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If you are coming to the Magnificent Mile directly from the airport you can use the Chicago Transit Authority. Midway, take the orange line to Roosevelt. Exit at Roosevelt for the Red Line. Take the Red Line to the Chicago stop. Walk approximately two blocks to Michigan Avenue. Go Airport Express offers airport shuttle service between the Chicago area and O’Hare and Midway Airports.

If you are taking the Metra, it is quite easy and convenient to do so. From Union Station, by bus take the 151 at Adams and Canal to North Michigan Avenue. Get out anywhere between Wacker Drive and Oak Street. From Ogilvie Transportation Center, by bus take 157 at Adams and Canal to North Michigan Avenue. Get off anywhere between Wacker Drive and Oak Street.

There are plenty of cabs available all around the city to take you to the Magnificent Mile. If you are driving, from the north go south on Lake Shore, drive and exit at Michigan Avenue. From northwest, take I-90/94 to Ohio Street then east to Ohio Street/Grand Avenue.

You can get up to 4 hours of parking near the Magnificent Mile for just $12. Most major shopping centers have parking garages and valet services. Many of these also over packages and overnight parking as well.

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