Instagram Worthy Places to Visit in the US
There’s no denying the US is filled with some incredible cities to visit. Each region of the country has its own vibe that attracts tourists for various reasons. I love the diversity across the country in the food, landscape and attractions. That’s why I put together a list of the most Instagram worthy places to visit in the US.
This list is based on my own past trips and experiences across the country. Whether you prefer trips to big cities, long weekends at the beach or a quiet escape out into nature, there’s something for every type of traveler on this list.
If you have any other Instagram worthy places to add to this list, leave them in the comments to help me plan my next trip!
I’ll start with the obvious one, my home city! I could go on and on about all the Instagram worthy spots in Chicago. In fact, I already have in several past blog posts. I wrote about Instagram worthy spots here, Instagram worthy restaurants here & Instagram worthy murals here. I promise you will never run out of places to take photos in Chicago!
I’m a Michigan transplant (like many who now live in Chicago) and have called this city home for the last 8 years. I’ve lived in 4 apartments across 3 neighborhoods so I have a good feel for everything inside the city limits. That said, there are still weekends where I go out exploring and wind up on a street I’ve never seen before.
I love that the neighborhoods are all different from each other and offer a unique experience. Logan Square is known for its laid back, hipster vibe. River North is known for its upscale restaurants and nightlife. Then there’s Pilsen which is known for its Latino culture, music and art. There are tons of other neighborhoods that have their own local flare.
Yes, Chicago is notorious for the freezing cold winter. But when whether permits, there is patio dining, rooftop bars and outdoor art installations to visit. The most famous attractions for picture taking include Cloud Gate (aka The Bean), the Riverwalk & Navy Pier.
You could visit Chicago for a full week and still not run out of spots to photograph. If you’re looking for Instagram worthy places in the Midwest, I can’t recommend Chicago enough!
WHAT TO PACK: If you visit between May and August, you will be ok with summer clothes and a light jacket for the evenings. If you visit between November and March, pack your heavier winter coat and accessories.
Regardless of what time of year you visit, bring comfortable shoes. You will probably do a lot of walking even if you take public transportation between neighborhoods. We are a very active city with busy sidewalks at all times.
HOW TO GET AROUND: The public transit system in Chicago is inexpensive, easy to navigate and pretty reliable. You can buy a day-pass for the L train (called a Ventra Card) at almost every train stop.
The L train is great for traveling north and south-bound between the neighborhoods along the lake; as well as getting into and out of downtown. I recommend the bus if you’re traveling east and west-bound.
New York City, New York
I grew up visiting New York City because I had family that lived in Manhattan. NYC sparked my love for a big city and made me dream of moving to one someday. You can’t deny that NYC is one of the most sought after places to live. People pay insanely high rent prices for small living spaces just to experience the dream of living there!
What I love about New York is how easy it is to get around on the subway. On my last trip, I squeezed in 15 different NYC photo locations in one day. Yes, I was exhausted by sunset, but it was worth it for being able to see so many spots in a limited time. I wrote about a blog post here with all 15 locations in more detail.
I started my day in Central Park and ended it at the Brooklyn Bridge. All the spots I visited were incredibly photo worthy. I promise there is more to this city than just skyscrapers!
WHAT TO PACK: My last visit was a few days after Christmas and I was comfortable in a pea coat and winter hat. NYC is almost always 10 degrees warmer than Chicago at any time of the year.
Bring comfortable shoes. Even if you’re taking the subway instead of walking, you’ll be climbing stairs into and out of the subway station all day. I clocked over 18,0000 steps on the day I visited!
HOW TO GET AROUND: The subway in NYC is extremely convenient. I still had to refer to Google Maps to know which line to get on and when, but getting between neighborhoods is very efficient. I bought a pay-as-you-go Metro Card at a train stop.
Miami is the perfect city for the bright and colorful Instagrammer. Between the Art Deco Historic District, the cute cafes and the beach, photos of this city will liven up your Instagram feed.
Downtown Miami is a great place to stay but I personally prefer staying in South Beach. It’s a 20-minute drive across the bridge from downtown. You can still find plenty of Instagram worthy places on either side.
Some of my favorites on the South Beach side are the Art Deco lifeguard stands & Dreamer Café. Some of my favorites on the Downtown Miami side are Wynwood Walls & the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
If you’re planning a trip to Miami, check out my weekend travel guide here. You can read more about the hotel I stayed at, the restaurants I dined at and all the places I stopped for photos along the way.
WHAT TO PACK: You won’t need any winter gear in this beach town. Even in the middle of winter, a light jacket is plenty. I brought along plenty of flowy dresses to match the colorful vibe of the city.
You also won’t be doing as much walking as you would in the first two cities I shared. Flat sandals or small pumps are still manageable for the ladies.
HOW TO GET AROUND: There is public transit in Miami, but we walked or took an Uber everywhere. A lot of the hotels have bikes you can rent by the hour.
There are also public electric scooters that we took one day around downtown. Super fun but definitely pricey – you’re paying for the experience!
My trip to Seattle reminds me a lot of my last trip to New York City except a few days longer. We went to SO many photo spots in only 2 days. Seattle is definitely one of those cities where you can stack up on plenty of Instagram content.
You probably think of Seattle and immediately think of Pikes Place Market or the Space Needle, right? While those spots were memorable, some of my favorite photos were taken at lesser known locations. The Seattle Great Wheel and the Chihuly Glass Gardens were just a few of my favorites.
Seattle also has a good mix of city and nature. There is something for everyone. I wrote a blog post here with 20+ things to do, eat and see on your next trip to Seattle.
WHAT TO PACK: Seattle is famous for being grey and rainy even through the early summer. Without the extra sunshine, it can get cold easily. I would pack on the warmer side if you’re there outside of the summer.
Seattle is also pretty hipster. You won’t find people dressed the same way here as you would Miami. Pack for a more laid-back, city vibe.
HOW TO GET AROUND: The different neighborhoods are pretty spread out but the public transit system was easy enough for my boyfriend and I to navigate. It definitely helped save money on expensive Uber rides between the spread out photo locations. You can purchase an Orca card at any station.
Door County, Wisconsin
I can’t believe I lived in Chicago for 7 years and never knew about Door County. So many missed opportunities for weekend trips up north! I’m a born and raised Midwestern girl so weekend vacations growing up meant driving somewhere north. When I finally visited Door County last Summer, it brought back those childhood memories.
Door County, Wisconsin is only a 4-hour drive from Chicago and a 5-hour drive from Minneapolis. It’s the perfect long weekend trip from any of the great lake states. If you’re driving from Northern Michigan, you may be better off coming around from the UP.
I wasn’t expecting to call Door County an Instagram worthy place! I thought there may be a nice shoreline for some beach pics and some cute shops to stand in front of. To my surprise, there are plenty of amazing Door County photography spots.
If you’re visiting in the Summer, don’t miss out on the Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm on Washington Island. If you’re there in the Winter, watch the sun set from the ice-covered shoreline. I wrote a blog post here with 10 things to do in Door County to help you plan your next trip.
WHAT TO PACK: Like most cities in the Midwest, Door County will be hot and humid in the summer & cold and covered in feet of snow in the the winter. It’s also right on Lake Michigan so you can expect a cool, strong breeze if you’re standing close to the water.
If you’re trying to plan outfits, envision cute little beach towns like you would see in New England and pack for a similar landscape. It is super charming so I packed all my pastel dresses.
HOW TO GET AROUND: Since we drove up from Chicago, we had our own car there all weekend. Parking in the individual towns was easy to find and free (nice change from Chicago!) This will be your best option.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Last Summer I visited Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National park with a group of girls I met through Instagram (you can read about that trip here.) While each park was amazing in its own way, Grand Teton was my favorite for photos. If you’re more of a nature person, this place needs to be on your bucket list.
Grand Teton has a 42-mile loop that spans across the whole park. Ideally, you would just drive the loop all the way around in 1-2 hours. There are tons of spots along the route and you can’t beat the gorgeous mountain background in the distance.
Don’t forget to pack your zoom lens on this trip! One of my all-time favorite photos from my blogging career was taken at Togwotee Pass. Togwotee Pass is the road where you access the park from the East. You can see the Tetons peaking over the trees in the distance. We used my friends 200mm lens to take the photo you see here.
If you have extra time in Grand Teton, I recommend doing the Delta Lake Hike. It will consume your full day and is moderately challenging but it’s worth it. You definitely will not find Instagram spots like this in the Midwest, so I was happy we did the hike.
**You should always check the National Park service website prior to your trip to be informed about park closures and weather conditions.
WHAT TO PACK: Jackson, Wyoming is a mountain town so think lighter clothing in the summer and layers in the winter. If you plan to hike into the mountains, it’s better to bundle up before sunrise and strip off layers as it gets warmer. Pack hiking shoes with good ankle support.
I couldn’t come to this beautiful park without bringing a full lineup of beautiful dresses. Outside of the major hikes, the scenic lookouts have parking right next to it. This made it easy for wardrobe changes between photoshoots.
HOW TO GET AROUND: There is no public transit in Grand Teton and no Uber access inside the National Park (remember, you must pay to get into the park.) I would recommend renting a car when you visit.
When you think of Instagram worthy cities, you probably don’t think of Washington, DC. I grew up visiting DC because I have family there but I don’t think I truly appreciated it until I became an adult. Honestly, history was my least favorite subject and this younger girl had no desire to see the White House.
However, as I’ve grown up and have become more educated, I’ve learned to appreciate the history in Washington DC. It’s crazy to think about all the countries leaders who have lived in the White House or to reflect upon everything we’ve gone through as a country.
The National Mall is the long park that stretches between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol Building. There are so many photo worthy buildings in this area. I wrote about a few of them here. There are also a ton of free museums in the National Mall so be sure to take advantage of those.
If you’re visiting Washington DC, make time to see Georgetown. It’s a 5-10 minute drive from the National Mall depending on which end you’re coming from. Georgetown is an adorable neighborhood filled with shops, restaurants and bars. You won’t regret stopping by!
WHAT TO PACK: The summers are humid and the winters are cold but are definitely more mild than its northern neighbors. If you plan to walk through the national mall, wear shoes that you would be comfortable walking over a mile in.
If you’re unsure about outfits to pack, I would say casual street-style fits right in.
HOW TO GET AROUND: There is great public transit in DC, but I’ve never taken it. Parking has always been a little hectic but still manageable. There are tons of paid meters in the area, it’s just a matter of finding an open one.
Pittsburgh is a pretty underrated city. I have family here and grew up visiting BUT we hardly ever went downtown. That’s why I was so excited to finally have a true Pittsburgh experience when I visited a few years ago over the Holidays.
While it wouldn’t be fair to compare Pittsburgh to cities like Chicago or New York, I will say it puts up a good fight as a “smaller big city.” I spent the better part of a day walking around downtown and was able to visit 5 awesome Instagram worthy places. I wrote a more detailed blog post of those places here.
Pittsburgh is situated at the intersection of 3 rivers so you can guess that there are A LOT of bridges. The photo spots along the Riverwalk and bridges reminded me of home in Chicago (just without the crowds of people.) Definitely a win since I was taking all my photos with a tripod!
My favorite photo spot in this city was at the top of the Duquesne Hill. You can drive to the top but if you want a more adventurous option, you can ride a wooden boxcar up the hill (it’s $5 cash roundtrip.) The ride up is super fun and then you can enjoy the view at the top.
WHAT TO PACK: Pittsburgh is another laid back Midwest city. It is not pretentious nor is it glam. I would suggest packing city-chic and comfy. Pittsburgh gets the best of all 4 seasons so pack accordingly.
HOW TO GET AROUND: The parking situation in Pittsburgh is one of the best I’ve ever dealt with. We found free or cheap metered parking almost everywhere we went.
Each of the Insta-spots I wrote about in my linked article are spread out so don’t plan on walking between all of them. Best plan is to rent a car for the weekend.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is every Instagrammers dream city. The hotels that line the strip offer endless photo opportunities both inside and outside. The proximity of the hotels to one another made photo taking very easy.
I love the big city life so walking down the strip with lights flashing and people everywhere doesn’t bother me. But I can understand why some people think its overstimulating.
Three of my favorite hotels that were perfect for photos were the Venetian, Caesars Palace & Bellagio. There are so many Instagram worthy spots around these hotel properties!
Don’t limit yourself to the strip when you visit Las Vegas. There are other spots off the strip like 7 Magic Mountains. You can read more about other Las Vegas photo spots in my blog post here.
WHAT TO PACK: Las Vegas is in the desert, so you won’t need your winter coat in this city. My trip was over New Year’s week and I walked around the strip in a mini skirt all day. (I will note that it’s fairly windy so a short skirt may not be the best choice 😊)
You will see other people dressed in a WIDE array of outfits so I wouldn’t worry about anything you’re wearing being “too extra.”
HOW TO GET AROUND: Driving up and down the strip can be hectic with all the pedestrians but most hotels have free parking for the casinos. If you don’t plan on leaving the strip, you can get away with Uber’ing from the airport and then walking all weekend. But if you want to take some day trips away from the strip then I would rent a car.
Denver is another city that’s perfect for nature and city lovers alike. In the downtown city itself, there are a handful of Instagram worthy places like Union Station & River North Arts District. However, I think the best Denver photo spots are outside the city.
At the top of my list is Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater. I attended a handful of concerts here throughout my 20’s and have some incredible memories. But I never had the chance to visit the park sans all the beer and people partying until I reached my 30’s. Now I’ve visited twice just to hike around with no agenda. It’s easily one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen.
Another trip worth making outside of Denver is to Boulder. It’s a smaller city but still has plenty of hikes, restaurants and photo spots. Boulder is a 35-minute drive north of Denver so set aside at least ½ of your day if you want to visit.
WHAT TO PACK: Like Grand Teton, Denver is a mountain town. Dress for each season accordingly and if in doubt just wear layers. If you plan on leaving the downtown area to hike, pack your athletic gear and hiking shoes.
HOW TO GET AROUND: I recommend renting a car for your visit. As I mentioned above, a lot of the hikes or other cities outside of Denver can take up to an hour to drive to. Uber won’t be cost effective getting out there.
There you have it. This is my list of 10 Instagram worthy places in the US you should visit. Each one offers its own unique experience which means there’s something on this list for everyone!
Have any other cities in the US that you think are Instagram worthy places? Let me know in the comments!
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