Chicago features an array of iconic sites and architecture that includes sky-high photo opportunities, making for countless opportunities to snap an awesome Instagram shot. From gardens, sculptures, and fountains to skyscrapers, lake views, and unique areas, there’s no shortage of super spots to photograph in the Windy City. Whether you’re in the mood to scout out the entire city or hang around in one of Chicago’s unique areas, there are a variety of ways to photograph, shop, and dine your way throughout one of America’s most renowned cities. Discover 10 Instagrammable places in Chicago so you can make and capture lasting memories.

    1

    Cloudgate

    Step onto cloud 9

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    Cloud Gate is a large, curved, reflective piece of public art sometimes referred to as “The Bean” and is one of Chicago’s most iconic attractions. Artist Anish Kapoor created the sculpture using computer technology to cut 168 massive stainless-steel plates, which then were welded together. At 33 feet high, 42 feet wide, 66 feet long, and 110 tonnes in weight, it’s substantial—that’s for sure. Cloud Gate is found in Millennium Park, conveniently located near other Instagrammable spots such as Crown Fountain, which is comprised of 2 50-foot glass-block towers at the end of a reflecting pool. The towers have projected video images of a variety of Chicago citizens, who seem to spout the fountain’s water out of their mouths.

    Location: 201 E. Randolph St., Millennium Park, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

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    photo by Robert Lowe (CC BY 2.0) modified

    2

    Garfield Park Conservatory

    Take a walk through the botanical gardens

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    Garfield Park Conservatory is an expansive botanical conservatory with thousands of plant species from all over the world and 8 different indoor display gardens. The conservatory is sometimes described as “landscape art under glass,” and it's open year-round, maintaining tropical temperatures indoors. In warmer weather, you can also explore the 10 acres of outdoor gardens and a lovely water lily pond, which all combine to make the perfect backdrop for your Instagram feed. Don't forget to check out the conservatory’s seasonal exhibits and installations throughout the year as well.

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    Location: 300 N Central Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60624, USA

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    Phone: +1 773-638-1766

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    3

    Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

    Relax in an oasis in the big city

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    Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool was originally part of an 1889 Victorian garden filled with tropical lilies and other aquatic plants and was redesigned into the lily pool and neighbouring gardens. Alfred Caldwell's original design was intended to mimic the feel of a river that winds through a Midwestern prairie, as a type of oasis in the midst of a busy and bustling city. Upon entering, visitors walk through the Prairie-style Fullerton gate and into the garden. The Lily Pool has a quiet ambience, and you can tour the pavilion and council ring and see a wide variety of plant life.

    Location: 125 W Fullerton Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614, USA

    Open: Hours vary per season

    Phone: +1 773-883-7275

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    4

    Buckingham Fountain

    Take in a water and lights show

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    The Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain performs a 20-minute water display every hour, shooting water 150 feet into the air and creating a remarkable background for an Instagram post. If you visit at dusk, a light and music display is orchestrated alongside the water. The Fountain only operates in certain months and seasons, and typically the last display for the night starts at 10:35 pm. The fountain was designed to create the aura of “soft moonlight,” which can be enjoyed during the evenings.

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    Location: 301 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

    Open: Early-May–mid-October: daily from 8 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +1 312-742-3918

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    5

    Little India

    Relish the colours and tastes of India in Chicago

    Little India is a area of restaurants, shops, and grocers that offer Indian and Pakistani fare along Devon Avenue. Thanks to the bright colours of the shop fronts, it’s a great place to snap some shots for your Instagram. Besides photo ops, you'll find stores here like Uma Sarees and Sonia Selections that offer a stunning variety of sarees, jewellery, and fabric. You can’t miss out on the delicious eats while you’re in Little India, so stop by Hema’s Kitchen for authentic Indian cuisine. You could also stop by Khan BBQ for another local favourite. Make sure to save room for dessert and swing by Royal Sweets for a large variety of sugary selections.

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    photo by Steve Browne & John Verkleir (CC BY 2.0) modified

    6

    Fulton Market

    Spend a morning marketside

    Fulton Market is home to a variety of restaurants, bars, hotels, and more, and the worn signs and brick walls here create the perfect backdrop for a photo shoot. The market area, properly known as the Fulton-Randolph Market District, is found just northwest of city centre Chicago and originally was home to meat-packing warehouses. Make sure to snap a shot with the quirky, neon “Fulton Market District” sign. Grab lunch at Mediterranean restaurant Aba, which not only boasts delicious dishes but also an aesthetic interior and lovely rooftop. If you’re in the mood for a coffee, Beatrix serves up a tasty latte in an adorable setting.

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    photo by Tdl1060 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    7

    Lurie Garden

    Get garden shots at any time of year

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    Lurie Garden is a habitat for an expansive range of plants, animals, and insects. Housed within Millennium Park, the garden was designed to be ecologically responsible and create a calm space within a busy city. The garden offers visitors a 4-season experience, as plant life changes with the seasons, and visitors can see the shifts in the textures, colours, sights, and sounds. Every element of Lurie Garden is intentional. A large 15-foot-high “shoulder” hedge encapsulates the garden on 2 sides and surrounds the perennial garden, created to embody Carl Sandburg’s description of Chicago as the “City of Big Shoulders.”

    Location: 210 E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 312-228-1004

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    8

    Promontory Point

    Capture sunrises and sunsets over the water

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    Promontory Point is a man-made peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan and is found in Chicago’s Burnham Park. With superb access to the water, it’s a real showstopper, particularly at golden hour. During the summertime, make sure to bring a blanket and a book so you can spend the day relaxing in the sun. Promontory Point is a great destination to enjoy a picnic lunch and get away from the hustle of city centre Chicago. It's perfect for families, too, with plenty of space for kids to run around and burn off that extra energy.

    Location: 5491 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60615, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +1 312-763-6718

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    9

    Rookery Building

    Admire the architectural ascension in a historic office building

    The Rookery Building is in the centre of Chicago’s financial district and boasts the iconic Light Court, a wrought- and cast-iron frame that creates a soft, birdcage-like ambience. The building was created by famed architects Daniel H. Burnham and John Wellborn Root, and the interiors were redesigned by Frank Llyod Wright in 1905. The spiral Oriel Staircase winds from floor 12 to floor 2 and features a stunning pattern that captures incredibly on film. It’s no surprise that the Rookery is a popular spot for weddings and large events.

    Location: 209 South LaSalle St, Chicago, Illinois 60604, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 7 am to 6 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 312-553-6100

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    photo by Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    10

    Skydeck Chicago

    Step out atop Chicago

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    Skydeck Chicago is on the 99th floor of Willis Tower and offers spectacular views of the city, especially from its highlight feature, The Ledge. The Ledge is an observation deck with a glass floor that you can walk out onto to get an incredible view of the city and 4 states. At 1,353 feet high, it’s the perfect spot for an insane Instagram pic. Skydeck recommends guests visit just after opening or after 5 pm for the best views, or planning your visit for 30 to 45 minutes before sunset for the optimal photo opportunity. Set your camera to “backlight” if possible, and make sure to turn off your flash and polarizer filter.

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    Location: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606, USA

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    Phone: +1 312-875-9696

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