10 Best Places To Take Pictures in Chicago
As a resident for the last 7 years, I’ve had plenty of time to scope out the best Instagram spots in Chicago. From restaurants to attractions and more, this city really has some photo worthy spots.
If you’re planning a visit to Chicago or you’re a resident who’s looking to get out and explore, read on for the most Instagrammable places in Chicago!
INSTAGRAM SPOTS IN CHICAGO
3 Arts Club Café at Restoration Hardware
3 Arts Club Café is a restaurant, coffee-shop and wine bar all in one. It’s tucked away inside Restoration Hardware in the Gold Coast neighborhood.
The building acts as both a place to eat on the main floor and an interior design showroom up above. My recommendation is to go early and go hungry. I’ve only gone on Saturday’s and both times we waited over an hour for our table.
TRAVEL TIP: You can put your phone number down, explore the local neighborhood and wait for a text when your table is ready.
2020 UPDATE: Chicago’s flamingo mural was painted over when Flamingo Rum Club moved out and Diver moved in. This tropical themed restaurant repainted the wall with a new songbird mural by JC Riviera which is still worth checking out.
Ah yes, the famous Chicago flamingo mural. It’s outside of Flamingo Rum Club and faces Ohio Street. This mural is huge! Plan on having your photographer take your photo from across Ohio Street if you want to capture the full wall.
TRAVEL TIP: Ohio Street is a very busy downtown street. Not only is there a lot of foot traffic but your photographer will have to shoot quickly in between red lights as cars are constantly flowing through.
If you’re a fan of street art, check out my Chicago Mural Guide blog post HERE.
The Chicago Riverwalk
This is my favorite part of Chicago, especially for photos! My office sits on the river so I usually spend my lunch breaks walking or sitting along the Riverwalk. The full river walk spans for over a mile so there’s plenty of photo ops here.
One of the most popular photo spots along the Chicago River is at the North East end outside of the Wrigley Building. You get one of the best views of the skyline and river in one (pictured above on the right.)
TRAVEL TIP: The Riverwalk is one of the best Instagram spots in Chicago year round. In the Fall, there are some areas where trees with orange leaves line the river. Then in the Winter, the river turns into a frozen sheet of ice that sometimes breaks apart to form large chunks.
The Bean & Millennium Park
You don’t have to be an expert on Chicago to know about the famous Chicago Bean. It’s real name is Cloud Gate and it’s Millennium Parks greatest attraction. The structure is made completely from stainless steel and gives you an incredible reflection of the surrounding skyline.
While you’re at Millennium Park be sure to walk around and check out a few other spots like the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and Lurie Garden.
TRAVEL TIP: The bean is easily the most popular attraction in Chicago so get here early. It’s not uncommon to arrive at 6:30am and still see other people here taking photos. Even in the winter!
Chicago Lakefront Trail
Chicagoan’s LIVE for the lakeshore bike path. We tough it out for a long, cold winter so when the bike path opens again in the spring, people come out in full force.
Seeing Chicago’s skyline from either direction is sure to provide you with plenty of photo ops. In the summer the beaches fill with sunbathers and restaurants on the lake open for business. This is such a nice place to spend time when the weather is good!
TRAVEL TIP: The entire trial is 18.5 miles long starting from Jackson Park (south of downtown) to Edgewater (north of downtown). You could be standing anywhere along this stretch and still catch a good view of the skyline!
Chicago Theater & Nederlander Theater
I had walked by the Chicago Theater so many times before I finally stopped to take a picture. There are a number of good angles you can get from the east side of Michigan Ave, the west side of Michigan Ave, straight on, from the side, the list goes on!
I went to my first and only concert here last year and I can say the inside is equally impressive, if not more, than the outside.
TRAVEL TIP: Head one block south and one block west of the Chicago Theater to see the Nederlander Theater.
Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk & Lincoln Park Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo is amazing for two reasons: it’s one of the oldest zoo’s in North America & it’s absolutely free. You heard that right, zero cost admission 24/7. It’s great in the summer for obvious reasons but also in the winter when they put on the holiday light festival called “Zoo Lights.”
There are great photo ops inside the zoo but also a couple of hidden gems around the area. On the south side of the entrance is the Nature Boardwalk (where the famous South Pond Pavilion aka The Honeycomb is) and on the north side of the entrance is the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool.
TRAVEL TIP: Almost every time I visit the Honeycomb, there is another photoshoot going on. Engagement photos, pregnancy photos, family photos – everything! Lincoln Park is a family friendly neighborhood so it makes sense.
Since you’ll likely be sharing the space with others, get creative with your angles. The photo shown here is a unique perspective you can get without other people in the background.
Garfield Park Conservatory
There is no nature, no greenery and no plant life in the cold weather. That’s why this is one of the best places to visit in Chicago in the Winter.
I had seen photos online but was really blown away at how big it is once you’re inside. On top of having several rooms to walk through, they also have plant sales, host yoga classes and have educational programs for the kiddos!
TRAVEL TIP: There’s a free parking lot next door (very rare for Chicago) or the green line L train goes directly to the side of the property.
Greetings from Chicago Mural
I don’t think it would be fair to write a blog post about Chicago’s best photo locations without including the “Greetings from Chicago” mural. This spot is super underrated. I never see it shared online!
The sign is near the corner of Milwaukee and California in the Logan Square neighborhood. You can easily take the blue line L train north and hop off at the California stop.
TRAVEL TIP: The wall is directly in front of a row of parking spaces. It’s possible some cars could be parked right in front of it. Get here early if you can.
You’ve probably seen the famous “Rose all Day” sign before. This place instantly makes me feel like I’m sitting sea-side on the east coast while enjoying my fruity spritzer.
There are several other corners of the restaurant that are just as photo worthy as the Rose sign. Hampton Social also just opened a 2nd location in the Streeterville neighborhood. You can now get your nautical fix on both sides of downtown!
If you’re looking for other Instagrammable Restaurant’s in Chicago, check out my blog post HERE.
I hope this inspires you to get out and see what this city has to offer! If I missed any popular Instagram spots in Chicago that you love, leave a comment here or send me a message on Instagram!
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