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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 Restaurant
1.
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.


Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Shedd Aquarium Views

Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Shedd Aquarium
2. 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.


Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago from Above- Downtown Views from Hancock Tower

Hancock_VirginiaDuran_3
3. 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 Loop

Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Whole Foods South Loop Panorama
4. 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 Restaurant

Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Lake Point Tower Restaurant Inside
5. 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 Tower
6.
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 Lounge

Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Vertigo Sky Lounge Drink
7.
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.


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 rooftop
8. 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 E
9.
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!


Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Illinois Institute of Technology Tower 3

Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Best Skyline Views- Illinois Institute of Technology Tower
10.
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?


Check these and other amazing buildings of Chicago on the map below or download my Free Architecture Guide of Chicago.

 

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38 thoughts on “10 Sites To Take The Best Skyline Pictures in Chicago (Winter Version)

  1. 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….

    • 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/

      • 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.

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  3. 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!

    • 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 :)

  4. 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!

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  9. Wow. Some amazing shots here. You truly have a talent for this. As an IIT grad, I would love to print a high res version of that night shot and hang it up in my house. Nice work.

  10. This is great Virginia! Would you be interested in creating a Chicago photography guide on ShutterGuides.com? We’re trying to recruit great photographers to cover some of the most beautiful cities in the world, and you’d be perfect for doing a Chicago guide.

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