The 15 Most Instagrammable Attractions in Chicago

Let's get real: There's an ugly side to Chicago. No world-class city of this size can avoid such a fate, but despite negativity played out in the media, tourism is at an all-time high.

That's because Chicago is a showpiece. The attractions, from the spectacular skyline to summer fireworks on Navy Pier, help bring in visitors to one of the most Instagrammable places on earth. So get out your phone, strike a pose and get in formation--in front of a local treasure or two.

  • 01 of 15

    The Rolling Stones' "Exhibitionism" Tour at Navy Pier

    ••• Photo courtesy of Exhibitionism

    Fireworks are a big enough attraction at Navy Pier, but now that the legendary Rolling Stones have set up shop through July 2017 with their Exhibitionism tour, expect it to be a complete madhouse. Their exhibit is prime for photo-taking, selfies and all sorts of shenanigans as visitors interact with memorabilia from the private archives of the world-famous rock stars. Some of their most outrageous outfits are on display as well as guitars, posters and a whole lot more. There's even a special section dedicated to Chicago blues and the Stones' association with it. 600 E. Grand Ave.

  • 02 of 15

    360 Observatory

    ••• Photo courtesy of 360 Chicago

    Located right off the Magnificent Mile, 360 Chicago soars at 1,000 feet above the Windy City and claims a view spanning 80 miles and four states. The view is wonderful and provides a great appreciation for Chicago's landscape and architecture. Lifelike backdrops make it look as though visitors are dangling above Chicago's streets. Through Dec. 30, 360 Chicago’s "Sky Series" program features daily events for yoga enthusiasts, families, artists, photographers and beer aficionados. Also new to the experience is Café at 360 CHICAGO, where guests may order bites and drinks as they take in the sights. 875 N. Michigan Ave.

  • 03 of 15

    Art Institute of Chicago

    ••• Photo courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago

    Whenever there's a major event going down in Chicago, you can always count on the noble lion statues guarding the Michigan Avenue entrance of The Art Institute of Chicago to be dressed for the occasion. The Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox have all dressed them in oversized sports helmets and caps during their championship seasons. And during the holiday season, they're decorated in wreaths. Throughout the celebrations, the scene is always a popular photo stopover for visitors and residents alike. 111 S. Michigan Ave.

  • 04 of 15

    Buckingham Fountain

    ••• Photo courtesy of Snejana Iordanova

    The Buckingham Fountain is one of the Windy City's top attractions. It arguably competes with Willis Tower as Chicago's most famous landmark. Beginning at dusk, the water display is accompanied by a major multi-colored light and music show, and who wouldn't want to capture that for all the ooohhhs and ahhhs online? It's located at Columbus Drive and Congress Parkway in Grant Park.

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15

    Chicago Theater Marquee

    ••• Photo Courtesy of Goldstar

    What makes State Street such a legendary great street? Block Thirty Seven--the multi-level shopping center in the heart of the downtown Loop--and the marquee of the venerable Chicago Theatre, of course. Just about everyone notable has performed at this institution that's been around since 1921, including the Allman Brothers Band, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, Harry Connick Jr., Ellen DeGeneres, Aretha Franklin, Kathy Griffin and David Letterman. Don't have tickets to a Chicago Theatre performance? No worries. Passersby are still tempted to stop and snap photos of the marquee. 175 N. State St.

  • 06 of 15

    Chinatown Square

    ••• Photo courtesy of Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce

    Chinatown is only a stone’s throw from White Sox Guaranteed Rate Field and 10 minutes from downtown. The significantly historic area has been around for more than 100 years, and its Chinatown Square is where all the action takes place. Chinatown's especially popular for culinary food tours as guests are immersed into the culture of the neighborhood.

  • 07 of 15

    Cindy's atop Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

    ••• Photo courtesy of Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

    Rooftop sensation Cindy’s opened in 2015 in the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel and it continues to be a draw for its panoramic views over Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. The restaurant and bar is reminiscent of a Great Lakes beach house and it's open for brunch, lunch and dinner. There are large-format cocktails serving up to 20 guests. 12 S. Michigan Ave.

  • 08 of 15

    The Green Mill

    green-mill-exterior_keith-cooper.jpg
    ••• Photo courtesy of Keith Cooper

    Those who know Chicago history know that the iconic American gangster Al Capone once ruled the city's underworld, from the South Side to the far North Side. The Uptown neighborhood's Green Mill jazz club was one of his favorite chill-out destinations (There is a secret passageway for a quick escape) because a cohort was a co-owner. Proof of that is a well-worn booth where he sat near the exit that remains a popular attraction to this day. The VIP table is usually reserved for special guests, and they're always taking photos. Just be careful with the flash because it'll disturb performers and other guests. 4802 N. Broadway

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • 09 of 15

    Hamilton Marquee

    ••• Photo courtesy of Broadway in Chicago

    So. You got tickets to see the "Hamilton" musical? It's a rite of passage to take a selfie directly under the PrivateBank Theatre's marquee. Didn't get tickets yet and still dying to go? Broadway in Chicago has set up a daily lottery system in which 44 day-of-show tickets will be sold for every performance for $10 each. Seat locations vary per performance; some seats will be located in the front row and the boxes. 18 W. Monroe St.

  • 10 of 15

    Millennium Park

    The brainchild of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, Millennium Park is the largest public space within the 319 acres of downtown Chicago's Grant Park. It was established in 2004, and is now one of the biggest free attractions of the city, rivaling only Lincoln Park Zoo. That's mostly due to its popular "The Bean" installation, which weighs in at over 110 tons, and is 66 feet long and 33 feet high.

    The Bean was created using a huge number of individual stainless steel plates. The sculpture has the appearance of a giant drop of liquid mercury, and the mirrored surface offers an amazing reflection of the city's skyline, even more breathtaking on a bright, clear day. Visitors can walk underneath the Cloud Gate, which is surprisingly concave. Kids especially enjoy the fun house mirror effect that this creates.

  • 11 of 15

    Shedd Aquarium

    ••• Photo courtesy of Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

    The Shedd Aquarium boasts a National Historic Landmark designation, and it's one of the top attractions in the South Loop neighborhood. The Caribbean Reef's 90,000-gallon exhibit, which is at the hub of Shedd's original galleries, is a great place to start your visit. Guests may take a 360-degree tour of the underwater reef community and watch eels, green sea turtles, stingray and even sharks co-exist and navigate within their home. 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr.

  • 12 of 15

    Union Station

    Union Station is one of many popular tourist attractions in Chicago. The big shootout scene towards the end of the movie "The Untouchables" was filmed here. The main physical attraction of the Great Hall at Union Station is a 219-foot-long barrel-vaulted skylight soaring 115 feet over the room. Union Station was envisioned by famed Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, and opened in May 1925 after 10 years of construction at a cost of $75 million dollars (That would equal more than $1 billion in 2017 dollars). 225 S. Canal St.

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15

    White Sox 'Game of Thones' Event at Guaranteed Rate Field

    ••• Photo courtesy of Chicago White Sox

    The Chicago White Sox is one of 19 Major League baseball teams participating in a cross-promotional partnership with HBO to draw attention to its hit "Game Of Thrones." It happens July 19, and ticketholders will be able to take a photo with a replica of the Iron Throne and take part in other activities related to the show. They're also encouraged to dress as their favorite characters. Attendees will also have a chance to snag free, limited edition bobbleheads of White Sox mascot Southpaw sitting on the Iron Throne. They are reserved for the first 1,500 fans to purchase special event tickets to the event.

  • 14 of 15

    The Wiener's Circle

    The Weiner's Circle
    ••• The Weiner's Circle. © Prescott Carlson

    A trip to Lincoln Park is not complete without visiting The Wiener's Circle for charred dogs garnished with insults hurled by the staffers. The hilariously infamous hot dog stand is a popular hang following games at Wrigley Field and late-night adventures in area taverns. You'll also find Vienna red hots, cheddar char dogs, char polishes, burgers and some of the best fries this side of town. Try to get a photo with one of the staffers, but if not, there's always an opportunity to get a selfie with the outdoor sign.

  • 15 of 15

    Wrigley Field Marquee

    ••• Photo courtesy of City of Chicago

    The bustling Wrigleyville neighborhood was red hot long before the Cubs won the World Series in 2016. If visitors don't take photos in front of the Wrigley Field marquee, they're missing out on the full experience.

    The Wrigley Field Plaza should also be a hub of activity in the neighborhood now that it's debuted in front of the baseball stadium. It is set to host a number of family-friendly events, including weekly farmers' markets from Green City Market, movies, food festivals and live music.