The Magnificent Mile is Chicago's Camps Élysées, home to major department stores, malls, and flagship stores of famous fashion brands. The streets official name is Michigan Avenue, the "Magnificent Mile" is the section between Randolph Street in the south and Lake Shore Drive in the north. On Magnificent Mile you can stay in luxury hotels and dine at fancy restaurants. The Water Tower, Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower stand aswell on this famous avenue. Another attraction is the John Hankook Tower with the 360 Chicago observation deck.
The Water Tower is one of the few structures in the center of Chicago that survived the Great Fire of 1871. The 55 m high Water Tower was built in 1869 as a pumping station. The architect William W. Boyington was inspired by the design of English castles. The bright limestone is reminiscent of the Tower of London, the narrow tower more like a lighthouse. The neo-Gothic style made for a lot of ridicule and rejection. But because the building survived the Great Fire, it became the landmark of Chicago. Today, the Water Tower is the most famous attraction in Chicago. The building houses the tourist information office and the municipal art gallery.
The famous chewing gum company of Wrigley build its Chicago headquarter in 1924. The two towers of the complex are connected by a skybridge obove the street level. The south tower is 133 m tall, the North Tower has a hight of 89.5 m.
The Neo-Gothic Tower is the headquarter of the newspaper "Chicago Tribune". The newspaper started an architectural competition in 1922, to build the most beautiful building in the world. More than 250 architects from all over the world participated in the competition. Raymond Hood and John Mead Howell from New York finaly built the 141 m high "Tribune Tower" in 1925.
The Sears Tower, now called Willis Tower, was the tallest skyscraper in the world until 1998. The tower with a hight of 443 meters was built by SOM architects in 1974. Glass boxes at the observation deck stand out from the facade and provide scary looks into the abyss.
The Chicago Elevated Railroad "L" operates 8 m above road level. In the center the route runs in a circle "loop". The first line started it's service in 1892. The system has been extended and today there are also subway lines crossing the center. The station "Quincy" has been restored to it's historic appearance.
Welcome to Chicago
With a population of around 2.7 million inhabitants, Chicago is the third-largest city in the USA. The New Yorkers used to called Chicago "Second City", but Chicago was the first city to build skyscrapers, even before New York. Chicago is also called the "Windy City", due to the cold wind from Canada and some people say, because of the "windy" businesses. The name "Chicago" originates from the people of the Potawatomi, who lived around Lake Michigan, before the europeans explored america.