Michigan Avenue: Heart of Chicago

To be considered a Great Avenue of the World is to be a commercial urban center that is top ten worldwide in hospitality, dining, and retail. Seven different values epitomize a Great Avenue: premier office space, fine dining, unique architecture, top-class hotels, special streetscape, one-of-a-kind luxury retail shopping, and a historic location. Rodeo Drive of Beverly Hills, New York’s Fifth Avenue, and Bond Street in London are three examples.

Michigan Avenue in the heart of downtown Chicago is also One of the Great Avenues of the World. Visitors to Chicago often don’t leave this eight-block stretch of downtown called The Magnificent Mile, sprawled across a mass of city blocks just west of Lake Michigan and bisected by the Chicago River. Conceived in the 1909 Plan of Chicago, Michigan Avenue is lined with trees, gardens, and distinctive architecture found nowhere else in the world.

More than 450 shops and boutiques attract visitors on their way to and from the more than 200 restaurants crammed into The Mile. Dozens of plush hotels, most unsurpassed in amenities, are within steps of all the shopping and dining, and visitors can enjoy Chicago’s downtown architecture on foot, by boat, or by trolley. In addition to all the tourist attractions, thousands of people call this area home. As a result, world-class hospitals, schools, and other services are never far away.

The anchor of The Magnificent Mile is 900 North Michigan Shops. Housed in a building that is truly an architectural wonder, 900 features a six-level Bloomingdale’s and more than 70 other luxury goods retailers as well as loads of dining options.

A second notable shopping experience on The Magnificent Mile is The Shops at North Bridge. Covering six blocks, The Shops fancies itself as the heart of Chicago’s shopping and dining style. Rising four levels, the structure features more than 50 chic shopping retailers. And whether you’re in the mood for a fancy dinner or a casual lunch, there are nearly two dozen restaurants from which to choose.

A third shopping experience, felt by many to the pinnacle on Michigan Avenue, awaits at Water Tower Place. With more than a hundred shops and restaurants unique to this eight-story behemoth, it is truly a shopper’s paradise. Water Tower Place is a destination for live music and is home to a hip bar scene, as well.

Aside from shopping, restaurants of all kinds abound. Whether you want to eat 95 stories above the ground, directly on Michigan Avenue, or anywhere in between, The Magnificent Mile has a restaurant to accommodate your imagination. And with such cuisine as Japanese, Italian, Korean, French, American, steak, seafood, and anything else you crave, there’s a restaurant to suit your palate.

Museums include the Art Institute of Chicago, the Loyola Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry. There is also a hands-on Chicago Children’s Museum where kids of all ages can play to learn.

There’s a myriad of special events going on all year every year, including seasonal events such as the Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival to celebrate the end of summer and The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival in November to kick off the holiday season.

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