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The Magnificent Mile picture in Chicago
Horse-drawn Carriages picture in Chicago
Chicago Water Tower picture in Chicago
The Magnificent Mile picture in Chicago
Horse-drawn Carriages picture in Chicago
Chicago Water Tower picture in Chicago

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  • Cafes, Shopping, Neighborhood/Area Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

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Based on 10 interviews

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  • Recommended
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If you can feel your credit card burning a hole through your wallet, make your way to The Magnificent Mile. This portion of Michigan Avenue – which stretches between Lake Shore Drive and the Chicago River – beckons to shopaholics with department stores and luxury retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Macy's and Lord & Taylor. Additionally, The Magnificent Mile is home to several top-notch eateries and luxury hotels, including The Drake, a Hilton Hotel the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile.

Architecture buffs will also appreciate a stroll down this street thanks to its eclectic collection of buildings. While you're walking around, turn your eyes upward for views of the Historic Water Tower, which survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and is the longest standing structure on Michigan Avenue. Other structural highlights include the Wrigley Building (once the headquarters of chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr.) and Tribune Tower (home to the Chicago Tribune daily newspaper).

Shopaholics rave about The Magnificent Mile year-round, but for some of the area's best window displays, time your visit during the holiday season. And though you'll want to walk to get the best views of the street's architecture, if you start to tire, hop onto one of several buses – route Nos. 3, 26, 125, 143, 146, 147, 148 and 151 – to get around the area.

You can reach The Magnificent Mile on foot from the Loop via the DuSable Bridge, by bus, by L (the closest stations are at the Red Line's Grand and Chicago stops), by taxi or by car. Multiple parking garages are available nearby for a fee, and public restrooms are provided in the Water Tower Place shopping center. The Magnificent Mile is free to explore at any time of day or night, though stores and other facilities adhere to their own hours. To learn more about what there is to see and do along this famed thoroughfare, visit the Magnificent Mile's website.

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#1 Art Institute of Chicago Home to one of the country's most impressive collections of impressionist and post-impressionist art (plus works from numerous other genres), the expansive Art Institute of Chicago features more than ... Read more » Tom Ipri / Flickr

#2 Chicago Architecture River Cruise A visit to 360 CHICAGO or Skydeck Chicago will give you a good overview of the city's layout. But if you want to learn more about Chicago's sky-high ... Read more » Shobeir Ansari / Getty Images

#3 Millennium Park A first-time visit to Chicago isn't complete without a stop at Millennium Park. Situated in the Loop just north of the Art Institute of Chicago, this 24.5-acre space ... Read more » A Ryan / Flickr

#4 Shedd Aquarium Shedd Aquarium is one of the world's largest indoor aquariums, housing around 32,000 creatures. While you're here, you can feel stingrays float beneath your fingers, listen to ... Read more » Bruce Leighty / Getty Images

#5 Wrigley Field Any fan of "Saturday Night Live" knows that Chicagoans take their love of sports very seriously. So for a real taste of Chicago culture, head north of the Loop to ... Read more » Mr Hicks46 / Flickr

#6 Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain Often referred to as "Chicago's front yard," Grant Park is a 319-acre swath of green space that starts at the eastern edge of the Loop and stretches down to ... Read more » MattFrankel / Getty Images

#7 The Field Museum This extensive natural history museum occupies half an acre of Grant Park's Museum Campus and houses extensive exhibits that showcase artifacts from multiple eras and destinations, making it a ... Read more » Robert Glusic / Getty Images

#8 The Magnificent Mile If you can feel your credit card burning a hole through your wallet, make your way to The Magnificent Mile. This portion of Michigan Avenue – which stretches between Lake Shore ... Read more » Christopher.F Photography / Getty Images

#9 Navy Pier Extending out onto Lake Michigan, Navy Pier offers plenty in the way of family-friendly entertainment. The first thing you'll spot once you set foot on the pier is the ... Read more » Westend61 / Getty Images

#10 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck One of Chicago's most notable attractions is its skyline, and one of the best places to experience it is at the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck. Formerly known as the ... Read more » ziggymaj / Getty Images

#11 Museum of Science and Industry Chicago's extensive Museum of Science and Industry pays tribute to the city's innovative roots, showcasing more than 35,000 artifacts and a variety of hands-on exhibits meant to ... Read more » benkrut / Getty Images

#12 Skydeck Chicago Nearly 2 million people make their way to Willis Tower's Skydeck Chicago each year, and it's easy to see why. Occupying the 103rd floor – that's nine floors ... Read more » Courtesy of Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower

#13 Lincoln Park Zoo Located 2 miles north of the Loop in the North Side neighborhood of Lincoln Park, the Lincoln Park Zoo is home to dozens of species, such as zebras, sloths and ... Read more » JamesTung / Getty Images

#14 The Chicago Theatre Aside from Cloud Gate and Buckingham Fountain, The Chicago Theatre's red and yellow marquee is perhaps one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. Illuminating North State Street at ... Read more » VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm / Getty Images

# Chicago Crime Tours Until relatively recently, notorious mobsters like Al Capone and John Dillinger were the characters who may have come to mind when someone mentioned the Windy City. Chicago Crime Tours takes ... Read more » sfgamchick / Flickr

# Maggie Daley Park Read more » Bruce Leighty / Getty Images

# The 606 Dividing Chicago's Logan Square and Humboldt Park neighborhoods, The 606 is a former industrial rail line that's been transformed into a nature trail and a public space. In ... Read more » Courtesy The 606

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It's hard to miss the Art Institute of Chicago's entrance as you approach. Two tall bronze lions have stood outside the museum since 1894, the year after Chicago hosted the World's Columbian Exposition. Tom Ipri / Flickr

One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the city and its famous architecture is to take an architecture river cruise on the Chicago River. Shobeir Ansari / Getty Images

Chicago's famous Cloud Gate sculpture – often referred to as "The Bean" – can be found in Millennium Park. A Ryan / Flickr

While Shedd Aquarium's main draw is its abundant aquatic life housed inside, step outside to enjoy scenic views of Lake Michigan and the downtown Chicago skyline. Bruce Leighty / Getty Images

Baseball enthusiasts cannot miss a chance to visit Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Mr Hicks46 / Flickr

One of Grant Park's standout features is the Buckingham Fountain, a large tiered fountain built as a tribute to Clarence Buckingham (an avid art collector who donated several works to the Art Institute of Chicago). MattFrankel / Getty Images

Excite your inner archaeologist by visiting The Field Museum, which features exhibits showcasing everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts to dinosaur bones. Robert Glusic / Getty Images

The stretch of Michigan Avenue just north of the Loop is known as The Magnificent Mile. Here, you'll find a number of high-end shops and eateries, plus iconic structures like the Historic Water Tower, Tribune Tower and the John Hancock Center, where 360 CHICAGO is located. Christopher.F Photography / Getty Images

Whether or not you've got kids in tow, carve out some time for Navy Pier. In addition to rides, the pier is home to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Chicago Children's Museum and an Imax theater. Westend61 / Getty Images

From the John Hancock Center's 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck, travelers can take in panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. ziggymaj / Getty Images

One of the city's most popular family-friendly attractions is the Museum of Science and Industry, thanks in part to its variety of hands-on educational activities. benkrut / Getty Images

Skydeck Chicago in Willis Tower features glass viewing areas that extend outward from the building's 103rd floor. Courtesy of Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower

The beloved (and free) Lincoln Park Zoo houses an array of animals from around the world, including lions, chimpanzees and polar bears. JamesTung / Getty Images

Built in 1921, The Chicago Theatre was the flagship for the Balaban and Katz group of theaters. VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm / Getty Images

Anyone interested in Chicago's history of mobsters and gangsters needs to book a Chicago Crime Tour to get the backstory on the city's gritty history. sfgamchick / Flickr

This 20-acre park, located in the Loop, is a must-do for any travelers with kids. And in the winter, the park operates an ice skating ribbon, which weaves through the park’s undulating landscape. Bruce Leighty / Getty Images

This 2.7-mile elevated park and trail offers walkers, joggers and cyclers a great vantage of the city. Courtesy The 606

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