Not only do engagement photos capture that blissful moment in time before all the planning begins, but you'll probably incorporate them into your save-the-date or thank you cards. While you could take a photo nearly anywhere in the city and have a picturesque backdrop of skyscrapers, water or lush greenery, these are our picks for classic engagement photo locations in Chicago.
Chicago Theatre Sign (Above)
Sometimes a couple wants their love to be heard loud and clear. This 1920s theater's vertical "CHICAGO" sign is a landmark in the Loop, and at six stories high, it's an ideal backdrop for the newly engaged couple that has a deep, committed love for the city—and each other, of course!
Milton Lee Olive Park
Olive Park tops many of our lists—picnics with friends, early mornings with the dog, midday jog along the lake—but it truly is one of the most idyllic settings for engagement photos. Just east of Ohio Street beach, the park is a peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan and offers multiple viewing platforms with up-close, unobstructed views of the skyline along the water's edge. Plus, we love that it's this secret, locals-only spot hiding in plain sight next to one of the city's top tourist attractions, Navy Pier.
Playful and colorful, the oversized rides at Navy Pier such as the Ferris Wheel and Wave Swinger—yup, that's the name of the carousel-like ride that swings you outward and upward—are bright backdrops for the young at heart.
Whether it's Cloud Gate (aka, The Bean) or Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park offers plenty of sculptural structures that add an element of interest to photos and undoubtedly place your love story in Chicago.
The Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo
The phrase, "the world is your oyster" comes to mind because Lincoln Park literally has it all when it comes to photo ops. We love the Lincoln Park Zoo's tortoise shell-inspired geometric stone structure designed by the famed Studio Gang Architects because when couples stand underneath the archway, the backdrop is lush greenery, a serene, neighboring pond and the skyline in the distance.
Stairs of the L Train
There's nothing quite like the powerful clickety-clack of the L train rumbling overhead when you're walking downtown, and we think the stairways throughout the Loop that lead up to the track from the sidewalk—with the colorful stripes announcing lines and directions—are a pretty cool, and definitely classic Chicago, locale for a snapshot.
The Chicago Riverwalk
The Riverwalk has been undergoing reconstruction for nearly two decades, and while the improvements near the center of town are undeniable, we love the quiet area on the northeast side of the river, right before it dumps into Lake Michigan, where a cluster of riverfront row homes is tucked in between soaring high rises. The paved path is lined with wrought iron benches, cast iron lamp posts and, for a few weeks in the spring, flower beds that overflow with blooming tulips. Gorgeous and romantic, it almost feels like you're walking along the Seine.
Sure, it's a gorgeous Chicago architectural landmark and all, but what better way to announce your impending nuptials than to evoke the lyric "love and marriage, love and marriage," from the opening credits of Married...With Children, which featured the iconic fountain?
Kinzie Street Bridge
The Kinzie Street Bridge offers a classic urban landscape perfect for engagement photos. The site was home to the city's first railroad bridge built in 1852, and the current bridge, which remains locked in an upright position, was built in 1908. The crisscrossing steel beams are layered by Chicago's picturesque architecture and the engaged couple, which creates a really interesting, multifaceted photo.
Don't discount the beauty in your favorite casual hangouts. Those low-key spots are where you're probably the most comfortable and in your natural element. Those relaxed snapshots will truly capture you as a couple.