Magnificent Mile. Road in Chicago, Illinois

Magnificent Mile

Road in Chicago, Illinois

Michigan Avenue Photo © The West End

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Magnificent Mile

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Magnificent Mile - Magnificent Mile
Magnificent Mile - Magnificent Mile. Photo by Brad Clinesmith
The Magnificent Mile, also known as the Mag Mile, is the largest shopping district in the city of Chicago. It consists of a famous stretch of Michigan Avenue that extends from the Chicago River in the south to Oak Street in the north, and is home to hundreds of shops, restaurants, hotels, and attractions. In addition to being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Chicago, it also ranks highly among other important avenues in the world, such as the Champs-Élysées in Paris and the Gran Vía in Madrid.

History

In 1909, city planners in Chicago decided that they wanted to transform Michigan Avenue into a popular commercial area like the Champs-Élysées in Paris. One of the first steps in this transformation was the construction of the now famous Michigan Avenue Bridge (Wikipedia Article), which crosses the Chicago River linking the north and south sides of the city. Soon after in the 1920s, the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower were constructed along Michigan Avenue, both of which continue to be famous architectural landmarks to this day. However, the area was first dubbed the “Magnificent Mile” in the 1940s by the real estate developer of Arthur Rubloff, who helped to develop and promote the area.

Today, the Magnificent Mile is home to over 400 stores, nearly 300 restaurants, dozens of hotels, and numerous landmarks and attractions. Its immense popularity with visitors and residents alike should come as no surprise given the seemingly endless selection of activities it provides.

Chicago, 2014 -
	Magnificent Mile
Chicago, 2014 - Magnificent Mile. Photo by Greg Wass

Skyscrapers

If you’re interested in architectural wonders, the Magnificent Mile district is the place to visit. It’s home to several of the tallest buildings in the United States.

John Hancock Center

John Hancock Center
John Hancock Center
The 1,127-foot tall John Hancock Center is the fourth-tallest building in Chicago, and was the second-tallest building in the world when it was completed. Its observation deck, 360 CHICAGO, is considered by some to provide the best views of Chicago and Lake Michigan.

Trump International Tower & Hotel

The Trump International Tower & Hotel is a 1,389-foot tall building on nearby Wabash Avenue which was constructed by real estate developer, Donald Trump in the late 2000s. It is the second-tallest building in Chicago and the fourth-tallest building in the United States. If you’re interested in staying in a 5-star hotel with amazing views of Chicago’s beautiful river bridges, you won’t be disappointed.

The
	Magnificent Mile, Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois - Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile, Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Ken Lund

Shopping

There are literally hundreds of shops that you can explore along the Magnificent Mile, from department stores to luxury boutiques. Popular department stores include Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom. If you’re interested in luxury boutiques that aren’t easy to find in most American cities, some of the most famous luxury retailers on the Mag Mile include Cartier, Bulgari; Louis Vuitton, Harry Winston; Prada, Hugo Boss; and Rolex.

There are also three large shopping centers located on the Magnificent Mile, all of which contain a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions.

Water Tower Place

Water Tower Place Mall - Magnificent Mile
Water Tower Place Mall - Magnificent Mile. Photo by archerwl
The most famous shopping center on the Mag Mile is undoubtedly Water Tower Place, an eight-level mall that was one of the first vertical malls in the world. Some of its most popular shops include the Lego store, which features scale models of famous Chicago landmarks made from Lego, and American Girl Place, the flagship store of the American Girl (Wikipedia Article) brand, known for its popular dolls. The tower is also famously known as the home of Oprah Winfrey (Wikipedia
	Article), a famous talk show host and actress who lives in a condo in the building.

The Shops at North Bridge

This shopping center focuses more on luxury stores such as Hugo Boss and Armani Exchange. Its anchor store is Nordstrom, an upscale department store.

900 North Michigan

900 North Michigan is a famous Chicago skyscraper that also happens to contain a large shopping mall. It is the eighth-tallest building in Chicago, and is home to stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Gucci, Banana Republic, and J. Crew.

Dining

There are dozens of restaurants to choose from in the Magnificent Mile district. If you’re looking for an authentic Chicago experience, then you’ll want to find somewhere that serves delicious Chicago-style pizza. There are also plenty of great restaurants that provide American, Asian, Italian, French, and Indian cuisine.

Tips

The Mag Mile is easily accessible using pretty much any kind of transportation: car, bike, train, or bus. However, walking is the best way to enjoy the sights and sounds of the avenue. If you’re visiting in the summertime and don’t like spending too much time in crowds, make sure you know the locations of the stores you want to visit so that you can go directly to them instead of sightseeing as you weave your way through the crowds.

Nearby Attractions

The Magnificent Mile is located near many popular Chicago attractions, most notably Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: May 11, 2015

Pictures of Magnificent Mile

Magnificent Mile
Magnificent Mile. Photo by RosieTulips

Monday Morning. Michigan Avenue. - Magnificent Mile
Monday Morning. Michigan Avenue. - Magnificent Mile. Photo by Phil Roeder

Michigan Avenue - Magnificent Mile
Michigan Avenue - Magnificent Mile. Photo by Teresa Hsu

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