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Fashion, architecture and history come together on a renowned stretch of Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue, nicknamed the Magnificent Mile. It boasts 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 51 hotels, two museums and a variety of sightseeing and entertainment attractions.

As you walk from the Mile’s southern border, the Chicago River, to its northern border, Oak Street, you’ll pass

Water Tower at night in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Water Tower at night in Chicago, Illinois, USA

several Chicago landmarks such as the Water Tower, one of the city’s most beloved buildings and one of the only to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871; the Tribune Tower, home to the Chicago Tribune; the Wrigley Building; built to house the corporate headquarters of the Wrigley Company and now a national site; and the John Hancock Center, one of the tallest buildings in the city.

Besides the obvious walking, eating, shopping, here are some other things to do and see while visiting Michigan Avenue:

River and Lake Tours: Lined with some of the city’s finest architecture and dotted with river walks and restaurants, cruising the river via boat is one of the best ways to pinpoint locations you want to return to on dry land. Several companies offer short and long cruises with varying themes, and many start at the southern tip of the Mile. Check out offerings from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Shoreline Sightseeing, Wendella Sightseeing and Mercury Cruises.

Are you prone to seasickness? Walking tours are also an option, either with a company or on your own. If you’re looking to do it solo, this is a great guide.

Michigan Avenue Bridge: This iconic Chicago-type bascule bridge is the most revered and celebrated bridge in Chicago and was granted landmark status in July 1991, 70 years after its construction. It’s the perfect backdrop for a photo.

In 2006, the southwest bridge house became home to the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum. Visitors can view the bridge’s operating gears and counterweights on the lowest level of the museum, and, during the spring and fall bridge lifts, watch the machinery in action.

Oak Street Beach: Located at 1000 N. Lake Shore Drive at Oak Street and Lake Michigan near the Gold Coast/Streeterville neighborhoods, this popular summer hotspot offers beach goers amenities that include chair rentals, food and beverage options at Oak Street Beach Café, bike rentals, volleyball rentals, restrooms and a spectacular view of the city skyline.

For a full list of all Magnificent Mile attractions please click here.  For nearby hotels please click here.