'Meet me on the Mile' aims to attract shoppers back to Michigan Ave

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Retailers, shops and restaurants along Chicago's iconic Magnificent Mile have suffered during the pandemic, so a new program is aiming to lure shoppers back.

"Meet me on the Mile" is a Thursday all about business, making sure people know the boulevard is open and it's OK to come back. And it may be working.

Former Chicagoan Robet Reif showed off the street to his Arizona family.

"I just wanted my family to see it, see what Chicago's about," he said.

"It's so much fun," said Brianne Beaumot, who came out Thursday, "I feel like there's such an energy about it."

The celebration features free concerts on Thursday every other week though the end of September. President and CEO of the Magnificent Mile Association Kimberly Bares said the goal of the summer activation series is to bring shoppers, diners and families back to Michigan Avenue.

"That's what this event is meant to do, it's safe to come back out. it's safe to enjoy the city that we all love," she said.

The concert performances are at the north end of Michigan Avenue at the Garden Plaza at 875 North Michigan, formerly the John Hancock Building, and on the south end of the street at Pioneer Court.

Other activities are also planned, some of which will require certain blocks to be closed off. That's only happened three times before.

"We close it every year for our Mag Mile Lights Fest, and Mag Mile Run, and Oprah," Bares said.

The pandemic didn't spare Michigan Avenue. Just like other places, the streets stores and restaurants have taken a hit. Some survived. Others didn't.

And as the world and Chicago continues to open up, some like the Syed family are both hopeful and cautious as they look forward to getting out again.
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