Best places to photograph in Chicago

Best places to photograph inChicago

“Photography is the story I fail to put into words” – Destin Sparks

Welcome to the vibrant city of Chicago, where every corner offers a captivating story waiting to be captured through the lens. In this article, I’ll take you on a journey to discover the best hidden photography spots, iconic landmarks, architectural marvels, and picturesque parks that make Chicago a haven for photographers. Whether you’re a professional looking to expand your portfolio or an enthusiast seeking breathtaking shots, these unique locations will inspire you to unlock the true essence of the Windy City.

Hidden Photography Spots in Chicago

Chicago is renowned for its diverse and vibrant photography opportunities. While famous landmarks and tourist attractions often steal the spotlight, the city is also home to numerous hidden gems that offer unique perspectives for photographers. These lesser-known locations provide stunning backdrops and capture the true essence of Chicago without the crowds found at popular tourist spots.

Here are some of the best hidden photography spots in Chicago:

  • Damen L Train Stop
  • Metra Sign Chicago
  • Clark & Lake Parking Garage
  • Wabash-Randolph Parking Garage
  • Chicago Fire Engine 98
  • South Side of Willis Tower: Southbank Park
  • Navy Pier Parking Garage
  • Chicago Board of Trade
  • Chinatown Neighborhood Chicago
  • University of Chicago

Each of these hidden photography spots offers a unique perspective of Chicago’s vibrant culture and stunning architecture. Whether you’re looking to capture the hustle and bustle of urban life, the serenity of a hidden garden, or the charm of a historic neighborhood, these non-touristy photo locations provide endless possibilities for photographers.

Explore hidden corners of the city and uncover its hidden treasures. From unique street art to picturesque parks, Chicago has a diverse range of photography spots just waiting to be discovered. Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and capture the beauty of Chicago from a fresh perspective.

Iconic Landmarks for Photography in Chicago

In addition to hidden gems, Chicago is also known for its iconic landmarks that make for great photography subjects. These landmarks offer unique and recognizable features that can elevate your photography.

Some of the famous photography spots in Chicago include:

  • Calder’s Flamingo Sculpture in Federal Plaza
  • Millennium Park with attractions like the Cloud Gate (also known as the Bean)
  • The Skydeck at the Willis Tower
  • The murals at the Wabash Arts Corridor

These iconic landmarks provide stunning backdrops that are instantly recognizable and represent the essence of Chicago. Whether you’re capturing the reflections on the Cloud Gate or the towering views from the Skydeck, these locations will add depth and character to your photographs.

Capturing Chicago’s Architecture

Chicago’s architecture is world-renowned, and capturing it through photography can be a rewarding experience. The city is filled with stunning buildings and structures that showcase a variety of architectural styles. Whether you’re interested in capturing the iconic skyline or exploring hidden gems, Chicago offers numerous photography spots that will leave you in awe.

Chicago Sign at the Chicago Theatre

One of the most recognizable signs in the city, the Chicago Sign at the Chicago Theatre is a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts. The vintage marquee and intricate detailing make for a captivating photo opportunity. Capture the charm and history of this iconic landmark that has been a significant part of Chicago’s cultural scene since 1921.

Stairwell at the Rookery Building

The Rookery Building, designed by renowned architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Daniel Burnham, is a masterpiece of Chicago architecture. While the exterior is impressive, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the charming stairwell inside. The ornate ironwork, beautiful skylight, and intricate details create a unique photographic experience.

Chicago Skyline from North Avenue Beach

For a breathtaking view of Chicago’s skyline, head to North Avenue Beach. Located along Lake Michigan, this beach offers an unobstructed vantage point where you can capture the city’s impressive architecture against the backdrop of the lake. Sunrise and sunset are particularly magical times to photograph the skyline.

Overlook of the Metro Trains at Wells Kinzie Garage

The Wells Kinzie Garage provides a unique perspective on Chicago’s architecture. From the garage’s overlook, you can capture the city’s bustling Metro trains as they pass through the elevated tracks. This spot offers an industrial and urban feel, adding an intriguing element to your architectural photography.

Buckingham Fountain

No visit to Chicago is complete without photographing the iconic Buckingham Fountain. Located in Grant Park, this stunning fountain not only showcases intricate design but also provides an excellent opportunity to capture the city’s skyline in the background. Don’t miss the fountain’s nightly light and water show, which adds a magical touch to your photography.

Photography Opportunities in Chicago Parks

Chicago’s parks provide a picturesque backdrop for nature photography enthusiasts. Whether you’re drawn to the lush greenery or the stunning architectural elements, these parks offer a diverse range of photography opportunities.

One of the must-visit parks for photographers is the Chicago Riverwalk. This vibrant urban park stretches along the banks of the Chicago River, offering a unique blend of natural beauty and cityscape. Explore the various sections of the Riverwalk and capture breathtaking shots of the river, bridges, and stunning skyline views.

Another hidden gem is the wooden pavilion at South Pond in Lincoln Park. This tranquil setting offers a serene escape from the bustling city while providing plenty of natural beauty for your photographs. The wooden structure adds an architectural element to your shots, creating a captivating blend of nature and design.

If you’re looking for a park with a mix of both nature and architecture, head to the Grant Park area. Here, you’ll find the Great Hall in Chicago’s Union Station, a stunning example of Beaux-Arts architecture. Additionally, 200 North Clark Self Park offers a unique perspective of the city’s skyline. Capture the juxtaposition of nature and towering buildings for truly remarkable photographs.


Are these hidden photography spots in Chicago crowded?

No, these hidden photography spots are often less crowded than the touristy spots, allowing you to capture stunning photographs without the hassle of large crowds.

Can I find unique perspectives at these hidden photography spots?

Absolutely! These hidden photography spots offer unique perspectives that showcase the true essence of Chicago. Capture stunning photographs from angles that are not commonly seen.

Can I capture iconic landmarks in my photographs?

Yes, Chicago is home to several iconic landmarks that make for great photography subjects. From Calder’s Flamingo Sculpture to the Cloud Gate at Millennium Park, you can capture recognizable and unique features in your photographs.

Are there any opportunities to capture Chicago’s architecture?

Definitely! Chicago is renowned for its architecture, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to capture it through photography. From the Chicago Sign at the Chicago Theatre to the stunning Chicago skyline, these spots will showcase the city’s architectural beauty.

Can I find both natural and architectural beauty in Chicago parks for photography?

Yes, Chicago parks offer a unique blend of natural and architectural beauty, making them perfect for photography. Explore the Chicago Riverwalk, South Pond in Lincoln Park, and Grant Park area for stunning photography opportunities.

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