30+ Best Chicago Engagement Photo Locations
Updated May 20, 2022
Sometimes I sit down with a bride and groom to plan their engagement session, and they draw a blank when I ask them where they would like their engagement session to be. Chicago is a huge metropolis, offering so many unique and beautiful photo spots, it can be overwhelming trying to pick the perfect engagement photo locations for your session.
But don’t worry! I’m here to help. After serving more than 100 couples, I’ve traveled back and forth across the city many times to uncover some amazing photo spots. Read on as I unpack my favorite Chicago engagement photo locations in the city and surrounding suburbs.
Best Chicago Engagement Sessions Locations for Skyline Views
Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk
2121 STOCKTON DR, CHICAGO, IL 60614
If you want to blend lush natural beauty with the classic lines of the Chicago skyline, look no further than the Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk! Maintained as an extension of the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Nature Boardwalk was once a simple, manmade pond, but years of development and renovation have made it one of the crowning jewels of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The boardwalk features a mature, prairie-style garden circling the now verdant lagoon. Several bridges and overlooks make great photo ops for us, too!
My favorite part about the Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk is the iconic Honeycomb sculpture:
London House Chicago
85 E WACKER DR, CHICAGO, IL 60601
The iconic beaux-arts style cupola atop the London House hotel puts you among the skyscrapers and the clouds of the Windy City. Perfect for a private proposal or an engagement session featuring stunning architecture, and dramatic views of the surrounding city.
Milton Lee Olive Park
E OHIO ST, CHICAGO, IL 60611
Milton Lee Olive Park is one of my favorite locations for view of the Chicago skyline. After walking down the gorgeous, tree-lined path, you and your love can create stunning engagement photos at the promontory overlooking Lake Michigan with the unimpeded backdrop of the Chicago skyline behind you.
601 W MONTROSE AVE, CHICAGO, IL 60613
Montrose Harbor is one of my favorite Chicago engagement photo locations because of its great versatility — views of the Chicago skyline, paved harbor front as well as access to sandy beaches, and if you get lucky, opportunities to create images aboard a sailboat!
337 E RANDOLPH ST, CHICAGO, IL 60601
Situated alongside Lake Michigan in Grant Park, Chicago’s Museum Campus is a 57-acre park that boasts the notable attractions like the Adler Planetarium and Field Museum, as well as access to to dramatic skyline views to the north.
North Avenue Beach
1601 N LAKE SHORE DR, CHICAGO, IL 60611
During the summer months, North Avenue Beach is one of the most popular waterfront destinations in Chicago, and for good reason! Plan your engagement session here to take advantage of sandy beach waterfront and paved walkways with dramatic skyline views across Lake Michigan.
Ping Tom Park
1700 S WENTWORTH AVE, CHICAGO, IL 60616
I love Ping Tom Park because it has so much to offer: Wide-open green spaces, dramatic pillars, traditional Chinese architecture, two murals, and a commanding view of the Chicago skyline.
Ping Tom Memorial Park was named after one of the community leaders behind its inception, the Chinese-American civic leader, Ping Tom. As a lifelong Chinatown dweller, he created the Chinese Development Corporation in 1984, and was active in many civic and cultural institutions as Chinatown’s most celebrated civic leader. In addition to his work in Chicago, Ping Tom advised United States senators and Illinois governors.
Sir Georg Solti Garden
S MICHIGAN AVE, CHICAGO, IL 60604
If you’re dreaming of epic city backdrops and beautiful green spaces for your session, then your tour of Chicago engagement photo locations stops here. Most famous for the brass bust of a former Chicago Symphony Orchestra conductor, Sir Georg Solti Garden is one of my favorite Chicago engagement photo locations because it perfectly blends the intimate, secluded feeling of a park with the beautiful lines and colors of the skyscrapers on Michigan Avenue.
Iconic Chicago Engagement Session Locations
Chicago Board of Trade
141 W JACKSON BLVD, CHICAGO, IL 60604
With a distinctive clock façade and dramatic beaux-arts style columns to either side, the Chicago Board of Trade is the perfect place for an engagement session that captures the best of Chicago’s historical architecture.
175 N STATE ST, CHICAGO, IL 60601
The iconic marquee at the Chicago Theatre is the perfect backdrop for any engagement session for urban dwellers and those who hold the Windy City close to their hearts. Steps away from many other striking urban features of the downtown area, the Chicago Theatre is the perfect statement piece for creating iconic and memorable Chicago engagement photos.
Michigan Avenue & The Magnificent Mile
MICHIGAN AVE, CHICAGO, IL 60604
Running north-south through the heart of downtown, Michigan Avenue and The Magnificent Mile are great options for Chicago engagement photos if you want to capture the heart of the city as the backdrop for your session. And, if you’re willing to explore a little bit, you just mind find beautiful spots like this:
600 E GRAND AVE, CHICAGO, IL 60611
Known best as a popular tourist attraction, Navy Pier has a lot to offer for engagement session locations in Chicago as well! You could create images with the iconic Ferris Wheel in the background (or even go for a ride!) or create images that are more whimsical and intimate inside the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier.
CHICAGO RIVERWALK, CHICAGO, IL 60601
The Chicago Riverwalk is a great location for engagement photos — from murals, unique shop facades, and river and city views, you can’t go wrong if you plan your session here!
400 MICHIGAN AVE, CHICAGO, IL 60611
The Wrigley Building is a perennial favorite among photographers, engaged couples, and tourists alike–and for good reason. Located on Michigan Avenue in Chicago’s Near North Side, this office building named after a famous chewing gum company is a “two-for-one” deal when it comes to engagement photography. Not only does the Wrigley building have an impressive facade with a set of striking brass revolving doors, but it also overlooks the Chicago River for a change in perspective.
Locations for Indoor Engagement Sessions in Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
111 S MICHIGAN AVE, CHICAGO, IL 60603
The Art Institute of Chicago graciously permits unobtrusive engagement and wedding photography in the adjoining gardens, as well as inside its buildings.
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E WASHINGTON ST, CHICAGO, IL 60602
Featuring a dramatic Tiffany dome, the Chicago Cultural Center is a great option for an indoor engagement session in Chicago during the winter months, and does not require a permit.
Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N CENTRAL PARK AVE, CHCIAGO, IL 60624
A 184-acre park with many summer amenities like swimming, fishing and athletics, the Garfield Park Conservatory is also a great option for an indoor engagement session thanks to the massive greenhouse featuring an expansive glass roof and year-round greenery. A photography permit issued by the Chicago Park District is required.
Lincoln Park Conservatory
2391 N STOCKTON DR, CHICAGO, IL 60614
1840 W HUBBARD ST, CHICAGO, IL 60622
With a 60,000-square-foot showroom, Salvage One is a treasure trove of unique vintage décor and furnishings, perfect for creating a variety of vignettes for your indoor engagement session.
Best Locations for a Fine Art Engagement Session in Chicago
485 N MILWAUKEE AVE, LAKE VILLA, IL 60046
Originally constructed as a summer home for one of Chicago’s wealthy elite families, the Lehmann Mansion has been beautifully restored as a wedding venue, and the historic home’s columned façade and grounds make the perfect background for your fine art engagement session in Chicago.
Loyola University Campus
1032 W SHERIDAN RD, CHICAGO, IL 60660
Founded in 1870 as a private Jesuit research facility, Loyal University Campus features stunning historical architecture with dramatic arches and plentiful vine-covered walls.
Lyric Opera House
20 N UPPER WACKER DR, CHICAGO, IL 60606
Massive columns facing Wacker Dr. outside the Lyric Opera House are the perfect architectural centerpiece for your downtown Chicago engagement session!
633 CLARK ST, EVANTSON, IL 60208
Located just north of Chicago, Northwestern University offers a wide variety of engagement photo locations, including dramatic architecture, lakefront access, and beautifully landscaped walking trails. A few of my favorite spots on the NU campus include the Alice Millar Chapel and the Library.
225 S CANAL ST, CHICAGO, IL 60606
Similar to the Lyric Opera House, Chicago’s Union Station has ample columns outside the front façade, but the value of this venue is inside. For a $150 photography permit, you receive access to the station’s beautifully-renovated grand atrium.
University of Chicago
5801 S ELLIS AVE, CHICAGO, IL 60637
The University of Chicago is one of my favorite Chicago engagement session locations because it has so much to offer. From tree-lined paths, beautiful landscaping, and plenty of gothic architecture — you could spend hours here!
Outdoor Chicago Engagement Photo Locations
Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool
125 W FULLERTON PKWY, CHICAGO, IL 60614
1 S 151 WINFIELD RD, WHEATON, IL 60189
Located in Chicago’s western suburbs, Cantigny Gardens is a beautifully landscaped park with bountiful summer blooms and historical architecture. During the summer months, garden staff decorate the gardens with brightly-colored luxury seating for added photography opportunities. A photography permit applies.
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 LAKE COOK RD, GLENCOE, IL 60022
The Chicago Botanic Garden is one of my favorite outdoor Chicago engagement photo locations. From the rose garden, to the traditional English garden, to the Japanese garden, there’s something for everyone here! A photography permit applies.
Fabyan Forest Preserve & Japanese Garden
1925 S BATAVIA AVE, GENEVA, IL 60134
Located just south of Geneva, IL, the Fabyan Forest Preserve is a diverse and romantic spot featuring vine-covered walkways, a traditional Japanese garden, and an eye-catching windmill.
Jane Addams Memorial Park
550 E GRAND AVE, CHICAGO, IL 60611
This is a hidden gem! I discovered this location with some clients when we realized our original destination was closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, and I’m so glad I did! Jane Addams Memorial Park is conveniently located off of Lakeshore Drive, and is only a short Uber ride away from the Magnificent mile in case you’re planning to mix and match locations as part of your engagement session, but I think you could make full photoshoot here! Jane Addams Memorial Park features a beautiful open lawn surrounded by mature trees, creating the illusion of a forest glen, even though you’re in the heart of the Windy City.
220 E MONROE ST, CHICAGO, IL 60601
Lurie Garden is a 2.5-acre garden situated in the heart of downtown Chicago’s Millennium Park. During the summer months, the garden is filled with blooming local plants, which beautifully contrast the Chicago skyline, visible beyond the garden’s formal hedge.
4100 IL-53, LISLE, IL 60532
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, EVANSTON, IL 60208
If you’ve been dreaming of a whimsical, romantic engagement session, then of all the Chicago engagement photo locations on this list, this one is for you! Hidden between Northwestern University’s science building and the Garett Seminary is one of Evanston’s best-kept secrets. The Shakespeare garden features flowers and plants mentioned in the bard’s plays, and features secluded benches and beautiful stonework.
Additional Engagement Photo Locations in the Chicago Suburbs
If you need even more inspiration, or would prefer to stay closer to your home for your engagement session, be sure to check out these engagement photo locations in the Chicago Suburbs as well!
ROLLING MEADOWS, IL 60008
16400 BUCKLEY RD, LIBERTYVILLE, IL 60048
Lakewood Forest Preserve
27277 N FOREST PRESERVE RD, WAUCONDA, IL 60084
2611 SHERIDAN RD, EVANSTON, IL 60201
NAPERVILLE, IL 60540
Resources for Planning Your Engagement Session
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