Five Favorite Photo Spots in Chicago

Travel

From Canals and Millenium Park to Museums and Chinatown

This summer I had an excellent two-day trip with my dad and brother to celebrate Father’s Day. We are all foodies, and so a big part of the trip revolved around trying different restaurants. But, I would be crazy to not also take some photos while in the windy city! Here were my five favorite photography spots.

As I often try to do, if this is a TL;DR situation for you, feel free to watch this short video that highlights some of my favorite moments all captured by my drone:

Watch Aerial Video

The Canals

The canals are a vast and stunning area to explore and photograph, with every twist and turn taking you through the city for beautiful views. Our hotel was right on the canal, so we had super easy access to exploring the canals both at day and night. The very first image below is one of my top three favorites from the entire trip, with an almost surreal scene of skyscrapers reflecting the sky so clearly that the buildings are almost lost to the clouds.

Stunning reflective skyscrapers on the canals

Stunning reflective skyscrapers on the canals

Canals by hotel

Canals by hotel

Glass reflections

Glass reflections

Patio on the water

Patio on the water

Beautiful bridge and buildings

Beautiful bridge and buildings

View from above

View from above

Night life on the canal

Night life on the canal

River reflections

River reflections

Chinatown

Of course taking photos is not the main reason to go to Chinatown, but it is a fun area to photograph. There happened to be a huge weekend festival while we were there, which ironically ruined some potential images more than helped. It did make shopping and eating more fun, though! 

The main entrance was covered by a huge banner for the festival that was prominently covered with the sponsor's logo - McDonalds. So yeah, I didn’t get to take the “mandatory” front gate photo (well - to be clear - I did take the photo anyway but it is no good with that darn banner).

I did snag a few fun shots, regardless!

Street signs

Street signs

Stunning architecture

Stunning architecture

Busy streets

Busy streets

Navy Pier

This was easily my favorite spot to photograph! We got there very shortly after sunrise and pretty much had the entire pier to ourselves - EXCEPT for an entire car show parade photoshoot. Yeah, so no tourists this early but there was a huge group of 30-40 vintage cars with an entire camera crew (including drones) that were taking advertising footage for an upcoming event on the end of the pier.

It worked out in my shots as well, as you can see below with the vintage cars lined up at the very tip of the pier.

I had a lot of fun taking these aerial photos and also creating aerial panoramas by editing together up to 20 different aerial images into one large panoramic collage.

Aerial over pier

Aerial over pier

The St. Regis Buildings

The St. Regis Buildings

Detailed aerial panorama of pier and skyline

Detailed aerial panorama of pier and skyline

Vintage car show on pier

Vintage car show on pier

Stunning ship on pier

Stunning ship on pier

Detail of vintage cars on pier from above

Detail of vintage cars on pier from above

Skyline detail

Skyline detail

Millennium Park

While I have explored this region more thoroughly in the past, I did have to make a quick visit to capture some up-to-date aerial shots of the area. You can’t go wrong seeing Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean”! They also now have a new outdoor rock climbing space I had not seen before.

Cloud Gate "The Bean"

Cloud Gate "The Bean"

Jay Pritzker Pavillion

Jay Pritzker Pavillion

BP Pedestrian Bridge

BP Pedestrian Bridge

Cloud Gate from above

Cloud Gate from above

Maggie Daley Park Rock Climbing

Maggie Daley Park Rock Climbing

WNDR Museum

Last on my list was this very unique and interactive museum. It was similar to “Otherworld” in Columbus, Ohio, that I blogged about a month back. I will say, surprisingly, that I enjoyed the one in Columbus more. This museum was fully linear, versus all intertwined mysteriously like Otherworld. But, it was still VERY cool, hence making it to this list, and worth checking out if you are in town and want to escape the summer heat in the afternoon. It was sad that the coolest room (the Infinity Mirror Room) has a limit by the artist - you can only spend 60 seconds inside and cannot go back in!

Here is a Tiktok of my experience (plus a fun BONUS cat-themed Tiktok as well).

Unrelatingly, in a sense, was another museum we enjoyed - The Museum of Science and Industry. I highly recommend it as well!

LED Bars of Lights

LED Bars of Lights

Spray Painted Mirrors

Spray Painted Mirrors

Ceiling with huge disco ball

Ceiling with huge disco ball

Light show interactive exhibit

Light show interactive exhibit

Rainbow light installation

Rainbow light installation

Infinity mirror room

Infinity mirror room

Just 60 seconds and you have to go!

Just 60 seconds and you have to go!

Black and white flipping panels in motion

Black and white flipping panels in motion

Restaurants!

This is not a food post but I would be remiss to not mention a few of my favorite food spots! Each below is a link as well to my full Google Review, with images. I also have videos for 3 of the 5 to help you fully immerse yourself in the experience.

2D Restaurant

2D Restaurant

A stunning atmosphere and fun to try their Mochi Donuts! Here is a Tiktok of my experience

View Google Review


Dove's Luncheonette

Dove's Luncheonette

The best, by far, as it featured our favorite dish of the weekend, the Burnt Ends Hash with super crispy potatoes and a delicious sauce.Another Tiktok of it for ya

View Google Review


Kong Dong

Kong Dong

Finally redeemed my terrible Korean Corn dog from Bloomington, IN with a fantastically correct one here!

View Google Review


Mitsuwa Marketplace

Mitsuwa Marketplace

For Japanese fans, this is the place of your dreams! By far the best, by FAR, of Japanese foods and an entire food court of authentic dishes to try. I want to come back to spend a whole DAY feasting here.

View Google Review


The Drifter

The Drifter

This is a fantastically small speakeasy in the basement of a restaurant, a very fun experience! Last Tiktok of the day for you

View Google Review

Conclusion

Overall, it was a fantastic trip capturing some amazing aerial images of the city and getting my stomach filled along the way. Let me know in the comments below what you are most envious of, or share your favorite thing to do in Chicago.

About the Author

Nicholas Klein

Founder and visual artist, specializing in all aspects of a businesses presence from imagery and video to graphics and web. A graduate of IPFW with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, Concentration Photography as well as an Associates Degree in Business. His personal photography works are focused on landscape, travel, and aerial photography.

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