Things to Do Near the Mag Mile
The Mag Mile (or Magnificent Mile if you’re not familiar) in Chicago is one of the city’s most known and visited tourist attractions. Though no one would claim it to be very original or unique in it’s restaurants and stores, there are quite a few hidden gems to find near this main drag. I recently wrote about this subject for VIVA Lifestyle & Travel and I have to say, going back to explore this neighborhood gave me some serious nostalgia. Here are my top five favorite things to do near (not on) the Chicago Mag Mile:
- Enjoy a Rooftop Bar: There are so many fantastic rooftop bars in this area that it’s hard for me to choose which ones to recommend. The ones that I’ve frequented the most are Drumbar at the top of Raffaello Hotel (cool atmosphere and delicious cocktails) and GreenRiver (beautiful view and equally beautiful drink menu and small plates). Besides these two, there are a number of other great hotel and rooftop bars in the area that are sure to provide a bevy of libations and great views.
- Take in Some Art: The Museum of Contemporary Art is the obvious fan favorite as far as art and culture off the Mag Mile is concerned. It’s an amazing museum with fantastic exhibits that rotate every six months or so. Besides the MCA, there are few other unique opportunities to take in some art in the area. One of my favorites is the Driehaus Museum, which is a restored 19th century mansion full of beautiful art and furniture of that era.
- Shop Off the Mag Mile: If shopping at chain stores is your thing, then you will want to stay directly on Michigan Avenue. If not, you’ll have to wander off the main drag a bit to find some smaller, independent stores. There is a great bookstore, Afterwords, just West of the Mag Mile which includes two stories of books, both new and used. Another gem on the West side of Michigan Avenue is P.O.S.H. on State Street. It’s a wonderful little boutique filled with French knickknacks and local-themed gifts.
- Try Some Worldly Cuisine: Chicago is full of restaurants of every origin and taste, and this theme is concentrated in the Mag Mile neighborhood. One of my favorite restaurants in the area is Le Colonial, a Vietnamese style restaurant with French style service. I also really love Gyu-Kaku, a delightful Japanese BBQ joint (I know it’s a chain, but it’s delicious so whatever), and Cafe L’Appetito, an Italian cafe known for their delectable sandwiches.
- Hit the Water: Nestled between the River and the Lake, this neighborhood provides ample opportunity to get into the water. Ohio Street Beach, located right near Navy Pier, provides the perfect place to sunbathe and jump into the lake if it’s a hot day. Alternatively, most of the tour boats leave from the river and Michigan Avenue if you’re looking to learn more about Chicago’s architecture and history. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy the area’s waterfronts.
Have you ever visited Chicago’s Mag Mile? What’s your favorite hidden gem in the area?