10 Sites To Take The Best Skyline Pictures in Chicago (Winter Version)

12 Dec

Let’s face the truth: Chicago is the best city in the world but not in winter. The temperature is about 4ºF (-16ºC) and believe me, you don’t want to be outside. However, during snowy days, chances of taking the best skyline pictures  increase. So get ready, take your camera and discover some of Chicago’s best sites for photography lovers (winter version)!
__________________________________________________Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Art Institute by Renzo Piano Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Art Institute by Renzo Piano Terzo Piano Restaurant1. The Art Institute
Location: 111 South Michigan Ave.
Best Views: Aon Center, Pritzker Pavilion, Millenium Park
Admission: Free to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. General admission $23, students $17
Web: http://www.artic.edu
Description: The Modern Wing is the new home for the museum’s collection of 20th and 21st-century art but also a window to Chicago’s most spectacular skyline view: from Millenium Park. On the other hand, if you feel like it, the Terzo Piano restaurant has amazing views too, but that depends on your budget.
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Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Shedd Aquarium Views Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Shedd Aquarium2. The Shedd Aquarium
Location: 1200 S Lake Shore Dr
Best Views: Sears Tower, Lake Point Tower, Aon Center
Admission: General admission $89, children $79
Web: http://www.sheddaquarium.org/
Description: This is one of my favourite spots on earth and although I prefer the views from the outside, the inside ones are good too. On the other hand, the Adler Planetarium views are pretty spectacular too, but it’s further away and remember it’s winter and it’s freezing outside.
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Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago from Above- Downtown Views from Hancock TowerHancock_VirginiaDuran_33. Hancock Tower
Location: 875 N Michigan Ave.
Best Views: Sears Tower, Lake Point Tower, Aon Center
Admission: Free access to lounge bar, observatory $18
Web: http://www.jhochicago.com/en/plan-your-visit/our-hours-prices
Description: It is the 4th tallest tower in Chicago but it’s the best in my opinion. The observatory’s admission is $18 so you rather go to the signature lounge on the 96th floor, which is free, and spend that money on a drink. Snow storms up here are spectacular, so the worse the weather the better the panorama. Also, if you are lucky enough to be a woman, please check the restroom (and bring your camera here).
______________________________________________________ Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Whole Foods South LoopVirginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Whole Foods South Loop Panorama4. Whole Foods Market
Location: 1101 S Canal St. #107
Best Views: Sears Tower (south view)
Admission: Free
Web: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/southloop
Description: Have you seen these views? Aren’t they amazing? I saw this picture on Instagram and thanks to it I discovered this (not so hidden) spot. No more Dominick’s or Jewel, this is exactly where you need to go on Sundays when you’re running out of milk.
_______________________________________________________ Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Lake Point Tower RestaurantVirginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Lake Point Tower Restaurant Inside5. Lake Point Tower Restaurant
Location: 505 N Lake Shore Dr.
Best Views: Sears Tower, Trump Tower, Hancock Tower
Admission: Free.
Web: http://www.citechicago.com/
Description: Did you know Lake Point Tower is the only skyscraper with the privilege to be right next to Lake Michigan? The landowners of the time made some really clever movements to skip the city’s prohibition to build on the Lakefront. Besides the architectural interest of this tower, it has the best views of Hancock Tower as you can see above. This place is not exactly cheap but drinks are affordable and sunsets here are very impressive.
_______________________________________________________Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Sears Tower Views Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Sears Tower6. Sears Tower Skydeck
Location: 233 South Wacker Drive
Best Views: Chicago 360º
Admission: General admission $18.
Web: http://www.theskydeck.com/
Description: You can go up to the top and be amazed by the 360º views of Chicago, Lake Michigan and the Illinois plain, on a clear day you can see up to 50 miles and 4 states! However, you’ll wonder why the glass balconies are faced towards the worst views ever. The reason is because that is the only side of the tower in which elevators go up to the top. In my opinion the Sky Deck is better than The Ledge for this reason.
________________________________________________________Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Vertigo Sky LoungeVirginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Vertigo Sky Lounge Drink7. Vertigo Sky Lounge
Location: 2 W Erie St.
Best Views: Trump Tower, Marina Towers
Admission: Free.
Web: http://www.vertigoskylounge.com/
Description: Located on the 26th floor of the Dana Hotel, it’s the only year-round, indoor/outdoor lounge in Chicago which is good if you get a sunny winter day. Views are amazing during day time, at night (unless you take pictures from the outside which is fine) you’ll get horrible glass reflections.
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Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- The Wit rooftop Marina Towers 2 Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- The Wit rooftop Marina Towers Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- The Wit rooftop8. The Wit Rooftop
Location: 201 N State St.
Best Views: Marina Towers
Admission: Free.
Web:http://www.roofonthewit.com/
Description: This rooftop is absolutely amazing during summer, but also in winter. Sometimes people can be really loud here, especially if there is a party (usually every Sunday) going on but if you come here during weekdays your afternoon can become the best time of your day. The highlight, obviously, is having Marina Towers so close!
________________________________________________________Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Trump Tower Restaurant 062349 E9. Trump Tower
Location:
401 North Wabash Ave.
Best Views: Wrigley Building, Hancock Tower
Admission:
Free.
Web
http://www.trumphotelcollection.com/chicago/
Description
: Did you know it was being designed to be the tallest building in the world before 9/11 terrorist attacks which changed the original plans? Anyways is the 2nd tallest tower in Chicago. Its location (downtown by the river) makes this spot an easy place to visit. In my opinion the restaurant is average and quite expensive so I would go for the Lounge instead. I absolutely love how the Wrigley building looks from here!
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Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Illinois Institute of Technology Tower 3 Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Illinois Institute of Technology Tower10. IIT Tower
Location:
10 West 35th Street (Illinois Institute of Technology)
Best Views: Chicago Skyline, Sears Tower
Admission:
Free.
Web:
http://www.iit.edu/tower/
Description
: The best for the end, always. Given that you will either arrive by this place or this other one, IIT Tower is just great no matter from which point of view you look at it. So this 20 story tower is the Illinois Institute of Technology less visited part of the campus which makes it the best place to sneak in. Well, not everyone is allowed here but people who love photography aren’t exactly known for their compliance right?
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Check these and other amazing buildings of Chicago on the map below or download my Free Architecture Guide of Chicago.


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31 Responses to “10 Sites To Take The Best Skyline Pictures in Chicago (Winter Version)”

  1. John Robinson December 12, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    Virginia–Our daughter lives in Chicago, and I just forwarded this link to her. Thanks for the post! –John

    • Virginia Duran December 12, 2013 at 11:54 am #

      John, this is great! Chicago is the best city in the world :D
      If she likes architecture she may also like http://duranvirginia.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/23-buildings-you-shouldnt-miss-in-chicago-if-you-are-an-architect/

      • John Robinson December 12, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

        Thanks for this additional link to another of your Chicago architecture posts. I’ve already forwarded it. For the last couple of years our daughter has gone on the annual Chicago architecture tour. My wife and I hope we can join her one of these years!

      • Virginia Duran December 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

        Chicago’s architecture tour is quite impressive. You and your wife should definitely join! Also, the Open House in fall is a must visit. Maybe next fall? Hope you get to see all these amazing buildings :D

  2. richhell December 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    I agree, Virginia, the Hancock is the best. I knew there was a reason I liked you. ;) Now you’ve given me a list of places I need to take my wife for a drink to take in the view when we get back to the States. Now, if I could only afford a place in Aqua Tower….

    • Virginia Duran December 13, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      Richard! Hancok Tower is the best we both agree :). The only reason why I visit Sears Tower it’s because of Hancok’s views ;) You have to visit all these places when you return to Chicago with your family. I’ve discovered other amazing spots but will open in spring so will have to wait a bit. Regarding Aqua Tower, I had a friend who lived there last year and it’s amaziiiiiiing. The location is perfect! Anyways the best building I’ve seen in Chicago is one called The Legacy at Millenium Park… which is beyond my possibilities but have a look http://www.thelegacyatmillenniumpark.com/

      • richhell December 14, 2013 at 10:28 am #

        Wow, the Legacy is some building with prices to match.

        I’m jealous of your friend living in the Aqua Tower! I can only imagine.

        The Hancock is just so distinctive-looking and elegant, plus you have some fantastic views of the city from it.

  3. lensandpensbysally December 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Great set of images and sites to gaze in a spectacular city. Well done.

    • Virginia Duran December 13, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      Hi Sally, thanks for stopping by! I am glad that you liked these Chicago spots. You’ll have to visit soon :)

  4. David December 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    I especially like the Whole Foods shots! Definitely a great find

    • Virginia Duran December 13, 2013 at 11:50 am #

      David, I agree with the Whole Foods spot. I can’t believe I’ve discovered it so late. Definitely a place to stop by ;)

  5. joshiphotoeye December 12, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Awesome pics.

    • Virginia Duran December 13, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      Thanks Josh! Any favourite?

      • joshiphotoeye February 5, 2014 at 6:11 am #

        Hmm…Especially hancock tower..:-)

        N sorry but its “joshi” (my surname).

      • Virginia Duran February 5, 2014 at 9:32 am #

        Oh sorry! What is your name? :S

  6. dinkerson December 13, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    Good picture, but if Chicago is the best in the world then that doesn’t say much for the world.

  7. Gallivanta December 18, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Wow! Stunning skylines. I don’t like heights but I think I could enjoy some of the views without being too anxious.

    • Virginia Duran December 18, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      Thanks! Some of these skyscrapers aren’t scary at all. However, some of these do move 4m to each side due to wind loads. Nothing to worry in terms of structure or architecture :D

  8. writeejit December 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    Each week your blog blows me away with its professionalism–excellent content, great photography, and fascinating information. Congratulations on reaching your yearly goal, and keep ‘em coming. Thanks!

    • Virginia Duran December 22, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      Melissa!! This comment made me smile a lot :)) thanks so much for your kind words. I love writing those and I’m happy that you enjoy them too. Hope everything is well on Ireland and wish you a Merry Christmas :)

  9. psychologistmimi December 21, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    some great places to keep in mind. Wishing you a great new year ahead.

    • Virginia Duran December 22, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      If you visit Chicago, you must definitely try these! Hope you the best for this incoming year :)

  10. vsperry January 9, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    I could have used this post last week when I got stuck at Midway…A cocktail at the Sky Lounge would have made the experience much less stressful. Thanks for liking my latest post about Seattle on Muse-ings!

    • Virginia Duran January 9, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

      Oh that sounds bad! And Midway is the worst airport ever. You’ll have to return to experience all those amazing places of Chicago :)

      • vsperry January 10, 2014 at 2:48 am #

        I would like to. We stayed at the Marriott downtown because I wanted to wake up to a Chicago view…I wrote about that in one of my posts. Someday I will return on purpose!

  11. Giulia Bernini January 17, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

    Oh my! The one with the piano is one of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever seen!
    I love the one with the cocktail in the Vertigo Sky Lounge too:)

    • Virginia Duran January 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

      Giulia, I love that two rooftops very much. Views are even more amazing than in the pictures :D Have you been to Chicago before?

      • Giulia Bernini January 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

        Unfortunately not (yet): it’s on my bucket list since I studied Adler&Sullivan, years ago!:)

      • Virginia Duran January 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

        Ooh, then you definitely have to plan a visit. I lived here for 2 years and it was amazing (not in winter though). If you want to start dreaming about Chicago check this personal architecture map that I did http://goo.gl/maps/DnQFl

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Chicago Aqui Es | Refinery and Womanhood - December 18, 2013

    […] 10 Sites To Take The Best Skyline Pictures in Chicago (Winter Version) (duranvirginia.wordpress.com) […]

  2. 10 Sites To Take The Best Skyline Pictures in San Francisco | Virginia Duran - February 13, 2014

    […] weeks ago I published 10 Sites To Take The Best Skyline Pictures in Chicago and immediately thought of San Francisco. Its hilly landscape hides potential views like no other […]

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