Magnificent Mile Highlights-Reviews

Chicago Contemporary Art

Attractions and Landmarks

Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Avenue

The Museum of Contemporary Art, or the MCA, as it is affectionately called by Chicagoans, is housed in a structure that itself seems like a contemporary work of art. The huge glass and stone building, housing over 6,000 objects of art created after 1945, is one of the country’s largest collections of contemporary art.

Inside the building there is a gift shop, a bookstore, a 300-seat theater, a huge garden with views of Lake Michigan, and a restaurant featuring food by the famous chef, Wolfgang Puck.

Lookingglass Theatre at Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Avenue

Located at the Water Tower Water Works, the Lookingglass Theatre Company hails itself as “Theater Without a Net”, striving “to redefine the limits of theatrical experience and to make theatre exhilarating, inspirational, and accessible to all.”

Lookingglass Theater, Chicago

Lookingglass Theater, Chicago

Attractions and Landmarks

Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E. Chicago Avenue

The Museum of Contemporary Art, or the MCA, as it is affectionately called by Chicagoans, is housed in a structure that itself seems like a contemporary work of art. The huge glass and stone building, housing over 6,000 objects of art created after 1945, is one of the country’s largest collections of contemporary art.

Inside the building there is a gift shop, a bookstore, a 300-seat theater, a huge garden with views of Lake Michigan, and a restaurant featuring food by the famous chef, Wolfgang Puck.

Lookingglass Theatre
821 N. Michigan Avenue

Located at the Water Tower Water Works, the Lookingglass Theatre Company hails itself as “Theater Without a Net”, striving “to redefine the limits of theatrical experience and to make theatre exhilarating, inspirational, and accessible to all.”

Co-founded by David Schwimmer, the Lookingglass Theatre Company believes in early drama education and offers several community outreach programs.

Inside the building, there are two stages, as well as a lobby, dressing rooms, concession areas and offices. The main stage seats 270 people. The Water Works is still a functioning water-pumping station, although it has undergone several renovations and is not the only pumping station Chicago uses.

Visiting Magnificent Mile is one of the best things to do in Chicago, and there are so many fun things to do in the area. Schroll down to find out more on shopping, dining and more on beautiful Magnificent Mile!

Hotels near Magnificent Mile

$800
$0
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5
Hotel Info Nightly Rates*
Trump International Hotel Chicago
5
Located in Near North
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Bar/LoungeBusiness ServicesConciergeFitness CenterFree InternetLakesidePet-FriendlyBusiness Center

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The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Chicago
4.5
Located in Magnificent Mile
Bar/LoungeBusiness ServicesConciergeFitness CenterFree InternetLakesidePet-FriendlyBusiness Center

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MileNorth Hotel Chicago
4
Located in Gold Coast
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Crowne Plaza Hotel Chicago Downtown
4
Located in Gold Coast
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The Allerton Hotel Chicago
4
Located in Gold Coast
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Restaurants near Magnificent Mile

Attractions near Magnificent Mile

Venue Info Location
Lakefront Neighborhood Tour Located in Streeterville ActiveFamily FriendlySights of Chicago

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360 Chicago Located in Gold Coast CulturalFamily FriendlyHistoricMuseumSights of ChicagoRomanticScenicShopping

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Children's Museum Located in Gold Coast ArtsyCulturalFamily FriendlyHistoricMuseumSights of Chicago

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Chicago Museum Located in Gold Coast ArtsyCulturalFamily FriendlyHistoricMuseumSights of Chicago

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Contemporary Art Museum Located in Gold Coast ArtsyCulturalHistoricMuseumSights of ChicagoRomantic

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Odyssey Chicago Cruises Located in Navy Pier Family FriendlyHoliday FunNightlifeSights of ChicagoRomanticScenic

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Tastebud Food Tours ActiveCulturalFamily FriendlyHistoricSights of Chicago

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Chase Limousine Tours Located in The Loop Family FriendlyHoliday FunNightlifeSights of ChicagoRomanticScenicSports

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*Terms & Conditions: Offers, promotions and rates subject to change and may vary based upon date, length of stay and other factors. Some offers do not include taxes and fees. All offers based on availability and are subject to change without notice.

Hancock Observatory, Chicago

Hancock Observatory, Chicago

John Hancock Observatory
875 N. Michigan Ave

Located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock building, the Hancock Observatory features an open-air skywalk that allows you to actually feel the air 1,000 feet above Michigan Avenue. With views in all four directions, you can see 80 miles into the distance. There are guided tours available in English, Spanish and German, as well as numerous activities on the observatory deck, such as a wall of historic photos and a high-tech interactive tour of other Chicago attractions. The observatory is open daily from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm. For information on tickets, call 1-888-875-VIEW.

Horse and Carriage Ride
The Noble Horse Company offers horse and carriage rides around the city; you have your choice of touring Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue, or a combination of both. The carriage drivers are dressed in traditional capes and fur hats, the horses wear old-fashioned blinders and shoes, and the entire experience is suffused with a historical, old-world feeling.

Rates: $35 for 30 minutes, $50 for 45 minutes and $70 for a full hour.

For more attractions/landmarks, please see the directory at the end of this article. Also, see our complete list of Chicago Attractions.

Shopping on Magnificent Mile

Shopping is one of the main attractions on the Magnificent Mile. With over 400 shops along the eight-block stretch, there is literally something for everyone. There are higher-end shops such as Coach and Louis Vuitton, fine jewelers such as Cartier and Tiffany Co., and various clothing stores such as Banana Republic and Ann Taylor.

For kids, there are American Girl Place and The Disney Store. For shoe-lovers, there are Nine West and Aldo. There are lingerie stores (La Perla, Victoria’s Secret), home furnishings stores (Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel) and specialty stores such as NikeTown and Aveda.

There are several malls that combine shopping and dining. These include 900 North Michigan, Water Tower Place at 835 N. Michigan Ave, 700 North Michigan and The Shops at North Bridge at 520 N. Michigan Ave.

For a more extensive list of places to shop, please see the directory at the end of this article. Also see our Magnificent Mile Shopping Map & Directory.

Places to Eat near Mag Mile

Ditka's Chicago

Ditka's Chicago

Ditka’s
100 E. Chestnut St

If you are not a football player, you will need the appetite of one. Ditka’s Restaurant serves up gigantic portions of hearty food. With low lighting and jazzy background music, the dining room at Ditka’s is considerably more austere than the Cigar Bar upstairs or the bar/lobby downstairs. However, true to its name, the walls in the dining room are completely covered with Bears memorabilia, as well as sports paraphernalia from various other football teams.

The décor is interesting to study while you wait for your food, but once the food does come, you will find that it has your undivided attention. As an appetizer, try the roast beef nachos; the exuberant amounts of meat in this dish make it a meal in itself. Have only a few bites and then wrap the food away, for the main courses prove to be even heartier than the appetizers.

The Fridge Burger is the only burger on the menu, but this half-pound burger can be customized exactly as you want it. It is a solid choice for the less adventurous diner.

If you are in the mood for steak, you will find every size and cut imaginable on this menu. There are steaks for every appetite and budget; our pick was the chicken fried steak with came slathered in a hamburger gravy. If you order this steak, loosen your belt: you will be full long before you’ve made a dent.

All entrees come with your choice of sides; try the baked potato. It resembles a small football more than a vegetable; at almost a foot long and several inches wide, it takes courage to tackle.

The dessert choices are all winners, but be sure to share. The chocolate layer cake is actually one-fourth of an entire cake, and can feed at least 6 people. The (massive) portion you are forced to take home will serve as dessert for several days.

Signature Lounge at John Hancock Building
875 N. Michigan Ave.

The Signature Lounge is on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building; it is the highest point a visitor can reach at the Hancock. The Signature Room, one floor below, is a restaurant, while the Lounge is an intimate bar. The Lounge welcomes you to order one drink and then relish it slowly as you marvel at the view.

The interior of the lounge is dimly lit with sparsely decorated walls; the tone is classy but quiet. There is swing music playing softly as people speak in low voices. This lounge is welcoming, cozy, comfortable: unlike many lounges, there is not a hint of din or clamor.

The wine and champagne selection is extensive, and there are finger foods such as small sandwiches offered as well. The order is served in only five minutes and you are then free to enjoy your food and the view.

And what a view it is. At the northern end of the Loop, facing south, the Hancock is situated perfectly: you can gaze out for miles at the Loop and beyond. High above the city, looking down upon it, you are struck with awe at the city that is Chicago; the enormity of the city is difficult to grasp even at this great height.

Ghirardelli
830 N. Michigan Ave.

Furnished like an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, Ghirardelli is the perfect place to stop for a quick hot chocolate or a heaping scoop of ice cream. There is table seating on one side of the restaurant and a long soda parlor bar on the other.

Order anything on the menu; just about every item will be decadent, rich, high in calories and sure to please. The hot chocolate comes in a mug that is as large as a soup bowl; they even provide you with a spoon in case you can’t lift the mug!

The woman at the front door offers you free chocolate samples from a large wicker basket, the waiters have paper hats on their heads and grins on their faces, and the general tone of the parlor is that chocolate is something to celebrate. Walk into this parlor and join the fun.

For more places to eat, please see the directory at the end of this article. Also, see our North Michigan Avenue Dining Map & Directory.

Chicago Bars/Clubs

Cigar Bar at Ditka’s
100 E. Chestnut

The Cigar Bar is located on the second floor of Ditka’s Restaurant. Dimly lit and crowded, the focal points of the Cigar Bar are the two large flat-screen television sets. The televisions play football more often than not. The décor of the bar is masculine; the dark wood and cigar smoke add to this Men’s Club aura. The bartenders are friendly and the bar has an intimate, cheery air.

Magnificent Mile Hotels

Drake Hotel Chicago

Drake Hotel Chicago

Drake Hotel
140 E. Walton Place. 312-787-2200.

Perhaps one of Chicago’s most famous hotels is the Drake Hotel. Located at the northern end of the Magnificent Mile at 140 E. Walton Place, the Drake can be seen from Lake Shore Drive. Opened in 1920, it has a reputation for luxury and elegance. The hotel has 537 rooms, all with modern amenities. The hotel offers three fine restaurants, a fitness room, a business center, 24-hour room service and a host of other services.

For more hotels, please see the directory at the end of this article. Also see our North Michigan Avenue Hotels Map.

Chicago Tours

Chicago Architecture Foundation Tours
224 S. Michigan Avenue.

Several tour companies offer tours of the Magnificent Mile. The Chicago Architecture Foundation specializes in walking or river tours, and is well known for its detailed, lively descriptions of the buildings you encounter on the Mag. Mile. Tours are led by people who have a genuine passion for Chicago’s architecture, and each tour is unique, animated and interactive.

Directory

More Attractions:

  • Drury Lane Theater, 175 E. Chestnut St.
  • Atlas Galleries, 535 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Freedom Museum, 445 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Hilligoss Galleries, 520 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Terra Foundation for American Art, 664 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Loyola University Museum of Art, 820 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Loews Theater, 600 N. Michigan Ave.

More Landmarks:

  • Wrigley Building, 410 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Chicago Tribune Building, 435 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Original Water Tower, 806 N. Michigan Ave.

More Shopping:

Apparel:

  • Banana Republic
  • Benetton
  • Hugo Boss
  • H&M
  • Ann Taylor
  • The Gap
  • Guess
  • The Original Levi’s Store
  • Express
  • Saks Fifth Avenue

Budget:

  • Filenes's Basement
  • Marshall's

Children:

  • American Girl Place
  • The Disney Store
  • Galt Toys and Galt Baby
  • Madison and Friends
  • Lego

Department Stores:

  • Bloomingdale's
  • Lord & Taylor
  • Macy's
  • Nieman Marcus
  • Nordstrom
  • Saks 5th Avenue
  • Fine Jewelers:
  • Cartier
  • Tiffany Co.
  • C.D. Peacock Jewelers
  • Van Cleef & Arpels
  • LaliqueHigh-End:
  • Coach
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Burberry
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Gucci
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Chanel

Home Furnishings:

  • Pottery Barn
  • Crate & Barrel
  • Room & Board

Lingerie:

  • La Perla
  • Victoria’s Secret

Shoes:

  • Nine West
  • Aldo
  • Cole-Haan
  • Hanig’s Footwear
  • Johnston & Murphy
  • Avventura
  • Specialty Stores:
  • Apple Computer
  • Borders
  • Nike Town
  • Aveda
  • Hammacher Schlemer & Co
  • Nascar the Official Store
  • North Face
  • Chicago Harley-Davidson Store
  • Garrett Popcorn Shops
  • Emporium Luggage
  • Sony
  • Virgin

More Places to Eat:

  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • Cafe Salsa
  • Cheesecake Factory, 600 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Corner Bakery
  • Grand Lux Café, 600 N. Michigan Ave.
  • The Grill on the Alley
  • Mity Nice Grill
  • Oaktree
  • Potbelly Sandwich Works
  • T.G.I.Friday, 153 E. Erie St.
  • Tucci Benvech
  • Tuscany Cafe
  • Rosebud, 720 N. Rush St.
  • Bistro 110, 110 E. Pearson St.

More Bars/Clubs/Nightlife:

  • Signature Lounge on the 96th, 875 N. Michigan Ave.
  • The Redhead Piano Bar, 16 W. Ontario St.

More Hotels:

  1. Red Roof Inn Chicago, 162 E. Ontario St.
  2. Le Meridien Chicago, 521 N. Rush St.
  3. Omni Chicago Hotel, 676 N. Michigan Ave.
  4. Sheraton Chicago, 301 E. North Water St.
  5. The Tremont Hotel, 100 E. Chestnut St.
  6. Westin Michigan Avenue, 909 N. Michigan Ave.
  7. Radisson, 160 E. Huron Ave.,

More Tours:

  • Wendella Sightseeing Boats, 312-337- 1446
  • Chicago Trolley, 888-533-7446
  • Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, The Great Chicago Fire, 312-567-8533

Magnificent Mile Web Links:

Chicago Neighborhood Information

See our Chicago Neighborhood Overviews & Map.