I have a confession to make. I have a slight obsession with something. What, you ask? Instagram. The beautiful photos, the close knit community…and the oh so beautiful filters. Yep, totally obsessed. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why Red Tricycle deemed me a “Chicago Mom to Follow on Instagram.” And if you have an Instagram addiction like I do, it can be a challenge finding well lit and interesting spots to take photos of your kids doing what they do best…being kids. So here is my ultimate list of Instagram photo shoot locations for Chicago kids.
Start stalking @heyitmatthew’s Instagram page to see what project he is working on next. He is the artist behind the adorable LOVE wall in Bucktown on Damen and Cortland, as well as the “You Are Beautiful” stickers in Andersonville, Rogers Park, and beyond.
Lincoln Park Zoo’s Nature Boardwalk. Take a few shots overlooking the pond and most definitely in the honeycomb. Your kids will love playing on and climbing through this interactive piece of art.
The Bean. Yes, it’s touristy, but it is oh so beautiful. We love playing with all of the different reflection options and our capability to take some epic selfies. And don’t forget to explore the fountains over at Millennium Park in the summer!
The Chicago Botanic Garden is an Instagram lover’s dream. Seriously. It has everything you might want to include in your photo: greenery, flowers, unique trees, waterfalls, water fountains…and it is absolutely gorgeous for the holidays (check out the poinsettias in the greenhouse).
The Ed Pashke Art Center has beautiful pieces of art both inside and out. Our personal favorite is the giant wall art outside of the building.
The Brookfield Zoo has tons of indoor and outdoor photography options. My favorite shot to get involves any of the sea creatures and my boys admiring them. If you head over to the sea lion exhibit, you will be able to get more natural light than if you were at the enclosed dolphin exhibit.
Garfield Park Conservatory. This free conservatory is one of the most beautiful spaces in all of Chicagoland. We love exploring the trails, unique rooms, and how art is integrated within the gardens. And the natural light floods your camera so it is literally impossible to take a bad photo.
Sod Room in the South Loop is without a doubt the most beautiful play space for kids. We love its eco friendly design and sunlight floods the room so that it is impossible to take a dark photo. It is the perfect spot to capture your kid playing, smiling, and having a blast.
The Art Institute of Chicago provides so many different ways to take a great photo. I love getting candid shots of my boys critiquing the art the most.
Want to capture your kiddo creating something? Then head over to Gather in Evanston to get some great shots of imaginative play. Their huge front room, which is dedicated to creating art, has so many unique and colorful backdrops to take a really creative photo.
We love The Land of Nod for so many reasons—the adorable books, furniture, toys, special events, and more! But one of this momarazzi’s favorite parts about Land of Nod? Taking photos of my boys exploring the store and their popular events like story and craft time at their stores. Be sure to visit both their North and Clybourn and Oak Brook locations—you won’t regret it.
Dylan’s Candy Bar is the perfect backdrop for taking colorful and whimsical photos of your kids. Just be warned: it is impossible to leave without taking a sweet treat with you.
RESTAURANTS—A CATEGORY ALL THEIR OWN
You know that meme that says “I can’t really enjoy my food until I have shared it on Instagram?” Well, that’s why I have narrowed down my absolute favorite places to take restaurant and foodie Instagram photos…with kids, of course.
I died and when to Instagram heaven the first time I visited the Three Arts Club at Restoration Hardware. I have literally never seen so many beautiful things all in one spot—and we were lucky enough to sit right next to the fountain under the beautiful chandelier. Swoon.
One of my most liked photos of all time on Instagram comes from Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits. That’s because everything about this small shop is gorgeous—from the biscuits to the pie, the outdoor garden—absolutely EVERYTHING.
Molly’s Cupcakes is a favorite spot of ours because of their beautiful and unique cupcake creations, as well as the neat swing set up in the café.
Heritage Bicycles is my absolute favorite café in all of Chicagoland. Why? Because of its beautiful and unique décor, as well as their absolutely amazing lavender lattes. Be sure to visit during the day when the light is best, and explore the outdoor café and van in the back as well.
And don’t forget to visit Heritage Littles and have your kids take a trip to the absolutely adorable milk and cookie bar. It’s no wonder that it is used for professional photo backdrops since it is a beautiful and unique space.
Where are your favorite places to take an Instagram photo? I’m always looking for new places to explore. Here are some other cool urban photo shoot locations as well as great spots for a Spring family photo shoot.
Looking forward to getting to know you over on Instagram!