Architecture in Chicago: A Photography Tour

Give me architecture over fine art any day. When you’re a minimalist, function and form go hand in hand.

Architecture, urban planning, public space … Just walking around my new city feels like I’m a full-time resident of a living museum.

Since moving to Chicago, I’ve been on three architectural tours and visited 10 different apartment buildings. I love how everyone in Chicago is equally proud of their city and its architecture.

Here are some of my favorite photos of Chicago architecture so far.

Trump Tower from the El Train
Trump Tower from the El Train

My favorite thing about Donald Trump is his skyscraper hotel/condo building, one of my favorite post-modern buildings in Chicago. Here’s a photo from my ‘L’ Train tour with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. If you’re a public transportation, architecture or urban planning geek, check out this tour. Better yet, it’s year-round (unlike the fabulous but weather-dependent river cruise).

Chicago Architecture Foundation river cruise
Chicago Architecture Foundation river cruise

The famous Wrigley Building from the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s river cruise aboard the Chicago’s First Lady boat down the Chicago River. Good fun. Cold, but a unique view to Chicago’s architecture. Led by outlandishly knowledgeable docents from the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Chicago's Modernist Nuveen building, designed to mirror the color and flow of the green Chicago river
Chicago’s Modernist Nuveen building, designed to mirror the color and flow of the greenish Chicago river.

Another photo from the CAF river cruise. We went in the end of November, as we wanted to make sure we caught it before winter (the cruise runs April to November). I’m glad we went, but I’d suggest going on a slightly warmer day.

 

The iconic Chicago Theatre sign behind the El Train in the Loop
The iconic Chicago Theatre sign behind the El Train in the Loop.

I took this photo of the theater district’s iconic sign behind the El Train on our way to classes at Second City, while watching pigeons gather under the station’s heat lamp for warmth against the falling snow. Except for eating pizza while watching the Bears on a Sunday at Giordano’s, the most Chicago moment of our lives so far.

Chicago skyline
Chicago skyline

The view of the Chicago skyline from the first place we stayed when The Finn and I arrived. Not bad. (Our current view is mostly the office building next door, with snippets of skyline and water.)

 

The Chicago City Model, behind the Chicago Architecture Foundation Shop
The Chicago City Model, behind the Chicago Architecture Foundation Shop in the historic Santa Fe building (just across from Millennium Park).

Just behind the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) shop at 224 South Michigan is the Chicago City Model, a 320-square-foot replica of Chicago and its famous skyline. Apparently, it’s even kept up to date as buildings go up or come down. The CAF also puts up free exhibits around the model in what’s known as the Atrium Gallery. Bonus: The entire building is historic: The Santa Fe building is a classic example of the Chicago School style, built in 1904 by the DH Burnham & Co architects.

 

Chicago Architecture Foundation shop
The top-notch Chicago Architecture Foundation shop.

Interested in getting to know more about architecture? The Chicago Architecture Foundation shop sells thousands of groovy items. Better yet, they’re mostly educational, beautiful, astoundingly practical, or all three. I wish I knew someone who would appreciate the Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater Lego set for $125.

 

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