The 12 Most Breathtaking Views of Chicago

Chicago is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful American cities. From beautiful Lake Michigan to the city skyline, there are many stunning spots to enjoy in Chicago. Here are 12 spots offering breathtaking views of this magnificent city.

Belmont Harbor

Found at the center of Chicago’s Lincoln Park, Belmont Harbor is one of the largest harbors in Chicago. Belmont Harbor is surrounded by park space and offers incredible views of the Chicago skyline. Belmont Harbor is also a great place to view Chicago from the water, thanks to the many yacht clubs that make their home there.


Cindy’s is a restaurant and open-air terrace on the roof of the Chicago Athletic Association. Situated 13 floors above the street, Cindy’s offers views of Millennium Park, Grant Park, and Lake Michigan. You can enjoy the view from Cindy’s terrace or inside the glass atrium. Fire pits on the terrace take the chill off during the cooler months. Be sure to enjoy one of Cindy’s craft cocktails while you take in the skyline. Cindy’s is open weekdays at 11 a.m. and weekends at 10 a.m.

Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk is a great way to see Chicago on foot. The Riverwalk runs along the Chicago River on Wacker Drive from Franklin Street to Lake Shore Drive. There are multiple sitting areas, bars, restaurants, and attractions to enjoy along the continuous walkway. If you take a stroll at night, you can enjoy live music from one of the many venues along the Riverwalk. Boat cruises are also available along the Riverwalk if you prefer to take in the city from the water.

Chicago Lakefront Trail

chicago lakefront beach ground view

Image via Flickr by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

A second excellent walking option is the Chicago Lakefront Trail. The trail is an 18.5-mile path on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The trail starts at the south end of the South Shore Cultural Center, runs through downtown Chicago, and ends at Kathy Osterman Beach. The Chicago Lakefront Trail is a perfect way to see the many faces of  Chicago, from its quiet natural areas to its bustling downtown.

Willis Tower Skydeck

Formerly the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower Skydeck offers a unique view that covers four states on a clear day. From the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, you can see famous Chicago landmarks, including Wrigley Field. More daring folks can try out the infamous Ledge, a glass, four-foot balcony on the Skydeck. From the Ledge, you can take in the city from 1,343-feet above the ground. The Skydeck is open 365 days of the year, with varying hours from season to season. A second balcony is also available on the 99th floor.

LondonHouse Balcony

The view from the LondonHouse Balcony is truly unique, as the sightline is straight down the Chicago River. From the balcony, you can see the river, the Marina City Towers flanking it, and several bridges. Be sure to enjoy one of LondonHouse’s delicious cocktails while taking in the view of the Magnificent Mile. Weather permitting, the LondonHouse balcony is open weekdays at 11 a.m. and weekends at 10 a.m.

Northerly Island

Once home to the Meigs Fields airport, Northerly Island is a 91-acre peninsula that includes grasslands, a large pond, and walking/biking paths. Northerly Island is a great place to enjoy the natural aspects of Chicago while taking in sweeping views of the city skyline. In the warmer months, you can enjoy live music events as well. You can visit Northerly Island every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The Art Institute

The Art Institute offers two great viewing spots. The Bluhm Family Terrace and Terzo Piano are adjacent to each other in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute. Both offer impressive views of Millenium Park and the Chicago skyline. The Terrace provides shading without obstructing the view of the city or night sky. The terrace is open Friday through Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., weather permitting.

Terzo Piano is a much-loved modern Italian restaurant. At Terzo Piano, you can enjoy a delicious lunch while taking in the Chicago skyline. Terzo Piano serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

John Hancock Building

John Hancock tilting glass

Image via Flickr by David Wilson.

The John Hancock Building has two great options for viewing Chicago. An observation deck on the 94th floor, 360 Chicago, offers a 360-degree view of the city and Lake Michigan. Trill-seekers can check out 360 Chicago’s TILT. TILT is a moving, enclosed platform that tilts brave souls out over Michigan Avenue. 360 Chicago includes a bar and cafe and is open daily.

The Signature Lounge is a second viewing option located on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building. The Signature Lounge is free to enter and offers spectacular views of the skyline, Navy Pier, and Lake Michigan.

Navy Pier

navy pier ferris wheel

Image via Flickr by Marcin Wichary

Originally built in 1916, the Navy Pier is a Chicago treasure. The 3300- foot-long pier boasts 50 acres of attractions, including parks, gardens,  and restaurants. The pier is one of the best places to take in the incredible Chicago skyline and the beauty of Lake Michigan. The Navy Pier is the only place you can take in the Chicago skyline on a Ferris wheel. Climb aboard the Centennial Wheel and soar 200 feet above the ground for a sweeping view of the city.

Adler Planetarium Pier

The pier at Adler Planetarium is a great place to walk with your sweetheart while taking in the Chicago skyline. The shoreline faces northwest, offering an impressive view of the city.

Promontory Point

Located on South Shore Lake Drive on the banks of Lake Michigan, Promontory Point is a great place to catch panoramic views of the Chicago skyline. With lots of walking paths and grassy areas, Promontory Point is a great place to relax with the family while enjoying the Chicago skyline.

There you have the 12 places offering the best views of Chicago. Do you think we missed any? If you have a favorite viewing spot that we missed, let us know, and we will be sure to add it to our list.