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engagement photo locations

George Street's Top 10 Engagement Session Locations in Chicago

Living up to its proud nickname, the city of big shoulders, Chicago is an architectural aficionado’s delight for engagement photos. From the iconic skyline that hugs the scenic Lake Michigan coast to charming turn-of-the century brownstones nestled into the city’s neighborhoods, you’ll discover the many gems that have earned a spot on our hot list for best Chicago engagement photography. If you’re seeking greener pastures, Chicago has that, too. Venture south of the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field to Lincoln Park, an epic urban oasis that flourishes with impeccably groomed grounds. For a getaway feel right in Lincoln Park’s backyard, the sandy shores of North Avenue Beach are one of our favorite Chicago engagement locations. And don’t forget the city’s many world-renowned museums for a culturally rich backdrop. Wherever you wander in Chicago, you’re bound to capture countless postcard-worthy moments.


For a serene and scenic Chicago engagement photography session, get lost in the immersive natural beauty of Whalon Lake. Protected by the DuPage River preservation system, this 249-acre setting is as majestic as it is expansive. It’s hard to believe that Whalon Lake was once mined as a quarry. It now offers a beautiful view—and beyond. Make your engagement session playful and interactive by exploring the many walking trails, picnic spots, boat-friendly waters and breathtaking fields to roam. Whalon Lake is also known for its great dog park if you were hoping to include your pup in your photo session. Located just minutes from I-55, Whalon Lake is a peaceful destination on the outskirts of city in Bolingbrook. Make a day of it and see why it’s one of our best Chicago engagement photography locations.



Love blooms at the historic Garfield Park Conservatory. Resplendent with 184 acres of magnificent outdoor gardens, ponds and park space, it’s easy to see why it’s one of our best Chicago engagement locations. Often referred to as “landscape art under glass,” Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the largest and most stunning conservatories in the nation. And lucky for Chicagoans, it’s just a quick jaunt down the Kennedy. First built in 1908, the Garfield Park Conservatory was designed as the centerpiece of the three great original Westside parks—Humboldt, Garfield and Douglas. After snapping a few shots inside the historic and sprawling greenhouse, head outside to frolic through 12 acres of magnificent outdoor gardens. Get lost strolling hand-in-hand through a field of springtime tulips, verdant green fields and flowering trees. With the sun illuminating the landscape around you, your Chicago engagement photographer will no doubt capture the glow between the two of you.



The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the city’s cultural prizes, a masterpiece collection of artwork housed in a stunning building that makes an iconic Chicago engagement photography location. The original building, constructed in 1893 for the World Columbian Exposition, was designed in a grand beaux-arts style of stately structure and impressive archways, giving it an feeling of old-world regality. The entrance is guarded by two lion sculptures, each one weighing over two tons. Time has turned their copper forms a fascinating combination of blue and green. In the Art Institute garden, you’ll find a wonderland of geometric shapes, classical planters and ivy-covered walls that have contributed to its status as one of our best Chicago engagement locations. In the fall, you’ll be treated to a spectacular display of color as the ivy turns red and mingles with yellow leaves on the trees. The modern wing is reached by a bridge that also makes an spectacular place to shoot with its clean, precise angles.



Sitting pretty in the beautiful neighborhood of Edgewater in Chicago is the serene campus of Loyola University. Abundant with architectural features, impeccable landscaping and natural beauty, this collegiate gem is a desired destination for your Chicago engagement photography session. Founded in 1870, Loyola University’s Lakeshore campus is just steps away from Lake Michigan. Here you’ll have your choice of architecturally rich backdrops, from brick walls, stately white pillars and cascading steps, to green lawns dotted with trees and the striking turquoise door of the deco-styled Cudahy Library. Another deco-era structure? The Madonna Della Strada Chapel. The modern architecture of the Damen Student Center with its sheer front of smooth glass provides yet another contrast for you to experiment with. It's fantastic location on the lakeshore coupled with the immense variety of backdrops and natural elements rightfully earns the Loyola University Campus a spot on our list for best Chicago engagement locations.



Few things give you a better sense of the beauty of Chicago than the Lakefront Trail—18 miles of paved pathway that stretch along the blue waters of Lake Michigan, surrounded by green parks and recreational paths. Its grand scale and visual variety offer infinite elements to explore, making it the perfect spot for your Chicago engagement photography session. Along the entire path, you’ll be treated to amazing views of Chicago either from the north or the south, dotted by downtown skyscrapers and the Ferris wheel on Navy Pier. It’s one of our best Chicago engagement locations for countless reasons—busy boardwalks, scenic beaches, striking architecture, peaceful harbors and nature sanctuaries.



Just a hop, skip and a jump from Lincoln Park, this sandy hotspot is loved by locals as a city escape that’s home to volleyball tournaments, lazy weekend days and endless gazing at Lake Michigan’s rolling waves. Its beachy beauty makes North Avenue Beach one of our best Chicago engagement locations. Stroll through Lincoln Park as you make your way to the beach for a playful, scenic Chicago engagement photography session. For an expansive aerial view of the skyline and lake, climb aboard the iconic North Avenue beachouse. This immense faux ship lends a nautical feel to your photos.



It’s no wonder downtown Chicago has been voted one of the top three most popular travel destinations in all of the United States. It’s architecturally stunning, culturally rich and naturally beautiful. In other words, it’s brimming with countless hotspots that make it one of our best Chicago engagement locations. Stroll down the Magnificent Mile to capture the energy of the city, walk along the newly renovated Chicago Riverwalk and pose on the Kinzie Street Bridge for a panoramic skyline view. Utilize the grand marquis of the Chicago Theatre as an authentic Chicago backdrop with a touch of drama. While you’re in the loop, pause for a dramatic dip in front of the Board of Trade at Jackson and LaSalle—great practice for a cinematic kiss on your big day. Hint: We also love seeing our couples explore the famed Millennium Park. Your Chicago engagement photographer can get creative with playful perspectives at the mirrored Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as “The Bean,” in the heart of the city.



Just a short drive away from Chicago is the County Line Orchard in Hobart, Indiana—a rustic and romantic spot for Chicago engagement photography that’s perfect for the couple who wants to show off their country roots. Time your session for peak season (spring or fall) and you’ll enjoy a vibrant, sun-ripened backdrop that brings every frame to life. Color abounds, from the red barn and yellow cornfields to the endless rows of green-leaved apple trees. Antique elements thoughtfully scattered around the farm add charm and personality to your photos. Venture into the barn for some romantic shots surrounded by the warmth of exposed wood beams and rustic chandeliers. We think this unique setting would make a charming reception location for Chicago wedding photography, too. Explore the grassy pathways and take in golden hour as the sun sets on the bright beauty of spring or fall. Your photos will capture the magic of nature that make County Line Orchard one of our best Chicago engagement locations.



When you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, head to this hidden gem off the beaten path. Milton Lee Olive Park is a peaceful oasis rooted right on the shore of Lake Michigan on the near north side of Chicago. We’ve ranked it as one of the best Chicago engagement locations because it boasts incredible city views and preserved elements of nature that live harmoniously side-by-side. Explore the park’s meandering tree-lined paths that lead to a series of circular fountains inspired by scattered stones. Jutting out into the lake, Milton Lee Olive Park offers an amazing vantage point of downtown that includes the famed Ferris wheel at Navy Pier. So you have access to epic backdrops while enjoying a private moment all to yourselves.



Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo is a staple of the city’s culture—and one of our best Chicago engagement locations. Nestled in the heart of the city alongside Lake Michigan, the zoo offers the joy of wildlife set against the backdrop of skyscrapers. Pose among the natural settings of the park or find a vantage point with a clear view of the city. The Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo’s South Pond provides an intriguing backdrop for your Chicago engagement photography session. Inspired by a tortoise shell, the whimsical boardwalk pavilion is a prized location for capturing special moments in a memorable way. We say, go wild.

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