The 10 Most Beautiful Places in Chicago You Didn’t Know About
It’s no secret Chicago is beautiful. From the lake to the architecture to the parks, there’s plenty of eye candy to go around. So much, in fact, that we bet you’ve never even heard of these ten super-pretty spots.
THE RICHARD H. DRIEHAUS MUSEUM
This would definitely be the museum to get locked in overnight. Tucked away in River North, it’s a Gilded Age mansion now open to the public. Every room is jaw-dropping, but our favorite has to be the library, where you’ll find a statue of Cupid and Psyche beneath a stained-glass skylight.
40 E. Erie St.; 312-482-8933 or driehausmuseum.org
This stunning 1928 chapel was the final gift to University of Chicago by its benefactor (you guessed it) John D. Rockefeller. High stained-glass windows cast bright light into the 79-foot nave, illuminating the grand carvings and statues. Whether you’re here for service or just to snap a quick Instagram, it’s definitely inspiring.
5850 S. Woodlawn Ave.; 773-702-2100 or rockefeller.uchicago.edu
MILTON LEE OLIVE PARK
Surprising, but true: One of the city’s most secluded little parks is sandwiched between Navy Pier and Oak Street Beach. This oft-overlooked patch of lakefront is the perfect place to take an evening walk, read a book or picnic. Just be careful not to accidentally photobomb one of the engagement photo sessions often happening there.
Directly northeast of Ohio Street Beach; 312-742-7529 or chicagoparkdistrict.com
You might not think much of your apartment building, but at the turn of the century, the concept was pretty groundbreaking. When it opened in 1892, The Yale was an early pioneer of high-rise living, made possible largely thanks to advances in building structure and technology. Today, we swoon at the gorgeous Romanesque architecture.
6565 S. Yale Ave.
The Bahai faith believes in the oneness of humanity and all faiths, and its North American house of worship just so happens to be 20 minutes north of the city. Regardless of spiritual beliefs, it’s easy to appreciate the building’s singular carved white dome and manicured grounds. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself taking a mini meditation break.
100 Linden Ave. in Wilmette; 847-853-2300 or bahai.us/bahai-temple
RIVERBANK NEIGHBORS PARK
If you were airdropped into this quiet riverfront park, you’d probably think you were somewhere in the suburbs. But it’s actually just a short drive from the heart of North Center. A unique community has sprung up around it (think: docks, boats and adirondack chairs), making it a pleasant place to pass a quiet morning or evening.
Chicago River at Montrose Ave.; riverbankneighbors.org
ELKS NATIONAL MEMORIAL
That building on Diversey that you pass every morning on your commute has a big, beautiful secret. Built as a memorial to members of the Order of the Elks who served in WWI, it has the city’s most magnificent domed rotunda as well as statuary and priceless artworks. Now you have new reason to look up from your phone on the way to work.
2750 N. Lakeview Ave.; 773-755-4876 or elks.org/memorial
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT HOME AND STUDIO
Why enjoy a gorgeous home tour on the glossy pages of a magazine when you can do it in real life? And at the home of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, no less. Be sure to look for the light-filled drafting room and its suspended balcony.
951 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park; 312-994-4000 or flwright.org/visit/homeandstudio
With all the hustle and bustle in the Loop, few realize there’s a lush garden directly overhead. Sure enough, the rooftop of the 11-story City Hall is home to an oasis of 20,000 plants representing 150 native prairie species. The real thing of beauty is how the garden improves air quality, conserves energy and reduces stormwater runoff.
121 N. LaSalle Dr.; 312-744-5000 or cityofchicago.org
In need of a brain break at work? Skip the caffeine and duck into this prestigious Chicago landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, for a shot of inspiration. Frank Lloyd Wright redesigned the two-story skylit lobby in 1905, and we love to simply stand and gaze up in awe.
209 S. LaSalle St.; 312-553-6100 or therookerybuilding.com