The Magnificent Mile Area Walk, Chicago

The Magnificent Mile is located between the Chicago River and the Lake Shore Drive. It is considered one of the great avenues of the world, being Chicago's version of the Champs-Elysees. Take this walk to explore the Magnificent Mile boulevard and the surrounding area, that features a wide selection of amazing shops, world-known museums, restaurants and spectacular architecture.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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The Magnificent Mile Area Walk Map

Guide Name: The Magnificent Mile Area Walk
Guide Location: USA » Chicago (See other walking tours in Chicago)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Author: doris
1
Michigan Avenue Bridge

1) Michigan Avenue Bridge (must see)

The Michigan Avenue Bridge (officially DuSable Bridge) is a bascule bridge that carries Michigan Avenue across the Chicago River, the boundary between the Loop and Near North Side community areas, in downtown Chicago. The bridge was built from 1917–1920 as two parallel bridges that operate independently of one another. It was designed by architect Edward H. Bennett, and is an early example of a fixed trunnion bascule bridge, which later became widely known as a "Chicago style bascule". The bridge features friezes including Wheeler Williams' "Tablets to Pioneers". When the bridge was completed it was the main link between the north side and downtown. In spring and autumn, the bridge is raised twice weekly to allow sailboats to pass between Lake Michigan and inland boat yards where they are stored for the winter. The plaza is home to Cloud Gate, a three-story, 110-ton steel sculpture that has been dubbed by residents as "The Bean".

Why You Should Visit:
The best place to see the Chicago River in all its glory, and great for pictures overlooking Magnificent Mile. You can also catch a ride on the water taxi!

Tip:
This bridge makes it possible to cross the river without getting your feet wet! :)
There is a statue of Mr. DuSable on its northern side, great for a selfie that nobody will understand ;)
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Wrigley Building

2) Wrigley Building (must see)

The Wrigley Building is a skyscraper located directly across Michigan Avenue from the Tribune Tower on the Magnificent Mile. It was built to house the corporate headquarters of the Wrigley Company. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White using the shape of the Giralda tower of Seville's Cathedral combined with French Renaissance details. The 425-foot (130 m) south tower was completed in April 1921 and the north tower in May 1924. Walkways between the towers were added at the ground level and the third floor. At night, the building is brightly lit with floodlights.

The Wrigley Building was Chicago’s first air-conditioned office building. If one walks through the center doors, they will find themselves in a secluded park area overlooking the Chicago River.

The new owners made the building more attractive to businesses by adding a Walgreens, a coffee shop, a fitness center and a nursing room for mothers.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the most beautiful buildings in Chicago, amazing from all angles and at all times of day, easy to get to, and surrounded by other cool architecture – a must-see in the downtown area.

Tip:
Tours of the building are available inside.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am-6pm; Sat: 8am-12pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Tribune Tower

3) Tribune Tower

The Tribune Tower was completed in 1925. Today it houses the city's major daily newspaper, called Chicago Tribune. This Neo-Gothic skyscraper remains a remarkable architectural monument. The building's highlights, besides architecture and design, are the many famous stones incorporated in the wall, like rock fragments from the Alamo, the Colosseum and the Chinese Wall.
4
Westfield North Bridge

4) Westfield North Bridge

Westfield North Bridge provides 50 high caliber specialty shops, 20 refined restaurants, five hotels and one magnificent shopping center supported by Nordstrom. Westfield North Bridge houses the famous LEGO Store selling here more than 400 LEGO products, and the only free-standing Spa Nordstrom in the country.

Operation hours: Monday - Saturday: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm; Sunday: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
5
Magnificent Mile

5) Magnificent Mile

The Magnificent Mile, sometimes referred to as The Mag Mile, is an upscale section of Chicago's Michigan Avenue, running from the Chicago River to Oak Street in the Near North Side. Currently Chicago's largest shopping district, various mid-range and high-end shops line this section of the street; approximately 3,100,000 square feet (290,000 m2) are occupied by retail, restaurants, museums and hotels. To date, rent on The Magnificent Mile is the eighth most expensive in the country, behind Fifth Avenue in New York and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Saint James Cathedral

6) Saint James Cathedral

St. James Cathedral is the motherchurch of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America Diocese of Chicago. It is the oldest church of the Anglican Communion and Episcopal tradition in the Chicago area, having been founded in 1834. It received the status of cathedral in 1928 after the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul was destroyed in a fire in 1921, but the arrangement was terminated in 1931. On May 3, 1955, St. James was again designated the cathedral and was formally set apart on June 4, 1955.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Holy Name Cathedral

7) Holy Name Cathedral (must see)

Holy Name Cathedral is one of the biggest Roman Catholic dioceses in the USA. It was built in the Gothic revival architectural style while at the same time integrating motifs symbolic of the message of the modern Church. The church building is 233 feet (71 m) long, 126 feet (38 m) wide and can seat 1,110 people. In 1969 its design was completely altered, but it still retains its beauty and elegance. Holy Name Cathedral is one of the busiest parishes in the city.

Why You Should Visit:
A friendly-sized church with a homely, intimate feel.
Great location near the Water Tower and Magnificent Mile.

Tip:
Make sure you look up at the beautiful wooden ceiling with painted details.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 5:30am-7pm; Sat: 7:30am-9pm; Sun: 6:30am-7pm
8
Water Tower

8) Water Tower (must see)

The Water Tower was first built in 1869. It is one of the few constructions that survived the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Today, the tower is considered a monument to that event. With its smaller Gothic-style towers, the Water Tower looks more like a tiny European 13th-century castle. Everyone is invited to make a stop at the Visitors' Center and the City Gallery nearby (the latter has free temporary exhibitions open to the public).

Why You Should Visit:
Great photo ops here and there's a nice little green space with benches around it to rest.

Tip:
While it looks good during the day, it looks even better at night when it's all lit up.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-9pm; Sun: 10am-6pm
9
Museum of Contemporary Art

9) Museum of Contemporary Art (must see)

The Museum of Contemporary Art, often abbreviated to MCA, is a contemporary art museum near Water Tower Place in downtown Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The museum, which was established in 1967, is one of the world's largest contemporary art venues. Its collection is composed of thousands of objects of Post-World War II visual art. It has hosted several notable debut exhibitions including Frida Kahlo's first U.S. exhibition and Jeff Koons' first solo museum exhibition. Koons later presented an exhibit at the Museum that established the museum's current attendance record for an exhibition. The museum also presents dance, theater, music, and interdisciplinary arts.

Why You Should Visit:
The museum's substantial global status means that it welcomes and presents the best exhibitions.
This is truly contemporary art, of the last generation, not the well-known modern art of other historic and excellent museums.
There are a variety of exhibitions in all sorts of artistic mediums, while the gift shop has an excellent mix of expensive and more reasonable items.

Tip:
Needless to say that this museum is not for everyone, so please check the current exhibits before you visit.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Thu, Sat-Sun: 10am-5pm; Tue, Fri: 10am-9pm;
Closed: Mondays, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Water Tower Place

10) Water Tower Place

Water Tower Place claims to be Chicago's premier shopping destination. It is a 758,000 sq ft shopping mall, featuring eight sophisticated levels and more than 100 of your favorite stores and restaurants plus a mix of distinctive specialty shops and boutiques. Here, shoppers can have a unique, high-energy urban shopping experience.

Operation hours: Monday-Saturday: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm; Sunday: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
11
John Hancock Center

11) John Hancock Center (must see)

John Hancock Center at 875 North Michigan Avenue in the Gold Coast area of Chicago, Illinois, is a 100-story skyscraper, constructed under the supervision of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, with chief designer Bruce Graham and structural engineer Fazlur Khan. When the building topped out on May 6, 1968, it was the tallest building in the world outside New York City. It is currently the fourth-tallest building in Chicago and the ninth-tallest in the United States.

The Skydeck elevators of the John Hancock center, manufactured by Otis, travel 94 floors at a top speed of 1800 ft/min. From the 95th floor restaurant, diners can look out at Chicago and Lake Michigan. The Observatory (360 Chicago), which competes with the Willis Tower's Skydeck, has a 360° view of the city, up to four states, and a distance of over 80 miles (130 km). The Observatory has Chicago's only open-air SkyWalk and also features a free multimedia tour in six languages. The 44th-floor sky lobby features America's highest indoor swimming pool.

Why You Should Visit:
The views are exceptional as expected. There is a separate fee to experience TILT, which tilts you out 30 degrees over the side of the building and gives a breathtaking view of the skyline.

Tip:
Go for it when it's not cloudy/foggy to completely enjoy the experience.
Don't go for the TILT if you have a strong fear of heights!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-11pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
12
900 North Michigan Shops

12) 900 North Michigan Shops

The 900 Shops are housed by the 900 North Michigan skyscraper. It is one of the premier shopping destinations in Chicago. The 900 Shops provides a unique experience of over 70 luxury lifestyle shops and a strong line-up of national brands perfectly complimented by an eclectic collection of unique boutiques and a diverse selection of delectable dining options.

Operation hours: Monday - Saturday: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm; Sunday: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
13
Palmolive Building

13) Palmolive Building

The Palmolive Building, formerly the Playboy Building, is a 37-story Art Deco building. Built by Holabird & Root, it was completed in 1929 and was home to Colgate-Palmolive-Peet. The Palmolive Building came to be known as the Playboy Building when it was home to Playboy magazine from 1965 to 1989. During this time, the word P-L-A-Y-B-O-Y was spelled out in 9 feet (2.7 m) letters. It was designated a Chicago Landmark in 2000, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Today, the building has been converted for residential use by developer Draper and Kramer. The first two floors house upscale office and retail space. High-end condos make up the rest of the building. Notable residents of the building include Vince Vaughn and Lou Piniella.
Sight description based on wikipedia
14
Oak Street

14) Oak Street

A stretch of Oak Street between Michigan Avenue and Rush Street is one of Chicago's most prominent shopping areas. Contrary to nearby Magnificent Mile, which holds upmarket chain stores and huge department stores, Oak Street is noted for its exquisite boutiques. The Street is a true international style hub, and accommodates many of the world's top class boutiques and salons. It attracts most discerning shoppers from around the globe who settle only for the best. Oak Street is an ultimate "destination" and a place where passion relies on sophistication, elegance and precision.
15
Oak Street Beach

15) Oak Street Beach

Oak Street Beach is located on North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois, on the shore of Lake Michigan. Up until the late 1800s the Lake Shore sloped from Oak Street to the Chicago river in a much gentler fashion. However the construction of a shipping pier at the river led to a build up of sand and silt just to the north. Originally, it was under control of the Lincoln Park District, one of several districts in the city that were consolidated in 1934 to create the Chicago Park District. Through the 1960s the sand area of Oak Street covered more than twice the area it does now, and the water was as much as three feet higher than its current level. The beach was popular for residents and tourists as a summer social spot near down town.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Chicago, Illinois

Create Your Own Walk in Chicago

Create Your Own Walk in Chicago

Creating your own self-guided walk in Chicago is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Chicago is the thirds largest city in the United States, it is located on the shore of Lake Michigan, and it offers numerous vibrant tourist attractions. It is a thriving center of international trade and commerce and a city of world-class status and unsurpassed beauty. It features world-famous museums and galleries, amazing architecture, lake front parks and a huge variety of restaurants and shops. Take this orientation walk to explore the best tourist attractions in Chicago.

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.1 km
Millennium and Grant Parks Walking Tour

Millennium and Grant Parks Walking Tour

Chicago offers a wide range of amazing green outdoor spaces. Grant and Millennium are two lakefront parks, that represent the city's progressive design streak from the 19th century to the 21st. These parks feature amazing architecture and design. Take this walk to explore the beauties the two parks have to offer.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Architectural Walking Tour in The Loop District

Architectural Walking Tour in The Loop District

Chicago features an outstanding architectural legacy. This city has long been connected with some of architecture's most important names: Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, and Holabird & Root. The Loop District offers an extensive number of Chicago's famous architectural "must-see" buildings such as Aqua Tower, Willis Tower, Chicago Theatre, or Rookery Building. Take this walking tour to explore the most famous constructions of the Loop District, Chicago.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Nightlife Tour Part 2

Nightlife Tour Part 2

Legendary Cocktail Lounges play an important part in Chicago's nightlife. Here you can feel the city pulsing with the beat of extraordinary performances of live jazz, blues, rock, folk and country. At Chicago's cocktail lounges you can meet the trendiest people and relax over the magnificent cocktails. Take this walking tour to discover the most famous cocktail lounges that Chicago has to offer.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
Best Jazz and Blues Clubs Tour

Best Jazz and Blues Clubs Tour

Chicago is considered to be one of the most important destinations where Jazz & Blues developed. In the 1920s this city became a center of hot jazz. At the same time blues started to invade Chicago. So if you are a fan of Jazz and/or Blues or you simply like listening to great music, take this walking tour and don't miss the chance to visit some of the best Jazz & Blues clubs in Chicago.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Discovering Chinatown

Discovering Chinatown

Located in the Armour Square, the Chinatown in Chicago was first established in 1912. It is considered the best example of American Chinatown. Here, you will find a wide range of unique boutiques, specialty shops, amazing religious buildings, Chinese medicine stores and Chinese restaurants. Take this walking tour to discover Chicago's Chinatown.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Chicago Souvenirs: 15 Distinct Local Products to Bring Home

Chicago Souvenirs: 15 Distinct Local Products to Bring Home

One of the most fascinating cities in the U.S., if not the whole world, Chicago has no shortage of things closely associated with it, often due to their direct origin (blues, gangstership, etc.), so one might literally be spoiled for choice as to what to choose as a "piece" of Chicago to...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Chicago for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Chicago has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Chicago's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as Chicago CityPASS, Go Chicago Card, or Chicago Explorer Pass.

A city pass combines all or multiple Chicago's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving your precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Chicago hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: The Silversmith Hotel, The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago Athletic Association.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Chicago, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Chicago typically costs somewhere between US$30 and US$70 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker (or a bus trolley, in winter) to enjoy sightseeing of Chicago in comfort listening in the headsets either to the recorded commentary in a variety of foreign languages or to a live on-board commentary from a local expert, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route as often as you like. The tickets are valid for 24, 48, or 72 hours.

- Dig into the infamous chapter of the history of Chicago, once the criminal capital of the United States, on a crime tour exploring the city’s underworld at its height back in the 1920s-30s. See the actual places and hear the stories associated with the mob names like Al Capone, John Dillinger, and other notorious gangsters.

- Explore the well- and not so well-known pieces of Chicago's design-rich architecture on a 2-hour guided walk to some of the city's prominent landmarks, elegant lobbies, and underground corridors accompanied by educational insights from an expert guide.

- Pedal your way around Chicago on a 4-hour guided bike tour for a chance to get a profound understanding of the city, to taste all of its classical eats in a single go, plus to see the most spectacular highlights of its north side neighborhoods and to cruise one of the most popular waterfront bike paths in the U.S.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour of Chicago – this usually lasts about 1.5-2 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise could have done by walking.

Day Trips


If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Chicago, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Oak Park or Plano. For as little as US$55 per person you will get a chance to discover the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District – the birthplace of the famed Prairie Style architecture, as well as to explore the exterior and interior of the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe and to learn about the life and work of this prominent architect. For any of these tours you will be picked up at a designated place in Chicago and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle to the destination of your choice and back again.