Capture the beauty of fall in Chicago at one of these camera-ready spots.

Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit Chicago. And with its lakefront parks and gardens found around the city, there are plenty of places to peep fabulous fall colors. We’ve suggested five photo spots to snap the ideal fall Chicago shot.


1) Millennium Park Campus... 3-in-1 leaf peeping spots!

Fall colors in Chicago at Cloud Gate in Millennium ParkMillennium Park is a photographer’s dream, with dramatic subjects such as the reflective Cloud Gate sculpture and multimedia Crown Fountain to shoot.

But tucked away in the southeast corner of Millennium Park is the award-winning Lurie Garden, a serene escape from the bustling crowds. Here you’ll find a picturesque floating wooden footbridge that leads to more than 200 different kinds of plants and flowers tended to by buzzing bees from nearby hives.

Fountain of the Great Lakes sculpture in ChicagoAnother hideaway filled with foliage is among the Gardens of the Art Institute of Chicago.Filled with fountains, sculptures and fragments of architectural artifacts, it's a stunning backdrop to American Elm, River Birch and Honey Locust trees.


2) Chicago Lakefront Trail: South to Jackson Park

University of ChicagoTake a walk along the scenic Chicago Lakefront Trail, which spans 18 miles from the south to the north sides of the city. Aim your camera at the fiery fall colors bursting from one of the beautiful parks along the way going south to Jackson Park (also home to the Garden of the Phoenix) or catch an autumn sunset over the glittering waters of Lake Michigan from a stretch of sandy beach. Another option, very much in the spirit of the fall back-to-school season, is the University of Chicago campus.


3) Chicago Lakefront Trail: North to Lincoln Park

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool ChicagoWith over 1,200 acres, Lincoln Park is if not the most scenic, the most expansive of Chicago's lakefront parks. It's home to several fall foliage spots, and a fun way to look is from above. Head up to try the J. Parker rooftop where you can also sip on an autumn-themed cocktail.

The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool goes golden this time of year. Find this gem by taking the path behind its Prairie-style gate off bustling Fullerton Avenue. Dubbed a “paradise under glass,” the Lincoln Park Conservatory is lush with fragrant orchids, tropical palms and ancient ferns. Wander through the Victorian-era greenhouse and snap towering exotic plants and gurgling ponds, or step outside and capture autumn hues in the carefully tended surrounding formal gardens that include a monument to William Shakespeare.


4) Chicago's Front Yard: Grant Park

Grant Park ChicagoGrant Park is a 300-acre oasis of green space in the heart of downtown Chicago. Beautiful gardens shimmering with fall jewel tones of ruby and amber dot the park, as do several sculptures and public art pieces. But one of the main attractions is the centerpiece Buckingham Fountain. Unveiled in 1927, the ornate fountain festooned with sea horses is one of the largest in the world. Catch the nightly display of colored lights and music choreographed with the fountain’s dancing waters through mid-October.


5) A Peninsula with Less Leaf Peeping, More Prairie Grasses

Northerly Island ChicagoJuxtapose a shot of nature with the stunning Chicago skyline in the background on Northerly Island. This 91-acre manmade peninsula, located just east of Soldier Field, juts out into the cool blue waters of Lake Michigan and features winding strolling paths that meander through native prairie grass and colorful wildflowers visited by fluttering butterflies.

Upcoming Fall Events


Where to Do Your #ChicagoLeafPeeping

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