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Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is one of the longest and most decadent shopping streets in the world. 13 city blocks long, with more than 460 shops, 275 restaurants and 60 hotels, packed in with museums, media companies and various attractions amidst a jungle of skyscrapers. Shop till you drop, get up, shop – just keep going.
The ‘Mag Mile’ encompasses the stretch of North Michigan Avenue between Chicago River and Oak Street. Yearly, the street attracts around 22 million visitors. In addition to a shopping paradise, the Mile is also home to some of the city’s oldest buildings, such as the Water Tower and the Pumping Station. The 100-storey John Hancock Center is also located here.
The name of this shopping paradise was invented by a real estate developer in the 1940s. But the concept is even older; this shopping area was part of the Burnham Plan of Chicago, which was presented in 1909 and designed to make Chicago a more pleasant city. The plan included the rezoning of the shore of Lake Michigan and widening of the streets. According to the plan, the warehouses and factories along Pine Street would make room for the city’s commercial centre.
A century later it is clear that the plan worked out very well. The city expanded vertically, with impressive structures such as the Wrigley Building, the Tribune Tower, the London Guarantee Building, the Palmolive Building and the John Hancock Center. The Mile has become as famous as other renowned shopping streets such as Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles and Fifth Avenue in New York.
For a good overview of Chicago’s grid of twinkling streets, visit the John Hancock Observatory at sunset. A super fast lift whisks visitors in 34 seconds to the 94th floor. The view is not limited to Magnificent Mile and the rest of the city, but one can also look out over Lake Michigan and see as much as 4 neighbouring states. Those with a fear of heights may wish to restrict their visit to the shopping centre at the foot of the tower.
875 N Michigan Avenue