9 Best Locations for Engagement Photos in Downtown Chicago

January 14, 2020

There are so many decisions to be made when you start to plan your engagement session! This is such an exciting time in you and your fiancĂ©’s lives, and the choices can be overwhelming! If you have been dreaming of taking engagement photos in this stunningly beautiful city that we live in, this location guide is for you. I’ve outlined the seven most popular locations throughout the city to help guide you.

1. Olive Park

Located in Streeterville, Olive Park has it all when it comes to capturing the beauty of Chicago. With some of the best views of the city skyline, a lookout that piers out over the water, a pathway lined with trees, and Ohio Street Beach just a few feet away, Olive Park is hands down one of the most popular locations for engagement photos. You can check out more full photo sessions at Olive Park by reading Kershaun and Kina’s Proposal Story or  Joey and Lahn’s anniversary session that took place during the summer season.

2. Wrigley Building

3. Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk is a favorite for so many! With the City Winery and all of the other restaurants that keep popping up along the river, there is always fun to be had! What better place to take in the architecturally stunning landscapes of the city than with the energy of the riverwalk. One of my favorite things about this location is picking one of the bridges, such as the Kinzie or the Lasalle St Bridge, for an iconic bridge photo. We’re also only a few blocks away from the dazzling marquis sign of the Chicago Theater. We can pause for a quick dip in front of the sign or tuck away for some fun shots in the one of the alleys. This location can also easily be combined with either the Wrigley Building or the LondonHouse Rooftop as well.

4. Museum Campus

Located in the South Loop, Museum Campus offers such a variety all in one location. We can start at the Field Museum, making our way around all of the historical architecture over to the Shedd Aquarium, and finally head over to the Planetarium for golden hour. This is where you can see the massive skyline at its best! I don’t think there is another spot in the city that beats these views during the golden hour sunset! We can walk along the boardwalks and take in the beachy beauty of Lake Michigan, or take in the skyline views from a distance. You can check out Jessica and Akshay‘s engagement blog post to see their complete session in this location!

5. Lincoln Park

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that wasn’t impressed with the iconic “honeycomb” structure located in the heart of the Lincoln Park Boardwalk. Just in the heart of the city, alongside Lake Michigan and next to Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Boardwalk is the ideal juxtaposition of city and nature. There are so many vantage points throughout the park that offer unique, unobstructed views of the city. This location is just a short walk to either South Pond or The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond. With so many possibilities, your engagement photos are sure to be captured in a memorable way! View more Lincoln Park sessions by checking out Monika and Lukasz or Harmonie and Jeff‘s engagement sessions.

6. Millennium Park/Lurie Gardens/Maggie Daley

It might not be easy to avoid the crowds at Maggie Daley and Millennium Park, but when we do get the right shot, it can be totally worth it! Just as Central Park is the back yard for New Yorkers, in many ways Maggie Daley is the back yard to us city dwellers. From Cloud Gate, to Crown Fountain, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the bridges, and the skating rink there are plenty of hidden little gems scatter throughout these parks. The bean can offer so many possibilities of getting creative with your engagement photos. If you’re interested in seeing more from Maggie Daley Park OR how it looks in the winter when Chicago is a massive dreamy snow globe, check out Sapaan and Keena’s proposal story!

7. Art Institute Gardens

The Art Institute of Chicago is full of cultural richness. The modern wing in particular is a dream for light and airy photographers because of the white spaces and clean angles. The modern wing is also reached by a bridge that makes it an awesome place to take a few outdoor shots. In addition to the masterpiece collection of artwork within this spectacular building, the north and south gardens offer a fantastic location for an engagement shoot. The fountains, the ivy covered walls, and most importantly the impressive two lion sculptures that guard the entrance of the museum will offer numerous ways to get creative during your engagement session. The Art Institute offers free admission every Thursday from 5:00 to 8:00 pm – Perfect excuse to capture memories while visiting one of Chicago’s most iconic structures.

8. North Avenue Beach

Where beach lovers and city lovers get the best of both worlds! Just a hop, skip and a jump from Lincoln Park, this sandy hotspot is a hands-down favorite for Chicago locals. We could always start with a cocktail at Shore Club Chicago, see what’s happening at Castaways, or make our way down the path to the iconic North Avenue beach house for some iconic aerial views of the Chicago skyline. Check out Nicole and Phil‘s engagement session, which took place during a summer sunset or Annmary and Shane, which took place during a late October sunrise.

9. Montrose Harbor – Bird Sanctuary

During the summer months of Chicago, the Montrose Harbor Bird Sanctuary is another location that is unbeatable! With the Chicago skyline in the distance, the Lakefront on one side, and the blooming flowers and trees along the “Magic Hedge,” this is a perfect location for both city and nature lovers. It’s also just a few steps away from Montrose Beach, making it an easy spot for a second location and/or outfit change. Click here to see Jaimie and Selwyn’s engagement session blog post for more of this dreamy location!

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