October 17 2008 by Mark Deyer
On a recent business trip to Chicago, I found myself with a free afternoon. Faced with the many offerings that Chicago has for visitors, I decided that with it being such a perfect autumn afternoon, a stroll down Michigan Avenue would be an ideal way to get my mind off of work.
Michigan Avenue, for those who haven't spent time in Chicago, is the city's epicenter for fashion and shopping. Dubbed the "Magnificent Mile", Michigan Avenue boasts everything from department stores to high-fashion boutiques and fine dining to a popcorn shop. It is truly one of the gems of Chicago for window shopping and people watching alike.
Back with another installment of Travel by Numbers, we take a walk down Michigan Avenue...
4... Starbucks passed on my walk down the Magnificent Mile. With just over 40 locations in the downtown area, I was actually expecting more than 4 locations on Michigan Avenue. A hot coffee on a crisp autumn day gave me an extra jump to my step and the energy to shop for the afternoon.
460... Shops located on Michigan Avenue. I relied on a visitor's guide for this tally. My favorites were the boutiques for Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Marc Jacobs. Like most, my wallet only afforded me to "oh and ah", but at very least I created quite a wish list.
6... Fire trucks spotted on the Magnificent Mile that afternoon. Maybe it has something to do with Chicago's storied history with fires, but that afternoon the fine men and women of the Chicago Fire Department were in full swing with several calls. Some consider the sirens annoying, I just think of them as the soundtrack for an afternoon in the city.
1... Deep dish pizza. Hungry for a snack, I broke the path and made my way a couple blocks inward to Lou Malnati's Pizzeria. This place is indeed a Chicago institution and with graffiti and dark lighting it has about as much character as any pizza joint in New York City. I took grief from the wait staff as I struggled to eat my share of a hulking "small" pie that could have been more appropriately measured in pounds instead of slices. By my estimation, Chicagoans are just as passionate about deep-dish pizza as they are with the Bears.
94... Floors to get to the John Hancock Tower observation deck. For anyone eager for a birdseye view of the Magnificent Mile and downtown Chicago, a $15 ticket to the John Hancock Tower observation deck will give you million dollar views. I spent this part of the afternoon happily snapping pictures of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan from the 3rd tallest building in Chicago. A mesh covered deck allows you to feel the force of Chicago winds at 1000 feet above ground level.
119... Dollars spent in my walk down Michigan Avenue. All told, it was a priceless afternoon stroll down one of Chicago's busiest and most expensive streets. I shopped, ate, and took in views of one of the greatest cities in the Midwest.
What are your favorite memories of leisure on a business trip?