Chicago is known for many things: sports, jazz, comedy, and, of course, deep-dish pizza. But the Windy City is also one of the most photogenic destinations in the world—from its iconic architecture to vibrant street art. Whether strolling on the Magnificent Mile or touring one of the town’s vibrant neighborhoods, Chicago has postcard-worthy picture backgrounds at every turn.
Read on for the top 10 most Instagram-worthy spots in Chicago!
1. The Lakefront / North Avenue Beach
With perfect cityscape views, crisp blue waters, and sailboats skimming the horizon line, Chicago’s lakefront trail at North Avenue beach is one of our top picks for taking double-tap worthy Instagrams. The ocean liner inspired beach house (boasting a restaurant and bar) will give you one of the best sightlines in the city. So grab a towel, some shades, and your camera, and hit the beachfront before summer ends. You’ll forget Chicago winters even exist. (Maybe.)
2. The Hampton Social
When you live in a city with only three warm weather months of the year, a friendly reminder—“Rosé all day”—is always a good idea, and helps brighten the day. This River North restaurant and its sister restaurant Mahalo (Wicker Park) are full of Instagram photo opportunities, from fun neon signs to cool wallpaper.
3. Stan’s Doughnuts
With a few locations around the city, Stan’s Doughnuts delivers the goods with sweet treats and great décor. One of the most popular backgrounds? The Kitchen Aid wall full of marvelous, pastel mixers.
4. Wabash Arts Corridor
In 2013, Columbia College Chicago launched the Wabash Arts Corridor to immerse students in the creative spirit by using urban spaces to transform the South Loop business district into one of the city’s major cultural assets. The heart of WAC is Wabash Avenue (from Van Buren to Roosevelt) and is framed to the east by Michigan Avenue and to the west by State Street. The corridor is a “living urban canvas” with an ever-growing number of large-scale mural installations and collaborative projects.
5. The Allis at Soho House Chicago
While Soho House has a “no photo” policy, The Allis is fair game and one of the only public areas that you can take pictures. The first floor restaurant is a warm, welcoming social space, perfect for meetings, cocktails with friends, or afternoon tea. From the gorgeous interior design (think floor to ceiling windows, chandeliers, and comfy seating) to the food and drinks, this space is totally Instagram-worthy.
6. Parsons Chicken & Fish
From striped umbrellas to negroni slushies, Parsons Chicken & Fish is as fun to visit to eat and drink as it is to photograph. While the outside patio is picturesque in its own right (think ivy walls, modern wood tables, and red striped umbrellas), the indoor is just as chic.
7. Flamingo Wall
No Instagram list is complete without some stellar street art, and one of Chicago’s best murals is the flamingo wall at The Flamingo Rum Club, a Cuban themed restaurant and cabaret at 601 N. Wells Street. It’s nearly impossible to visit this spot without stopping for a pose in front of the mural!
8. Millennium Park: The Bean
You can’t talk about Chicago without mentioning its most famous icon: The Bean (official name: “Cloud Gate”), a public sculpture by artist Anish Kapoor. The reflective piece is inspired by liquid mercury and its surface distorts the city’s skyline, making for fun photo opportunities on both cloudy and sunny days.
9. Green City Market
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, Navy Pier (the city’s most visited tourist destination) recently underwent a $278 million renovation. The iconic landmark now boasts a newly constructed Centennial Ferris Wheel and a fantastic array of food and beverage concepts. From skyline views to shots of Lake Michigan, the Pier is prime for Instagram pictures.
10. Ada St
Ada Street has two of the best colored doors in Chicago: a gorgeous pink one and also a bold blue version. It’s nearly impossible to take a bad photograph in front of each! While you’re taking photos, stop by two Chicago’s fun spots: the Hideout (a longstanding Chicago tavern) and Ada Street Chicago (American-Mediterranean meals and craft cocktails served in a chic candlelit space with patio).
Bonus: Restoration Hardware’s 3 Arts Club Cafe
If you have time to dine, head to Restoration Hardware’s 3 Arts Club Cafe located in the Gold Coast. A ceiling of windows provides great natural light, while the gorgeous chandelier, grandiose fountain and tree-filled atrium offer a luxurious environment for your photo opp (over a bottle of prosecco, of course).
Need more inspiration? Visit Style Charade’s Chicago Wall Guide for info on more than 60 murals, street art, and colored walls in the city.