One of the joys of visiting Chicago is walking the Magnificent Mile. Full of shops, arts, restaurants, hotels, and outdoor spaces, it’s a great plan for at least one day! Here are my five favorite things to see and do – put your walking shoes on – let’s go! You’ll go from north to south today…

Start at the North end, near  Oak Street Beach .You’ll find tons of shops all along the Mag Mile, including kid-friendly stores like the Disney Store, and plenty of global, national, and local boutiques.  Bookstores abound, as do restaurants and people watching! Right at the beginning is the John Hancock Center and Observatory – head high and see the sights!

Public Art abounds – Chicago has  the Bean (aka “Cloud Gate”) in Millennium Park, the Chicago Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza, and Calder’s Flamingo in Federal Plaza. On the side streets, you’ll also find smaller sculptures creatively filling public spaces.

The Art Institute of Chicago is renowned, globally, for its collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art (among an extremely impressive collection). You’ll recognize the iconic lions guarding the gates, as well as the mimes delighting passersby. It’s worth at least a half-day of your time – ideally, at least one day.

Grant Park is right next door to the Art Institute, and was the site of Obama’s election night rally. One of the best features of Grant Park is Millenium Park, where enormous sculptures capture the eye of both children and adults. Two highlights include the Bean, a large silver bean sculpture that reflects everyone around it, and Crown Fountain, which features video faces on a large screen covered with water, and water sprays and fountains for kids to play in.

End your walk at Intelligentsia coffee shop, right around the corner from the Chicago Cultural Center (and across the street from Millenium Park and the Art Institute). Hands down, the best coffee shop in the Midwest.  They also serve teas and pastries. Bring your laptop and work, or just grab a Black Cat Classic Espresso and sit outside, basking in the sunshine and resting your feet up for the long walk back to the car.


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