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Close To Home: The Magnificent Mile

By Shannon

By Shannon


Over the past few months, I (and others) have highlighted interesting and great places to see around Chicago. In an effort to keep close to “home,” also known as the Hyatt, I’m focusing on Michigan Avenue this month.

Michigan Avenue ( stretches north and south from the hotel and is home to more stores and eateries than I can count. Like Lake Michigan and Millennium, wandering Michigan Ave is great free entertainment. If you’re interested in stopping along the way, check out these highlights:

Water Tower Place ( 835 N. Michigan Avenue

  • Water Tower Place is a multi-level mall at the North end of Michigan Ave in downtown Chicago. Macy’s is on the ground floor and variety of restaurants and stores are throughout the other levels.

Hershey’s Chocolate World ( 22 N. Michigan Ave.

  • A great place for a sweet treat

Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop ( 830 N. Michigan Ave.

  • An additional delicious stop and right across the street from the Hershey’s

The John Hancock Center ( 875 N. Michigan Ave

  •  The John Hancock Tower, close to Water Tower Place, provides amazing 360 degree view of Chicago at the top.

Garrett’s Popcorn ( 625 North Michigan Avenue

  • Garrett’s popcorn is famous in Chicago. Their famous Chicago mix, cheese and caramel popcorn, creates a line out the door. If you’re trying to find Garrett’s the quickest way is by your nose — you can smell the popcorn within a block

Chicago Cultural Center ( 78 E. Washington St.

  • The Chicago Cultural Center was once the main branch of the Chicago Public Library (which is now a bit south and west). It not only provides helpful information about the city and free community programming, but has beautiful interior and exterior decorations.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation ( 224 South Michigan Ave

  • Find a variety of different types of tours (on foot, by EL, by boat) to learn about the history and architecture of Chicago

Bonus: Navy Pier ( 600 E. Grand Ave

  • Navy Pier is well-known for its iconic Ferris wheel and fireworks. You can find the pier directly east of Michigan and Grand

Bonus: Macy’s on State Street ( 111 N State St

  • Macy’s on State Street occupies the one of Marshall Fields’ original buildings, which is recognized as National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A number of unique tours are available, including the Historic Store Tour, which highlight some of the building’s most unique features. Macy’s is worth a stop in Chicago not just for the merchandise but for the delicious Frango mints.

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Chicago Destinations

Happy New Year everyone! Over the next few months I will be posting more about Chicago. I plan on some guest posts for some unique perspectives and suggestions for what to do while visiting. There’s something in Chicago for everyone.
For this post, I’m going to focus on some unique landmarks in downtown Chicago, within easy distance of the hotel.

Millennium Park and Cloud Gate

Chicagoans call Cloud Gate “the Bean” due to its shape, but it’s an awesome piece. The Bean is favorite photo spot among locals and visitors and it’s worth the short trip from the hotel. it’s a completely stainless steel structure with great views of the city skyline, both reflecting in the Bean and as the backdrop.
Millennium park was part of a revitalization project that resulted in a wonderful public space. Besides Cloud Gate, you can wander through lots of outdoor art including the “face towers” which spout water during the summer. You can also hang out at the Pritzker Pavillion during the summer. The Lurie Gardens are also open to the public and should be bursting with local native wild flowers in May.

Art Institute

Right across from Millennium Park is the Art Institute of Chicago, a well-known and beloved destination. They have an incredible collection of art, ranging from the ancient to the modern. There is something for every artistic taste. It was a wonderful impressionist collection and impressively new modern wing. Hours are 10:30 am to 5:00 pm all week except Thursdays when the hours are 10:30 am to 8:00 pm. General admission is $23.00 but there can be discounted prices for Chicago and Illinois residents.

Shedd Aquarium 

The Shedd is one of my favorite destinations in Chicago. It has a great conservation program and the aquarium’s first priority is the well-being of the animals. Visit with tropical fish, dolphins, beluga whales, penguins and sharks! If you’re an animals aquatic fan, I would recommend the full pass. It includes pretty much everything you’ll want to see. Ticket prices vary depending on the type of pass. The hours are 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 6pm Saturday and Sunday during the conference

Adler Planetarium 

The Adler has a prime location as the landmark farthest east on the museum campus peninsula. It has great views of the cityscape, but more importantly, has interesting exhibits on the solar system, the milkyway and other astronomical phenomena. Their skyshows are one the best ways to get a good look at the Chicago’s night sky, any time of the year. The Adler’s hours are 9:30 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday and 9:30 am to 4:30 pm Saturday and Sunday. General Admission is $28.00.

The Field Museum

Have you ever seen “The Night at the Museum” with Ben Stiller? The enthusiastic t-rex who likes to play fetch is the Field Museum’s one and only Sue. She proudly guards the entrance of the Field Museum. In addition to Sue, the Field Museum has lots of unique exhibits. Some exhibits are permanent while others rotate. Check the Field’s website for information on current exhibits.The Field is open 9 am to 5 pm everyday and ticket prices vary depending on package.

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is located a little north of the hotel, a short EL ride, in Lincoln Park. The Zoo is a well-known destination in Chicago. Another great perk is free admission. During April and May, the Lincoln Park Zoo is open 10 am to 5 pm.

Museum of Broadcast Communications

A unique museum north of the hotel but reasonably close. A great place for those interested in journalism and broadcasting. Fun fact: National Public Radio’s local station WBEZ, home station of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and This American Life, broadcasts from Navy Pier. General admission is $12 and the museum’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm.

International Museum of Surgical Science

An interesting museum that presents exhibits on the history and development of surgery and related health and medical subjects. General admission is $15 and the museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.

Magnificent Mile

Michighan Ave, dubbed as the Magnificent Mile, is practically right outside the Hyatt’s doors. Michigan Ave is the place for beautiful storefront windows, great architecture and a chance to pick some famous Garrett’s popcorn.

There are plenty of more destinations and attractions in Chicago that I haven’t had a chance to mention. Check out Chicago’s landmarks, attractions and more at Choose Chicago. It’s a great resource with itinerary, event and destination suggestions for your visit.

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