The Magnificent Mile is Chicago's answer to the Champs Elysees. This tower-lined stretch of Michigan Avenue runs from the Loop to the Gold Coast, Chicago's ritziest neighborhood. It is home to luxury retailers, upscale department stores, extravagant condos, and fine dining. Development began in the 1920s after the Michigan Avenue Bridge was constructed across the Chicago River.
If you love shopping, you definitely will want to check out the Magnificent Mile. This is one of the best shopping avenues in the world, ranking alongside Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, Fifth Avenue in New York, and the Champs Elysees in Paris. Every major luxury designer has an outlet here, plus high market department stores like Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue. There's nearly 300,000m squared of retail space in all. It's also home to the region's only five-star hotels: the Peninsula, the Four Seasons, and the Ritz-Carlton.
The Magnificent Mile is also another showcase of Chicago's architecture. The Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower are two of the city's most iconic structures. Both date to the early 1920s. The Wrigley Building features a quiet courtyard that's open to the public. It's a nice respite from Chicago's most bustling artery. The adornments in the Tribune Tower's lobby, which is open to the public, include carved figures from Aesop's fables and gargoyles.
The Water Tower and Pumping Station were the city's original waterworks, and one of the few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire. The 47m tower resembles a Gothic castle and still serves its original purpose. The Fourth Presbyterian Church replaced the original destroyed in the Chicago Fire and is one of the city's most spectacular churches. Finally, the observatory atop the John Hancock Center is not to be missed.
No trip to Chicago is complete without a trip down the Magnificent Mile. Even if the unmatched shopping doesn't entice you, the beautiful architecture and electric atmosphere alone make a visit worthwhile. The city's most popular beach, Oak Street Beach, is located at the Magnificent Mile's northern terminus.
Location: North Michigan Avenue
Train: Grand-Red, Chicago-Red