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The Perfect Two-day Chicago Itinerary And Best Photography Spots


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Gelya Desimone



Welcome to the vibrant and bustling city of Chicago! Known for its stunning architecture, diverse culture, and breathtaking skyline, this iconic American metropolis is a must-visit destination for travelers from around the world. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, food lover, or avid photographer, Chicago offers an array of experiences that will leave you mesmerized.


In this two-day itinerary, we’ll guide you through some of the best attractions and photography spots that Chicago has to offer. From the iconic Cloud Gate, affectionately known as “The Bean,” to the picturesque Lakefront and Magnificent Mile, each stop promises a unique and unforgettable experience.


Before we begin, it’s worth noting that Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, each with its charm and character. While this itinerary focuses on the downtown area and popular tourist spots, we encourage you to venture beyond and explore the many hidden gems scattered throughout the city.


So grab your camera, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to embark on an exciting adventure through the Windy City. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this comprehensive itinerary will ensure that you make the most of your two days in Chicago.


Day 1: Exploring the Loop and Millennium Park

Start your first day in Chicago by immersing yourself in the heart of the city – the Loop. This downtown area is renowned for its magnificent skyscrapers, bustling streets, and iconic landmarks.


1. Cloud Gate (The Bean): Begin your day at Millennium Park, where you’ll find the famous Cloud Gate sculpture. This reflective bean-shaped structure has become an icon of Chicago and offers countless photo opportunities. Capture your reflection, the city skyline, or the playful distortions it creates.


2. Crown Fountain: Just a short walk from Cloud Gate is the Crown Fountain. This unique installation features two towering glass block towers with LED displays. During the summer months, water spouts from the mouths of digital faces, creating a whimsical and interactive space. Don’t hesitate to take some snapshots of this immersive artistic experience.


3. Art Institute of Chicago: A short stroll south of Millennium Park, you’ll find the Art Institute of Chicago. With an extensive collection ranging from ancient artifacts to modern masterpieces, this museum is a haven for art enthusiasts. Capture the grandeur of the building’s architecture or focus your lens on iconic artworks such as Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” or Vincent van Gogh’s “The Bedroom.”


4. Willis Tower Skydeck: Head west to the Willis Tower, one of Chicago’s most recognizable skyscrapers. Ascend to the Skydeck on the 103rd floor for breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Take in the sweeping vistas and capture shots of Chicago’s skyline, Lake Michigan, and neighboring states on a clear day.


5. Chicago Riverwalk: After descending from the heights of the Willis Tower, make your way to the Chicago Riverwalk. This pedestrian path along the Chicago River offers stunning views of the city’s architectural marvels. Stroll along the riverbank, snap photos of the iconic bridges, or capture the reflections of the city in the water.


6. Grant Park: Conclude your day in the Loop by exploring Grant Park, also known as Chicago’s “front yard.” This expansive green space is home to numerous attractions, including Buckingham Fountain and the Art Institute of Chicago. Capture the fountain’s grandeur as it dances to music and lights up the night sky.


After a day of exploration, you’ll have witnessed the juxtaposition of stunning contemporary art installations, historic buildings, and vibrant city life. The Loop offers a perfect blend of culture, architecture, and natural beauty.


Cloud Gate (The Bean)

No visit to Chicago is complete without a stop at Cloud Gate, affectionately known as “The Bean.” Located in Millennium Park, this iconic sculpture has become a symbol of the city and a must-visit spot for tourists and locals alike.


Designed by British artist Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate is a massive stainless steel structure that stands 33 feet high and weighs over 100 tons. Its unique bean-like shape is a reflection of its surroundings, including the city skyline, park visitors, and the ever-changing Chicago weather.


Arriving at Cloud Gate, you’ll be captivated by its smooth and polished surface, which creates a distorted mirror effect. Take some time to walk around and under the sculpture to fully appreciate its interactive nature. Touch its reflective surface and see yourself and the surroundings morph and merge into a captivating visual experience.


Cloud Gate has become a favorite spot for photographers seeking to capture creative and unique shots. Experiment with different angles, perspectives, and compositions to create stunning images. Capture the distorted reflections of the city’s towering skyscrapers, the passing clouds, or even your own reflection interacting with the sculpture.


For sunrise and sunset enthusiasts, Cloud Gate offers an ideal setting. As the sun rises or sets over the city, the sculpture takes on a warm golden hue, creating a magical atmosphere. Use the natural light to your advantage and capture breathtaking shots during these golden hours.


If you’re visiting during the winter months, don’t miss the opportunity to photograph Cloud Gate covered in a blanket of snow. The juxtaposition of the gleaming steel against the white backdrop creates a striking contrast that is both beautiful and ethereal.


Cloud Gate has also become a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. Take a moment to observe people interacting with the sculpture, whether it’s children playing, couples taking selfies, or musicians performing. These candid moments can result in authentic and storytelling photographs that capture the essence of the Bean and the vibrant energy of Chicago.


Lastly, don’t forget to share your Cloud Gate photographs on social media using the hashtag #TheBean or #CloudGate. Connect with other photographers and visitors who have fallen under the charm of this iconic sculpture and join the conversation about the beauty and allure of Chicago.


Cloud Gate and its mesmerizing reflections offer a unique perspective on the city and its vibrant spirit. Whether you’re a professional photographer or simply enjoy capturing memories with your smartphone, a visit to Cloud Gate promises an unforgettable visual experience.


Crown Fountain

Located in Millennium Park, the Crown Fountain is a unique and interactive art installation that is guaranteed to captivate visitors of all ages. Designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, this stunning display consists of two towering glass block towers that project video images of Chicago residents.


As you approach the Crown Fountain, you’ll notice that the towers are adorned with LED screens. These screens come to life during the summer months, featuring the faces of Chicago locals. The interactive element of the installation lies in the giant spouts of water that emerge from the mouths of the digital faces, creating a whimsical and playful experience.


The Crown Fountain offers endless opportunities for captivating photography. Experiment with different angles and perspectives to capture the expressions on the faces as the water cascades from their mouths. Freeze the droplets in mid-air, capturing the moment of sheer delight on the faces of children and adults alike.


During the evenings, the Crown Fountain takes on an enchanting glow as the LED screens illuminate the park. This is an ideal time to visit and capture the contrast between the dark surroundings and the vibrant images projected on the towers.


For photographers seeking a challenge, try capturing the reflection of the Crown Fountain in the adjacent reflecting pool. With the Chicago skyline towering in the background, this perspective creates a stunning image that combines the beauty of the art installation, the cityscape, and the tranquil waters.


The Crown Fountain is not only an artistic masterpiece but also a gathering place for locals and visitors to cool off during the hot summer months. You’ll find children splashing and playing in the shallow reflecting pool, adding a dynamic and liveliness to your photographs.


Don’t forget to explore the surroundings of the Crown Fountain as well. Millennium Park provides a picturesque backdrop for your shots, with its green spaces, contemporary architectural designs, and the iconic Cloud Gate “Bean” sculpture just steps away. Take advantage of the vibrant atmosphere and use the Crown Fountain as a focal point in your compositions.


Remember to respect those around you while you capture your photographs. Be mindful of other visitors and their enjoyment of the fountain, and avoid obstructing their view or access to the interactive elements.


The Crown Fountain is an interactive and engaging art installation that seamlessly blends technology, water, and human expressions. It offers a truly unique photography experience that captures the spirit of Chicago and the joy of its residents and visitors.


Art Institute of Chicago

Prepare to embark on a visual journey through the world of art as you step into the remarkable Art Institute of Chicago. Located in the heart of the city, this renowned museum houses an extensive collection spanning thousands of years and featuring artworks from all corners of the globe.


From ancient artifacts to modern masterpieces, the Art Institute of Chicago offers endless opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture the beauty and diversity of art. As you enter, you’ll be greeted by the grandeur of the museum’s architecture, the Beaux-Arts style facade, and the iconic bronze lion sculptures guarding the entrance. These architectural elements themselves provide fantastic photographic subjects.


Among the must-see artworks is Grant Wood’s iconic “American Gothic” painting, which depicts a stern-faced farmer and his daughter standing in front of their humble farmhouse. This American masterpiece is sure to evoke feelings of nostalgia and curiosity. Capture the intricate brushstrokes and the remarkable details that make this painting a symbol of American art.


As you explore the galleries, be sure to focus your lens on the vast array of artworks on display. From European classics like Vincent van Gogh’s “The Bedroom” to ancient Egyptian artifacts and African masks, each piece tells a unique story. Capture the colors, the textures, and the emotions conveyed by these masterpieces.


The photography policy at the Art Institute of Chicago allows visitors to take non-flash photographs of the permanent collection with small handheld cameras. Take advantage of this policy, but remember to be respectful of other visitors and the artworks. Avoid using tripods or any equipment that may obstruct pathways or disturb the experience of others.


If you’re seeking a truly unique and immersive photography experience, consider participating in one of the museum’s photography workshops. These specialized sessions provide access to restricted areas and exclusive photography opportunities, allowing you to capture the museum from a different perspective.


Before leaving, take a moment to visit the Art Institute’s stunning outdoor garden, filled with sculptures and fountains. The juxtaposition of art against the backdrop of the Chicago skyline creates a striking visual contrast. Capture the harmony of nature and art as you explore this serene and beautiful space.


The Art Institute of Chicago offers a sanctuary for art lovers and photographers alike. With its vast collection, stunning architecture, and captivating exhibitions, it provides a wealth of opportunities to capture breathtaking photographs while immersing oneself in the world of art.


Willis Tower Skydeck

Prepare for an exhilarating experience as you ascend to the dizzying heights of the Willis Tower Skydeck, one of Chicago’s most iconic attractions. Standing at 1,353 feet tall, this skyscraper offers unparalleled panoramic views of the city skyline and the vast expanse of Lake Michigan.


Upon reaching the Skydeck on the 103rd floor, you’ll step onto a glass-bottomed ledge that extends four feet out from the building. This thrilling feature, known as “The Ledge,” allows you to look straight down and observe the bustling city below you. Set up your camera to capture the heart-stopping moment when you stand on the transparent floor, seemingly floating above the skyline.


The Willis Tower Skydeck presents a multitude of photography opportunities. As you gaze out from the observatory, make use of wide-angle lenses to capture the breathtaking view of downtown Chicago. Capture the symphony of architectural marvels that dominate the cityscape, including the famous Chicago Board of Trade Building, the John Hancock Center, and the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Experiment with different compositions and exposures to capture the enormity and grandeur of the city.


If you time your visit for sunset, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular display of colors as the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant hues. As the golden hour bathes Chicago in warm light, capture the silhouette of the skyline against the fiery sky for truly captivating photographs.


While photography is allowed at the Willis Tower Skydeck, it’s important to be mindful of other visitors and follow any guidelines provided by the staff. Avoid obstructing pathways or overcrowding popular spots. Remember to take a moment to put your camera aside and simply appreciate the breathtaking view.


For a unique perspective, consider capturing the reflections of Chicago’s skyline in the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Skydeck. Experiment with different angles and compositions to create stunning mirror-like images that showcase the architectural splendor and the vibrancy of the city.


Before leaving the Skydeck, consider browsing the souvenir shop, which offers a variety of photography books, postcards, and prints featuring the iconic Chicago skyline. These mementos will allow you to relive your Skydeck experience and share the beauty of Chicago with others.


A visit to the Willis Tower Skydeck is not just an opportunity to capture incredible photographs; it’s a chance to conquer your fear of heights and witness the awe-inspiring panorama of Chicago. Don’t miss the chance to experience this exhilarating attraction and capture memories that will last a lifetime.


Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk is a picturesque promenade that runs along the south bank of the Chicago River, offering stunning views of the city’s iconic architecture and a vibrant atmosphere. From scenic walks to vibrant events, this bustling waterfront stretch provides plenty of opportunities for photography enthusiasts.


As you stroll along the Riverwalk, be sure to capture the beauty of the city’s skyline reflected in the calm waters of the Chicago River. This unique vantage point allows you to highlight the architectural brilliance of buildings such as the Wrigley Building, the Marina City Towers, and the historic Tribune Tower.


One of the most photogenic spots along the Riverwalk is the Riverwalk Plaza, where you’ll find beautiful landscaping, seating areas, and an impressive view of the river. This is an ideal location to capture the bustling activity of boats passing by and people enjoying the waterfront ambiance.


Throughout the year, the Riverwalk hosts a myriad of events and activities that make for fantastic photographic opportunities. From live music performances to food festivals and art exhibitions, these events add vibrant colors and dynamic energy to your photos. Capture the expressions of joy, the vibrant colors, and the diversity of the visitors and performers.


The Riverwalk also offers fantastic views of the city’s iconic architectural drawbridges spanning the river. These intricate and historic structures provide a unique backdrop for your photographs. Time your visit to capture the mesmerizing sight of the bridge towers rising for passing boats or the glowing lights reflecting off the water at night.


In addition to the architectural beauty and events, the Riverwalk features unique art installations scattered along its path. These pieces contribute to the artistic atmosphere and offer creative opportunities for your photography. Be on the lookout for sculptures, murals, and interactive installations that add an eclectic touch to your compositions.


When photographing along the Riverwalk, take advantage of the different perspectives and viewpoints available. Experiment with long exposure shots to capture the motion of boats on the river or use a wide-angle lens to encompass the entirety of the skyline against the waterfront backdrop.


Remember to respect other visitors and the flow of foot traffic while capturing your photographs. Be patient and wait for the right moment to capture the scene without obstructing pathways or impeding the enjoyment of others.


Whether you visit during the day or at night when the Riverwalk is beautifully illuminated, it’s undeniable that this waterfront promenade offers an abundance of photographic opportunities. Embrace the vibrant atmosphere, stunning views, and artistic elements that make the Chicago Riverwalk a must-visit destination for photographers.


Grant Park

Conclude your day of exploration in the Loop with a visit to Grant Park, a sprawling green space that is often referred to as “Chicago’s front yard.” Located in the heart of the city, this iconic park offers a multitude of photography opportunities amidst its lush landscapes, architectural marvels, and captivating landmarks.


As you enter Grant Park, you’ll be greeted by the grandeur of Buckingham Fountain, one of the largest fountains in the world. This stunning centerpiece provides a majestic backdrop for your photographs. Capture the water jets at their peak, or wait for the evening when the fountain comes alive with mesmerizing light and music shows.


Explore the park’s expansive grounds and embrace the beauty of the well-manicured gardens, tree-lined pathways, and vibrant flower beds. Use the park’s natural elements as framing devices for your compositions or seek out a secluded spot to capture intimate moments of tranquility amidst the bustling city.


Grant Park also features numerous striking sculptures and monuments that pay homage to Chicago’s rich history. Seek out the majestic Agora, a collection of 106 iron sculptures that stand in a seemingly frozen moment, offering a striking contrast against the urban backdrop. These mysterious and emotive figures make for compelling subjects that evoke curiosity and inspiration.


Don’t miss the opportunity to capture sweeping panoramic views of the city’s skyline from various vantage points in Grant Park. From the Pritzker Pavilion, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, to the edges of the park that overlooks Lake Michigan, these viewpoints offer a perfect opportunity to capture the cityscape against the vast expanse of water.


While exploring Grant Park, pay attention to the activities and events that may be taking place. From outdoor concerts to festivals, there’s always something happening in the park. Capture the energy and enthusiasm of concert-goers, the vibrant colors of food stalls, or the exhilaration of people participating in outdoor games or sports.


Consider visiting Grant Park during the golden hour, just before sunset, when the warm, soft light casts a magical glow over the park. This is a perfect time to capture silhouettes against the colorful sky or to accentuate the textures and details of foliage and sculptures.


Remember to be mindful of other park visitors while taking your photographs. Grant Park is a beloved destination for both locals and tourists, so exercise patience and respect for those around you.


Grant Park showcases the harmonious blend of nature, art, and impressive architecture within the heart of Chicago. With its stunning fountain, captivating sculptures, and panoramic views, the park offers a multitude of opportunities for photographers to capture the essence of the city in a serene and verdant setting.


Day 2: Discovering the Magnificent Mile and Lakefront

On your second day in Chicago, venture beyond the Loop and immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of the Magnificent Mile and the beauty of the city’s stunning lakefront. This itinerary will take you on a journey through iconic landmarks, shopping districts, and picturesque waterfront vistas.


1. Michigan Avenue: Start your day on the Magnificent Mile, a stretch of Michigan Avenue renowned for its high-end shopping, luxury boutiques, and iconic architecture. Take a leisurely stroll along this bustling avenue and capture the grandeur of the historic buildings such as the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower. The mix of classic and contemporary architecture offers a stunning backdrop for your photographs.


2. Tribune Tower: As you explore the Magnificent Mile, don’t miss the opportunity to capture the iconic Tribune Tower. This Gothic Revival skyscraper is adorned with fragments of famous buildings from around the world, making it a unique visual spectacle. Frame your shots to showcase the intricate details and the juxtaposition of architectural styles.


3. Navy Pier: Take a short walk east to Navy Pier, a popular tourist destination and a hub of entertainment. Capture the lively atmosphere, the colorful Ferris wheel, and the stunning views of Lake Michigan. Consider taking a ride on the Ferris wheel to capture breathtaking aerial shots of the pier and the city skyline.


4. Lincoln Park Zoo: Head north to Lincoln Park, where you’ll find the Lincoln Park Zoo. This free zoo offers a chance to capture close-up shots of a variety of animals, from lions and tigers to playful primates. Explore the well-maintained grounds and natural habitats to capture the beauty and personality of the zoo’s inhabitants.


5. North Avenue Beach: A short distance from Lincoln Park, North Avenue Beach offers a picturesque setting for photography enthusiasts. Capture the blue waters of Lake Michigan, the sandy shoreline, and the city skyline in the background. If you’re lucky, you might witness a stunning sunrise or sunset over the water, creating a perfect opportunity for breathtaking landscape shots.


6. Buckingham Fountain: Conclude your day at Buckingham Fountain, located in Grant Park near the lakefront. This magnificent fountain is one of the largest in the world and offers a visually captivating display. Capture the fountain’s intricate water patterns, its synchronization with music and lights (during certain times), and the stunning backdrop of Chicago’s skyline.


The second day of your Chicago itinerary will take you through the bustling streets of the Magnificent Mile, the tranquil beauty of the lakefront, and the vibrant energy of the city’s iconic landmarks. Embrace the dynamic atmosphere, explore the architectural gems, and capture the diverse beauty of Chicago through your lens.


Michigan Avenue

Your second day in Chicago begins with a visit to the famous Magnificent Mile, a stretch of Michigan Avenue known for its upscale shopping, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. This bustling thoroughfare offers a perfect blend of luxury retail, cultural landmarks, and picturesque streetscape, making it a must-visit destination for any traveler.


As you walk along Michigan Avenue, be sure to capture the grandeur of the historic buildings that line the street. The Wrigley Building, with its iconic clock tower, stands as a symbol of Chicago’s architectural excellence. Frame your shots to highlight the intricate details of its design, including the elegant façade and the gothic-inspired elements.


Continue your photography expedition as you pass by the Tribune Tower, an architectural gem adorned with fragments from famous landmarks worldwide. Capture the tower’s unique character and the juxtaposition of diverse architectural styles, from Gothic spires to Egyptian-inspired details. This iconic building offers a visually captivating subject that embodies the rich history and cultural heritage of Chicago.


The Magnificent Mile is also known for its luxury shopping district, featuring flagship stores, designer boutiques, and high-end department stores. Use your lens to capture the bustling atmosphere of fashion enthusiasts, beautifully decorated storefronts, and the vibrant energy that fills the air. Experiment with different angles and compositions to convey the excitement and allure of this renowned shopping destination.


As you explore further, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Chicago River. Be sure to capture the picturesque bridges that span the river, capturing the architectural beauty and the reflection of the city’s skyline in the water. Timing your shots to coincide with boat cruises or the changing colors of the sky can yield captivating and ethereal images.


Michigan Avenue is not just about shopping and architecture; it’s also home to numerous cultural institutions and landmarks. Spend some time capturing the essence of the area by photographing street performers, artists, and musicians who contribute to the vibrant ambiance. Embrace the diversity and unique characters you encounter along the way.


Don’t forget to venture into the side streets and alleyways branching off Michigan Avenue. Many hidden gems, such as charming cafes, street art murals, and architectural surprises, await your discovery. Use your photography skills to document these hidden corners and capture the charm and essence of Chicago beyond the main thoroughfare.


Michigan Avenue offers a myriad of photography opportunities, from capturing the grand architecture to the vibrant street scenes. Embrace the energy of the Magnificent Mile, explore its hidden corners, and let your camera lens tell the story of this iconic Chicago district.


Tribune Tower

As you continue your journey along Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, you’ll come across the visually striking Tribune Tower. This iconic landmark stands tall as a testament to Chicago’s architectural brilliance and rich history.


Designed in the neo-Gothic style, the Tribune Tower’s facade is adorned with fragments and stones from notable structures around the world, including the Great Wall of China, the Parthenon, and the Taj Mahal. This unique architectural feature makes the Tribune Tower a captivating subject for your photography.


Approaching the Tribune Tower, take note of the intricate details and ornamental elements that grace its exterior. Frame your shots to highlight the Gothic spires, arches, and gargoyles that decorate the building’s façade. In addition, keep an eye out for the historical markers that indicate the origins of the various stones embedded in the tower.


Consider experimenting with different angles and perspectives to capture the interplay between old and new, as the Tribune Tower stands among the modern architecture of the city. Frame your shots to juxtapose the tower against the sleek glass facades of neighboring skyscrapers, showcasing the harmonious blend of architectural styles that defines Chicago’s skyline.


As you stroll around the Tribune Tower, don’t forget to capture the bustling energy of the Magnificent Mile. The tower serves as a backdrop for the vibrant street scene, with locals and tourists alike making their way along Michigan Avenue. Capture candid shots of people absorbing the beauty of the architecture, pausing for a selfie, or reveling in the grandeur of their surroundings.


While the exterior of the Tribune Tower may be your primary focus, consider stepping inside to explore the Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Museum, which shares the building. This museum exhibits interactive displays and artifacts that highlight the importance of free speech and a free press. Document your experience through photographs that convey the message of journalistic integrity and the importance of a free press in society.


Whether photographing the Tribune Tower’s exterior, the bustling Magnificent Mile, or documenting the significance of the Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Museum, remember to be respectful of other visitors and adhere to any photography guidelines provided by the museum or surrounding establishments.


The Tribune Tower stands as a testament to Chicago’s architectural legacy and the city’s deep appreciation for the preservation of history. As you capture its grandeur and unique design, you’ll be capturing the essence of Chicago’s rich cultural heritage.


Navy Pier

A visit to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without exploring Navy Pier, an iconic destination that offers a multitude of photography opportunities. Situated on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is a vibrant hub of entertainment, dining, shopping, and stunning panoramic views of the city skyline.


As you approach Navy Pier, your attention will be drawn to the magnificent Ferris wheel that stands as its centerpiece. This iconic landmark provides a striking subject for your photographs. Capture the grandeur of the Ferris wheel against the backdrop of the lake and sky, or wait until sunset for a magical display of colors as the city lights up.


Take a ride on the Ferris wheel for a unique perspective and mesmerizing aerial views of both the pier and the city. This will give you the opportunity to capture stunning panoramic shots and capture the vastness of the lake as it stretches out before you.


As you explore further, be sure to capture the lively atmosphere of Navy Pier. Photograph the bustling crowds, street performers, and musicians that bring the pier to life. Capture candid shots of families and friends enjoying themselves, creating memories against the backdrop of the pier’s vibrant energy.


Navy Pier is also known for its entertaining boat tours that offer a different perspective of the city’s skyline. Consider capturing shots of the boats as they cruise along the Chicago River or Lake Michigan, showcasing the dynamic relationship between the city’s architecture and its waterfront.


Don’t miss the opportunity to wander along the landscaped promenade of Navy Pier, which offers stunning views of Lake Michigan. Capture shots of the gentle waves, the sailboats gliding across the water, and the vastness of the lake. The ever-changing colors of the water and the serenity of the lakefront provide a tranquil backdrop for your photography.


As you explore the pier, you’ll come across vibrant shops, food stalls, and entertainment venues. Capture the colorful facades of the shops and the mouth-watering culinary delights available. The vibrancy and diversity of these offerings make for excellent subjects.


Finally, make your way to the end of Navy Pier, where you’ll find a lighthouse and a picturesque stretch of the lakefront. This area provides a serene backdrop for capturing the sunset. Set up your camera to capture the warm hues reflecting on the water and the silhouette of the city skyline in the distance.


Whether you’re photographing the Ferris wheel, the bustling atmosphere, or the tranquil lakefront, Navy Pier offers endless opportunities to capture the spirit of Chicago. Let your camera lens tell the story of this iconic destination and the memories created within its vibrant atmosphere.


Lincoln Park Zoo

Escape the bustling cityscape and embark on a visit to the beloved Lincoln Park Zoo, a haven of nature and wildlife nestled within the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park. This historic zoo offers a wonderful opportunity for photography enthusiasts to capture the beauty and charm of diverse animal species in an immersive and picturesque setting.


As you venture through Lincoln Park Zoo, take your time to observe and photograph the incredible array of animals that call this place home. From majestic lions and playful primates to colorful birds and slithering reptiles, each resident of the zoo has its own captivating story waiting to be told through your lens.


Use your camera to capture the unique personalities and behaviors of the animals. Zoom in to capture the expressions on their faces, the textures of their fur or feathers, and the intricate details of their features. Patience is key when photographing wildlife, as it allows you to capture those special moments of them in their natural habitat.


Consider experimenting with different angles and compositions to create captivating and artistic images. Get down to the level of the animal to capture eye-catching perspectives that showcase their world from a unique viewpoint. Utilize shallow depth of field to draw attention to your subject, blurring the background and creating a distinct focus on the animal.


While focusing on the animals themselves, be mindful of capturing their interactions with their environment. Document their playful moments, the care of their young, and their relationships within the group. These candid shots can provide a glimpse into the social dynamics and natural behaviors of the animals, adding depth to your photographs.


Lincoln Park Zoo also offers beautiful landscapes and architectural features that can serve as backdrops for your photographs. Capture the serene paths and lush greenery that surround the animal habitats, or frame your shots to include the zoo’s unique architectural elements, such as the historic buildings or the lion statues at the entrance.


Remember to respect the animals and their surroundings while photographing at the zoo. Maintain a safe distance and adhere to any guidelines provided by the zoo staff. Avoid using flash photography, loud noises, or any actions that may disturb or stress the animals.


Lincoln Park Zoo provides a fantastic opportunity to capture breathtaking wildlife imagery within the heart of the city. Through your photographs, you’ll be able to showcase the incredible diversity of our natural world and raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation.


North Avenue Beach

Escape the bustling city streets and head to North Avenue Beach, a picturesque oasis along Chicago’s stunning lakefront. This sandy shoreline offers a peaceful retreat and a splendid backdrop for photography enthusiasts looking to capture the beauty of nature and the vibrant energy of beachgoers.


As you arrive at North Avenue Beach, take in the breathtaking views of Lake Michigan stretching out before you. This expansive body of water, with its shades of blue and green, creates a stunning backdrop for your photographs. Experiment with different angles to capture the vastness and serenity of the lake, and frame your shots to include the gentle waves lapping against the shore.


North Avenue Beach is a hub of activity, making it the perfect location to capture candid shots of people enjoying the beach. Photograph friends and families building sandcastles, playing volleyball, or engaging in water sports. These candid moments capture the vibrancy and joy of beach life, adding a lively and dynamic element to your photographs.


Don’t miss the opportunity to capture shots of the beach’s iconic features, such as the historic North Avenue Beach House. This Mediterranean-style building with its red roof and white pillars offers a striking contrast against the blue sky and sandy beach. Frame your shots to include this architectural gem as a captivating element within your compositions.


North Avenue Beach is also known for its stunning views of the Chicago skyline. Take advantage of this unique vantage point to capture breathtaking images of the city’s impressive architecture against the backdrop of the lake. As the sun sets, the city lights up, creating a magical atmosphere that is perfect for capturing the beauty of Chicago’s skyline at dusk.


Consider exploring the nearby North Avenue Beach Harbor, where you’ll find an array of sailboats and yachts floating on the water. Document the nautical splendor and the colorful sails against the blue hues of the lake. This adds an aesthetic element to your photography and captures the essence of boating culture within the city.


As with any outdoor location, consider the weather and time of day when photographing at North Avenue Beach. The golden hour – the hours just after sunrise or before sunset – offers soft, warm light that can enhance the mood and beauty of your images. Take advantage of these magical moments to capture stunning silhouettes, colorful skies, and reflections on the water.


Whether you’re capturing the lively beach activities, the breathtaking lake views, or the stunning cityscape, North Avenue Beach provides ample opportunities for stunning photography. It’s a place where natural beauty, outdoor recreational activities, and the urban landscape converge to create a captivating environment for visual storytelling.


Buckingham Fountain

No visit to Chicago is complete without a visit to the iconic Buckingham Fountain, located in the heart of Grant Park. This magnificent fountain, one of the largest in the world, offers a mesmerizing display of water, lights, and music, making it a must-visit destination for photography enthusiasts.


Buckingham Fountain provides a striking subject for your photographs. Capture the fountain’s grandeur and intricate design, which features four bronze seahorses representing the states that touch Lake Michigan. Frame your shots to highlight the majestic centerpiece that shoots water high into the air, creating an enchanting sight.


Timing is key when photographing Buckingham Fountain. Visit during the daylight hours to capture the details of the fountain’s architecture and the surrounding Grant Park landscape. Experiment with different angles and perspectives to highlight the symmetry and artistic elements of the structure.


As evening falls, the fountain comes alive with a magical display of colored lights and synchronised water movements. This transformation offers a fantastic opportunity for photography. Capture the dancing water jets illuminated in vibrant colors, creating dynamic and ethereal compositions. Long-exposure shots can result in stunning images as the colored lights blend and streak across the water.


It’s worth planning your visit to Buckingham Fountain during one of its choreographed water shows. Typically scheduled from dusk until 10 p.m., these shows feature the fountain’s water reaching great heights, accompanied by music. Coordinate your shots to capture the moment when the water jets gracefully arch in sync with the melodic tunes.


Consider venturing further away from the fountain to include the backdrop of Chicago’s stunning skyline in your shots. The juxtaposition of the fountain against the towering skyscrapers creates a captivating and quintessentially Chicago scene. Utilize the proportions of the fountain to frame the skyline in unique and compelling compositions.


Buckingham Fountain is more than just a visual spectacle; it also holds historical significance for the city of Chicago. It was dedicated in 1927 as a symbol of Lake Michigan’s vastness and the city’s commitment to providing clean water to its residents. Capture this historic and cultural significance by including the surrounding architectural elements or by emphasizing the fountain’s dedication plaque in your photographs.


The vastness of the fountain and its surrounding Grant Park offer ample space for creativity. Experiment with framing your shots to incorporate the park’s lush greenery, the reflections in the adjacent lagoon, or the interactions of visitors enjoying the fountain. These elements can add depth and storytelling to your images.


Remember to be respectful of other visitors and stay clear of any designated areas or barriers while taking photographs. Be mindful of the changing lighting conditions and adjust your camera settings accordingly to best capture the fountain’s beauty.


Buckingham Fountain is an iconic symbol of Chicago, representing its grandeur, history, and beauty. By capturing its magnificence through your lens, you’ll be able to showcase the charm and character of the city and create photographic memories that will last a lifetime.



Chicago, with its rich history, iconic landmarks, and diverse neighborhoods, offers endless opportunities for photographers to capture the essence and beauty of the city. From exploring the Loop and its architectural marvels to venturing along the magnificent Magnificent Mile and Lakefront, each day brings a new adventure and a wealth of photography subjects.


As you traverse the streets and parks of Chicago, remember to embrace the vibrant energy of the city, capture candid moments, and experiment with different angles and compositions. Whether you’re photographing the reflective surfaces of Cloud Gate, the interactive installations of Crown Fountain, or the wildlife at Lincoln Park Zoo, each photo tells a story and captures a unique aspect of this dynamic city.


Take advantage of the changing light throughout the day, from the golden hour that bathes the city in a warm glow to the twinkling lights of the cityscape at night. Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, including the Loop, Magnificent Mile, and Lakefront, each offer a distinct charm, which you can reflect in your photographs.


Through your lens, you’ll be able to highlight the architectural brilliance of the Willis Tower Skydeck, the breathtaking views along the Chicago Riverwalk, the lively ambiance of Navy Pier, the tranquility of North Avenue Beach, and the grandeur of Buckingham Fountain. Capture the essence of Chicago’s culture, history, and natural beauty in every shot.


Remember that while technical skills are important, it’s the passion, creativity, and personal perspective that truly make your photographs unique. Photography is an art form that allows you to express your vision and capture the beauty of the world around you. So let your creativity flow and use your camera as a tool to tell the story of Chicago through your own lens.


As you explore the city, don’t hesitate to step off the beaten path, wander into neighborhoods, and uncover hidden gems. Chicago is a city that rewards curiosity and offers surprises around every corner.


So, grab your camera, immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Chicago, and capture the moments that inspire you. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or an amateur enthusiast, the city will provide a canvas for your creativity to flourish.


Share your photographs with the world, whether through social media or in exhibitions, and inspire others to discover the beauty of Chicago. Each photograph has the power to transport viewers to the streets, parks, and iconic landmarks of this incredible city.


Chicago awaits you, ready to be captured through your lens, so go forth and create photographic memories that will last a lifetime.