Lets be honest, we are all constantly searching for perfect places to take those perfect photos that will make everyone else envious of our experiences!
Whats the trick? Find the most beautiful part of the city and get to it during the magic hour (sunrise or sunset). I know Chicago has The Bean, Wrigley Field, Navy Pier, and the Chicago Theatre…but if you ask me, the most beautiful thing about Chicago is its skyline!
There are several ways to view this city’s skyline. Here are my favorites:
Option 1 // by bike
Divvy is a really simple and convenient bike sharing system set up all around Chicago. They have hundreds of stations (find locations here) and thousands of bikes available 24/7, 365. For only 10 bucks, you can buy a 24 hour day pass and get unlimited rides. The only catch is you have to re-dock the bike at one of the stations every 30 minutes, or be charged and extra fee…but once you dock, you can immediately check it out again and start your thirty minute session over.
After you rent your bike, head over to Lakefront Trail. The trail itself is over 18 miles long so there are several places to jump on and off. When I took the trail, I jumped on where Michigan Avenue met East Lake Shore Drive, went under a bridge type thing (a great description, I know) and ended up on the trail at Oak Street Beach. Once you’re on Lakefront Trail head north to North Avenue Beach and look for the North Avenue Beach South Volleyball Courts. Once you see dozens, and I do mean DOZENS, of volleyball courts head towards the south end of the courts. When you get to the end of the courts, there will be a little bend in the trail…and then it is at that point that you will find most beautiful view of the Chicago skyline! Snap away, you definitely won’t be the only person doing so!
Option 2 // by boat
The most magical way to get the perfect shot of the skyline is on a Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, which also just so happens to also be one of Tripadvisor’s top rated tours! CAF offers several cruises throughout the day, but I highly recommend their sunset tour at 7:30 pm. For $46 per person, you can enjoy an hour and a half trip up and down the Chicago River during the time of the day when the skyscrapers are the most beautiful. Throughout the tranquil ride, a tour guide will give tidbits of information on more 50 of the the city’s most distinctive buildings. A cash bar and snack bar are also available for the entire duration of the trip.
Because this tour is a desirable activity to both natives and visitors, I suggest purchasing tickets well in advance for summer tours. You’ll meet at the boat dock located on the corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge and Wacker Drive. There will be a blue awning marking the stairway entrance so you won’t miss it. The boat will begin boarding 15 minutes prior to departure, and although CAF suggests arriving 30 minutes before your departure time, but I’d arrive even earlier to ensure you can grab the best seats (since seating is first come first serve). For the best pictures, I’d sit at the edge of the boat (the seat closest to the rails) in the very back or the very front. That way you won’t have other people’s heads in your pics.
Sip on a glass of wine while you enjoy the sight of the city transitioning from day to night. What better way is there to spend an evening in Chicago?