I have lived in SO many different cities, from Pittsburgh to Denver and Virginia Beach… but I have to say that there is something special about Chicago! After living here I have really come to appreciate just how versatile, beautiful, and LIMITLESS this place is! Whether you live downtown, in the burbs, or are planning your destination engagement, Chicago and it’s surrounding areas will NOT disappoint!
When my couples and I start discussing Chicago engagement session locations, I always start by asking what the two of you like to do together. Do you like to hang out at the beach? Or maybe a nice walk through the woods? Is a walk through the busy streets hand in hand a dream night in Chicago? How about a little hangout at the coffee shop? Seriously, there are no limits, so starting with an engagement session location that really fits your personalities is key!
If you’re having trouble, here are my top 5 favorite Chicago Engagement Locations to help get your wheels turning!
The Chicago Riverwalk
Sunset. Midday. Sunset. The Chicago Riverwalk is a great place for your engagement session. There are SO MANY options and gorgeous spots, even ones that you might not expect!
TIP: If you’re having your engagement session at the Chicago Riverwalk during the week, try and make it a sunrise session! The light will be great, and the crowds will be minimal!
A favorite of my 2019 couples, the Naperville Riverwalk is so gorgeous! It’s a great combination of a downtown feel and a beautiful country park! Think covered bridges, tall trees, and awesome fountains.
This one isn’t QUITE one place, but I love everything that Lake County has to offer! Just a short drive from downtown Chicago, the small towns and preserves are the perfect location for your engagement session. The best part is that each one looks completely different based on the time of year! Flower filled meadows in the spring, tall grasses and black-eyed susans in the fall, and snow covered wonderlands in the winter!
It really has a small town feel, and is perfect for a sweet down-home engagement.
TIP: All Lake County Forest Preserves require a permit, but don’t worry! I have an annual membership and we can get into ANY park!
Sunrise Beach & Kenosha Sand Dunes
Alright, I combined these two because I just couldn’t choose my favorite. While the Sand Dunes in Kenosha are a bit of a drive from downtown Chicago, it is SO worth it! This hidden little gem in Wisconsin is tucked away at the end of a short walk down a really gorgeous trail. Also, bonus, the sun sets in exactly the right spot for some golden flair!
Sunrise Beach is an adorable little neighborhood beach that’s perfect for your engagement session! The best part is the lack of a “do not climb on rocks” sign, which let’s face it, you can’t find in the city anymore!
TIP: If you’re not a Lake Bluff Resident, there is a small fee of $5 per person for beach access during the summer!
I love Olive Park for so many reasons! It has some amazing photo op spots, including an amazing view of the Chicago Skyline! If you’re wanting that true downtown Chicago engagement session, this is really a great location! This Olive Park session happened during sunrise, which is how we got the DREAMY light!
Tips for Choosing a Chicago Engagement Location
- Ask your photographer about permits. MANY of those popular Chicago engagement locations within the city require a permit. These range anywhere from $60 to $500 and up in some cases! Also, they take a few weeks to process, so just make sure that you know all of the details!
- You don’t have to go conventional. Hardware store garden centers, Airbnbs, or even your own street all make great engagement spots!
- Have fun with it. This isn’t really about your location, your outfits, or the weather. This is about showing that engaged glow! So you can’t go wrong no matter what you choose for your Chicago Engagement Session!