Chicago family friendly Holiday Travel & City Adventures

Best Places for Holiday Photos (indoor & outdoor)

There are so many places in Chicago to take beautiful family and group photos, but here are a few of my favorite spots that are indoor and outdoors!

‘Tis the season for holiday photos! Everything all families love right? (hah). This is the first year we have decided to take family holiday photos in Chicago. We decided we need to update some of our photos as a family of 4 now, so we headed out to take some around the city! We took photos outside and believe me, were were freezing! But they turned out so cute and I am really glad we did it. We used Michelle Cox Photography and very happy with the final photos.

After some research and crowdsourcing, I listed some indoor and outdoor places because we know the Chicago weather 🙂 Here are some places, indoors and outdoors, to take holidays pictures!

There are some affiliate links below at no charge to you to click through!

*For some of these locations, you might need to apply for a photo permit ($45) with the Chicago Park District*


Lincoln Park Zoo

I really like this location for a few reasons. There are SO many shooting locations. There is the honeycomb, the bridge, the lawn in front of the conservatory, the Lily Pond, the tall grass along the petting zoo and more! We even did our baby announcement with Mila here. Plus you can always run inside the zoo for the bathroom 🙂

Humboltd Park

There’s a lot of tall grass and wide open spaces to take some really great shots in front of the boat house. It’s also a bird and wildlife sanctuary, you might get a few animals in your shot. I think with a layer of fresh snow, it would be beautiful!

Montrose Beach

I personally think this has one of the best views of the skyline. There is also the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary there as well that we like to go to when it’s warm out.

31st Street Beach

Just south of the Museum Campus is the 31st street beach. This is actually one of my favorite beaches in the city, there’s beautiful skyline views and easy parking. It’s right off the highway! In the summer, it’s never too crowded and the public bathrooms are great.

Tom (Ping) Memorial Park

Located in Chinatown, this park has more of an industrial feel, but could be something different for your photos! This park offers a ton of things like an athletic field, playground, walking paths by the river, and a boat house, which is open for kayak rentals during the summer. Public restrooms are also available when the boathouse vendor is open.

Milton Lee Olive Park

If you are looking some some up close skyline views, this park is for you. This location is also perfect for engagement photos! It’s located just north of Navy Pier and just east of Ohio Street Beach.


900 Shops

This is located in the 900 N. Michigan Avenue building. They have such a pretty tree, santa and just decorated beautifully. You could take some really nice holidays photos in front of the tree!

Union Station

Union Station decorates beautifully for the holidays! The architecture would make for some really unique holiday photos. Plus, you can head out to the Adams Street bridge for some quick photos outside!

Museum Science and Industry

They have their annual Christmas Trees Around the World Exhibit. It actually started in 1942! There are several tree and holiday lights that would make nice backdrops for holiday cards.


The Lincoln Park or Garfield Park Conservatory are both perfect for family photos! The lighting is always great and it’s nice and warm! We have taken photos at the Lincoln Park Conservatory when the weather is bad even in the summer. They turned out great! See below of our baby announcement!

The Lincoln Park Conservatory has great lighting and always nice and warm! Makes a great location for family photos
Lincoln Park Conservatory
So many great photo opportunities throughout the Lincoln Park Conservatory
Lincoln Park Conservatory
The lawn in front of the Lincoln Park Conservatory has the entire Chicago skyline in the background.
Find your favorite hotel!

There are so many beautiful hotels in Chicago, like the JW Marriott or Langham that decorate beautifully! I would just give them a call and ask to talk to a manager.

There are so many more places, but here are a few spots that would make great family photos! Some tips I learned to create the best photos is:

  • Bring snacks and toys for the kiddos!
  • A warm blankets
  • Look through the dollar section at Target. I found these lights and confetti to add some props to your photos

Let me know what you think! You can find me on Instagram here.

Until next time,


%d bloggers like this: