Running from the Chicago River to Oak Street on Michigan Avenue, The Magnificent Mile holds an array of Chicago’s premier shopping locations. This upscale stretch of the Near North Side is adjacent to downtown, and serves as the main stretch between the Business District and glitzy Gold Coast. Here, you’ll find an array of shopping centers anchored by department stores like Bloomingdale’s Nordstrom, and Macy’s.
The Magnificent Mile
Today, this stretch of Michigan Avenue on the Near North Side is considered Chicago’s largest shopping district. But this wasn’t always the case. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, State Street (anchored by the historic Marshall Field’s) was the city’s main retailing center, thanks to the cluster of mass transit there. But by the 1920s, commuter suburbs were sprouting retail districts of their own.
The concept for this shopping district was part of the 1909 Burnham Plan of Chicago, and the name “The Magnificent Mile” was coined by real estate developer Arthur Rubloff in the 1940s. Today, it is truly magnificent. The 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue features more than 460 stores, 275 restaurants, and 60 hotels as well as an array of entertainment venues along the way.
There are a lot of options for accommodations on or near The Magnificent Mile. Many are pretty swanky, including The Peninsula Chicago, Warwick Allerton, Omni Chicago, and InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile.
Dining options are equally plentiful. In fact, deep dish pizza was first created by Lou Malnati just two blocks from The Magnificent Mile. Enjoy local favorites like a classic Chicago Dog, Eli’s Cheesecake, and famous flavors at Garrett Popcorn Shops.
The Magnificent Mile Shops
The Magnificent Mile has more than 460 stores, so it is impossible to chronicle them all. The best way to shop this area is to start on Michigan Avenue and E Lake Short Drive and work your way down. The Magnificent Mile is anchored by three vertical shopping malls. At this northernmost point, you’ll find 900 North Shops. You can’t miss it, look for the 184-foot LED canopy. The impressive facade leads to a luminescent entry portal and an array of retailers within. 900 North is anchored by Bloomingdale’s. This upscale department store is home to distinctive products from designers like Canali, David Yurman, Lafayette 148, Rimowa, Chloé, and Roberto Coin.
Along the way, you’ll find an array of every type of shopping imaginable. Shop sports shops for a new jersey, luxe cosmetics and beauty outposts, home goods shops, jewelry stores, footwear boutiques, and even posh shopping for pets. There is no shortage of high-end designer offerings as well, with locations like Guicci, Louis Vuitton, St. John, Cartier, Carlisle, Burberry, and Coach.
Across from the mall are an array of upscale retailers. You’ll find Louis Vuitton Chicago next to David Yurman and BVLGARI. Don’t worry if you don’t have an unlimited budget. Head a few blocks south to E Chesnut Street and you’ll hit some more accessible options. Shop H&M, Uniqlo, Topshop, and Columbia Sportswear.
Across the street is the second vertical shopping mall: the historic Water Tower Place, highlighted by its stunning eight-level atrium. It is anchored by American Girl Place, where girls can shop for dolls as well as dine and enjoy spa treatments with—and for—their dolls. The other anchor here is a historic Macy’s, accompanied by more than 100 stores.
Need to take a break for a bit? Water Tower Place has two sit-down restaurants: Mity Nice Bar & Grill and Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch. After an afternoon of shopping and an evening dinner, head into the building’s Broadway Playhouse to catch a live show. Today, this venue has about 550 seats to accommodate audiences for the city’s best touring Broadway acts, managed by Broadway In Chicago.
South of the mall, you’ll find more shopping starting at the intersection of E Chicago Ave. Here, you’ll find plenty of designer deals at Nordstrom Rack, the upscale retailer’s off-price outlet. There is also a LUSH for trendy and fun cosmetics and bath products as well as Victoria’s Secret and Pink for lingerie and pajamas for women and teens.
Of course, there’s no shortage of upscale outposts here either, near the intersection of E Superior Street is Neiman Marcus, a towering department store. Across the way, find more high-end goods at Saks Fifth Avenue. If you’re traveling with kiddos, you’ll want to stop into the Disney Store for official Disney Merch and fun experiences.
Near the intersection of E Huron Street, there is lots of fun fashion for women. Here, you’ll find Zara for runway-inspired clothing at an affordable price. And, there are more stylish picks for women at Express and LOFT. Sports fans can stop into Nike Chicago in this area before catching the game at TGI Friday’s.
Working your way South, stop in to fuel at the Chicago staple, Garrett Popcorn shop. You’ll find more stores nearby, like Sephora, Levi’s, Gap, Pandora, Mac Cosmetics, at Swatch.
At the southern end of the Magnificent Mile is The Shops at North Bridge—called Chicago’s most stylish shopping and dining destination.
Here, six chic blocks house a four-level shopping center and more than 50 world-class retailers. Nordstrom anchors the space, and there are an array of designer outposts. Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, Stuart Weitzman, Alex and Ani, Samsonite, The Art of Shaving, Kiehl’s, White House | Black Market, and Charming Charlie all have locations here. If all that shopping worked up your appetite, grab a bite at one of the 20 eateries conveniently located on the premises.
If you need any assistance while you’re shopping or dining here, stop at the concierge desk, where an associate can help with an array of services spanning dinner reservations, gift suggestions, hotel referrals, itinerary planning, and tourist information. Plus, there are even pet-friendly comfort stations.