The Magnificent Mile

You may know the Magnificent Mile as the shopping strip dotting Michigan Avenue, but it is also a neighborhood in its own right. The district is one block east of Rush Street, adjacent to downtown. It is generally considered the western boundary of Streeterville, with River North to the west. North by south, it runs from Oak Street to the Chicago River along Michigan Avenue.

Along this stretch, you will find world-class shopping as well as restaurants, museums and hotels. The Mag Mile was named by real estate developer Arthur Rubloff in the 1940s who envisioned the area as a luxury shopping district. His legacy lives on, as the strip today boasts some of the highest rents in the world—behind Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. 

Magnificent Mile Restaurants

Akin to New York City’s Times Square, many native Chicagoans view the Magnificent Mile as “tourists only.” That said, the supreme dining on the Avenue means they can’t always stay away. The strip is home to Spiaggia, a celeb and politician hotspot for the past 35 years. The Italian restaurant isn’t the only landmark dining on the Mile…There’s also Labriola, which serves up the (arguably) best pizza in the city. You can also find the world’s largest Starbucks, Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, and Eataly.

Magnificent Mile Hotels

Due to its pricey real estate, there are few hotels directly on The Magnificent Mile. So of course, the hotels that are on this stretch of Michigan Avenue will cost a pretty penny. At the North End, find The Drake, a luxury four-star hotel in a landmark 1920 Art Deco building. At the South End of the Mile, there’s the Intercontinental, also a luxury four-star hotel that retains the glamor of the roaring twenties in its legendary 1929 building. Other swanky stays include the Conrad, Omni, Ritz-Carlton, and Four Seasons. Require a more affordable stay? There are plenty of accommodations just a few blocks to the east and west in adjoining Streeterville and River North neighborhoods. These hotels range in style and affordability and include an array of chains including Hilton, Marriott, and Sheraton hotels.

Magnificent Mile Tours and Attractions

The Magnificent Mile has a lot to offer tourists, and to get your bearings, take a trolly or bus tour via Big Bus or Gray Line tours. You can also take in the architecture via First Lady, Shoreline, and Odyssey Cruises, which depart from the base of the Mile on the Chicago River. Then, pop into the Chicago Sports Museum or challenge your brain in The Great Escape Room. The Mile is also home to The Richard H. Driehaus Museum, The Chicago Architecture Center, and The House of Blues.

Magnificent Mile Architecture

The Magnificent Mile is home to an array of landmark buildings designated on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll find contemporary wonders like the One Magnificent Mile Building as well as an array of Art Deco beauties. The Palmolive Building was built in 1929, the Tribune Tower in 1925, and the Allerton Hotel in 1923.

Magnificent Mile Shopping

Of course, the Magnificent Mile is best known for its shopping. The stretch of Michigan Avenue is home to more than 450 retailers. It includes major department stores, luxury designers, independent boutiques, technology hotspots, jewelers, and home goods—literally anything you could ask for. Along with streetfront stores, the Magnificent Mile is anchored by three major shopping centers. You’ll find luxury brands and local boutiques at the 900 North Michigan Shops. One block away, the historic Water Tower Place is the nation’s first mixed-use, indoor shopping center. It is home to The American Girl Store, an array of leading retailers, the Ritz-Carlton hotel, and the Broadway Playhouse. Finally, there are the Shops at North Bridge, boasting a collection of upscale retailers and dining options encompassing a six-block district. Each of the centers are anchored by major department stores.

Magnificent Mile Theater

Among the Mile’s cultural offerings is a diverse theater scene. There’s the Ruth Page School Of Dance, which hosts an array of dance performances and programs. You’ll also find Porchlight Music Theater, which puts on an array of American musicals each year. For Broadway, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place performed world-class musicals through Broadway In Chicago. For contemporary literary adaptations check out the Lookingglass Theatre Company.

Magnificent Mile Festivals and Events

Seasonal celebrations grace the Mile all year long. In the summer, you’ll find the Gardens of the Magnificent Mile Festival, a self-guided landscape display walking tour. There’s also the Summer Concert Series held here and in the winter, the tradition of lighting the trees for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. 

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