The 12 Best Secret Instagram Photo Locations In Chicago

If you’re from the Chicago area or just visiting for a while, here are some little known Instagram spots around the city that are sure to add an edge to your feed.

Whether you’re into quiet rooftop gardens, award-winning cocktails and cuisine, or even some unmapped adventures, Chicago has an abundance of cool spots that are definitely worth sharing on your timeline.

In a social media-driven society, straying away from the cliche tourist spots will surely lead you into some new discoveries and help you stand out from the crowd. Get your best filters ready!

Chicago Pedway Access Points

pedway

Linking more than 40 blocks in the Central Business District, the Chicago Pedway is a system of underground tunnels and overhead bridges that are used by tens of thousands of pedestrians each day. This system provides a safe and convenient way of traveling around Chicago which may come as a surprise to most Chicagoans because it's all underground. Pedestrians are connected with more than 50 public and private buildings along with commuter rail facilities and CTA stations. This pedway is a really unique spot to see outside of the most popular tourist attractions.

Art Institute of Chicago South Garden

south garden

Address: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

Featuring the dramatic Fountain of the Great Lakes sculpture from Lorado Taft, this garden is a hidden treasure just south of the museum. The intimately scaled garden is built atop a parking garage and opens onto Michigan Avenue. Designed by Dan Kiley between 1962 and 1967, the garden is one of the best-preserved commissions from the period.

ROOF on theWit

roof

Address: 201 North State Street, 27th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601

27 stories high, ROOF, has earned international acclaim for its unique handcrafted cocktails and cuisine, sweeping skyline views, and expressive design and entertainment. Rated “Top 3 Rooftop Bars in the World” by Travel+Leisure. Award-winning chef, Nathan Spears, uses flavors from Spain and its surrounding spice-bearing regions. There are also skilled bartenders that will elevate your drinking with craft cocktails, fine and rare spirits, and constantly flowing champagne.

City Hall Rooftop Garden

city hall

Address: 121 N LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60602

One of Chicago’s most famous rooftop gardens sits atop City Hall. The garden was first planted in 2000 to test the benefits of green roofs on air quality and temperature as part of the City’s Urban Heat Island Initiative. The rooftop garden conserves energy, reduces stormwater by retaining 75% of 1 inch of rainfall, reflects heat while providing shade and cooling the surrounding air, and produces oxygen. The garden offers more than 20,000 plants and 150 species.

RM Champagne Salon

RM

Address: 116 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607

Speakeasy on the outside, lively French bistro inside, the RM Champagne Salon is tucked away in a cobblestone alley. Champagne is, obviously, the main focus as well as candle-lit rooms that radiate modern romance. Decor includes Moroccan lamps and antique mirrors along with an Indie rock soundtrack. This is a great place to stop for group dinners, date nights, large parties and buyouts. The outdoor patio, a Partisan-style oasis, is a summertime favorite for locals and visitors.

Hidden Garden in Millennium Park ‘Lurie Park’

lurie

Address: E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60601

Millenium Park is a popular public attraction in Chicago but little known is the hidden gem of Lurie Park. The five-acre garden was opened to the public in 2004 and contributes to Chicago’s history of landscape architecture. There are 15-foot hedges separating the beautiful park and the bustling city. This park is the perfect environment for scenic photography, reading a book, and having a picnic on a nice day.

Bat Cave

Bat cave

With almost no information nor existing photos of this 2.5-mile street. There's a 2.5-mile roadway in Chicago that the city's mayor calls the "Bat Cave." It's been around for more than a decade but it's more secret than public.  Bypassing local traffic and Lake Shore Drive, this mini-highway reduces travel time between downtown and the lakefront convention center to an average of 8 minutes. The mini-highway was designed to ferry conventioneers to Chicago's massive McCormick Place convention hall. But before you start jumping for joy, you must know that only a limited number of people have access to this unique road. This could be the reason why it’s so unknown.

Harold Washington Library Winter Garden

winter garden

Address: 400 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605

A quiet and timid place to relax, study, work, and have intimate discussions, the Winter Garden is a great place for students, business, people, and visitors to Chicago. The glass roof is an architectural highlight that offers abundant natural light all times of the year. There is free wifi, no reservations required, and space can be used for holding private events.

The Gallery Cabaret

gallery

Address: 2020 N. Oakley Ave. Chicago, IL 60647

The Gallery Cabaret is Bucktown’s premier destination for live music and drinks. There are shows every night of the week with no cover fee. The shows include music, poetry, and four comedy shows a week, as well as, a bingo night. The Gallery Cabaret offers a free dinner buffet on Sunday nights with a two-drink minimum.

Northerly Island

northerly island

Address: Chicago, IL 60605

This 91- acre peninsula juts into Lake Michigan at the Museum Campus. A majority of the space is dedicated to nature with beautiful paths for walking, play areas, views of the Chicago skyline, and some of the best fishing spots. The Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island is at the northern end of the island. The island also has a stage with expanded state-of-the-art lights and sound with grassy space and seating fitting up to 30,000 people flexible.

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

pool

Address: 125 W Fullerton Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614

The Lily Pool is a peaceful spot to visit with bird songs and gentle waterfalls throughout. There are diverse native plantings, a pavilion, and a council ring. The vision of the architect, Alfred Caldwell, was to design a hidden garden for the people of Chicago to resemble a river meandering through a great Midwestern Pride. The Lily Pool was adopted in 1997 and the Chicago Park District made a $2.4 million restoration was made to improve the site and accessibility. After being open to the public in 2002, the restoration earned National Historic Landmark and Chicago Historical Landmark status.  

South Shore Cultural Center

south shore

Address: 7059 S South Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60649

South Shore Cultural Center is located in the South Shore community. The center was purchased by the Chicago Park District in 1975 and restored as a historic landmark after a massive community campaign and recognized as a Chicago Landmark in 2004. The South Shore Cultural Center totals 64.5 acres with a country club-like interior, a solarium, formal dining hall, Paul Robeson Theater, and more. Outside, the park offers a beach, nine-hole golf course, and space for walking and picnics. There are also a variety of cultural programs and classes like dance, music, health, art, fitness, and more.

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