If you love Chicago as much as I do, you know there are ENDLESS spots perfect for engagement sessions in Chicago. Between the architecture of Museum Campus, the charm of the Chicago neighborhoods, and the classic destinations like North Avenue beach, you really can’t go wrong but it can be kind of hard to choose. That’s why today we are going over some of my favorite Chicago engagement photo locations!
When choosing the best location for your Chicago engagement session, you’ll want to pause and think about what you and your love, love most about the city. Is it the food? The parks? The fests? There are SO many reasons to love Chicago. Also, everyone has their own favorite things to do and enjoy in the city. As you start to narrow down your location(s) for your engagement session, think about what it is that the two of you really love about Chicago. Then, take those things that you love and try to plan your session around them. This will lead to such a fun experience for both of you. Along with a fun experience, you’ll also get awesome engagement photos that show off the city you love.
Now that we have an idea on how to choose your location for your engagement photos let’s take a look at some of my favorites around the city. I hope you use this blog to help get your creative juices flowing while planning your Chicago engagement photos. First, we’ll take a look at some spots that have the iconic Chicago skyline in the background perfect for anyone in love with the look of the city and looking for a little more of an adventure for their session.
The Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk gives you the best of both worlds for your Chicago engagement session. The romantic gardens and boardwalks that Lincoln Park is home to are framed beautifully by the city’s incredible skyline. This makes photos at Lincoln Park feel so unique as there’s this great mix of a more natural feel with the cityscape in the background. The last (and arguably best!) piece of Lincoln Park is the nature boardwalk itself which is this incredible honeycomb-like tube sculpture that points directly at the city.
One of the most well-known views of the Chicago skyline, North Avenue Beach is a BEAUTY and perfect for engagement photos. Engagement sessions at North Avenue Beach are **Chefs Kiss** and perfect for anyone who wants to really document the magic of the Chicago skyline. It’s just a short walk away from Lincoln Park as well which means it’s easy to include both of these gorgeous locations into your session!
PRO TIP: If you want the skyline all to yourself, opt for a sunrise session. You’ll have to deal with a LOT less people and get just as gorgeous of a view!
Museum Campus is located just south of the city on the shore of Lake Michigan and has some of the BEST views of the city. Just outside the Adler Planetarium there is a gorgeous path along the water that leads all the way from the planetarium to the Shedd Aquarium. This entire path has the Chicago skyline and that combined with the parks and architecture of Museum Campus make it absolutely PERFECT for an engagement session!
The bird sanctuary at Montrose Point is a great choice for an engagement session in Chicago. It’s located about 5 miles north from the nature boardwalk at Lincoln Park. With it being so far north you get a different perspective of the city. That combined with the more natural trails and a nearby lighthouse on Lake Michigan means you have a ton of options for locations at Montrose Point!
There are honestly SO many amazing restaurants and coffee shops in Chicago that are perfect for an engagement session. Having your session at your fav restaurant or coffee shop is such a fun option as it gives your photos such a personal and intimate feel. Having them at your favorite place means they really feel special to you as well! Every location is going to have a different policy when it comes to photos in their building. Be sure to call ahead when planning to make sure all is in order for your session! One of my 2022 couples chose their favorite bar as a location for their Chicago engagement photos. You can see their session here.
Each Chicago neighborhood has SO much charm and character. Let’s walk around the neighborhood your two met in, where you two live right now or your favorite spot for date night!! There are SO many unique locations in each neighorhood it will make for such a fun engagement session experience!
With Chicago being as large as it is there are SO many options for amazing indoor spaces for your engagement photos. Here are a few of my absolute favorites for anyone wanting some more time indoors for their session.
If you’re looking for a unique location to have your engagement photos done in Chicago then Salvage One is THE spot for you. Salvage one has a massive space that is filled with some of the coolest vintage furniture and decorations I’ve ever seen. They have multiple rooms available for use and even have an outdoor patio space as well! All their spaces do require a reservation though so be sure to inquire prior to your engagement session!
An engagement session at the Art Institute of Chicago leads to some of the most fun and exciting photos you can ask for! Engagement photography is allowed in the galleries, gardens and all public spaces as long as it doesn’t intrude on or disrupt the other guests. Between the architecture, the artwork and the gardens, you can really create a unique engagement session experience.
Filled with classic Chicago Architecture and home to the world’s largest Tiffany stained-glass dome, the Cultural Center is a stunning indoor location perfect for engagement photos. There’s seriously so much beauty inside the cultural center! We could spend our entire engagement session inside just its main room and never run out of photo opportunities. It’s seriously that gorgeous!
The Lincoln Park Conservatory is huge and absolutely filled to the BRIM with incredibly beautiful greenery. It’s such a cool spot in Chicago for engagement photos as you’re able to get all sorts of different wildlife and environments in your photos without having to travel to see them! There is a permit required for photography inside the conservatory but that is a small price to pay to be able to have your photos taken in such an amazing variety of spaces!
This absolutely HUGE space is perfect for anyone who wants to get that classic Chicago architecture look in their engagement photos. Union Station has such a powerful and historic feel to it with its massive pillars and wide staircases. The building honestly feels larger than life and trust me that feeling transfers to your photos! Photos at Union Station do require a permit which you’re able to apply for here.
For those that love Chicago and its main attractions, this part is for you! Most of these spots are tourist locations which means they may be a little on the busier side if you go during rush times. There’s a reason these spots are so popular though! These are some of THE best spots in Chicago and are great choices for engagement photos.
Walk along the Chicago river and take in some of the best views Chicago has to offer! Surrounded by some of my favorite buildings like the Tribune Tower and so many others, the Chicago Riverwalk is SUCH a fun location for engagement photos in the city! When taking photos on the Riverwalk, make sure to stop at some fun locations like the DuSable Bridge. All of these iconic locations lining the river make for such a fun engagement session.
There is so much to love about Navy Pier! It’s right on the water of Lake Michigan, has some great attractions like its shops and iconic ferris wheel, and has some great spots where you can get the city skyline in the background as well. It’s very much one of the main attractions in Chicago so if you do plan to have your engagement photos here I recommend going earlier in the day or preparing to have others around you while you’re there. The feel of Navy Pier and it’s iconic spaces make it so worth it though even at its busiest!
Another absolutely iconic location for engagement photos is the Chicago Theater. The sign outside of the theater is massive, instantly recognizable, and so much fun to work with when taking photos. Its centralized location in the city means that we also can take photos there and head to a variety of nearby locations for the rest of our session making it the perfect stop!
If you’re looking for that true Chicago feel for your engagement photos then Michigan Avenue, aka the Magnificent Mile, should definitely be on your radar. The street runs straight through some of the city’s most amazing and breathtaking architecture. There’s a LOT to see on the Mag Mile so be sure to wear some comfy shoes! The walk is well worth it though for the incredible views and true city feel you’ll get to experience!
Buckingham Fountain is one of the best places in Chicago to have your engagement photos taken at! The fountain is a super popular city spot for engagement photos and it’s easy to see why. With the open skies of lake Michigan as a backdrop or the city skyline, this is one of the coolest spots for photos. The fountain is a part of Grant Park meaning there are a lot of other spaces nearby to explore. If you’re looking for a more unique experience, end your session here after sunset for some unique night photos! The Chicago Park District does require a photography permit though so that’s something to plan for!
Wrigleyville is such a fun part of town in Chicago and is the perfect location for some engagement photos, especially for the Cubs fans out there! There is usually a lot of hustle and bustle around Wrigley which makes for a very fun and energetic session. Similar to Michigan Avenue you really get that true city feel of Chicago in Wrigley!
Now for the nature lovers out there! Chicago is home to some beautiful gardens that make for some perfect locations for your engagement photos.
Located in Lincoln Park the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is truly a special spot in Chicago and one of the most romantic spots for engagement photos. The Lily Pool is seriously dreamy and feels like something out of a disney movie. It’s the perfect spot to stop at for your session especially since Lincoln Park already has a ton to offer like I mentioned earlier!
The Chicago Botanic Gardens are drop dead gorgeous, and trust me I’m not exaggerating! The gardens are home to some beautiful greenery, landscapes, and water features making it the DREAM garden location for engagement photography. There is a permit requirement for the Botanic Gardens but it is SO worth it!
Located in the center of Millenium Park, Lurie Gardens has SO much to offer for your Chicago engagement session! One of the most iconic gardens in the city Lurie Gardens has the perfect combination of architectural landscaping, boardwalk paths and so many beautiful flowers! All while being surrounded by some of the most iconic buildings Chicago has to offer.
WOWW! So in case you haven’t noticed by now I LOVE Chicago and literally every unique location it has to offer!!! If you and your honey are ready for the next steps in planning your Chicago engagement session let’s do this! Head to my contact page and let’s start planning your engagement session!!!!