We’re going to let you in on a little secret: The key to getting a great Instagram photo is all about location, location, location. Sure, it helps to have a good eye and a great subject, but if you’ve got a trash can behind you or you're in a gray, barren field, it’s all anyone will see. If you live in the Windy City, however, you’re in luck: The Toddlin' Town is home to an abundance of locations that will not only elevate your photos, they'll make them. Here, 20 Chicago Instagram spots for the most picture-perfect photos the ‘Gram has ever seen.
20 of Chicago’s Most Instagram-Worthy Spots for an Envy-Inducing Feed
2D is, hands down, the most unique setting you’ll find for a photo in the city. Painted completely by hand (yes, really!) by local artist Mia Larson, it really feels like you’re stepping into the pages of a comic book from the moment you enter its Boystown doors. Each whimsical drawing takes you on a journey through Paris, from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, and there’s 3D elements sprinkled throughout the 1,600 square-foot-space to make your pictures really pop, including a claw-foot bathtub that you can climb inside. The restaurant, which is home to what is reportedly the city’s first mochi donuts, will expand even more this summer with a 300-square-foot patio, but you’ll definitely want to make a reservation—there’s already a line down the block to get in. As one customer reportedly said, “Eat your heart out, New York.”
3155 N. Halsted St., Chicago IL 60657,773-360-8484; 2d-restaurant.com
It’s no secret that Chicago has a ton of great murals, and one of our favorites is this colorful spiral piece by local artist Joe Miller. Dubbed “Drip It Like It's DOT,” it’s bright and mesmerizing, and it will look great behind just about any outfit you choose to wear. We adore the way Rosie Clayton (@rclayton) used it to set off her look.
Nonna’s, 925 W. Randolph St., Chicago IL 60607; thejoemiller.com
There’s no shortage of pleasing backgrounds to be found in LondonHouse Chicago, from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the Bridges lobby to the marble staircases that go to the ground floor, but the most breathtaking has got to be the skyline view from the tri-level rooftop. On a clear night, you’ll get a front row seat to some of the city’s most famed architecture, not to mention stunning views of the river below. There’s a reason it’s one of the most Instagrammed hotels in the city, people!
85 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago IL, 60601, 312-357-1200; hilton.com
Not only will you find plenty of photography subjects in the nearly 200 species of animals that the Lincoln Park Zoo is home to, but you’ll also get access to the honeycomb-shaped Peoples Gas Education Pavilion, which was designed by the world-famous Studio Gang. While it typically frames the city’s skyline (see: Krystelle Ann Avsec's gorgeous shot above), you can easily position yourself beneath it for an A+ shot that’s sure to have the likes flowing in.
2001 N. Clark St., Chicago IL, 60614, 312-742-2000; lpzoo.org
Excuse us: We’ve just died and gone to Instagram heaven. Once a building for young women to study arts, this old Gold Coast gem was restored to its former glory (and then some) by RH in 2015. The incredible courtyard and rooftop park and conservatory are all spots that you can shoot in, but our absolute favorite is the 3 Arts Club Café, which brings a bit of nature indoors with its sky-high trees, centrally located fountain and copious shrubbery.
1300 N. Dearborn St., Chicago IL 60610, 312-475-9116; rh.com/chicago
Venteux is the most charming café you ever did see (hence why it’s going viral on TikTok). Equipped with massive 40-foot windows, the sunlight in this intimate spot off of Michigan Avenue is always on point (and, as any good photographer knows, lighting is everything when it comes to nailing a picture). Beyond that, however, there’s a sky-high botanical mural that serves as the focal point of the bright, cheery room. Instagram foodies will also find plenty of fodder here, with drool-worthy sandwiches (might we recommend the croque monsieur?) and a confectionary counter that’s stocked with the cutest little desserts. (Pro tip? Order the sparkling espresso—it will change your life.)
224 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60601, 312-777-9003; venteuxchicago.com
Come for the lobster roll, stay for the snaps. Nearly every inch of this River North hot spot is picture-worthy, from the rustic white brick walls to the nautical-themed décor, but it’s the bar’s famous “rosé all day” sign, which is nestled into a lush wall of greenery, that has ‘Grammers flocking to this adult playground.
353 W. Hubbard St., 312-464-0500; Chicago IL, 60654; thehamptonsocial.com
8. Stan Mansion
Originally built in 1920 as a Masonic Lodge for a chapter of the Knight’s Templar, this Logan Square haunt will make you feel like you just walked onto the set of Bridgerton. Having been restored to its former glory in 2018, the building’s furniture is lavish and rich in color, the light fixtures ornate and the photo opps endless. Since it’s largely used as a wedding venue, however, you might need an excuse to get in—like, say, the popular Candlelight Concert series events that are held here regularly.
2408 N. Kedzie Blvd., Chicago IL, 60647, 773-276-0099; stanmansion.com
Architecture buffs, this one’s for you. This more than 100-year-old building in the heart of the city originally served as Chicago’s first public library. Needless to say, it was built to impress, boasting no less than two stained-glass domes: the world’s largest Tiffany dome and a Healy & Millet design in a Renaissance pattern that spans a whopping 40 feet in diameter and houses no less than 50,000 pieces of glass. (“Oohs” and “aahs” entirely appropriate.)
78 E. Washington St., Chicago IL, 60602, 312-744-5000; chicago.gov
If you’re looking to add a little color to your feed, the Waldorf Astoria courtyard will provide it in spades thanks to its bold purple awnings and lilac blooms. Yes, this chateau-style luxury hotel is downright gorgeous, and we can’t help but feel like Meghan Markle at Frogmore house (read: royal AF) in its presence. String lights also twinkle from above at night, giving the façade an extra-charming touch.
11 E. Walton St., Chicago IL, 60611, 312-646-1300; hilton.com
The Palmer House is rich with history—and breathtaking spots in which to pose. Destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire just 13 days after its grand opening, the legendary hotel was rebuilt and lavishly decorated with French-inspired pieces that gave a nod to Bertha Palmer’s heritage. Its lobby, which holds 21 ceiling murals by Louis Pierre Regal and 24K gold winged candlebras weighing no less than 1.25 tons, were restored as recently as 2019, and thanks to the sweeping staircases at either side of the room, you’ll have the perfect bird’s eye view for your shot.
17 E. Monroe St., Chicago, IL, 60603, 312-726-7500; palmerhousehiltonhotel.com
12. Hero Coffee Bar
You don’t have to travel abroad to get a great street backdrop (or a great cup of java). Hero Coffee Bar, which is nestled between two alley walls, will provide you with both with its stunning exposed brick veneer, globe lights and enticing light-up “coffee” sign that hangs from an iron-wrought balcony.
22 E. Jackson Ave., Chicago IL, 60604, 312-285-2434; herocoffeebars.com
With this city background, which was created by James Jankowiak, a great ensemble and the right photographer, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a style influencer. Take it from one of the city’s best, Jennifer Lake, the mastermind behind Style Charade, who showed us all how it’s done in a colorful RainSisters coat as shot by Robert Zigmund.
2912 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago IL, 60618; jamesjankowiak.com
This lovely respite in Garfield Park is a great spot to hit up for photos all year-round. In the summer, you can walk an expansive 10 acres of outdoor gardens chock-full of lily pools, blue grass and aspen trees. And when the weather starts to head south, you can check out the angles in the Palm Room (a 90-foot-wide indoor space with windows that reach 65 feet high and can transport you to a tropical retreat with its massive palms), the Fern Room, where prehistoric-like plants abound or Horitculture Hall, which features a beautiful tiled mosaic fountain that you’ll definitely want to add to your Stories.
Free reservations required, 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago IL, 60624, 773-638-1766; garfieldconservatory.org
15. Maison Marcel
Brunch just got fancy. This French eatery is so much more than eggs benedict and quiche (though they certainly have that and more)—it’s an experience. Every inch of this Lakeview space is designed to be warm and cozy, and it definitely delivers. The tables are wide and spacious, there’s a homey, cottagecore vibe throughout and the greenery? *Chef’s kiss.* Essentially, it’s what you wished your living room looked like, but that’s the beauty of Instagram—there’s not reason you can’t pretend it's not!
3114 N. Broadway St., Chicago IL, 60657, 773-661-6942; maison-marcel.com
On a cold, dreary day, there’s nothing better than a tropical getaway—even if it’s just in your imagination. The bar at Three Dots and a Dash is equipped with everything you’ll need to make you feel like you’re on vacay (or at least look like it on social media), from the straw-covered awnings to the island-esque rum-based cocktails. Even the mugs are Insta-worthy! If you’re lucky, you might even get a selfie with a celeb: Famous faces such as the Haim sisters, Charli XCX and even Mick Jagger have all been spotted here.
435 N. Clark St., Chicago IL, 60654, 312-610-4220; threedotschicago.com
There’s a reason this crown jewel of a landmark is in the background of just about every blogger’s Lollapalooza shot known to man: It’s absolutely stunning. Sure, it’s a tourist attraction, but it’s also one of the largest fountains in the world (seriously, it’s got a water capacity of 1.5 million gallons) and produces a big water display for 20 minutes every hour, on the hour, from roughly May to October. It’s also huge, with no bad angles to be had, so it’s not hard to get a shot away from other photo-mongers.
301 S. Columbus Dr., Chicago IL, 60605; chicagoparkdistrict.com
We’re not gonna lie—this one will cost you. While pricing to rent it out varies, you’ll definitely have to shell out to get your perfect shot, since it’s not open to the public. But if you’ve got the cash to spend or a big event you want to impress for, it simply can’t be beat. Reminiscent of Greek and Roman architecture of yore, the open space, which features a small dome at the top, rises several stories above the main building, creating a jaw-dropping effect. There are X’s and O’s in the engravings, and it offers 360-degree views of the city—not too shabby, eh?
85 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago IL, 60601, 312-357-1200; hilton.com
19. Aba Restaurant
This uniquely hybrid space allows you to enjoy the great outdoors while keeping semi-covered, mixing elegant interior details, like dangling orb lighting, wood rafters and cozy high-backed chairs with the lush greens, planter boxes and wicker furniture oft found in the great outdoors. The result? One seriously killer photo (and a mouthful of great Mediterranean fare, natch).
302 N. Green St., 3rd Fl., Chicago IL, 60607, 773-645-1400, abarestaurants.com
We don't know that we've ever seen a more beautiful library. Marked by a high glass ceiling and curved architectural angles, there's tons of natural light here, no matter the season (and as we've learned, good location plus good lighting equals a good shot—see this submission from Gina Pieri for proof). The indoor greenery keeps the room warm, and the glossy floors are equally impressive, making for a floor-to-ceiling backdrop to swoon for.
400 S. State St., Chicago IL, 60605, 312-747-4300; chipublib.org
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