While it is the third-largest city in the country, Chicago comprises 77 distinct neighborhoods and districts, making the city feel more like many small villages. As home to numerous immigrant enclaves, a rich history as a leader in arts and culture, and much-loved sports teams, Chicago’s personalities collectively contribute to its unique heartbeat.
Chicago’s beauty abounds in every corner of the city. Here are some of its most Instagrammable spots.
As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.
Skyline from North Avenue Beach
Chicago’s skyline is arguably one of the most beautiful in the world — and you can enjoy it from multiple angles. Watching a concert at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island offers a broad view from the south side of downtown with the Museum Campus (Soldier Field, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum) in the foreground.
But one of the best places to catch the skyline? Driving south on Lake Shore Drive or standing along the lakefront around North Avenue Beach. Here you see the Drake Hotel, Palmolive Building, John Hancock Tower and so many more iconic buildings. Seek this angle in the morning as the sun starts to ascend over the city for a serious zen moment.
Instagram tip: Capture that early morning sunlight while using the Slumber filter. Here you’ll add a beachlike vibe as the light from the east over Lake Michigan reflects off the towering buildings.
The Rookery Building
Designed by renowned architects Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root in 1888, The Rookery is considered one of the most important examples of modern urban architecture in the world.
Adding to its beauty and stature, Frank Lloyd Wright, the founder of the Prairie School, redesigned its two-story lobby so that it’s flooded with natural light from a ceiling of glass. Iron, metal, steel and glass collide to create one of the most striking Gilded-era spaces around.
Instagram tip: With its glass-enclosed ceiling, the light-filled lobby may glow blindingly bright on a sunny day. Temper that shine by using the Ludwig filter to bring down the brightness and accentuate the interiors.
Wabash Arts Corridor
The south end of Wabash Avenue in the Loop (Chicago’s downtown district) was once more drab than fab. To bring more life and color to the area around Columbia College, the school kick-started a program in 2013 to commission artists, both local and international, to paint massive, colorful murals along the sides of numerous buildings flanking Wabash Avenue.
This “living urban canvas” has grown to include many street-level murals featuring a variety of artists in the mix, including big names like Shepard Fairey and Heidi Unkefer. Download a map for a personal walking tour or sign up for a guided excursion.
Instagram tip: Due to its location in the Loop where tall buildings may block natural light, it can sometimes appear darker in the Wabash Corridor. Because of this, add a Clarendon filter to brighten up your shots.
Wrigley Field Marquee
Few American sports teams are as beloved as the Chicago Cubs, and no baseball stadium marquee is photographed quite as often as the one outside Wrigley Field. Set at the corner of Clark and Addison streets on Chicago’s North Side, Wrigley Field — also affectionately known as the Friendly Confines — has housed its home team since 1916.
Wrigley’s bold red stadium sign with white lettering has welcomed fans for more than 80 years, and its electronic message board not only shows who is playing on any given day during baseball season, but will also post personal messages. It’s truly a part of the community.
Instagram tip: Sure, seeing the bright red sign lit up is thrilling, but capture an old-time feeling by adding a black-and-white filter like Inkwell. You’ll feel like you’re seeing the stadium back in its earliest days.
You can’t miss it. The large red-and-gold gate welcoming you to the start of the authentic heart of Chicago’s Chinatown (not to be confused with bustling Chinatown Square, the bi-level shopping center with many restaurants a block away).
Walk through and explore everything from restaurants to shops and markets, as well as the historic Pui Tak Center with its pagodas and traditional Chinese design. Visit at night to see building signs lit up, and if you walk down Wentworth Avenue into Chinatown, turn back and see the Willis Tower looming in the distance. It truly is a sight to capture for the ‘Gram.
Instagram tip: If you take photos at night, add the Lark filter to help brighten up the lights of the signs and of the looming downtown buildings in the background.