Where to See the Best Views in Town
Are you always looking for the best views in the city? Chicago is a stunning town and there are so many places you can visit to catch some breathtaking cityscapes. Here’s a brief list of some of my favorite views and photo-opportunity spots in Chicago.
North Ave Beach
1600 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60613
North Ave Beach might be one of my favorite places to take in the beautiful city lights. Right on the edge of the water where the Lake Michigan meets the lakefront is one of the most breathtaking views around. The view has little disruption because the lake is right there you have a clear view of the Hancock, Navy Pier and the outline of Chicago’s north side. If you want a truly incredible shot come here during early hours and watch the beautiful sunrise come over the lake, but either way the view is completely gorgeous.
Signature Lounge at the 95th
875 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Want a killer view of the city from nearly all sides, but don’t want to pay a hefty ticket price for the Hancock 360? Well, grab a window seat at the Signature Lounge, get a drink and get just as great of a view. The lounge is free to enter, but you have to purchase something to get a table, so what I usually do is bring guests here for dessert or drinks and see the incredible view. The food and drinks are expensive because this is a popular tourist attraction, so be prepared for a hefty price tag, or do as I do and just grab an overpriced cocktail. The way I see it, you’re getting the same view, but instead of paying for admission you’re getting a drink or dessert out of it instead.
Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Again maybe a huge tourist attraction, but the views from the new ferris wheel at Navy Pier are out of this world. Being up so high you can see a large scale of Chicago from the north to south side. The new-ish Centennial Wheel takes you up nearly 200 feet in the air and the enclosed glass carts allow you to have 360-degree unobstructed views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Tickets can run up to as much as $15 a person, but the views, photos and memories will last a lifetime, so the price is definitely worth it.
The Robey Rooftop
2018 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
While rooftop/patio season are drawing to an end, the Robey Rooftop boasts some of the most spectacular perspectives of the city and most of the area remains enclosed. While there is a stunning outdoor patio, the hotel designers were genius in enclosing a large bar inside making it functional during the very cold winter season of Chicago. There’s a small rooftop pool, but most people come to the Robey for drinks and a view. Located in Wicker Park, the Rooftop does not have much competition for airspace when most of the local area’s buildings are smaller. The Robey stands out as being one of the tallest buildings on the six-corners at Damen, Milwaukee and North.
Chicago, IL 60601
The Chicago Riverwalk offers a unique perspective of Chicago with ground-level views that force you to look up in awe of the magnificent buildings that make up the city. That’s why the riverboat tours are so popular, because not only are the buildings themselves beautiful and full of such rich history, but the stories and history behind them all is fascinating and there’s always something new to learn. Not only can you see incredible views of the city this way, but there’s literally miles of it that stretch along the river so you can walk to your heart’s content. The riverwalk also has plenty of dining where you can enjoy a meal or drink with friends while taking in the view.
233 S. Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60606
One of those “you have to” experiences is right at Sears Tower (Willis Tower) at Skydeck Chicago. If you go on a weekend be prepared for a miserable I’m talking Disney World wait times, but the view of the city and the experience of standing on glass over the buildings is completely worth the wait times. Of course, I’d advise to not go on a Saturday but rather an odd time of the week, but that choice is totally up to you. The Skydeck is a unique experience because you stand on glass and see the city beneath your feet. Obviously a great spot for photos, and the last time I went there I saw a proposal, so that’s cool too! Admission can be a little pricey so check online for deals or coupons before you head over. They often offer promotional pricing.
Lake Point Tower
505 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 606011
Lake Point Tower is largely a residential building, but you can catch great views up at the top at their restaurant Cité. Much like the Signature Lounge, Cité offers stunning views from a building that’s furthest east along the lakeside. This is a very special restaurant indeed with $$$$ on Yelp. This French establishment isn’t your regular Thursday dinner-dining experience. The views are incredible if you’re able to come up with the cash for this spot. They’re a little stricter here than the Signature Lounge, so be prepared to enjoy a full meal here and the price tag it holds.
4400 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60640
Closing the list out with another beach, Montrose Beach may be a little less crowded and a little more distant of a cityscape view, but it’s just as beautiful of a beach. When I lived on the North Side this was my happy place. A gorgeous place to walk or bike over and just be. With distant views of the city, it is far enough away from the pulse of the city to be relaxing, but not far enough away that you can’t enjoy the beauty of it. Montrose Beach is huge and even has a dog beach where the pups can run free on the sand and in the water as well. If you’re looking for a more serene spot with a killer view, this is the spot I would highly recommend.