The Best Instagram Spots in Chicago

Glass balcony Skydeck Chicago

The Best Instagram Spots in Chicago

After spending 2 weeks there in September 2019, I can tell you that Chicago is full of cool places! For sure you will be able to take beautiful pictures for your Instagram in this amazing city! I am sharing with you the best Instagram spots in Chicago!

First of all the city offers fantastic skyline views. The architecture here is stunning! I am providing you all the best places to capture the skyscrapers. The Chicago river running through the city is also adding a lot to the scenery.

Chicago has also some unique spots that will bring your Instagram to the next level, like the Bean or the Skydeck. Check out all the other originals locations that Chicago can provide you by reading this article!

Cloud Gate AKA The Bean

The most famous landmark of Chicago is Cloud Gate. This sculpture is nicknamed The Bean because of its shape as you can see! It’s pretty cool to capture it because of the reflection: you can see the skyline of Chicago inside it!

It’s so photogenic under every angles that I couldn’t resist to take a ton of pictures there!!

Best moment of the day to take photos there: definitely early morning at sunrise. Firstly  you will get the opportunity to capture the reflection of the sun rising on the surface of The Bean. You will see it’s pretty epic! Secondly being one of Chicago’s most popular sights, Cloud Gate gets very crowded during the day. Being there early will ensure you to avoid the crowd.

Location: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602

The Skydeck

On the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower you will find the Skydeck. This is the highest observation deck in the United States and one of a kind Instagram spot!

Up there you will have the incredible opportunity to stand in The Ledge: 4 glass balconies, which extend approximately 1.2 m (4.3 feet) from the façade at 410 meters (1,353 feet) in the air. When you are inside, you can see the streets below and unbeatable views of the city and beyond. It is very impressive and will create stunning pictures for your Instagram!

Best moment of the day to take photos there and photo tips:

  • Be there just before it opens to be one of the first to enter, or 1h prior to closing.
  • Better to come during weekdays if you can as they are less crowded.
  • Be aware that sunsets from here are beautiful but also popular!
  • FYI tripods are not allowed but Skydeck employees are available to help you take your best photo, with your camera or theirs.
  • If you are afraid of heights, this might be a challenge. But you will not regret it!
  • If you come during a busy moment, just be patient and wait for your turn in the glass balcony. You can have a short moment to take a photo alone.

Location: Willis Tower, 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

Entrance info :

  • The entrance of the Skydeck is available with the CityPass, and this will allow you to skip the queue!
  • Admission: Adult – Ages 12 and up $25.00, Youth – Ages 3 to 11 $17.00, Children under 3 are free.

North Avenue Beach

North Avenue Beach is one of the most popular beaches of Chicago. It is the perfect place to relax, to stroll, to workout and to take pretty cool photos for your Instagram!

First of all, this is the best spot to capture the skyline of Chicago! My favorite place for it is at the end of the jetty. Second of all, you can shoot in the sand if you want: it can be interesting depending on the kind of pictures you want to take!

Best moment of the day to take photos there: at sunset, at blue hour, or at night as the skyline is illuminated.

Location: 1600 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 606

More info here: Beaches of Chicago

The Wrigley Building

To my point of view, the most beautiful building of Chicago is the Wrigley building! This skyscraper was built in the 1920’s to house the corporate headquarters of the Wrigley Company.

The first time I saw this amazing building I was in awe: the intricate details are so unique!

Best moment of the day to take pictures here: it can get very busy during the day as locals are on their way to work or their daily duties. Therefore I recommend to shoot there early morning.

Location: 400-410 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

The Riverwalk

One of the things I like the most about Chicago is the presence of the river. The Chicago River has an amazing emerald color and will look great on your Instagram pictures! A great place to capture the beautiful river and the architecture of the city is The Riverwalk.

Location: The Chicago Riverwalk is an open, pedestrian waterfront located on the south bank of the main branch of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago.

Best moment of the day to take pictures there: It’s open from 6am to 11pm. You will have plenty of opportunities to shoot during that time frame as you do not have to fight the crowd here!

Murals

Chicago is one of those cities where you can find a lot of murals ! There are not a lot of those in the cities of Europe compared to the US and I was so happy to be able to take some photos here! This kind of street art is very trendy and Instagram loves it!

Locations: here is a list of some of the best murals in town

  • Flamingo mural: side wall of the Flamingo Rum Club  601 N. Wells Street
  • Angel wings mural: side wall of Federales, a Mexican restaurant located 1009 W Lake St in West Loop
  • Spiral mural: 925 W Randolph right behind Nonna’s Pizza & Sandwiches
  • Tropical mural of Maison Marcel: Lincoln Park window located 2008 North Halsted (Rear) Chicago IL 60614. It’s a French bakery: grab something to eat at the same time!
  • Chicago mural: 2236 N. Milwaukee Ave in Bucktown  (it’s a parking lot so it can be difficult to capture because of the cars)
  • Butterfly mural: 2912 N Milwaukee Avenue
  • Chicago wings mural: Old Orchard mall in Skokie.
  • Floral mural: 4905 Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie
  • Tropical mural of Eden in Chicago: 1748 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60612 (New American cuisine restaurant)
  • Multicolor geometric mural:3358 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL (Lakeview)

Best moment of the day to take pictures there: any time of the day would be ok. Murals are usually not located in touristy or busy places. Just pay attention to the light as it can create shadows that you would not want in your pictures.

The Chicago Theater

The beautiful Chicago Theatre, originally known as the Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre was built in 1921. It is so photogenic that it appears frequently in film and on television.

The old school style marquee is really cool and will bring a great background for your Instagram pictures!

Best time of the day to take pictures: preferably when there is not too much traffic, but I managed to take pictures there in the middle of the afternoon.

Location: 175 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601

Olive Park

Olive Park close to Ohio Street Beach is a great place to stroll, workout, or to bike.

The park will grant you with an amazing view on the skyline of Chicago and Lake Michigan! Therefore it’s a very popular spot for photoshoots and it will allow you to create beautiful Instagram photos.

Best time of the day to take pictures here: you can come at any time of the day but it is definitely perfect at sunset!

Location: E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

The Honeycomb

This super cool wood pavilion is located in Lincoln Park Zoo Nature Boardwalk. It looks like a honeycomb but has been designed after the tortoise shell. The structure faces south directly towards downtown and provides a nice view of skyline through its arch!

Best time of the day to take pictures there: If the tourists do not go there that much, it’s one of the favorite places of the local for photoshoots. I went there in the middle of the afternoon and we had to be patient to take our photos in between all the wedding photoshoots! Better to come as early as possible!

Location: Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2121 N Stockton Dr, Chicago, IL 60614

The bridges in downtown Chicago

There is something about those riveted bridges in Chicago that I really love! It is probably their industrial style and the fact that they are somehow bringing me back 2 centuries ago!

Locations: Here below is a list of the ones I have captured for my Instagram. They are all photogenic in downtown!

  • Du Sable Bridge: 333 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601
  • Franklin-Orleans Bridge: 307 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60606
  • State Bridge: 229 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601

Best time of the day to take pictures here: at sunrise for sure! It will be less crowded and the light is just gorgeous.

Bahai Temple

This very unique temple is Bahá’í House of Worship (or Bahá’í Temple). It is located in Wilmette, close to Chicago.This temple has been built to reflect oneness for humanity and to be a gathering place where people of all religions may worship God without denominational restrictions.

Many intricate details are carved into the concrete, which makes this building very special and beyond beautiful!! I find it truly mesmerizing: an architecture masterpiece! If you are looking for something different and original for your Instagram photos (and of course to admire the architecture and/or for religious purposes) it will be interesting for you to drive to this Bahá’í temple.

Location: 100 Linden Ave, Wilmette, IL 60091 – It is around 40 min drive from Chicago

Best time of the day to take pictures here: I went there in the morning and it was very quiet. Because this place is a house of worship I would recommend you to be quick for your photos and respect the place.

Indian Temple

This is the amazing BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir: an Indian temple surprisingly located in the Chicago suburb of Bartlett!

This is the kind of place where you can stare at the intricate details for hours: a feast for the eyes! This magnificent temple is truly photogenic!

Location: 1851 S IL Route 59 Pramukh Swami Rd, Bartlett, IL 60103-3008. You have to drive around 1h from Chicago.

Best time of the day to take pictures here: I have to be honest with you, there is no right time to take pictures here as they do not allow “professional pictures”. You will have to be very fast not to be noticed. The guard checking the cars at the entrance kindly asked us to stop after a little while (I guess we took too much time as we were too perfectionist!). If you take touristy pictures or architecture pictures with no model inside you won’t have any issue.

I gave you here a non-exhaustive list of Instagram spots in Chicago, I hope this was enough to motivate you to shoot in this beautiful city!

You should also take a look at my other articles about Chicago:

About Me

Hello! I am Ophélie, an avid traveller, photographer and foodista. I am French and I live in Paris.

This blog, will give you all my secrets: my best addresses (sightseeing and food) all around the world and in Paris, and my travel and lifestyle tips!

 

Let’s keep in touch!

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