Magnificent Mile

Landmark / Outdoor Activity / Shopping Area
Magnificent Mile "Spanning from the Chicago River at the south end to Oak Street at the north, the Magnificent Mile (""Mag Mile"") is a popular stretch of North Michigan Avenue constantly abuzz with fashionistas, foreigners, families, and finance..." Chicago United States 41.894866 -87.624164
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Magnificent Mile - Landmark | Outdoor Activity | Shopping Area in Chicago.
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Party Earth Review Spanning from the Chicago River at the south end to Oak Street at the north, the Magnificent Mile (“Mag Mile”) is a popular stretch of North Michigan Avenue constantly abuzz with fashionistas, foreigners, families, and... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    24/7

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Party Earth Magnificent Mile Review

The Scene

"Spanning from the Chicago River at the south end to Oak Street at the north, the Magnificent Mile (""Mag Mile"") is a popular stretch of North Michigan Avenue constantly abuzz with fashionistas, foreigners, families, and finance..."

Spanning from the Chicago River at the south end to Oak Street at the north, the Magnificent Mile (“Mag Mile”) is a popular stretch of North Michigan Avenue constantly abuzz with fashionistas, foreigners, families, and finance types out shopping, strolling, or snapping photographs of some of the city’s most famous architecture.

Wealthy urbanites and day-tripping suburbanites alike hit up shops that include everything from Gap and Crate & Barrel to upscale boutiques like Bulgari and Hermès, while tech-savvy professionals line up outside the Apple Store.

Moneyed couples – and vacationers ready to splurge – settle in for Sunday brunch at Nomi or venture up to The Signature Room on the 95th floor of the famous John Hancock Tower, before joining the throngs of tourists who crowd the Tower’s 94th-floor Observatory for panoramic views of the city.

Flanked on the south end by the 20s-era Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower, the Mag Mile is home to some of the most famous architecture in the city, most notably the Old Water Tower at Chicago Avenue, which is one of the only buildings in the area to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

When the stores and attractions close at night, hungry tourists and budget-minded locals flock to Gino’s East for Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza, while well-dressed friends, businessmen, and socialites enjoy a meal at one of several upscale restaurants, or an expensive bottle of wine at the RL Restaurant before a relaxing nighttime river cruise.

With its enduring history, diverse shopping, and celebrated restaurants, the Mag Mile is indeed one of the most magnificent (technically only .8) miles in Chicago.

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Tip from Emma:

After a day of window-shopping at the swanky boutiques along the Magnificent Mile, grab a table at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock building – a classy cocktail and an unbelievable view of the twinkling city is the perfect way to end the day.

  • Crowd

    City socialites, fashionistas, businessmen, young professionals, European and Midwestern tourists, college students, suburbanites, and upscale couples, all ages.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Seasonal events include:
    Tulips in May.

    The Shopping Festival in late summer.

    The Lights Festival in December.

    Other highlights:
    Myriad tours depart from various locations along the Mag Mile, including bus, boat, trolley, carriage, Segway, bicycle, and walking tours.

    The John Hancock Observatory, on the 94th floor of the John Hancock building (875 North Michigan Avenue) offers panoramic views of the city, a multimedia tour, an open-air balcony, and a café.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    More than a hundred restaurants along the stretch, including upscale options like Viand (155 East Ontario Street) and Bandera (535 North Michigan Avenue), and budget-minded options like the famous Billy Goat Tavern (430 North Michigan Avenue).

  • Prices

    Most tours $20–$50/person. Old Water Tower is generally free, with an occasional charge for special exhibits inside. John Hancock Observatory tickets $25/adults.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes. Appropriate attire required for upscale restaurants.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Daytime for shopping and sightseeing, and nighttime for dinner and drinks.

  • Close By

    Rush Street (one block west of the Mag Mile from Chicago Avenue northward) is a bustling nightlife district that draws many from the Mile when restaurants start to close.

Magnificent Mile User Reviews

Average rating:
Best part of the city
Gladys B. Feb 11, 2013
One of the greatest places for shopping in Chicago. It has everything you could want in one street. Things are a bit pricey though so, if you plan on shopping I'd reccomend setting aside a budget. There are a couple good resturants along the way as well. Most are reasonable price and have delicious food. It's best to go in summers as there are always festivals and tours of the city happening at Millenium park and along the Mag Mile.
Amazing food and shopping, but can get a bit tourist-y
Paige M. Feb 5, 2013
I am a huge Chicago fan--its by far one of my favorite cities in America. If you love food, going out, and shopping, you really can't get a better place than the Magnificent Mile. They have shopping for all spenders - from Urban Outfitters all the way to Prada. Same with the restaurant selection, although you have to either ask or look at the menu beforehand or it may get a bit pricey, especially in the tourist-y parts like Millennium Park. I've found myself ordering a $30 glass of wine without meaning to before checking the prices. Its a tad bit crowded for my taste at times, but I love the hustle and bustle of the city so I usually don't mind it. Overall, amazing city with tons to do. You could probably spend days on the Magnificent Mile and won't get bored.
My Favorite...always
Grace S. Feb 4, 2013
I go to Chicago every year for a large family Thanksgiving gathering. This basically translates to a lot of eating, drinking, and shopping. Right up my alley. The Magnificent Mile is truly magnificent if you are doing with your family, your girlfriends, or even just by yourself. It is pretty busy, but nothing unmanageable even for those claustrophobes out there. It can be a bit of walking though if you want to do the entire thing. For example, there are many side areas that you may also wish to visit like Navy Pier or Hyde Park and the Bean. The shopping is also truly magnificent. There is something that caters to everyone. You can either spend the big bucks and go to places like Juicy Couture, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton. I would highly suggest stopping by the new Burberry store. The new modern architecture of the building is something to behold even if you do not go in. You can also go to some of the other shops, which are less expensive but harder to find outside of big cities. Topshop/Topman and Zara are some of my favorites. Although you can never go wrong with the three-story Forever 21 or the Derrick Rose-featured Adidas store in Water Tower place. Regardless, there is something for everyone. If you want to shop for a bite to eat someplace, I would also highly recommend Gino's East. It's right off the strip and is one of Chicago's finest deep dish pizza places. I stuff myself every year I go to a grotesque level. However, it is always worth it. Going around the Holidays is always a treat as well with the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Watching the lighting of the tree is definitely a treat as is walking around at night with everything lit up with Christmas lights. My final recommendation would be on where to stay. My personal favorite is the Drake. It is a wonderfully beautiful, older hotel that is right off of the Mile and only a few minutes walk from the beach. There is a great coffee and breakfast bar located in the bottom of the hotel as well as its own restaurant. You can also schedule yourself an afternoon high tea! The females among our clan do so every year. Clearly just an excuse to get dressed up, have some champagne or tea whichever you prefer, and eat some pastries. The staff is wonderful and extremely accommodating, and the Christmas decorations are lovely. They display one expertly decorated tree as well as an electric train amid a candied winter wonderland. It is always a hit with the younger children. Anyways, the Magnificent Mile showcases some of the best that Chicago has to offer. It is an extremely touristy area, but it is great despite that. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of a new place to spend the holidays or just visit Chicago in general. It is a Chicago must-see.
Magnificent!
Elyse H. Dec 12, 2012
The Magnificent Mile really is magnificent! This street just feels so modern and cool, it’s like it could be in New York, it’s all shiny and gleaming. The variety of shops is really impressive, and it’s easy to spend all day here shopping, which I do quite a bit! We also went to the Observatory while we were here. It is a lot of money, but the view of the city is so worth it! We were nearly a hundred stories up and you can see absolutely everything, all of Chicago and the lake for miles and miles! Magnificent miles!
Tolerable but not what I'd choose to do
Craig B. Dec 10, 2012
Wandering the Magnificent Mile is not my idea of a good time. Whether it's the screaming children, the crowded walkways, or the taxis who seem to believe that the rules of the road are suspended when they enter this area, it just never feels safe or sanitary. There are a couple spots that I'll tolerate, a few that I'll actively enjoy, but the whole thing just gets so crowded it's hard to enjoy yourself. Major shop after major shop, I feel my soul being sucked out. If I'm forced to walk the Mag Mile, I am going to insist that we stop at the Ghirardelli shop to recuperate.
Always a great time!
Christina W. Dec 9, 2012
I have lived half my life in Chicago, and the Magnificent Mile never ceases to entertain me. Whether you're in the mood for shopping (and you can do ALL kinds of shopping) or just people-watching and window-shopping, this is a great place to spend an afternoon. There are some great bars, restaurants, and coffeeshops along the way, a few full-fledged malls, and tons of upscale boutiques that, while out of your budget, are really fun to check out. On top of all that, the architecture is amazing. The Old Water Tower is really cool (and right in the middle of the street, basically), and the Hancock building is worth visiting to get the best view of the city (yes, it is better than the Willis Tower skydeck). And at the other end of the strip, the Tribune Tower is absolutely stunning, with amazing ceilings inside and stones from dozens of natural landmarks throughout the world as part of it's facade! So if you are visiting Chicago, definitely check this out. And if you live there, well, I'm sure you already know how awesome it is.
Shopping!
Jackie D. Dec 4, 2012
Calling all shopaholics! The Mag Mile is your place to go if you love clothes, accessories, or...American Girl! Home to the original American Girl place, the mile is full of other flagships and special shops. Honestly, if you can't find the store you're looking for here, then I don't know where you will. They have everything from Tiffany's and Louis Vuitton to Forever 21 and Top Shop. So have no fear, this is not the exclusive Rodeo Drive, but rather a great shopping street for everyone.
Love!
Eleni S. Dec 2, 2012
I love Chicago and I looove Magnificent mile. I am not from Chicago, but I go there quite often to visit family and friends. Each time I'm there i make sure that I go to Michigan avenue. The shopping is amazing. It is beautifully decorated during the Holidays and the cold weather outside just puts you in the best mood. It is so fun going shopping and then going to a little cafe afterwards to get hot chocolate or somethings small to eat. Even though the weather does get extremely cold, I am usually able to handle it for the one day I go. I would definitely recommend going to Magnificent Mile, you will have a great time!!
Shopping heaven
Kaile K. Nov 29, 2012
If you love to shop, you MUST visit Magnificent Mile. There are tons of great stores, so its great to spend a day shopping with friends in this area. Its definitely a tourist hotspot though. Its a great area of Chicago to explore and people watch, I would definitely recommend checking it out! Again - the shopping in this area is prime!
Touristy? Totally - but so what?
Brehan F. Oct 6, 2012
I am a true Chicago native - and yes, Magnificent Mile is completely touristy. However, I still love it. The energy, the people, the windows, the shopping...it's just gorgeous. My favorite thing to do is come here around the holidays. The windows are GORGEOUS and if Chicago has the winter it had last year, it should be mild enough that I can do it again. Pack a scarf, gloves, and chaptick, but be prepared to get a little cold - it's totally worth it! I would recommend stopping for some fancy hot chocolate at an (albeit, overpriced) cafe along this stretch when you just can't bare the cold anymore. Chicago during the holidays is amazing!
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