Chicago is one big playground for social media influencers and photographers. There are many contenders for the best Instagram spots in Chicago from famous photo-worthy landmarks like Cloud Gate aka “The Bean,” the Ledge at Willis Tower and rooftop restaurants or bars with amazing views of Chicago’s beauty. Trendy restaurants and cafés like Maison Parisienne or Beatnik on the River are adding to the number of Instagram-worthy places in Chicago.
Ping Tom Memorial Park
Ping Tom Memorial Park’s location was originally a Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad yard located along the edge of the South Branch of the Chicago River. The old rail-yard was transformed into a beautiful rolling green space, taking full advantage of impressive river views. The park has a children’s playground, community gathering areas, kayak rentals, gorgeous murals and elements of Chinese landscape design. The lift bridge crossing the river used by the railroad is not in use anymore and always located in the up position. If you are up for an adventure, you can take a water taxi from Ping Tom Park to Ogilvie Metra Station and Michigan Avenue.
Address: 1700 S. Wentworth Ave. Chicago, IL 60616
Cloud Gate, also known as “the Bean” is a sculpture by Sir Anish Kapoor, a British-born Indian artist, was unveiled in Millennium Park in 2004. The sculpture was inspired by liquid mercury and nicknamed “the Bean” because of the sculpture’s shape. I love taking pictures at this location facing north-west with the city skyline in the background.
Address: 201 E. Randolph St., between Michigan Ave & Columbus Ave Chicago, IL 60602
If you’re out to have fun, Navy Pier is the place to be in Chicago. This location offers an amazing lake view of the city skyline and is great to visit as a couple, with your family and even for a good city walk for fresh air by yourself.
Stretching into Lake Michigan, this year-round destination for entertainment-seekers was completed in 1916. It served as a temporary home for military personnel during WWI and WWII. Today, you can expect to see summer firework displays, live music, carnival-like rides, a Ferris Wheel, dinner cruises, amazing city views and art exhibitions on a visit to Navy Pier. There is no admission fee, although individual attractions may charge fees.
Navy Pier is special to me as it is where my husband and I got engaged. I also used to work at the Harry Caray restaurant on the pier.
Address: 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago IL 60611
The Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck. Chicago’s world-famous skyline can be seen here from the tallest building in Chicago, and the third tallest in the United States. A 60-second elevator ride takes you to the103rd floor of Willis Tower. Here you can enjoy unparalleled 360-degree views over Chicago from 1,353 ft above ground level. This experiences offers your social media platrorm truly unique pictures.
Address: 33 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606
Influencers flock to the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. One of the main attraction is the zoo’s pavilion called the honeycomb. From this location you can get a great picture of Chicago’s skyline.
The pavilion is meant to provide shelter for open-air classes. However, the tortoiseshell design consisting of interconnected fiberglass pods is perfectly framing a view of North Michigan Avenue’s skyline making it one of the most Instagram-worthy places in Chicago.
Address: 2121 N Stockton Drive, Chicago, IL 60614
North Avenue Beach
Another fabulous Lincoln Park location is North Avenue Beach. On top of a sandy beach, you’ll find a long pathway that offers beautiful views of the Chicago skyline. This spot does not have a direct address, but it’s easy to find. Head east on North Avenue, go under Lake Shore Drive and you’ll see the water.
For the best lighting, I suggest coming to North Avenue Beach right before sunset. However, if you are tight on your itinerary any time will offer the same view!
The LondonHouse Hotel
A rooftop bar that was recently voted second best in a nationwide survey, must surely be Instagram-worthy. Guests can’t help but love the views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and the Magnificent Mile from the tri-level bar atop Chicago’s LondonHouse Hotel.
The iconic 1923 building was known as one of the Big Four around the former Michigan Avenue Bridge when it was the headquarters of London Guarantee & Accident. Today, a modern 22 story all-glass tower addition has transformed it into one of Chicago’s most sought-after hotels.
Address: 85 E. Wacker Drive, Chicago IL 60601
The Stony Island Arts Bank
The Stony Island Arts Bank is an art gallery, media archive, library and community center. It is home for Chicago’s Rebuild Foundation’s archives and collections. The building was built in 1923 and was once a vibrant community savings and loan bank. By the eighties, the branch had closed and the building remained vacant and deteriorating for decades. The bank was purchased in October 2015 and the radically restored building serves as a space for neighborhood residents to preserve, access, reimagine and share their heritage. It is a destination for artists, scholars, curators and collectors to research and engage with South Side Chicago history.
Address: 6760 S. Stony Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60649
The WNDR Museum is one of the most Instagrammable locations I have ever been to! Unlike other art museums, the WNDR Museum is not complete without its audience. Guests are invited to engage with each installation and become part of the artwork. Chicago’s WNDR Museum has 20+ interactive installations to explore. This museum is perfect for people of all ages. My kids absolutely love this museum!
My favorite installation at the WNDR Museum is Yayoi Kusama’s Let’s Survive Forever Infinity Mirror room. This installation features mirrored spheres suspended from the ceiling and arranged on the floor. A mirrored column inside the room invites visitors to peer into a seemingly infinite field of silver orbs. You are only given 1 minute inside the Infinity Mirror room, so be ready to take pictures as soon as you’re allowed in.
Address: 1130 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60607
Step inside of a graphic novel and enjoy a cup of coffee and delicious doughnuts at 2d Restaurant in the Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago. Art and coffee are stirred up into one surreal experience that brings 2d, black-and-white visuals, to life. Co-owner, Vanessa Yu, took so much into consideration for her design of this incredibly Instagrammable restaurant. On top of the drawings being created to size, the lighting was done to produce perfect pictures. Yu created a selife-mirror where customers can set their phone and take a perfect picture of the Parisian bathroom.
Address: 3155 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60657
Whether you’re looking for an iconic Chicago shot or an awesome backdrop, Chicago’s variety of landmarks, murals, restaurants, bridges and rooftops provide ample options more than worthy of the hundreds of likes on social media platforms. Chicago was included in Big 7 Travel’s 50 Most Instagrammable Places in the World. Chicago took 8th place beating many gorgeous cities. I hope you get the chance to visit some of my favorite Chicago spots! Enjoy!
Need more locations? Click here to see my top 10 Chicago mural locations.