The Windy City — as Chicago is traditionally and lovingly known — is world-renowned for its astonishing architecture, as well as for being incredibly clean and full of bustling energy. It’s the Midwest’s largest metropolis, and the United States’ third-largest, with a population of roughly 2.7 million people. It’s known for features as varied as its Chicago-style hot dogs, vibrant jazz scene, and gangsters of the 1920s.
The history of the city goes back as far as the 1830s, wherein the city was founded. And, by the early 1900s, Carl Sandburg called Chicago the “Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation” — an incredibly important center of industry and culture. In this city, you’ll find so many gorgeous, photo-worthy landmarks, parks, and buildings of all styles in and around. Of these many spots, keep reading for our list of 10 good places to take pictures in Chicago.
1. A light-filled gourmet kitchen in Wicker Park
Looking to do a themed photoshoot based around food and cooking? You’ll find no better location than this glorious, open-concept gourmet kitchen. Not only is the kitchen itself beautiful, with unique modern pendant lighting, pale blue cabinets, and the highest-quality appliances, you’ll also have unbeatable (and extremely cool!) views of the Blue Line El.
2. A vibrant and unique curated loft space
With nearly 40 five-star reviews, this verdant loft is undoubtedly a people-pleasing location for a photoshoot. We think it has something to do with the lush plant life filling the 4,500-square-foot space and soaking up the massive amounts of sunlight streaming through the windows. The venue includes a full kitchen and large makers workshop. Past commercial clients include MTV, Motorola, Target, VH1, and Apartment Therapy — a pretty impressive list! It’s fair to call this one of our top picks among good places to take pictures in Chicago.
3. An elegantly refined 1916 French-style chateau
Completed in 1916, this historic mansion is an official Chicago landmark. It was designed by famous architect William Kendall, who also designed the Manhattan Municipal Building, Columbia University’s Casa Italiana, and other notable works of architecture. This chateau contains roughly 12,000 square feet on four floors, which hold details like marble staircases, stained glass windows, stone walls, herringbone hardwood floors, and other elegant features. This is an ideal location for a luxurious, chic photoshoot, and we think it’s a true standout among good places to take pictures in Chicago.
4. “The Bean”
This is one of Chicago’s top visual attractions. The Cloud Gate sculpture, otherwise known as “the Bean,” is a mesmerizing work of art inspired by the look of liquid mercury, and that reflects the city that surrounds it. It’s a huge-scale piece — one of the largest permanent outdoor art installations, measuring 33′ x 66′ x 42′ and weighing 100 tons. The Bean is worth a visit for anyone in Chicago, but especially for photographers who can use the sculpture’s scale and reflective surface to great creative effect.
5. A funky, colorful downtown venue with eclectic decor
Here’s a quirky, totally out-of-this-world find! As one happy reviewer commented: “The beautiful views… the beautiful building and… the design of the place just remarkable.” From the hot pink couch, to the bold and daring pattern-mixing, to the views of the city surrounding you, any photoshoot here will be one to remember. And if you want a better view of the city, you can also snap photos on the large outdoor terrace.
6. A moody, industrial-chic home in Wicker Park
If, instead of a luxurious or funky vibe, you’re looking for something more industrial, this is a high-end option. It was designed by one of Chicago’s leading commercial space designers, and it shows: ceilings run between 12 and 40 feet high, the bottom floor is creatively designed with three levels, and the gas fireplace has a facade from the 1700s. Adding to the wonderful lighting of this space is a large skylight over an open atrium, which will help take your photos to the next level.
7. The Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall
Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center is best known for its mesmerizing, otherworldly Tiffany dome, but also includes marble staircases, mosaics, and other historic detailing that makes it a superb destination for any photographer.
8. An airy, art-filled space ideal for photoshoots
As one reviewer described this location as “warm and cozy, cheerful and filled with an eclectic collection of paintings and sculpture.” This ambiance will come through clearly in your photos. In addition to its coziness, it’s full of interesting and unique touches, all of which make it a pleasure to explore and photograph. It’s fully customizable, too, so you can arrange and rearrange it however you prefer. The venue offers a kitchen that’s well-suited to food and cooking photography.
9. Chicago Riverwalk
This 1.25-mile path along the Chicago River was only completed within the last few years, and it’s an exciting new attraction that allows you to stand level with the river and admire Chicago’s famed architecture. If you’d like, you can even grab a kayak and snap your photos from atop the river itself. There’s so much to do along the Riverwalk — it’s a must-see.
10. A stunningly expansive dance and rehearsal studio
Need a big, wide-open space for your photoshoot? Looking to photograph dance or any other kind of movement? This dance and rehearsal studio, which measures over 1,300 square feet, is an excellent location for this kind of photography. In addition to its airy spaciousness, the exposed brick walls, ultra-high ceilings, and massive windows make it especially visually stunning.