1. CLOUD GATE
The iconic Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park is a sight to see but also great for photo opportunities. The highly reflective hammered metal that covers the sculpture mirrors the images of Chicago’s cityscape and sky. Even though this sight is frequently photographed, groups can capture unique images, as not one photo will be the same.
2. THE MAGNIFICENT MILE
North Michigan Avenue, from Chicago River to Oak St.
The Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue is perfect for capturing some of Chicago’s towering architecture, such as The Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, Water Tower and the John Hancock Center. Give groups this insider tip: hold the camera down to street-level to capture the hustle and bustle along this shopping mecca.
3. THE CHICAGO THEATRE
175 N. State St.
The Chicago Theatre’s six-story high marquee with its huge block letters spelling “CHICAGO” is one of the city’s beloved sights. Built in the 1920s, the elaborate crystal chandeliers and bronze fixtures make for gorgeous photographs.
4. CHICAGO RIVER
Book a group boat tour to explore Chicago from the river’s waterways. Floating down the river offers a different view and angles of some of Chicago’s famous architecture. Learn about boat tours in Chicago.
5. SKYDECK CHICAGO
Willis Tower, 233 S. Wacker Dr.
Willis Tower offers the thrilling Skydeck Chicago, where guests (if they dare) can step out onto the enclosed glass platform (The Ledge) that extends past the building to offer a stomach dropping view straight down (all 1,353 feet or 103 floors) to the bustling streets below. The new lunch room is the perfect place to plan a midday meal for your group, where Chicago specialties (think: stuffed crust pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs) are paired with amazing views.
6. LINCOLN PARK ZOO
2001 N. Clark St.
There’s plenty for groups to discover and photograph at the always-free, 35-acre Lincoln Park Zoo. Bring your group through the zoo to capture images of more than 200 different species, or take visitors to the bridge over the zoo’s South Pond for dramatic views of the Chicago skyline. During the holiday season (November 27, 2015 – January 3, 2016), the zoo illuminates with a dazzling light display for ZooLights: a truly photo-worthy wonderland.
875 N. Michigan Ave.
Formerly John Hancock Observatory, 360CHICAGO is a sky-high vantage point located 1,000 feet above the city, offering 360-degree views, just steps from The Magnificent Mile. After groups have taken some dramatic photographs of the city below, take them to the 94th floor for bite to eat at the new Architect’s Corner café and bar. Group rates are available for 20 people or more.
8. ADLER PLANETARIUM
1300 S. Lakeshore Dr.
The complete downtown view provided by Adler Planetarium’s location on the Museum Campus is worth a thousand words. Panoramic photos looking back on the city’s skyline are exceptionally beautiful during the early morning hours or around sunset.
9. NORTH AVENUE BEACH
1600 N. Lake Shore Dr.
While everyone is enjoying the sun and sand on North Avenue Beach, take a few shots looking south to the city skyline. If the water break is not too big, encourage group members to step out into the water to capture the waves lapping at the shoreline with the skyscraper backdrop.
10. CROWN FOUNTAIN
Crown Fountain’s dual glass towers have LED lights displaying digital images of people’s faces, while cascading water falls into the fountain’s black granite holding pool. Have kids or youth in your group? Advise them to bring a swimsuit, as they might want to splash around, especially during summer months.