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Chicago - Magnificent Mile

Magnificent Mile
North Michigan Ave., called the Magnificent Mile, is a wide boulevard, lined with broad sidewalks, trees and flower plantings (tulips in April and May), and lots of stores for shopping. A great walk with kids is to stroll up the avenue, starting at the Chicago River and Wrigley Building, and walk north to the Old Water Tower.
  Tribune Tower – On your walk along the avenue, stop to look at the Tribune building, one of Chicago’s first skyscrapers, built in the 1920’s. The Tribune Building has stones from all over the world embedded in the walls – a chunk of the Parthenon, Cologne Cathedral, a royal castle in Stockholm, the Old Central Post Office Dublin, carving from a Hunan temple in China, gargoyle piece of Notre Dame, fragments of David’s Tower Jerusalem, Edinburgh Castle, Westminster Abbey, The Alamo, and Taj Mahal.

Old Chicago Water Tower - The old water tower and pumping station is a symbol of 19th century Chicago, and one of the few buildings to survive the Great Fire of 1871. You can’t go inside the Water Tower, but it looks cool, all sort of Gothic-y, like a fake medieval castle with crenelated ramparts and towers.

    Across the street from the Water Tower is the Chicago Water Works (and Visitor Center), once the pumping station. Check out the big old pumps with names, such as "Old Kane," Old DePaul," or "Old Pouliot."

Playground (Seneca Playlot Park) - One block east of the Water Works Visitor Center is a charming playground, with climbing structures, slides, swings, shade and benches for a picnic.


360 Chicago – The John Hancock Center isn’t the tallest building in Chicago, but from the skyscraper there are stunning views looking south to Willis Tower (which dwarfs all the other skyscrapers), Lake Michigan, all the way to Gary Indiana on a clear day. The observatory on the 94th floor has sound telescopes and audio tours in four languages. Good year round, and shorter lines than Skydeck..

    Tip: Use Chicago CityPass for free admission.

Oak Street Beach – Oak Street Beach is a good family beach, with snack bar and lifeguards in summer, bring your sand toys and make an afternoon of it.


Tip: Light Nights – In winter, every Saturday night, Jan. – March, watch fireworks from N. Michigan Ave. (right at the Chicago River). The avenue is brightly illuminated, trees are strung with lights, and there are store and seasonal events each week.




American Girl Place - As you walk along Michigan Ave., you’ll see girls toting their dolls, heading into American Girl Place, or coming out with red shopping bags. Girls can take their dolls to lunch, brunch, afternoon tea or dinner at the American Girl Café, watch a doll musical, and of course, there's things to buy.

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