Yep. There’s snow on the ground. Again. In mid April. A few weeks ago I shared a few of my favorite Chicago engagement session locations with you guys. Given the crummy weather, I thought I’d share a few favorite indoor Chicago engagement locations for when the weather just won’t cooperate. A majority of these can also work for your wedding day, so take note! These are just a few recent favorites of mine. I’d love to hear more of your ideas, so be sure to share in the comments below.
It’s hard not to fall in love with the winding, spiral staircase at the Rookery. When I see this staircase, I instantly think Chicago. Lucky for you, it’s an option for your engagement or wedding portraits!
The Rookery Building is located 209 S LaSalle St. in the Financial District of Chicago. A photo permit is required in order to take photos here and you must purchase the permit in advance. Prices range from approximately $150-$300, depending on the length of your reservation and what locations you’d like to use.
Photo sessions can be scheduled between 6:00am-8:30am and anytime after 5:30pm on Mondays through Fridays. Reservations can be made anytime after 2pm on Saturdays or anytime on Sundays. Because the Rookery also hosts many weddings and events, please keep in mind that weekend availability may be limited.
This is perfect for when you want summer, but Chicago gives you snow. Cold will not be an issue at Garfield Park Conservatory. It’s always warm, humid and filled with greenery and beautiful light. Rain or shine, this place is a Chicago gem and great for engagement photos.
Garfield Park Conservatory is located at 300 N. Central Park Avenue, offers free parking and is open from 9:00AM-5:00PM. You do need to purchase a Photo Permit through Chicago Park Districts to take photos here. CPD requires a $35 application fee + a $45 photo permit fee for 1 hour of pictures.
Address: 300 N. Central Park Avenue
Photo Permit Required: Yes
Cost of Permit: $80
Parking: Free Street Parking & Parking Lot
For those of you looking for a romantic, classic, city look, The Art Institute of Chicago is the best. Even when the weather isn’t an issue, this is a gorgeous location for photos. You can easily do your entire session here from start to finish. And hey, if it happens to be nice outside, the gardens are my favorite.
To avoid crowds, I recommend taking photos at the Art Institute during weekdays or weekend mornings. To avoid the lines, preorder your tickets in advance. Tickets are listed at $25 per adult. The Art Institute is open from 11:00AM-5:00PM, Thursdays through Mondays. As long as the photoshoot is unobtrusive, no photo permit is required.
Tip: The Art Institute currently opens at 10:00am for members only. If you happen to be a member, I’d strongly recommend taking your photos as soon as they open. It will feel like you have the entire museum to yourself!
Address: 111 S. Michigan Avenue
Hours: Thursday through Monday, 11am-5pm
Photo Permit Required: No, Please read through the Art Institute’s rules on photography
Ticket Cost: $25 per adult
Parking: Valet (available at 159 E. Monroe entrance, $28 cash only) or Grant Park South Garage
If you gravitate towards an eclectic, vintage vibe, Salvage One is a great option for the engagement session. The loft setting, exposed brick walls, stained glass windows and rooms filled with funky furniture and vintage antiques makes for a fun and one-of-a-kind location. Did I mention you’ll have access to all 3 of their floors, 60,000 square feet of space, and their outdoor courtyard?
Salvage One is available for photo shoots Monday-Sunday, but you need to arrange an appointment with them in advance. Keep in mind, they are open to the public Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. If you’d like the place to yourself, I recommend scheduling a photo shoot during the week.
Address: 1840 W Hubbard Street
Hours: By Appointment
Photo Permit: Yes
Parking: Free Street Parking
This is more of a miscellaneous category, but if you’re stuck, think of where you and your fiance spend your time together. Maybe it’s a cool coffee shop or West Loop bar. Maybe you loiter around bowling alleys, pie shops or vintage movie theaters. Finding a place that already makes you feel at home will give your photos that extra personal touch.
For these types of indoor locations, always call ahead and ask for permission. You’ll find many business owners happy to let you use their space, but they may prefer you come in at a certain time or be restricted to a specific area.