Best Photo Spots outside of Chicago

Updated: Jan 19

Chicago is a big city and very well known for it's amazing architecture, but do not be fooled; there are a lot of scenic photo ops outside of it as well. Spice up your photography game and visit these hidden gems in Chicagoland area.


Bahá'í House of Worship

Only a 30 minute ride from downtown, will get you to this stunning architecture. It is a perfect place for engagement photos or a very serene spot to read a book or go for a stroll. Free parking all around and very easy to find.

Starved Rock

About an hour and 30 minutes from the city, will bring you to this amazing breathtaking scenery. There are lots of different trails, and it is worth going any time of the year. You can easily spend an entire day here exploring, or even spend the night in close by cabins.

Pratt's Castle

pratt's castle outside chicago beautiful colored dress

Note, this is a private property, so as you can see where I am standing, is as far as you can really go. Who would have thought you can find such a hidden gem right outside of Chicago?!

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

This stunning Hindu place of worship has the most beautiful architecture along with gorgeous grounds. If you are lucky enough you may actually see their white peacocks, who stay on their grounds. It is currently closed due to COVID-19, but fingers crossed by summer it will open up again.

YMCA Tower Niles

Piece of Italy in Chicago? Sure enough! You can grab some delicious deep pizza and swing by this spot and enjoy a replica of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Definitely not as crowded as the original Italian one, but probably for the best.

Raven Stone Castle

This place at sunset is beyond stunning. Granted it is a bit of a hike ( about 1.5 hrs from Chicago), but since it is a hotel, you can actually stay the night here. Note, the street I am standing on the left photo, is actually private property. We had no idea, till a very nice woman approached us, and we told her why we were there. To avoid that, you can park on the hotel's parking lot, and walk the grounds, hopefully without having to explain yourself.

Fort Sheridan

Fort Sheridan is a perfect spot when you want to escape the city life. Located up north and only 40 minutes from the city, it is an ideal location to hang out by the beach, or go for a nice stroll. It has spacious parking lot along with bathrooms. In summer you can jump in the water with not too many people around, and in fall you can enjoy some autumn colors. It is perfect place during any season.

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