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A guide to the best photo spots in Chicago

Chicago is by far one of our favourite cities in the USA and probably one of the most underrated too. With its incredible architecture, distinctive skyline and some delicious food places, Chicago is an absolute must. We have put together this guide to the best photo spots in Chicago, to help you fall in love with the city like we did.

This guide includes some of the best places to take pictures in Chicago from the photogenic architecture to the Bean, and everything in between. This is our list of the best photo spots in Chicago including how to get to each one. #wanderlustandlife #chicago #instagramguide

Best places to take pictures in Chicago

Cloud Gate

One of the best and let’s face it (if you have spent any time on Instagram) most popular places in Chicago to take photos has to be Cloud Gate. Also known as the Bean, it is a sculpture designed by Anish Kapoor and is popular with tourists and locals alike. You probably want to get here early though to get the best pictures, particularly as later in the day it gets hard to take a photo without dozens of other tourists in the background. It is also one of the best places to go to take pictures of the Chicago skyline. The skyline is artistically reflected in the shiny curves of the Bean making it a cool photo op.

How to find it

The Bean is located in Millennium Park and the closest CTA stop is Washington & Wabash. From here head towards East Washington St and it is only a 5 minute walk.

Millennium Park

After taking your photos of the Bean, make sure you take the time to explore Millennium Park. For starters you can experience some Al Fresco art, and various exhibitions that pop up throughout the year.

There is also the very cool Crown Fountain which is actually pretty entertaining. There are two tall blocks that show images of the faces of Chicago natives whilst spurting water. It is by far one of the best places to take photos in Chicago, first of all because of the art, but secondly because you can snap some really fun shots of people interacting with the fountains or splashing in the graphite pool between them.

How to find it

As mentioned above the closest CTA stop is Washington & Wabash. From here head towards East Washington St and it is only a 5 minute walk.

The Art Institute of Chicago

Dave visited the Art Institute of Chicago to, well, admire the art. Art is not my thing, so I preferred admiring the interior and taking tons of photos. Whatever your thing is though, it is a must in Chicago.

How to find it

The closest underground station is Adams/Wabash and the Art Institute is only a 2 minute walk away.

Navy Pier

It might be super touristy, but for us Navy Pier was a great place to get some pictures of the Chicago Skyline. It is a 3,300-foot-long pier located along the the Chicago shoreline on Lake Michigan. There are a lot of restaurants around here as well as theatres and rides. The ferris wheel is great if you want some cool pictures of the city.

How to find it

To get to Navy Pier you are going to need to get a bus, and we recommend having a look at the Navy Pier website for full details.

Route 66 begins sign

If you are looking for something a little quirky then make sure you take a snap of the Route 66 begins sign. As indicated by the sign this is the start of the legendary Route 66.

How to find it

The sign is located right across from the Art Institute of Chicago, so again your closest station is Adams/Wabash and it is about a 1 minute walk from here.

A city boat tour

For us, one of the best places to take pictures in Chicago, isn’t on land, but from the deck of one of the architecture cruise boats. You get to float along with your head and camera pointed up at some of the world’s most amazing architecture.

How to find it

There are a few architecture cruises to choose from. The below map shows two separate cruises. We went with Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, and they are located near the DuSable Bridge and opposite the Wrigley Building. You can get the underground to Lake Station on the red line. Or even closer is State/Lake station on the Brown, Orange, Purple, Green, and Pink lines. The second option we have listed is closer to Navy Pier.

Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk is a 1.25-mile stretch along the Chicago River. It is also one of the best photo spots in Chicago, as you can capture pictures of the river and the architecture together. Along the way you will find several restaurants and bars, and you can even rent a kayak.

How to find it

Like the First Lady Cruises you can find the Riverwalk by getting the underground to Lake Station on the red line. Or even closer is State/Lake station on the Brown, Orange, Purple, Green, and Pink lines.

L Train

The cool thing about Chicago is that a lot of the train tracks actually run above ground through the city. Which makes it one of the best photo spots in Chicago. A really good station to get a shot above the trains though is Adams/Wabash. There is a crossing providing the perfect opportunity to snap the passing trains.

How to find it

With this one we recommend exploring some of the city stations. Hop on and hop off and enjoy the view and the ride along the way.

Chicago Theatre

The iconic Chicago Theatre sign is a photography favourite amongst eager tourists. Built in 1921 the theatre is a landmark in the city and appears in a lot of tv shows and movies set in Chicago.

How to find it

The closest station is Lake on the Red Line and State/Lake for the majority of other lines. The theatre is less than a minute walk from here.

Street Art

Chicago has some pretty cool street art to photograph, and our favourite (or at least mine) has to be the Flamingo Wall. Unfortunately it was absolutely pouring rain when we visited and Dave refused to walk towards it to take a photo of me for fear of getting soaked, so my picture isn’t the best. But I still had to mention it because it’s such a colourful wall and you should definitely visit and get a better picture than me!

How to find it

The wall is located at 601 N. Wells Street. You are probably best off getting a bus here, although the closest station is Grand/State on the red line and Chicago on the Brown and Purple line.

Skydeck (Willis Tower)

The Skydeck in the Willis Tower is by far one of the best photo spots in Chicago. Located on the 103rd floor, on a clear day the view apparently extends to over 4 states. If you are brave enough make sure you get a shot in one of the glass observation boxes. Our advice for getting the best photo opp is to get here early. We were one of the first groups up in the morning so we got the play around in the glass observation boxes before the queues formed.

How to find it

The closest station in Quincy on the Brown, Orange, Purple and Pink line. The entrance to the tower is only a short walk from here. Access to the Skydeck is below the ground floor.

360 Chicago

Another popular photo spots, particularly for snaps of the Chicago skyline has to be 360 Chicago Observation Deck. Located in the John Hancock Building the cool thing about this is that there is a bar so you can take photos of you sipping cocktails with the skyline in the background.

How to find it

It is easiest to get here by bus as you can stop right near the building. We ended up walking from Chicago station on the red line and it was about a 7 minute walk from there.

Best places to take pictures in Chicago- a recap

We hope that this guide has helped you find the best places to take pictures in Chicago. I’m sure as you have guessed from this post Chicago is quite an eclectic city with a lot to photograph. So if you want architecture shots, or pictures of the skyline, or funky street art then Chicago well and truly has you covered.

2 days in Chicago

Willis Tower or John Hancock – which is better

2 week USA itinerary

2 week East Coast itinerary

2 week West Coast itinerary

2 days in LA

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This guide includes some of the best places to take pictures in Chicago from the photogenic architecture to the Bean, and everything in between. This is our list of the best photo spots in Chicago including how to get to each one. #wanderlustandlife #chicago #instagramguide

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