The Magnificent Mile, or The Mag Mile, covers 13 blocks of North Michigan Avenue, from the Chicago River to Oak Street. Chicago’s largest shopping district, the street is a mix of luxury retailers, department stores, restaurants, hotels and residential and commercial buildings attracting millions of visitors annually.
The concept for Michigan Avenue was part of the 1909 Daniel Burnham Plan of Chicago and transformed what was then known as Pine Street into a boulevard by widening the street and constructing a bridge in the 1920s. Originally the Lake Michigan shoreline was just a block away from Michigan Avenue.
In the 1940s, real estate developer Arthur Rubloff is credited with coining the street’s “Magnificent Mile” nickname and transforming it into a center of retail, dining and culture.
The non-profit The Magnificent Mile Association, formerly the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association and originally the North Central Business District Association, was founded in 1912 and carries out a mission of preserving, promoting and enhancing this unique, multi-use Chicago neighborhood.
“The Magnificent Mile” became a registered trademark in 2001. The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, the largest nighttime parade in the country and produced by The Magnificent Mile Association, takes place every year in November since 1992 to kick-off to the holiday season and light the holiday lights down Michigan Avenue.
At the north end of the street is the historic Water Tower and Pumping Station which was one of the few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire, the Drake Hotel, Water Tower Place and 875 North Michigan Avenue (formerly John Hancock Center). The Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower, one of the street’s first skyscrapers opened in 1925, are situated on the south end of the street.
Other well-known buildings along the boulevard include the Woman’s Athletic Club (626 N. Michigan Avenue) and Fourth Presbyterian Church (126 E. Chestnut Street).
The street boasts several “firsts in history” including the first holiday twinkle lights seen in the United States (Saks 5th Avenue), tallest building in the world (John Hancock Center), and first urban vertical mall (Water Tower Place).
Have your say in our “Your Hometown” series! Submit your suggestions on which town you think we should feature here. Hear a different “Your Hometown” featured every month.
Your Hometown featuring The Magnificent Mile is sponsored by @properties, Grain Berry and McDonald’s.