Scenic Routes: Best Views and Photo Spots in Chicago Illinois & Video

Scenic Routes: Best Views and Photo Spots in Chicago Illinois

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Scenic Routes: Best Views and Photo Spots in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois is a city known for its stunning architecture, vibrant culture, and breathtaking views. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, exploring the scenic routes and photo spots in Chicago is a must-do activity. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, this guide will take you through ten sections of the best views and photo spots in the Windy City.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park is a must-visit location in Chicago, offering a variety of scenic views and photo opportunities. The park is home to the famous Cloud Gate, also known as “The Bean,” which reflects the city’s skyline and provides a unique perspective for photography. Other notable attractions within Millennium Park include the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Lurie Garden, and Crown Fountain. Take a stroll through the park and capture the beauty of the city from different angles.

  • Cloud Gate: The Bean is a popular spot for photography, with its reflective surface capturing the surrounding skyline.
  • Jay Pritzker Pavilion: This outdoor concert venue offers stunning views of the city’s skyline and is a great spot for capturing architectural details.
  • Lurie Garden: This beautiful garden provides a peaceful setting for nature photography, featuring a variety of plants and flowers.
  • Crown Fountain: The interactive fountain with its changing faces is a unique photo opportunity, especially during the summer months.

Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk is a picturesque pathway that winds along the Chicago River, offering stunning views of the city’s architecture and skyline. This scenic route is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a bike ride while capturing memorable photos along the way. From the Riverwalk, you can admire iconic buildings such as the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, and Marina City.

  • Wrigley Building: This historic landmark stands out with its white facade and clock tower, providing a classic Chicago photo opportunity.
  • Tribune Tower: Known for its Gothic Revival architecture, the Tribune Tower offers a unique backdrop for architectural photography.
  • Marina City: These iconic twin towers are a symbol of Chicago’s skyline and provide a striking subject for photography.

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Navy Pier is a popular tourist attraction that offers stunning views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. This waterfront destination is home to various entertainment options, including rides, restaurants, and shops. Capture panoramic views of the city from the Ferris wheel or stroll along the pier for unique photo opportunities.

  • Ferris Wheel: The Navy Pier Ferris wheel provides a bird’s-eye view of the city and is a great spot for capturing stunning sunset shots.
  • Lake Michigan: The pier offers unobstructed views of Lake Michigan, providing a serene backdrop for photography.
  • Fireworks: Check the schedule for fireworks displays at Navy Pier and capture the colorful explosions against the city skyline.

Grant Park

Located in the heart of Chicago, Grant Park is a vast green space that offers a multitude of scenic views and photo opportunities. This urban oasis is home to iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Fountain and the Art Institute of Chicago. Explore the park’s various gardens, sculptures, and open spaces for stunning views of the city.

  • Buckingham Fountain: This grand fountain is a popular spot for photography, especially when the water jets are in full display.
  • Art Institute of Chicago: Capture the impressive architecture of the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States.
  • Petrillo Music Shell: This outdoor concert venue hosts various events throughout the year and offers unique photo opportunities with its distinctive design.

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The 606

The 606, also known as the Bloomingdale Trail, is an elevated park and trail system that offers scenic views of Chicago’s neighborhoods. This former railway line has been transformed into a green space, featuring artwork, gardens, and recreational areas. Capture the vibrant energy of the city as you walk, run, or bike along this unique trail.

  • Artwork: The 606 showcases various public art installations, providing a visually appealing backdrop for photography.
  • Neighborhood Views: As you traverse the trail, you’ll encounter different neighborhoods, each offering its own distinct charm and photo opportunities.
  • Sunset and Sunrise: The elevated nature of the trail allows for stunning views of the city during sunrise and sunset, creating beautiful lighting conditions for photography.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is one of Chicago’s largest parks, spanning over 1,200 acres and offering a wide range of scenic views and photo spots. This expansive green space is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, North Avenue Beach, and the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. Explore the park’s trails, gardens, and waterfront areas for unique photography opportunities.

  • Lincoln Park Zoo: Capture candid shots of animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the country.
  • North Avenue Beach: This popular beach offers stunning views of the city skyline, especially during sunrise and sunset.
  • Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool: This serene garden oasis provides a peaceful setting for nature photography, featuring water lilies and native plants.

Chicago Botanic Garden

Located just outside of Chicago in Glencoe, the Chicago Botanic Garden is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers. This expansive garden spans over 385 acres and features various themed gardens, including Japanese, English, and Rose gardens. Capture the beauty of colorful flowers, serene lakes, and architectural structures as you explore the different areas of the garden.

  • Japanese Garden: This tranquil garden offers a serene setting for photography, featuring traditional Japanese architecture and carefully manicured landscapes.
  • English Walled Garden: Capture the charm of an English garden with its vibrant flowers, ornamental hedges, and classical structures.
  • Rose Garden: This fragrant garden is a favorite spot for photography, especially during the peak blooming season when the roses are in full display.

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Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center is a historic landmark that offers stunning architectural details and a variety of cultural programs. This beautifully designed building features intricate mosaics, stained glass domes, and grand staircases. Explore the center’s galleries, performance spaces, and exhibitions for unique photo opportunities.

  • Preston Bradley Hall: Capture the grandeur of this hall with its Tiffany glass dome and ornate design.
  • Garland Room: The Garland Room showcases beautiful mosaics and is a hidden gem for photography.
  • Cultural Events: Check the center’s schedule for cultural events and performances that provide unique photo opportunities.

360 Chicago Observation Deck

For breathtaking views of the city skyline, head to the 360 Chicago Observation Deck located in the John Hancock Center. From the 94th floor, you’ll have a panoramic view of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Capture the city from a bird’s-eye perspective and enjoy the thrill of being high above the bustling streets below.

  • 360 Views: The observation deck offers unobstructed views of the city in all directions, providing ample photo opportunities.
  • Tilt Experience: For an adrenaline rush, try the Tilt experience, where you’ll be tilted outward from the building for a unique photo perspective.
  • Sunset and Nighttime: Visit during sunset or at night to capture the city lights and the stunning colors of the sky.


Chicago, Illinois, is a city that never fails to impress with its scenic routes and photo spots. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, there’s something for everyone to capture the beauty of this vibrant city. Whether you’re a professional photographer or simply enjoy taking snapshots, exploring these locations will provide you with unforgettable memories and stunning images.


  • Millennium Park:
  • Chicago Riverwalk:
  • Navy Pier:
  • Grant Park:
  • The 606:
  • Lincoln Park:
  • Chicago Botanic Garden:
  • Chicago Cultural Center:
  • 360 Chicago Observation Deck: