Chicago’s Magnificent Mile

Whether you’re a fashionista on a long layover at O’Hare or just a Midwesterner looking for great shopping and a relaxing vacation close to home, Chicago has everything you need.

The Magnificent Mile, a stretch of North Michigan Avenue in the heart of the city, is Chicago’s answer to Fifth Avenue or Rodeo Drive. Located between the main business district and upscale housing units along Lake Michigan, the Magnificent Mile is home to over 400 shops, ranging from classy department stores like Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue, to high-fashion boutiques like Giorgio Armani, Bottega Veneta, and Cartier, to casual American classics like the Gap and Levi’s Jeans. Whatever your taste in apparel and accessories, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile has a store to suit your needs.

But it doesn’t stop there. North Michigan Avenue is also home to unique merchants like American Girl Place, home of hundreds of classic dolls, and the Lego Store, which features everyone’s favorite building blocks. Several art galleries feature terrific displays, and if you really feel like splurging, Gold Coast Bentley is only a few blocks away. The atmosphere and sheer number of great locations makes Chicago’s Magnificent Mile one of the finest retail destinations in the world, sure to please even the most avid shopaholic.

If you decide to take a break from all the shopping, you’ll want to check out the special seasonal celebrations taking place along the Mile. The theme for Spring is “Tulips on The Magnificent Mile”; thousands of radiant tulips line the streets and enhance the beauty of the urban landscape. Beginning in June, the theme changes to “Gardens of The Magnificent Mile,” and this November the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival will usher in the holiday shopping season.

Travel just a few blocks east to the Chicago Children’s Museum at the Navy Pier, or head south to the Field Museum of Natural History on South Lake Shore Drive. Guided tours of the area are available, or visit one of several bike rental companies for a truly unique self-guided tour experience. Several boat tours are also available, offering a fabulous view of the city; most board at the Navy Pier on Lake Michigan, just blocks east of Michigan Avenue.

No visit to the Magnificent Mile would be complete without a chance to experience some of the world’s finest cuisine at one of the dozens of internationally-renowned restaurants that line North Michigan Avenue. Steak aficionados will love Mike Ditka’s Restaurant at 100 E. Chestnut Street, featuring the 30-ounce Tomahawk Steak – be sure to bring your appetite! Or, for a uniquely Chicago twist on a classic dish, try a deep-dish pizza from one of the numerous Giordano’s locations throughout the city.

Should you decide to prolong your visit, the Magnificent Mile offers over 50 hotels priced to meet any budget. All of the Midwest’s 3 five-star hotels are located along the Magnificent Mile. But whether you choose luxurious accommodations at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, or something more low-key, you’re sure to have a wonderful experience at the heart of the city, in Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile.