The best Chicago cityscapes

Chicago is known for its world-class architecture, and rightfully so. But where are the best places to capture views of the city? Let’s share our best location to photograph Chicago cityscapes and skyline views!

Starting along the lake on the North side, we have North Avenue Beach. Closer to Downtown, you get a great skyline view with the lake in the foreground.

North Avenue Beach

Further north, the different piers provide a great foreground and you get a fuller skyline.

North Avenue Beach, Fullerton Ave

Near the beach is Lincoln Park, a beautiful areas with some interesting views. Our first stop is the Peoples Gas Pavilion which frames the city beautifully.

Lincoln Park Pavilion

Other locations in the park are great for the contrast between nature and buildings. The image below was shot just outside the Conservatory.

Lincoln Park Conservatory

Moving South along the lake, we get to  Milton Lee Olive Park, which has beautiful views of Streeterville. It’s especially beautiful in the morning. Plus, these great marble benches that create a nice reflection of the city.

Milton Lee Olive Park

Navy Pier is next to the park and has many views of the city. Our favorite is from the upper level of the parking garage, with the Ferris Wheel.

Navy Pier

One of the best Chicago cityscapes is from Lakeshore Drive bridge. The view down the River with the Trump Tower in the middle is just beautiful. If you’re shooting from the bridge, we recommend shooting close to one of the pillars to avoid shake, especially for longer exposures.

Lakeshore Drive Bridge

You can also shoot from the Riverwalk nearby and get similar views:


There are many other places along the Riverwalk to capture the city, especially now that it has been expanded and renovated.

State Street Bridge

Every spring and fall, Chicago’s bridges lift to allow the boats in or out of the lakefront harbors. It provides some great photo opportunities with the bridges framing the sailboats and portions of the buildings in the background. Also, shooting only a portion of the buildings gives you the sense of being in the space.

Michigan Avenue Bridge

Our next stop is Grant Park and its many locations to shoot the skyline. First, Millennium Park and the Bean. While you can shoot the Bean with the skyline in the background, it’s also interesting to shoot the reflections of the city.

Cloud Gate

Near the Bean is the Pritzker Pavilion, which is a nice foreground to the row of buildings along Michigan Avenue.

Pritzker Pavilion

South of Millennium Park is the Buckingham Fountain. Since you’re further in the park, you get a wider view of the skyline. The nighttime light and music show is a great time to photograph the fountain.

Buckingham Fountain

Finally, at the south end of the park is the Agora, a sculpture installation through which you can shoot the skyline.

Grant Park

The best spot to capture the entire Chicago skyline is the Adler Planetarium. It’s the perfect location for a sunrise :-)

Adler Planetarium

On the south side, our favorite location is the 18th street bridge. The skyline view is gorgeous, with the St. Charles Air Line Bridge and Ping Tom Memorial Park in the foreground.

18th Street Bridge

Our last stop is on the west side, with Mary Bartelme Park. The sculptures are perfect to frame the city!

Mary Bartelme Park

That’s it for Chicago cityscapes for now. We’ll come back soon with Chicago rooftop views!

Which cityscapes did we miss? Which views are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!



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