Chicago: The Magnificent Mile
January 1, 1970
by Marie Condon
What is The Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile, as its name implies, is truly a magnificent sight to behold. Its title is used to describe a North and South 13 block strip on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago, Illinois in the United States. The Magnificent mile spans the distance between DuSable Bridge, at the bank of the Chicago River, to where Oak Street and East Lake Shore Drive merge. For the inquisitive minds who wonder, yes, it is actually comprised of one square mile of prime Chicago real estate! Michigan Avenue serves as a major thoroughfare in the downtown area and parking is both hard to come by quite pricey so walking is highly recommended. Thirteen CTA Bus Routes run along the Magnificent Mile, so if you don’t think you can make the hike, don’t worry – you can walk North and ride South or vice versa! However, you get there you should mark this down as a must see on your Chicago checklist. The Magnificent Mile is the Rodeo Drive of Chicago.
The Magnificent Mile represents a unique blend of the very best Chicago has to offer as many Chicagoans work, play, and live within its district. The magnificent mile and its surrounding district represent a cornucopia of businesses, boutiques, popular retailers, department stores, restaurants, luxurious high-end and boutique hotels, beautiful residences, landmark architecture, world renowned medical centers and distinguished educational establishments. If you enjoy people watching the Magnificent Mile is the place to be. You’ll find a marvelous blend of all types of people from tourists to Chicago natives. There will be tons of families dancing around you and friendly police officers waiting to greet you with a warm and comforting smile.
The Best Time to Visit
Chicago is one of those places you could visit year round and still say you had a marvelous time and the Magnificent Mile makes no exception to that rule. With historical architectural gems blended with clean cut modern marvels, the cityscape is truly something to behold. With upwards of 50 million visitors per year, the city of Chicago aims to please and strives to make sure that all of your needs can be met within its downtown province, particularly, on the Magnificent Mile. This has spawned a vibrant blend of over 275 stores, 460 restaurants, and some 60 hotels all located conveniently on the Magnificent Mile and designed to suit any budget. The streets are well maintained and clean and the sidewalks are widened to accommodate the heavy foot traffic. Now we can truly see why Mr. Sinatra would bet his bottom dollar that you’d lose your blues in Chicago.
Visiting in Summer or Spring
In the summer and spring, you will find yourself regaled with street performers, musicians and vibrant awe-inspiring planters that naturally soften the artfully decorative yet hardened walls of the Chicago skyline. A night walk down the Magnificent Mile plays its own sweet tune with well-lit sidewalks punctuated by skillfully illuminated planters along the buzzing stretch that allows you to enjoy all the beauty the city of Chicago has to offer.
Visiting in Winter or Fall
In the winter and fall, you will be amazed by the way the Magnificent Mile shines. Each year, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the city brings out all the holiday decorations. During the day you find yourself lost in a winter wonderland. At night, with the remarkable city of Chicago set as a backdrop against the perfectly hung lights that illuminate the Magnificent Mile, you will find yourself romanced by the ambiance. The Magnificent Mile offers a unique beauty that could only be found in the big city.
As a rule of thumb, if you can’t find it on the Magnificent Mile there is a good chance that it probably doesn’t exist. Home to over 460 restaurants, 250+ stores, and three vertical shopping centers, the Magnificent Mile has it all. Nike, Apple, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Under Armor, American Girl, The Gap, Forever 21, Saks, Bloomingdales and a score of other well known and boutique retailers line the strip punctuated with some of the best food you will ever have in your life. Don’t be fooled, even window shopping is an experience on the Magnificent Mile with its shops being known for some of the nation’s best holiday displays. Every detail designed to awe and entertain with the Burberry store’s architecturally genius design remaining one of my personal favorites. Each and every store that lines the Magnificent Mile is designed to put forth the very best of that brand’s image, incorporating an astounding amount of personality and the absolute best in customer service, a day of shopping here, is engineered to be a memorable experience. You’ll never forget that you bought THAT scarf in Chicago.
With Chicago being a melting pot of world culture the Magnificent Mile is like taking all that flavor and packing it into a sauce pan. I only have one word for you… YUM! The food here is unlike any place in the world. There is guaranteed to be a place to indulge every taste palate. Ever wondered what French-Vietnamese cuisine would taste like. Well, in short, it’s HEAVEN. Le Colonial is the place to be if you’re feeling adventurous. From their crepe battered shrimp and sublime dipping sauces to their Ca Nuong La Chuoi, a brilliantly grilled trout over noodles with oyster mushrooms and a sinful curry sauce, you will be forced to abandon your inhibitions and just lick the plate. Your tongue will have died and gone to food heaven. The flavors are so unique and wonderful I find my mouth watering just thinking about it.
Looking to stop for a quick lunch. I highly recommend you pay a visit to Hub 51. Should it be in the Summer months, when they ask, take the out door table! There is nothing more gratifying than taking in the beautiful city views while chowing down on delicious. Their Spicy Crab Rolls are to die for! They also make a mean steak taco that will leave you SATISFIED! Teeth smacking satisfied. Check out reviews for Hub 51.
Best Brazilian Steak Houses
Are you a meat lover? Me too! Make sure to visit one of Chicago’s Brazillian steak houses. My personal favorite is a spot called Fogo de Chao. They make it a breeze to feed a group with an open salad bar and a cardboard coaster. Green means go, so make sure to leave your light on because the chef will come by with some of the best cuts of meats you have ever seen in your life. They offer everything from mouth watering juicy stakes to flavor packed bacon wrapped chicken. You can’t go wrong with this gem as it is family friendly and sure to please. Check out reviews Fogo de Chao.
The Grand Lux
Are you dining on a budget or would you rather save your funds for those awesome shops I mentioned earlier? No problem. Book a table at the Grand Lux or Chicago’s very own Cheesecake factory. The Grand Lux is a fancier but affordable sister to the Cheesecake factory. A reservation is necessary, and trust me, they are packed for a good reason! Their Carmel Chicken is absolutely scrumptious. They also offer some of the delicious Cheesecake Factory dessert varieties that have teased our tummies for years! Check out Reviews on The Grand Lux.
The Cheesecake Factory and Others
The Cheesecake Factory of Chicago is by no means a throwaway. This is a place I love to visit when I am out with the kids and looking for some pocket-friendly yummies that will leave everyone full and content. I absolutely always make sure to order me a plate of their mouthwatering dumplings coupled with their unbelievably delicious Firecracker Salmon. When I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I’ll polish it all off with a raspberry and chocolate cheese cake. “Hold the cream… I’m watching my figure… NOT! LAY IT ON ME!” Did I mention Garrets Carmel and Cheddar pop corn or Giordano’s famous Deep Dish Chicago style pizza? Honestly, I could go on and on. Trust me the food here is impeccable, you simply can’t go wrong. Between the sights, the shopping, the dining, and a slew of other remarkable Magnificent Mile must do excursions, trust me when I say you haven’t experienced Chicago until you’ve walked the mile! Check out Reviews on The Cheesecake Factory.