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Your Most Beautiful Places in Chicago

The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so what do you see? Chicagoans from all over the city and beyond share their favorite beautiful places and tell us why they find them beautiful. Is yours a park? A particular building? A street? A house of worship? A hidden gem? Or is it something else altogether? Tell us your favorite spot in or around the city and the reason it holds a special place in your heart, and we may share it below! Submit your favorite place.

Art Institute of Chicago’s South Garden

What a beautiful and serene space.  A symmetry of planters whose perimeters can serve as benches (great place for lunch). The trees make a graceful canopy. A beautiful semi-transparent roof and a shield from most of the noise. The central pool and the fountain of the great lakes are the cherry on top of the sundae. And if you possibly get bored, you can go inside the Art Institute.

- Robert R.

Holy Trinity Cathedral Chicago Orthodox Church

Tiny gem by Louis Sullivan at 1121 N. Leavitt Street. Combines traditional Russian architecture with Sullivan touches. Nicest thing about the church is its very human scale. Beautiful, impressive, exotic in the sense that most of us rarely see anything in this style, but accessible, even comfortable in a way.

- Don K.

Lincoln Park Conservatory & Gardens, Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

These are such peaceful and beautiful places - a tranquil oasis right in the middle of the city. The flowers and vegetation are stunning, and are a bit different every time you visit. I once attended a sunrise summer wedding in the gardens, so it's a special memory for me. They are a rare gem for Chicagoans to enjoy.

- Julia M.

Harold Washington Library

The atrium on the top floor is one of the hidden gems in our city––a sunny, green respite on winter days, akin to the atrium in Navy Pier. I'd throw in the end of the Pier, too!

- Brad C.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

This place is truly inspiring, and will fill your spirit. During the winter months, the fountain is closed, but the place remains beautiful. It is dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, and it has outdoor and indoor spaces to relax, meditate, and enjoy its beautiful construction.

- Paula C.

Uptown Theater

Billed as “An acre of seats in a magic city” during its grand opening in 1925, it was, and remains, the largest theater in Chicago. With its 100 year anniversary nearing, and decades since a live performance has taken place, the inside of the theater as it has fallen to disrepair. More Chicagoans need to know about and see the beauty that was (and is) the Uptown Theater.

- Robert M.

St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church

Based on the Church of St. Peter in Rome, you can see the angels and the dome from the southbound Kennedy. There are a million steps (at least, that's how it seemed to me) in the front, and inside there is an amazing fresco at the front, and several altars all around … I haven't been inside in years, but I will always carry a memory of it.

- Joanna K.

The Graue Mill

This is one of my favorite places to visit. A stop on the Underground Railroad, it is still a real working grist mill through the Oak Brook Park District where you can purchase stone ground corn meal and whole wheat flour. The Mill's grounds are beautiful. I just love it here.

- Susan F.

The Board of Trade Building lobby

I love the Art Deco design in the lobby.

- Marianne G.

311 S. Wacker

The lobby's ironwork and glass are done in the style of the 1893 World's Fair and the Rookery, along with eight four-story palm trees, three-toned marble, and mahogany wood landscape. The crescendo of it is capped by an Italian artist carved water fountain & falls at entrance with each “shell” on it recognizing major events of Chicago history.

- Joseph B.

Skyline from Lake Michigan

We used to be avid Lake Michigan boaters out of Michigan City, Indiana. It was always very special to journey across the lake, through the locks, and up the Chicago River. But the view of the Chicago skyline from the lake at sunset is just a wonder to behold. It takes my breath away every time. Between the exquisite architecture, the lights just twinkling on, and the beautiful hues of the setting sun.... just wow! Viewing it from Navy Pier is also beautiful, but nothing equals seeing that magnificent skyline from the water.

- Corinne G.

The Tiffany Window in the Art Institute

It is beautiful and unique.

- Carol R.

Chicago Botanic Gardens

World class destination, ever changing, popular with local residents as well as international travelers.

- Margaret N.

Greenstone Church

Beautiful limestone exterior accented with beautiful stained-glass windows. It also houses a custom Steere & Turner pipe organ. Located in the historic Pullman District.

- George T.

Burnham Island in Graceland Cemetery

Graceland is already one of the most peaceful, beautiful spots in all of Chicago. Not only is the pastoral setting gorgeous but the cemetery also contains some of the grandest architecture and gravestone design you'll ever see… But one place in particular stands out: Chicago's own Daniel Burnham eternally rests on a small private island in the middle of the large pond. There is a cute little wooden bridge that leads to the island, which features a very quiet spot under some trees to sit and "make no little plans." It's a beautiful private spot to enjoy the weather or contemplate the fleeting nature of life.

- Pete G.

Edgar Miller Interiors

I find it fascinating that this amazingly talented artist is so little known because his interiors are still so desirable that they are privately owned and haven't been turned into museums. Any way to explore these private spaces would delight me.

- Felix G.