What is the Magnificent Mile?

Magnificent Mile

For tourists and locals alike, the Mag Mile is a destination spot when you need to shop for something special. What is the Magnificent Mile famous for? As Chicago’s premier commercial district, it’s an especially vibrant and bustling section 13-block of Michigan Avenue, running from the banks of the Chicago River to the south and to Oak Street to the north. It’s also adjacent to the loop, making it easy to check out landmarks like the Willis Tower and then head out for some shopping afterward. Keep reading for more info about what you can find on Chicago’s most famous street!


Where is the Magnificent Mile?

What street is the Magnificent Mile? In Chicago, Lake Michigan is a defining feature of the city’s aesthetic, and an appealing frame for its landmark-packed skyline. So it’s only fitting that the Magnificent Mile is actually a section of Michigan Avenue! In fact, the Mag Mile is the most spectacular part of Chicago’s most upscale avenue. In this 13-block span, you’ll find more than 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 60 hotels, and lots more. If you’re here for a truly immersive Chicago experience, try walking the Mag Mile’s busy streets while you glance up at the historic buildings and public art that give Chicago so much of its unique character.


History of the Magnificent Mile

After the Great Chicago fire razed the Pine Street area, the Magnificent Mile concept was created as part of the 1909 Burnham Plan to rebuild the area. In 1920, the opening of the Michigan Avenue Bridge created a new commercial district. The combination of rapid building and commercial access made the Mag mile area perfect for retail development, prompting real estate developer Arthur Rubloff of Rubloff Company to bestow the famous nickname upon this new shopping district.


Landmarks on the Magnificent Mile

Keep your eyes open for the following Chicago landmarks as you navigate the crowds, excitement, and live jazz you’ll always find on the Chicago streets if the weather is kind — or kind enough:

  • Drake Hotel: 140 E. Walton Place. A full-service hotel founded in 1920 which was designed in the Italian Renaissance style.
  • Old Chicago Water Tower District: 806/821 N. Michigan Avenue. A historic district that includes the Chicago Water Tower, Chicago Avenue Pumping Station, and Chicago Fire Department Fire Station No. 98. 
  • Tribune Tower: 435 N. Michigan Avenue. Neo-Gothic skyscraper built in 1925.
  • Woman’s Athletic Club: 626 N. Michigan Avenue. The first athletic club for women in the United States that was founded in 1898.
  • Site of Fort Dearborn: Intersection of N. Michigan Avenue and E. Wacker Drive. Site of the original Fort Dearborn which was destroyed following the Battle of Fort Dearborn during the War of 1812.

See All of Chicago from the Willis Tower Skydeck!

Can’t decide what to see first? Consider taking a stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk as well, or you can see what Chicago has to offer all at once from 109 storeys up! From here, you can fully appreciate another Chicago design feat — its one-of-a-kind grid system. Check out our dining options and group visits!