7 Must See Photography Spots in Chicago for Unique Photos



My friend Stephanie and I love photography, so when we got to Illinois on our Midwest road trip, we wanted to visit some of the best photography spots in Chicago! This post covers my 7 favorite places that we took photos, and we were there for a weekend so you can see them in within a few days.

And it’s a mix of spots that you have to see while you’re in Chicago, but there are some unique hidden gems on here, too, including a parking garage (no lie, just wait until you see the photos you can get from it). So there’s something for everyone!

7 photography spots in Chicago

7 Must See Photography Spots in Chicago for Unique Photos

Walking around downtown

You should just meander around downtown because you never know what you’ll find! There are lots of amazing skyscrapers of course, but you can also see street art, historic mansions, cute alleyways, and pretty trees (especially in the fall).

Lit up Chicago sign

Historic brick mansion in Chicago

Historic brick Victorian mansion in Chicago

Blue and white street art on a black wall

Small coffee shop in alley in Chicago

Wall with vines behind green statue in Chicago

Tree with yellow leaves behind low wall with columns in Chicago

Historic skyscraper with tree with yellow leaves in Chicago

Historic skyscraper with tree with yellow leaves in Chicago

Historic skyscraper in Chicago

Art deco style brick building in Chicago

Lincoln Park at golden hour

Lincoln Park is a pretty park itself for photos with statues and old trees, but you can also get great photos of the Chicago skyline!Β  We went at golden hour right before sunset to get photos of the skyline through the East Gate Arch, which was really cool to see.

Tree with yellow leaves in Lincoln Park in Chicago

Chicago skyline from Lincoln Park

East Gate Arch in Lincoln Park in Chicago

Chicago skyline through East Gate Arch in Lincoln Park in Chicago

Chicago skyline through East Gate Arch in Lincoln Park

Grasses with Chicago skyline in background in Lincoln Park

North Avenue Beach at sunset

Right after taking photos in Lincoln Park at golden hour, you can head over to North Avenue Beach for sunset on Lake Michigan. We may have spent a little too long at Lincoln Park, so it was right past peak sunset when we got to the beach. But it was still really pretty when we got there!

The beach is a hotspot for sunset photos, and there were tons of people there for photoshoots while we were there. So you might want to get there a little early if you want a specific spot, but there is a lot of space along the beach, even if it’s crowded.

Chicago skyline at sunset from North Avenue Beach

Sunset from North Avenue Beach in Chicago

Chicago skyline at sunset from North Avenue Beach

Wells Kinzie Parking Garage

Ok this one seems kind of random, but it’s one of the most unique photography spots in Chicago! Chicago has some elevated trains, and Stephanie found that if you go to the Wells Kinzie Parking Garage (and I think we went up to about the 4th floor), you can get some cool shots of a train curving around a building.

We went first thing in the morning so there was pretty golden light, and trains came pretty frequently so we didn’t have to wait for very long to get photos of them.

Train curving around a building in Chicago

On a river tour

Some of the best photography spots in Chicago are on the river! I have a whole guide on all the cool sights you can see on a Chicago river architecture tour, and you can see such a variety of buildings (and the river itself makes for pretty photos, too). Plus, you get lots of info about the history of Chicago and all the buildings you’re seeing.

Boat in river in Chicago

Chicago skyline behind bridge

St. Regis skyscraper in Chicago

Chicago skyline from river

The Cloud Gate and Millennium Park

Ok, you can’t go to Chicago without seeing the Cloud Gate! The Cloud Gate (aka the Bean) is an art installation that reflects the Chicago skyline. I went during the pandemic, so it was actually gated off so you couldn’t get close, which I think is better for photos because you don’t get any people in your shot.

But don’t just see the Cloud Gate and leave! The rest of Millennium Park is pretty to see, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion makes for some cool shots.

Cloud Gate in Chicago

Pavilion in Millennium Park in Chicago

On the bridges

Chicago has tons of bridges, including about 40 moveable ones, and you can get some pretty cool photos of the bridges as well as on them. There are a lot of old railroad bridges if you enjoy taking photos of more gritty places. And I recommend taking photos during the day and at night because you can get some photos of the lights from the skyscrapers reflecting in the water.

Light fixtures in bridge in Chicago

The Canal Street Railroad Bridge in Chicago

The Canal Street Railroad Bridge is a vertical-lift bridge that was built for the railroad. The entire middle section could be lowered for trains to cross the river or raised for boats to pass under. It became a Chicago Landmark in 2007.

Boats on river in Chicago

Boats on river in Chicago at night

So those are my favorite 7 photography spots in Chicago that you can see in a weekend! Let me know if you have any other recommendations so I can add them to my list for my next visit πŸ™‚

Save to Pinterest!

Blog, Illinois, North America, Travel, USA

  1. Terry says:

    I also like to bring my camera with me and travel. Your article and photos are inspiring!!

  2. Alex says:

    Chicago is so wonderful for taking pictures! I visited a few years ago around Thanksgiving! These are great spots!

  3. Christina says:

    I’ve wanted to take my daughter to The Art Institute of Chicago for the last couple years. I hope we can take some great pictures at the Millennium Park while we are there.

  4. Kitti says:

    I’ve been to Chicago a good few years ago and I loved wondering around the city. Back then I didn’t have a proper camera, so your post really inspired me to return in the near future and take some new (and better) photos.

  5. Cosette says:

    Beautiful Photos! That parking lot is a great find.

  6. Brittany says:

    These sites are photogenic, but your pictures make them look stunning! Wow! You’re so talented πŸ™‚ I would love to visit Lincoln Park at Golden Hour. Thanks for sharing this great guide!

  7. Amy says:

    Great photos!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

embed your form here

 Pellentesque rutrum maximus leo vitae blandit. Vestibulum vel est eu sem laoreet dapibus. Pellentesque cursus semper purus, a gravida tortor. Ut ac urna magna. 

Grab Your Guide