Chicago’s Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile , often simply called “the Mag Mile”, is an area of Chicago extending along Michigan Avenue, crossing the Chicago River to Oak Street, in Downtown Chicago.
The Mile is also a block away from Rush Street, known for its bustling nightlife. Mag Mile is also considered the main road connecting Chicago’s downtown Loop and Gold Coast, and is also the western border of the Streeterville neighborhood.
“Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is now a cocktail of brand name stores, restaurants, luxury boutiques, residential and business buildings, financial companies and hotels, and mainly covers the interests of tourists and people with money. It’s also home to the city’s major media outlets such as the Chicago Tribune and advertising agencies.
Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is 290,000 square meters of retail space, 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 51 hotels and a place full of attractions and entertainment for 22 million visitors annually. What’s more, the Mile is considered one of the most beautiful streets in the United States. And in recent years, Mag Mile has been transformed by a new landscape of trees and flowerbeds reflecting the changing seasons.
Drake Hotel: The Drake Hotel was built in 1920 in the Italian Renaissance style and to this day is considered one of the historic hotels. The Drake brothers have cemented their family’s reputation as socially, commercially and politically powerful by owning and operating two of the most sought-after hotels on both sides of Michigan Avenue, the Drake Hotel and the Blackstone Hotel.
It’s not uncommon for city visitors to be invited to tea at this hotel, an atmosphere of luxury and upscale service. State and international leaders, dignitaries and members of the European aristocracy have often stayed at the Drake Hotel. In 1996 Diana, Princess of Wales stayed here. Joe Di Maggio and Marilyn Monroe had their names scratched out on a wooden bar in the Cape Cod Room.
900 North Michigan : Built in 1989, it is the seventh tallest building in Chicago and the 25th tallest in the United States. Today it is a large shopping center and is more commonly referred to by people as “Bloomingdale’s Building”. The 32nd to 46th floor is occupied by the Four Seasons Hotel, and the 48th to 66th floor is the condominium, the residential part of the skyscraper.
Palmolive / Playboy Building : The skyscraper was built in 1929 for one of the world’s leading soap manufacturers, Colgate-Palmolive-Peet, a 37-story building, a “monument to cleanliness”. And in 1965 it became known as the Playboy Building. Between 1965 and 1989, when the Playboy magazine headquarters were located here, the building adorned the magazine’s name. Today it is a residential skyscraper with stores on the lower floors.
John Hancock Center: Thanks to its expressionist design, the building has become a true architectural icon. At the time of its construction in 1968 it was the tallest building in the world. Today it is the fourth tallest skyscraper in Chicago and the sixth tallest in the world. On the 95th floor is the famous restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows all around.
And the views from the John Hancock Observatory are considered to be the best in the city.
Fourth Presbyterian Church: Founded in 1871 and destroyed by the Great Fire of the same year. In 1874 it was decided to rebuild the church building and it took 40 years to build it on the new site where it is now. In 1914 the building was opened. Over time the residential neighborhood around the church grew, forming the now famous Mag Mile. Every Friday at 12:10 p.m. the church holds free concerts.
Chicago Water Tower: The Chicago Water Tower was built in 1869. The great fire of 1871 destroyed almost every building in the city except this tower. And after that tragedy, it served as a beacon that survivors used to orient themselves in search of the remains of their homes. So Water Tower became a monument to the efforts of Chicago engineers and a memorial to the victims of the fire. And today it is a symbol of the American “I will” spirit and one of the most beloved and respected landmarks.
Chicago Avenue Pumping Station: In 1855, a project was begun to build a water pumping station that would supply the city with water from Lake Michigan. The tunnels were completed in 1866 and the station itself was built in 1869. Today, the station serves its original purpose. The water station is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is free.
Chicago Fire Station No. 98 : The fire station was built in 1902 and is part of the Chicago Water Tower District. The station building was erected in memory of all those who died saving other people’s lives from fire, including the Great Fire of 1871. The Chicago Fire Department is the second largest in the states and the oldest in the nation’s history.
Allerton Hotel : When the hotel first opened, in 1924, 14 floors were offered for men and 6 floors were offered to accommodate women. It was the first high-rise building built and operated under the guest accommodation laws of the 1920s. In 2006 the Allerton Hotel was purchased from Crown Plaza and sold to Charters Lodging Group for $70,000,000.
Tribune Tower : The Chicago Tribune Company announced in 1922 a design competition for its new headquarters. This time coincided with the popularity of skyscraper architecture development and became a design in the neo-Gothic style by New York architects John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood.
Before the tower was built, the newspaper correspondents collected and brought 136 stones and fragments from various historical sites around the world.
Many of these stones with an indication of their origin can be found on the walls of the lower level of the building. These include stones from the Taj Mahal, Parthenon, the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, and others. Recently, in memory of the victims of the 9/11 tragedy, a fragment of the World Trade Center was anchored in the wall.
Wrigley Building: For 75 years the Wrigley Building has been considered one of the most attractive buildings in Chicago. It was built by the gum king William Wrigley Jr. as its headquarters. In 1920, it was the only office building north of the Chicago River.
Michigan Avenue Bridge and Esplanade: A bridge designed and built in 1920 to improve transportation between the south and north banks of the Chicago River. The bridge touches historic areas of the city in the 1920s. The north bank of the river was the home of Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable, the city’s first resident, and the south bank was the site of the Fort Dearborn military port.
The four towers at the base of the bridge each tell the story of the city’s historic events.