A visit to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without exploring one of its most famous attractions, Michigan Avenue. Otherwise known as The Magnificent Mile, this attraction runs from the bridge that spans the Chicago River to its northern point at Oak Street. Be sure to wear your comfortable walking shoes for an entire day of shopping, eating, browsing art galleries, visiting world-class museums, and more. If you happen to visit during the month of May, you’ll be able to catch the celebration of spring, marked by the blooming of hundreds of thousands of tulips along this stretch.
You might want to begin your exploration by taking in some of the best views of Chicago by heading to the John Hancock Observatory, located between E. Delaware and E. Chestnut at 875 N. Michigan Avenue. You’ll skyrocket to over 1,000 feet to enjoy a 360-degree panorama that stretches across four states, all the while learning more about Chicago through interactive touch screens located throughout the floor.
If you’ve got the urge to splurge, head north to the 900 block and discover a stunning shopping center with six levels of upscale retailers like Bloomingdale’s, Gucci, Coach, J.Crew, Stuart Weitzman, and more. The Art Institute recently opened up a gallery here to showcase rotating exhibitions of art and design by its students and alumni. It’s a great place to see the works of up-and-coming and acclaimed artists.
In between shopping, the Loyola University Museum of Art at 820 N. Michigan is a not-to-be-missed city treasure. Opened in 2005, it’s dedicated to the exploration, promotion, and understanding of art and artistic expression that attempts to illuminate the enduring spiritual questions and concerns of all cultures and societies. Its Martin D’Arcy, S.J. Collection is one of the finest collections of medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Art in the Midwest.
After your break, continue to Chicago Place at 700 North Michigan for even more shopping with eight floors boasting over 45 stores and dining establishments including Saks Fifth Avenue, Ann Taylor, and Talbots.
When it’s time for a bite to eat, you’ll find a melting pot of international flavors that will fulfill the dreams of even the hardest-to-satisfy foodie. If you’re craving a good burger, one of the best in town can be found at Bandera, just two blocks south at 535 North Michigan. This eatery is frequently named as a favorite with locals as well as tourists for its great service and a burger that will have you planning your next trip to Chicago. The menu is quite diverse (the rotisserie lamb sandwich is another excellent choice), so you’ll find something to satisfy just about everyone’s tastes. Although there isn’t a specific kids’ menu, servers and chefs are happy to accommodate the little ones too.
The Magnificent Mile is lined with more than 200 dining establishments, including local favorites where you can indulge in all sorts of traditional Midwestern fare, including Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza and classic steakhouses.
Now that you’re nice and full, you may want to walk off that meal and enjoy an afternoon on Lake Michigan. From there, venture east down Grand Avenue for just under three-quarters of a mile to Gateway Park, located west of the Navy Pier. This scenic little park on the city’s lakefront features a marble fountain in the center that shoots water out of the top and around the base. On a warm day, kids will love running around and cooling off in the spray.
Spring is a great time to be on the Navy Pier, as kids of all ages will enjoy riding the Wave Swinger, lifting guests 14 feet into the air and then swirling them around for a thrilling ride with great lake views. Don’t miss the seven-minute ride on the Ferris wheel, whose 150-foot-height provides unparalleled vistas of the city’s skyline and lakefront. From May through September, this is also a great place to catch a live music performance.
Couples who are looking for a little romantic indulgence may want to end the day here by embarking on a Spirit of Chicago Harbor Cruise, which departs from the Navy Pier. Spend a fabulous evening out on the water with beautiful views as well as tasty buffets, live entertainment, dancing and more.
For those with kids in tow, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy pizza in a city that’s known as the “Pizza Capital of the World.” Located just off N. Michigan Avenue at 125 Superior Street, the renowned Original Gino’s East is considered the number one pizza joint where customers from across the globe return year after year to scribble their names onto the stucco walls. Don’t miss your chance to leave Chicago something to remember you by on a trip you’ll never forget!
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