Get to Know The Magnificent Mile

Take a trip down Chicago's Magnificent Mile; A strip filled with shops, restaurants, hotels, occasional street entertainers and evidence of a convention city's love of unconventional architecture.
By: Alan Solomon

Photo by: Mark Segal

Mark Segal


The Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue in   Chicago stretches from Oak Street south to the Chicago River. Along the way are   shops, restaurants, hotels, occasional street entertainers and evidence of a convention city's love of unconventional architecture. Here’s an alphabetical tour:

 A - American Girl Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave.
Little girls with their little-girl dolls shop together, located in Water Tower Place.

 B - Billy Goat Tavern, 430 N. (Lower) Michigan Ave.
A hangout popular with journalists (the late Mike Royko was a regular) and lovers of greasy cheeseburgers.

 C - The Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave.
Just east of Michigan Avenue, it features today's artwork in every imaginable medium and a few you might not have imagined.

 D - Drake Hotel, Michigan at Walton Street.
Built in the 1920s, it’s beloved for its elegant lobby and afternoon teas.

 E - Eno Wine Room, 505 N. Michigan Ave.
Wine, cheese and chocolate in the Intercontinental Hotel alongside the Tribune Tower's gargoyles.

 F - foodlife, 835 N. Michigan Ave.
A food court that's more than a collection of familiar franchises.

 G - Garrett Popcorn Shop, 625 N. Michigan Ave.
Folks have lined up for plain, buttered, caramelized or irresistible mixed variations for more than 60 years.

 H - Heaven on Seven, 600 N. Michigan Ave.
Just what you'd expect in Chicago -- great gumbo, crawfish, chicken-fried steak and more.

 I - I Medici Firenze, 520 N. Michigan Ave.
High-end leather purses and things that smell really, really good.

 J - John Hancock Observatory, 875 N. Michigan Ave.  
Is there a better view of the city than from the Willis (Sears) Tower? Debatable, but you can see Willis Tower from this terrific skyscraper.

K - Kaehler Luggage and Travel Goods, 900 N. Michigan Ave.  
From fancy suitcases to not-so-fancy plug-adapters.

 L - Lights Festival.
The Turning on of the Christmas Lights, featuring marching bands, floats and, of course, mirth. It's in mid-November.

 M - Marlowe, 800 N. Michigan Ave.  
Women's wear, especially cashmere and knits, with -- despite the name -- an Italian accent.

 N - Niketown, 669 N. Michigan Ave.  
A mecca for lovers of that familiar swoosh brand.

 O - Old Water Tower, 806 N. Michigan Ave.
A rare survivor of the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, the castle-like tower, which occasionally hosts art exhibitions, reminds Chicagoans that the city existed before escalators.

 P - Pizza. The original Pizzeria Uno (Ohio Street at Wabash Avenue, 2 blocks west of Michigan Avenue), its sibling Pizzeria Due (a block north of Uno) and longtime rival    Gino's East (on Superior Street, a block east of Michigan) have the Mag Mile surrounded.

Q - Quiet. Not easily found -- except within the    Fourth Presbyterian Church.
Opened in 1914, when Michigan Avenue was Pine Street and less magnificent, the Gothic church is often available between services for silent prayer and meditation.

 R - Ralph Lauren, 750 N. Michigan Ave.  
Home of all things Polo for those who can afford the items before they get to the outlet malls. It includes the very stylish RL Restaurant

 S – Spiaggia Restaurant, 980 N. Michigan Ave.  
It may be Chicago's finest Italian restaurant and may also be its most beautiful; it certainly is its most expensive. Offshoot    Cafe Spiaggia next door is more casual and less pricey.

T - Tulips.
Thousands of them, in all shades, sprout from May 1-31 on every plantable patch in one of the avenue's most welcome annual treats.

U - Ugg Australia, 900 N. Michigan Ave.
For the boots, of course, and all kinds of footwear.

 V - Vosges Haut-Chocolat, 520 N. Michigan Ave.
When Hershey’s and Ghirardelli (both with shops up the street) aren't quite persuasive enough.

 W - Wendella Boats, Michigan at the Chicago River.  
It’s the best known of the boat tour companies, which is what happens when you sail for more than 75 years. Located below another iconic W, the    Wrigley Building.

X - XXI Forever (flagship store of Forever 21), 540 N. Michigan Ave.
A huge clothing store that draws crowds with reasonable prices decidedly un-Michigan Avenue.

 Y - Yolanda Lorente Boutique, 900 N. Michigan Ave.
A unique boutique featuring garments made of hand-painted silk.

 Z - Zegna Boutique, 645 N. Michigan Ave.
Made-to-measure men's suits and shirts and other garments, in the Italian tradition.

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