If you’re planning on visiting Chicago, you better have your camera ready. The Windy City has no shortage of scenic spots, so why not give your Instagram a boost while you’re in town? From national treasures to local staples, Chicago is as photogenic as it is fun. Check out our list of the most Instagrammable spots in the city.
1. The Bean
Officially named the Cloud Gate, the Bean is arguably the most recognizable piece of outdoor art in Chicago. Winter or summer, you can always find a flock of tourists and natives alike gathered around this Millennium Park masterpiece. The Bean’s polished, mirrored exterior makes for some pretty unique photo opportunities, so don’t be afraid to get a little creative.
2. Skyline from the water
The Chicago skyline can hang with the best of them, and there is no better place to capture the towering cityscape than from the shores of Lake Michigan – or the water itself if you decide to visit in the summer months. The skyline is always stunning, but if you really want to wow your followers, wait until dusk for the city to light up. The reflection of the lights on the water gives the whole scene a shimmering new dimension.
3. Lincoln Park Zoo
Open year-round, Lincoln Park Zoo is Chicago’s premiere location to see exotic animals from all around the world. And as one of the few free admission zoos in the country, you can see them all without having to worry about your wallet. With hundreds of different species on display, you’re bound to leave the Lincoln Park Zoo with more than a handful of Instagram-worthy animal shots. Travel tip: The bridge leading up to the zoo is also an excellent spot to snap a killer skyline pic.
4. Train Tracks
When it comes to getting around the city, the most popular method of transportation amongst Chicagoans is the “L.” The massive system of elevated trains and subways keep city-goers connected from North to South, East to West. Sure, a cab might be a little faster, but a ride on the L has an authentic Chicago charm that isn’t worth missing. Post a train pic to prove to all your friends that you lived like a local while you were in Chicago.
5. Navy Pier
As Chicago’s #1 tourist destination, a trip a Navy Pier is all but mandatory during a Windy City visit. Having recently turned 100 years old, Navy Pier has undergone significant renovations which include new restaurants, new entertainment, and a new Ferris wheel.
Travel Tip: Catch a dazzling fireworks display from Navy Pier every Wednesday and Saturday night from Memorial Day through Labor Day, as well as on select holidays.
6. Wrigley Field
This historic ballpark is home to Chicago’s pride and joy – not including deep dish pizza – the Chicago Cubs. Built in 1914, Wrigley is the second oldest park in baseball. A sacred landmark for Cub fans, there aren’t many better places to spend a summer day than at Wrigley Field with a cold beer in-hand. Whether it’s the bright red marquee, the old-fashioned scoreboard in center field, or the glowing green grass on the field itself, Wrigley Field is a treasure trove for photos.
Travel Tip: Wrigley Field offers daily tours throughout the season, giving fans a behind the scenes look at the Cubs clubhouse, dugout, and even the chance to walk on the field.
7. Oak Street Beach
A visit to Chicago in the summertime is proof that you don’t need an ocean to have a great beach. Featuring beach volleyball, umbrella & equipment rental, beachside dining and more, a sunny day at Oak Street Beach might make you forget you are in the Midwest. With Lake Michigan in one direction and the Chicago skyline in the other, you’ll leave the beach with a solid new Instagram pic in addition to a nice tan.
8. River Walk
Once you’ve gotten your money shot of Lake Michigan, head into the Loop for a look at the city’s other iconic body of water. Stroll down the River Walk for an up close look at the beautiful Chicago River. Lined with top-notch bars and restaurants, the River Walk is a perfect place to waste some time and take in the city. Whether you’re watching the boaters float by on a summer day or witnessing the river being dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day, there’s always something picture-worthy down by the river.
Travel tip: Conveniently located on the River Walk, 320 RiverBar serves up delicious drinks as well as great views from the outdoor terrace.
9. Willis Tower
Once the tallest building in the world, the Willis Tower stands above all the other Chicago skyscrapers as the crown jewel of the city’s superb skyline. Fair warning: refer to it by its current name and you will be greeted by rolling eyes from locals. Old habits die hard in Chicago, and most natives refuse to acknowledge it by any name other than its original: Sears Tower. Venture up 1,353 ft. to the tower’s Skydeck for a truly all-encompassing view of Chicago.
10. Local Shots
Chicago is best known for its downtown “Loop” district, but for a well-rounded look at the city, be sure to visit some of the equally iconic neighborhoods that surround it. Chicago is made up of 77 unique neighborhoods, each with its own different food, culture, and attractions. So hang up the tourist hat for a day and take the road less traveled to discover your very own Chicago Instagram gems.