Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Fri September 30 2016

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | September 30, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Best Free Views in Chicago

    Best Free Views in Chicago

    PHOTO: The view from North Avenue Beach. (photo by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates)

    With skyscrapers elegantly lining the lakefront, the Chicago skyline is a world famous vista that every visitor must see. Of course, the most legendary viewpoints are from those very skyscrapers, with the John Hancock Observatory and Willis Tower Skydeck supplying the most popular views. There are also scads of trendy rooftop lounges that boast wonderful panoramas. The thing is, all of these options charge for the chance to bask in the Windy City’s beauty. But for frugal travelers, there are ways to enjoy scenic views of Chicago without paying a dime. Check out these free Chicago viewpoints from around the city.

    North Avenue Beach

    This Lincoln Park beach is the most scenic and is always mobbed with hipsters, volleyball players and drunken beach partiers in the warm months. But you can avoid all of that at North Avenue Beach by heading a little south of the beach house and sitting on one of the stone ledges to take in a spectacular skyline view. You might have to dodge joggers and bikers to get to the ledge in the summer but after Labor Day, the beach is relatively quiet.

    Navy Pier

    The boardwalk and Centennial Wheel are landmark Navy Pier features, but sometimes all the activities overshadow the fact that this waterfront spot offers some of the best views in Chicago. The lineup of cloud-topping buildings edging the lake with boats adding to the scene is pretty any time but go at night for the most striking images. The Centennial Wheel puts on a light show and the twinkling buildings across the water make for a truly magical sight.

    READ MORE: Chicago for Chocoholics

    State Street Bridge

    Formally known as the Bataan Corregidor Bridge, locals just call this historic bridge that folds over the Chicago River at State Street, the State Street Bridge. You might not pay much attention to this rust-colored structure but you will notice the iconic views it offers, especially the corncob-shaped Marina Towers and the Wrigley Building rising up over the river.

    Promontory Point

    A man-made peninsula that tips out into Lake Michigan in the Hyde Park Neighborhood, Promontory Point provides a lovely backdrop of the lake, the skyline and the natural landscape of Burnham Park, where the site is located. The beauty of the scenery makes this a popular picnic and wedding spot. There are smooth rocks edging the water that are perfect for sitting and capturing the perfect shot.

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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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