Top 10 Best Photo Ops in Chicago
There are many sights to see and places to go in Chicago. Of course, when you visit you’ll want to hit all of the top spots and attractions. How does that expression go? Pics or it didn’t happen. Here are ten of the most popular spots and some seasonal favorite places to take your souvenir Chicago photos.
Chicago Theater sign
175 N. State Street
The Chicago Theater sign is in a word, iconic. Featured in nearly every movie you can imagine set in Chicago, the Chicago Theater sign is just as magical as the movies make it look. With the glittering lights and the word Chicago so bold and so beautiful, it’s no wonder people make it a stop on their photo walk tour. The classic location can be captured from many angles giving it a bit of diversity. I’ve even seen brave couples get their wedding photos from the street median out front. I don’t recommend going in the middle of the road, but capture a selfie or a great photo from a safe angle and you’ll have a photo worthy of hanging in your home.
Cloud Gate a.k.a The Bean
Chicago, IL 60601
There’s nothing more classic than a photo from Cloud Gate also known as the Bean. You can find tourists here day and night, summer or winter, it doesn’t matter when or what time of year photos are being taken here. I once had this crazy idea that my boyfriend and I would take this amazing photo of just the two of us early in the morning. We got up and went during sunrise in October when it was just starting to get chilly. Would you believe that there was already another couple there taking wedding photographs? I couldn’t believe it. I’ve come to Cloud Gate more times than I can count whether I was just passing through or guiding tourists through the “must-sees” of Chicago, and I can honestly say I’ve never been there when no one else was around. In a way that’s almost comforting to know people are always there, but if you’re trying to get an amazing photo with just you and your loved one, it makes it nearly impossible. Explore Cloud Gate and really challenge yourself to think outside of the box and get creative with how you photograph and how you see it. A great spot to visit when it starts snowing, it takes on a whole new feel.
Wrigley Field Sign
1060 W. Addison St.
Just because the Cubs didn’t make it to the World Series this year doesn’t mean you should pass up on the opportunity to get a picture from the iconic Wrigley Field Stadium. Sure, last year’s epic “2016 World Series Champions” on the marquee looked better than this year’s “2017 Lost to the Dodgers Who Lost to the Astros,” (a joke), but it’s still a remarkable sight to see. This time of year with all of the recent construction to the area they’ve added a second Christkindlmarket to Wrigleyville making it extra festive for the holiday season. So why not kill two birds with one stone and get a photo of the iconic Cubs sign as well as a walk through the newest Christkindlmarket.
Navy Pier (Ferris Wheel)
600 E. Grand Ave.
Nothing says Chicago like Navy Pier! Soar above the city in the new Ferris wheel and take in the view from new heights. The newly-renovated Ferris wheel takes you higher than the previous wheel and gives you more time to take in the lovely view. Pro tip: Go around sunset. The lighting is just perfect as it falls behind the city’s skyline and night takes over the town. The new cars are bigger, which means you might have to share the moment with other guests on a crowded day. The new cars are also enclosed which eliminates some of the fear guests may have when they go for a spin.
301 S. Columbus Dr.
“Love and marriage, love and marriage,” at least that’s what I think every time I see the Buckingham Fountain. The theme song from “Married with Children” features Buckingham Fountain right in the opening sequence. You too can get your very own television photo moment in the middle of Grant Park at Buckingham Fountain. This time of year Buckingham isn’t as exciting since they turn the water off during the winter months, but the fountain itself is impressive in size if you still want to take a gander. You won’t get the water display featuring water jets that shoot 150 feet into the air, but the size is impressive and still stands as one of the largest water fountains in the world.
Willis Tower (Sears Tower) Skydeck glass boxes
233 S. Wacker Dr.
The Willis Tower’s (still Sears Tower to most) Skydeck features one of the more popular photo opportunities these days. The Skydeck has special glass boxes that create a unique photo opportunity with unobstructed views of the city under your feet. If you do a Google search online you’ll find photos of everything from jump photos, to wedding pictures and engagement photos to people doing yoga poses and handstands and everything in-between. There’s really no limit to people’s creativity to utilizing these boxes for the perfect photo op. I’ve even seen a proposal happen! The sky’s the limit (pun intended) to what you can make of your 30 seconds of Skybox fame. Pro tip: Come on a weekday or early in the morning. Weekends can be a killer wait and everyone is dying to get into those limited boxes so your time is precious and you’ll get moved out of line pretty quickly once you’re inside a box, so use it wisely!
Chicago Mural in Logan Square
2226 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago murals are great photo ops because it showcases the unique side of Chicago and our local artists. The Chicago mural in Logan Square might be one of the best representations of local art in the community. The site is well known for being the perfect photo spot. Chicago is written in bold letters, featuring some of Chicago’s most iconic things like hot dogs, deep-dish, the Cubs, our flag and cityscapes. If you’re looking for a post card-worthy photo look no further than the Chicago mural in Logan Square.
Real Fake Sign in front of Trump Tower
401 N. Wabash Ave.
A little more of a political statement, the Real Fake sculpture placed directly in front of Trump Tower sends a big message home. Mayor Rahm Emanuel dedicated the year 2017 to public art, sculpture and pieces throughout the city and this was one of the more recognized ones. Real Fake has become a photo op location mainly because of its placement right in front of the Chicago Riverwalk and Trump Tower. I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to poke a little fun at President Trump while it still stands.
50 W. Washington St.
Nothing says Christmas in Chicago quite like a stroll through Christkindlmarket with some strudel, glühwein and your loved one. While Christkindlmarket has expanded to
a location on the Northside the Daley Plaza, location can’t be beat. It’s a little crowded, but incredibly adorable and a classic Chicago winter activity. There are plenty of different photo ops here including in front of the Picasso sculpture with Santa or even near the ornament shop that sells handmade Christmas ornaments from Germany! No matter where you take your photo be sure to have your custom Christkindlmarket mug in hand filled with warm glühwein to keep you toasty.
Christmas tree in Millennium Park
Michigan Ave. & Randolph St.
Gawk in awe at the sight of the 104th annual Christmas tree in Millennium Park. The 62-foot tall Norway Spruce was donated by a Chicago local Darlene Dorfler, according to the City of Chicago website. Each year a local tree is selected to be the City of Chicago’s official tree and this year it’s Dorfler and her family’s time to shine. The incredible tree is massive in size and decorated to the nines, which it makes it an ideal photo op for the season. This tree is a winter exclusive photo that’s sure to make everyone’s season bright. So take your holiday photo near Millennium Park and have a happy holiday!