Chicago is an eclectic city filled with some of the best food you’ll come across in the US (hello deep dish pizza), breathtaking architecture (best seen from the river) and an enviable music scene (especially if you’re into Blues). The city can be covered in a couple of days, and although I visited pretty cities New Orleans and New York on my trip in March, I was pleasantly surprised by how Instagrammable the Windy City really is. Here are my top spots you should tick off on your list for the perfect pics!
Cloud Gate, Millenium Park
I kind of only really knew this as ‘The Bean’ before my visit, but Cloud Gate is synonymous with the city. A large reflective sculpture created by Indian-born British artist Sir Anish Kapoor, it’s the real focal point of Millenium Park.
It can be a little tricky to get a picture without people around, but obviously it was a lot quieter when we visited in the colder weather.
There’s something just oh-so-Chicago about those lit-up signs you see around the city.
You know the ones I mean, the ones with the large white bulbs that light and dim in a chasing motion… well there’s nothing more famous, and more Instagrammable than the one that’s attached to the Chicago Theatre. Ben and I visited in the day and during the evening to get pictures and we weren’t disappointed.
Chicago River Cruise
Okay so, my European peeps, when we talk about places like Amsterdam and Venice, we always say ‘It’s definitely best enjoyed from the water’. The same can be said for Chicago, which is STUNNING by boat.
We took an architecture tour with Wendella Boats and apart from the hotdogs I ate, this was the highlight of my visit! Our guide was knowledgable, the boat was quiet and it was really reasonable for a ticket. My favourite view by far was when we reached the end of the river and headed onto Lake Michigan, so the city was laid out in front of us to enjoy.
As I mentioned the architecture is spectacular, but if you’re looking to discover it on foot, the best place is the Michigan Avenue area. Famously known to be part of the Magnificent Mile, this Downtown area is a hub for shops and restaurants, but look up and you’ll also see some pretty stunning buildings too: a perfect Instagram opportunity if you ask me.
House of Blues
If you’re in Chicago, you *have* to go to at least one Blues club. It’s the music genre synonymous with the city, and well, it’s a genre that’s easy to enjoy in my opinion. Kick back with a beer and listen to artists and bands play, it’s all very chill. I really enjoyed House of Blues, which is a pretty famous venue in Chicago. It has an eclectic interior, making it super Instagrammable too.
Navy Pier appears on pretty much every list of ‘essential things to do in Chicago’, but I have to stick it on here not because of the shops, or the entertainment, but the views.
We stepped onto Navy Pier on a pretty crisp evening, so there were little to no people around. Also the sun was setting so it made for some pretty epic pictures. I really recommend thinking about visiting in the off-season: there might not be many shops open, but you’re guaranteed a quiet place that’s incredibly picturesque.
Views on high are a must in Chicago, and if you don’t want to brave the glass floor in SkyDeck (Willis Tower), then another option is 360 Chicago, which has breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and of course the iconic cityscape.
Again it was very quiet on the 94th floor of the John Hancock building, and we got lucky because it was a super sunny day so we could see some pretty spectacular sweeping views.