Let’s Explore! The 15 Most Photogenic Places in Chicago

Happy New Year! Happy 2019!

I wanted to start out the new year in a big way….to share a blot post I’ve been working on for the past four years. Well, not exactly “working” on it but something I’ve accumulated over the past four years. I think it’s about time I share some of my favorite and most photogenic or “Instagrammable” places in Chicago! Since I started this blog, I’ve also taken up my love for photography, especially pictures of cool and beautiful places in Chicago. I’ve realized that I have so many pictures of these places either in my SD cards or phone’s camera roll that need to be shared in a blog post instead of Instagram. I’ve also realized that I often come back to these spots (or want to come back) to enjoy their beauty and recommend these places to friends and visitors to see and do.

Whether you live in Chicago or planing to visit Chicago, I hope you get a chance to explore some of my favorite places to take pictures in the Second City. And most importantly, I hope you enjoy this post!

This list is in no particular order. It’s hard to say which one is my favorite. So it’s like have kids…you don’t have a favorite. You love them all (right?).

1. 3 Arts Club Cafe at Restoration Hardware

3 Arts Club Cafe is located inside a furniture store in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. How crazy is that? So of course, all the dining furniture and serving dishes are also sold at the store it is housed in – Restoration Hardware. I love coming here for coffee with friends or a nice brunch with Charlie and admire everything about this place, including the giant chandelier. They don’t take reservations so if you don’t like waiting for a table, make sure you arrive early or eat at an off time and day. (1300 N. Dearborn Pkwy)

2. Stony Island Arts Bank

Stony Island Arts Bank is a gallery, media center and library that was once a bank. It is located in the South Side of Chicago. The library on the second floor is gorgeous and includes books relating to the center’s core values – African American culture. Please go on their site for history of this place and more information. (6760 S. Stony Island Ave.)

3. Milton Olive Park

Olive Park is a unique park in Chicago. There are no playgrounds for kids but the park offers beautiful views of the city’s skyline. We had our family portrait there one year (on a very windy day!). So naturally I recommend this park for portraits and admiring the view. What I also love about this park is that is located next to Ohio Street Beach, a small and lively beach in Chicago.

4. Kinzie Street Bridge

The Chicago and North Western Railway’s Kinzie Street Bridge is so unique to the city because there’s a permanently locked bridge right next to it but also a beautiful perspective of the city’s high rises behind it. It was a favorite place when I moved to Chicago in 2001 and still is. Charlie and I had our wedding pictures here! We try to make it out there in the summer time and watch the tour boats pass underneath. The bridge is located in the River North neighborhood, near the Merchandise Mart.

5. The Allis at the Soho House

It’s not surprise that The Allis at the Soho House is on this list. Located in the West Loop neighborhood, The Allis is my go to place to meet friends for coffee or afternoon tea. It’s also my go to place for when I just want to take pictures in general. The Allis is also included on my list of places to go for coffee dates in Chicago. (113 – 125 North Green Street)

6. Floating Staircase at The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the world’s major museums and I can honestly spend the whole day in there looking at art or taking pictures of art. The museum houses art but it’s also a piece of art. Just about anywhere in the museum is a great photo opp. But one of my favorite places to visit while at The Art Institute is the spiral staircase located on the first floor between the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Art gallery and Arts of the Americas gallery.

7. Pickwick  Place

Pickwick Place is one of Chicago’s oldest and smallest buildings that now houses a coffee shop – Hero Coffee. It might be easy to miss as it’s an alley tucked away in the loop. But you can’t miss the cute coffee lights. To get there, you walk down a nine foot wide alley. I took this picture when it was Pickwick Coffee. It’s a great place to take pictures and have coffee…what a great combination. (22 E. Jackson)

8. The Rookery

The Rookery is where Charlie and I had our wedding reception in 2011. I didn’t know about this place until I read the book “Devil In The White City.” I looked it up after reading the book and knew immediately that I wanted to have my wedding there (when I saw they also host weddings). The Rookery is located in Chicago’s financial district and was designed by Burnham and Root and the interior was redesigned by Frank Lloyd Wright. So you can say this building is a designer building. You must visit and check out the staircases in addition to all the intricate details. (209 S. LaSalle Street)

9. Doughnut Vault

The Doughnut Vault has a special place in my heart (or stomach). It’s what I craved when I was pregnant with Luke and now it’s one of Luke’s favorite places for doughnuts. The blue door and vintage sign just do it for me…and their glazed doughnuts. (401 N. Franklin)

10. The Beehive at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Nature Boardwalk 

Lincoln Park Zoo’s Boardwalk is a great place for a nature walk in the summer time for us. I always look forward to going to the Beehive, which was designed by Studio Gang, for the beautiful architecture and views of the Chicago skyline. (2121 N. Stockton Drive)

11. Garfield Park Conservatory

When the weather gets cold, we are always looking for some indoor activities. The Garfield Park Conservatory is our go-to place as there is a little play area for Luke but so many rooms for us to walk through and explore. Something not to miss when you’re there is the mosaic fountain in the Horticulture Hall, which was a gift from Casablanca to the city of Chicago. (300 N. Central Park Avenue)

12. The Bar at Parson’s Chicken & Fish in Logan Square

Parson’s Chicken& Fish is a fun place to go during the summer because of their patio but check out the bar inside. If I could enjoy a drink at a bar right now, I think would pick this bar. (2952 W. Armitage Avenue)

13. Greetings from Chicago Mural

If you visit Chicago…you must take a picture in front of this “Greetings from Chicago” mural that was done as part of the Greetings Tour! (2226 N. Milwaukee Avenue)

14.  The “Bean” at Millennium Park

I mean…you didn’t think I would leave this off, would you? It may be a tourity place but I still love it! I tell people that the Bean to Chicago is like the Eiffel Tower to Paris. I’ll leave it at that.

15. Bahai Temple

I know this post is about beautiful places in Chicago but I had to make an exception – The Bahai Temple in Wilmette. Please go on their website to read all about this beautiful place of worship. (100 Linden Avenue, Wilmette, IL)

2 thoughts on “Let’s Explore! The 15 Most Photogenic Places in Chicago

  1. Xen18 says:

    This is a great post! I’ve not been to Chicago yet, (I’m from Melbourne), but your photos have inspired me to go next time I’m in the US! – Laura

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