Best Places to Elope in Chicago
I have been having a blast photographing so many elopements in the past year and wanted to show you some of the best places to elope in Chicago! Kinda falling in love with the small, personal, intimate, low- stress choice of elopement. If you’re starting to think about eloping as a possible choice for YOU, I am here to help you plan your day, starting NOW! Here are some of my favorite spots in the city!
1. Lincoln Park Honeycomb
One of the most popular photo spots in the city, and for good reason!! This location has gorgeous views of the city, while being surrounded by a lush, natural wildflower landscape. Just a little outside of downtown, it’s a place where you can escape all of the city sounds and vibes while still getting some skyline views in! The Honeycomb at the Lincoln Park Boardwalk is available to rent out for a ceremony as is the dock located on the side of the Boardwalk. Such a perfect venue for anyone who loves Lincoln Park and wants to elope in Chicago without being right down in the city!
2. J. Parker
The J.Parker is a bar and restaurant on top of the Lincoln Hotel. You can rent out the whole bar OR just a section for your party!! I always recommend renting the southern side if possible, for the beautiful city views and indoor/outdoor features of the bar!! They do their own food, fancy cocktails and even light a fire at nightfall for you and your guests to enjoy. Elope with the Chicago skyline behind you or just head there for a reception with your close friends and family and enjoy dinner while watching the sunset over the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan.
3. North Avenue Beach
One of my very favorite spots to photograph in the city is North Avenue Beach!! By far the best skyline view in the city, and being on the little pier makes it feel so private and perfect for an elopement. Get married as the sun sets over the city OR for a bit more privacy, head there at sunrise and have the city views all to yourself! It takes a little walk to get out on the pier, but it is beyond worth it for these city views while being right on Lake Michigan!! Head HERE to check out a recent blog at North Ave Beach!
4. Cindy’s Rooftop
You had to know there would be more than a few rooftop options on this Chicago list. Cindy’s Rooftop is a gorgeous location where you can rent out the deck of the Chicago Athletic Association, Cindy’s. It overlooks Millennium Park with a unique view of the city. Cindy’s even has a private room for you and your guests to enjoy an intimate dinner after your ceremony and it is decorated perfectly for any event !! In addition, the staff at Cindy’s are incredible and it is quite a fancy affair which makes it one of the best places to elope in Chicago!
5. City Hall
City Hall has to be mentioned on this list!! One of the top places to elope in Chicago!! Head to the courthouse and get married surrounded by all of your people (and your photographer!). These ceremonies are quick and easy and leave you all the time to run around the city afterward, doing portraits or just enjoying the day with each other or your friends and family. City Hall is by far the easiest option when planning to elope!! All you have to do is show up, wait in line and you can get married!! Head HERE to see a recent City Hall elopement!
6. Backyard, Airbnb or B&B
It can be a little overwhelming thinking about allllll the options of places to elope in Chicago. If you want something simple and personal that works for you and your family to all gather at one place, your backyard, stoop, or renting an airbnb might be the thing for you!! There are so many amazing rentals in the city (and talk about saving some money on a venue!!). A few of my favorites that I just have to mention are Wicker Park Inn & Publishing House Chicago… But don’t let this list stop you, head to Airbnb and see ALL the amazing options!
7. Women’s Park
A little secret spot for you!! Women’s Park is just south of Millennium Park and is hidden off on a side street. It is also right next to a wedding venue, Glessner House, which could be a perfect place for a reception. But Women’s Park on it’s own is beautiful and often used for wedding ceremonies. It gives off beautiful nature vibes, while still being close enough to the city to enjoy some portraits in the city before or after!! I love all the beautiful portrait options in the park as well.
8. Your Favorite Bar or Restaurant
One of my favorites is getting married at your favorite bar or restaurant. Maybe it is the place you met, had your first date, or a bar you frequent together!! You will get to enjoy a place you love and get married in a spot that means something to your relationship. You already know you love the vibes, people who work there, and the food, so no surprises!! This could be for a ceremony or to meet all of your family and friends afterwards for a reception. The options are endless with all of the great restaurants in Chicago. And there are so many gorgeous ones too!! A few of my favorites are Osteria Via Stato, Little Goat Diner, River Roast, and The Dawson.
9. Your Apartment… A Rooftop (or your BFF’s)
You don’t need a fancy hotel rooftop or expensive venue to get married… Sometimes you just need to get creative. Turn the rooftop of someone you know into a ceremony haven with florals or an arch. Those views of the city from personal rooftops are so unique and will be something to remember forever. Plus you can work with your photographer to make sure you are getting married during golden hour or as the sun is setting, so the glow of the city skyline starts just as you are saying your vows.
10. DL Loft
DL Loft is such a great spot in the city for an elopement!! Not only is there a great balcony full of cool mirrors for a ceremony. But the loft is also gorgeous indoors, perfect for a ceremony against the leaning windows or for an intimate dinner with friends and family. The open area makes a perfect little dance floor for a first dance. And there is even a bedroom upstairs that is perfect for getting ready in the morning, OR rent it out overnight and spend your first night as newlyweds in your wedding venue!!
11. Garfield Park Conservatory
Of course I have to mention Garfield Park Conservatory. This location is beautiful from every corner. There are endless spots for photos both indoors and outdoors. From crazy tropical plants filling the main room, to a room full of desert cacti, it really can’t be beat. There are many spots that would make an amazing elopement background, whether it’s just the two of you or together with your family and friends. This is such a hidden and unique spot in the city.. A must see! Find out more about how to book Garfield Park Conservatory HERE.
12. Millennium Park
Of course I can’t leave you without mentioning Millennium Park. This famous Chicago park has endless backdrops and the permit to photograph here is way affordable for these views!!! Basically Chicago’s Central Park. And the views are everything!! From getting married in front of the Bean to a park with the city backdrop, or just in front of the trees with pink flowers in the spring, ALL the locations here are gorgeous and so perfect for a small ceremony. Some of my favorite spots in Millennium Park for a ceremony are Lurie Garden, Cancer Survivors Garden, Buckingham Fountain, and Spirit of Music Garden. Being a Chicago staple makes it one of the best places to elope in Chicago!
13. A Boat on Lake Michigan
All right, I have to be honest…the picture above isn’t one on Lake Michigan. BUT I have seen elopements done on a boat in Lake Michigan or around the riverwalk and it is perfect. Picture this…The two of you, a few of your closest people, and your photographer on a boat on Lake Michigan…A sunny day lighting up the entire skyline behind you as you say your ‘I do’s.’ It is such a perfect idea for a summer wedding and is on the top of my bucket list!! You have to admit this would be considered a best places to elope in Chicago!!
14. Ambassador Chicago Hotel
I know… I know.. Another rooftop.. But trust me, the Ambassador Chicago Hotel is one of the best rooftops in the city. This rooftop is unique due to its smaller size. You can rent the entire thing for not only your ceremony but a small dinner with your people!! The views are incredible. Being on the North side of the city, they are views you don’t see from most rooftops downtown, plus you get a glimpse of Lake Michigan too, making it even more magical!. I should also mention I love photographing in this hotel in general. From the rooftop to the lobby to the guest rooms, everything is just picture perfect!
15. Alfred Lily Pond
And finally, a super popular spot—Alfred Lily Pond!! This is a perfect escape from the city while still being right IN the city. It is up in Lincoln Park but you see nothing but nature when you walk inside the gates. The small wooden pavilion is perfect for a small wedding ceremony and gives you views of the Lily Pond and all the trees. Plus every time I photograph here, the lighting is just perfect… It is just one of those magical spots!! Head HERE to find out more information on how to rent the space for your day!
Other honorable mentions: