When it comes to shopping and entertainment in Chicago, the Magnificent Mile is the place to be! Fondly known as the Mag Mile, this vibrant, bustling area is one of the most famous shopping areas in the world and one of the Windy City’s most interesting neighborhoods for tourists and locals alike.
Stretching from Oak Street to the Chicago River along Michigan Avenue, the Magnificent Mile is packed with a dizzying array of upscale shops, luxe fashion outlets, fabulous restaurants, and posh hotels. You’ll find some of the world’s biggest and most luxurious department stores here, including Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. But if you’re more into boutique shopping, don’t worry: There are plenty of unique, one-of-a-kind stores to explore, too.
When you need a break from all that shopping, there are plenty of dining options around the Magnificent Mile, whether you’re looking for a fancy dinner or a quick snack. Your tastebuds can indulge in everything from classic Chicago-style pizza to high-end sushi restaurants.
But the Magnificent Mile isn’t just about shopping and eating; there are plenty of cultural attractions to explore. The Chicago Water Tower, one of the few surviving structures from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, is on the Mile. And if you’re into art, the Museum of Contemporary Art is just a short walk away.
Ready to shop until you drop? Check out this complete guide on one of the Windy City’s most popular neighborhoods, including what to see & do, where to eat & drink, and where to stay in the Magnificent Mile.
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What to see & do along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile
The Wrigley Building
You can’t miss the towering Wrigley Building as you begin meandering along Michigan Avenue. Standing sentry on the banks of the Chicago River, this iconic skyscraper is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city.
Built in 1920 by the famous chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr., the building boasts a unique design that distinguishes it from other beautiful architectural gems. The Wrigley Building was inspired by the Seville Cathedral in Spain, showing off a façade of gleaming white terracotta and a spectacular clock tower. When the skyscraper is lit at night, it’s truly a sight to behold!
Take a guided tour of the Wrigley Building to learn about its inspirational design and rich history. Find out how the structure, once the tallest building in Chicago, symbolized the city’s rapid growth and prosperity. Discover how it was crucial during World War II as a communication center.
When it’s time to take a lunch break, head to one of the many bars and restaurants in the Wrigley Building for a fancy cocktail or a slice of classic Chicago-style pizza.
Another incredible feat of architecture to admire along the Magnificent Mile is the Tribune Tower. Set on the banks of the Chicago River, the 463-foot-tall, 36-floor neo-Gothic style skyscraper is one of the city’s most striking buildings.
As you make your way along Michigan Avenue, admire the tower’s beautiful limestone and granite façade. Look for other materials collected from famous buildings and landmarks around the world, like a piece of the Great Wall of China, the Parthenon in Athens, and a stone from the Berlin Wall.
Built in 1925 by the Chicago Tribune newspaper as their headquarters, the Tribune Tower is steeped in history. Take a guided tour of the building and discover its pivotal role in Chicago’s past.
Don’t miss visiting the Chicago Tribune’s printing plant museum next door. You’ll see some original printing presses and artifacts from the Tribune’s early days.
The Shops at North Bridge
Time to shop! A block from the Tribune Tower, the Shops at North Bridge promise a world-class shopping experience like no other. You’ll find over 50 retailers, including designer boutiques, department stores, specialty shops, and many great places to eat.
Whether you’re looking for high-end fashion from brands like Louis Vuitton, Burberry, or Gucci or in the market for more affordable options from stores like H&M or Zara, you’ll find it here. And if you need some home goods, you’ll find plenty of options at stores like Crate & Barrel and Sur La Table.
The Shops at North Bridge aren’t all shopping – it’s also a great place to relax and unwind. You can grab a coffee or a snack at one of the many cafés or restaurants or even catch a movie at the onsite movie theater.
If you’re visiting Chicago during the holiday season, you won’t want to miss the Shops at North Bridge’s stunning holiday decorations. The shopping center is decked out in twinkling lights and festive décor, creating a truly magical experience.
Water Tower Place
Another fantastic place to spend your hard-earned bucks is the iconic Water Tower Place. Located in the heart of the Magnificent Mile, it’s one of Chicago’s must-visit attractions if you love to shop, eat, and explore.
Marvel at the impressive six-story atrium filled with natural light and bustling with activity when you step inside Water Tower Place, where you’ll find more than 100 stores and restaurants.
Water Tower Place has something for every budget and taste, from high-end fashion stores like Coach, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton to unique gift shops like Paper Source and the Chicago Sports Store. If you’re looking for something fun, check out the interactive exhibits at the Chicago Sports Museum or catch a movie at the AMC theater.
All that shopping worked up an appetite? You’ll find loads of casual spots to enjoy a quick coffee or tuck into a light lunch. Grab a coffee at Starbucks, a sandwich at Potbelly, or a gourmet meal at Foodlife.
See the city from a bird’s eye view and enjoy some of the finest views of Chicago from the observation deck at 360 CHICAGO. This fantastic attraction will give you a panoramic view of the Windy City that you won’t forget.
Situated on the 94th floor of the iconic John Hancock Building on Michigan Avenue, 360 CHICAGO is named for the incredible 360-degree views of the city and Lake Michigan that you’ll see from the observation deck.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-rushing experience, try TILT, a moving platform that tilts you outwards from the building’s edge so that you can see straight down to the street below. It’s an exhilarating experience that’ll leave lasting memories on any Chicago trip itinerary!
While at 360 CHICAGO, check out the interactive exhibits and displays that provide fascinating information about the city’s history and culture. Grab a drink or a bite at the bar and café while enjoying the magnificent views.
900 North Michigan Shops
If you haven’t had your retail therapy fill, head to the 900 North Michigan Shops for high-end shopping. Set within another one of Chicago’s towering skyscrapers, this fantastic shopping destination is the perfect place to find sophisticated styles and one-of-a-kind gifts.
Meander around the luxuriously designed mall and indulge in some retail therapy at one of the 70 shops in the center. MaxMara, Gucci, and Michael Kors answer the designer brand call, while Tumi or Montblanc are ideal for that one-of-a-kind gift. Don’t miss the artisanal products at the L’Amy America showroom.
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When you’re hungry, you’ll find many options at 900 North Michigan Shops to satisfy your cravings, from artisanal coffee at Intelligentsia to delicious sushi at Labriola Café.
Where to eat & drink
Not sure where to wine and dine along the Magnificent Mile? You’ll find a wealth of fantastic places to eat and drink, from casual cafés and coffee shops to fine-dining establishments with views like no other.
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a delicious meal with a lively atmosphere, the Grand Lux Café is definitely worth checking out. Relax in a warm, inviting ambiance and feast on globally inspired dishes from Mediterranean-style grilled lamb chops to mouthwatering Thai curry. Save space for the decadent chocolate cake – you won’t forget it!
Take a first-class culinary journey to the Mediterranean at the Michelin-star Purple Pig! Don’t let the name fool you: The food and wine are nothing less than sublime! Feast on small plates of creamy burrata, seared octopus, crispy lamb belly, and house-made mortadella, or share the charcuterie board packed with cured meats, artisanal cheeses, and house-made pickles and jams.
For an unforgettable dinner with breathtaking views, nothing beats The Signature Room at the 95th. Set on the 95th floor of the former John Hancock Center, this restaurant is the perfect spot for romance. Start with handcrafted cocktails in the elegant lounge on the floor above. Savor delectable cuisine from your table as you gaze over the twinkling city lights. Definitely deserving for a special occasion!
If you’re in the mood for unique craft brews and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere, head to Crushed by Giants Brewing Company. Named for the ancient Greek myth of the Gigantes, this warm and welcoming bar is perfect for catching up with friends. Sip everything from crisp lagers and hoppy IPAs to rich stouts and porters and snack on gourmet tacos to loaded fries.
Truffle mac and cheese paired with unique craft beer and handcrafted cocktails sound like your kind of gig? Carve out some time for an evening at the Copper Fox Gastropub, where you can unwind in a cozy ambiance over a cold pint.
If you’re on the hunt for a chic and sophisticated spot to enjoy some fantastic drinks and unrivaled city views, then Z Bar is the place to be. Sleek and stylish space, this top-notch cocktail bar offers an impressive array of signature cocktails. Sip a ‘Tried and True’ or a ‘Something New’ as you watch the city come alive after dark.
Where to stay
With its superb location, the Magnificent Mile is one of the most popular areas to stay in Chicago. There’s a great selection of accommodations here, with a wide variety of mid-range and luxury hotels on offer.
For more options, expand your lodgings search to neighboring areas like River North and Streeterville or south of the river in the Chicago Loop.
A short walk from 360 Chicago observation deck and the iconic Millennium Park, the Omni Chicago All Suites Hotel-Magnificent Mile is a polished all-suite hotel with stylish suites and top-notch amenities. Soak up beautiful city views from your room and enjoy wet bars, complimentary Wi-Fi, iPod docks, and in-room computers. Chill out on a charming rooftop sundeck.
If you’re looking for a luxurious place to stay in the heart of the action, The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel on Michigan Avenue, won’t disappoint. Relax in spacious, beautifully designed suites with elegant décor and top-notch amenities. Unwind with a massage or facial at the hotel’s spa, or dip in the indoor pool and hot tub.
Far Eastern luxury meets Midwestern hospitality at the Peninsula Chicago. This five-star retreat has elegant suites with glorious city views, plush beds, and high-end amenities. Enjoy a gourmet meal at any of the hotel’s four restaurants and indulge in various spa treatments at the spa center. Work up a sweat in the state-of-the-art gym or indoor pool.