A new study places Chicago in the top 10 most Instagrammable places across the globe.
By Danielle Braff
(Chicago) Chicago has always been known for having some of the best hot dogs, sports teams and deep dish pizza. Now, the Windy City can add another accolade: Most Instagrammable City.
A new study by Big 7 Travel of the most Instagrammable places in the world in 2021, ranked Chicago number 10, with Chicago beating other notable cities including Madrid, Hong Kong and even Santorini, Greece. Tokyo claimed the number one spot on the list, while the only place in the United States to rank higher than Chicago was New York, snagging the number four spot.
Big 7 Travel judged the spots by looking at the number of hashtags they found per destination, along with survey results and editorial input. Some of the Instagrammable attributes Big 7 credited to Chicago were the Bean in Millennium Park, along with the retro Chicago Theatre.
“Chicago” on its own has been tagged on Instagram more than 51 million times. Top Chicago posts contain the skyline, the pizza, the Chicago Bulls, Cubbies and White Sox.
Tokyo, by comparison, has been tagged nearly 56 million times. But Chicago has its devotees, who wouldn’t trade their city for the world.
Jennifer Lake, a 39-year-old executive vice president of Zapwater Communications, founder of Style Charade and one of the top influencers in Chicago, says that Chicago breeds thumb-stopping content thanks to its diverse neighborhoods, its people and its cultural institutions.
“One minute, you’ll find new breathtaking street art in Pilsen, and the next, you’re touring the newest exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.”
Her favorite Chicago Instagram spots include the Pilson neighborhood, specifically on 18th street from Loomis to Ashland, which Lake describes as “an art museum” due to its street art and its murals. Lake also loves taking shots at Mott St restaurant, 1401 N Ashland Ave.
“This restaurant is almost like a living art gallery,” Lake says. “I love the fact they constantly tap new artists to change the exterior murals.”
Chicago also has extraudinary architecture, an amazing skyline and a gorgeous lake - which provide a fantastic photographic backdrops, says Jessica Alzamora, a full-time Chicago-based influencer. Alzamora likes to wander through the city to find street art, posing with the art and often with food from Chicago restaurants.
She says she often heads under the Bloomingdale Trail by The 606, which used to be an abandoned set of train tracks. There, she finds beautiful art which changes block by block. She also likes going to Humboldt Park, Pilsen and Little Village, where the Latino culture comes alive through the art, food and architecture.
“I travel a lot, and haven’t seen any other cities as beautiful and clean at the same time,” Alzamora says.
Not sure where to start? Lake says anywhere in Chicago can be beautiful, you just need to keep your eyes . . . away from your phone.
“I’m a big believer that you can find beauty in any location if you keep your eyes up and open - so not looking at your phone or not paying attention,” Lake says. Anything in the city can be inspirational, from the changing seasons to the residential and commercial developments to the nitty gritty industrial areas of the city. Of course, places like the Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N Central Park Ave., and Crown Fountain in Millennium Park, appear to have been created for Instagram. The conservatory is open year-round and is always in bloom, while the Crown Fountain sprays water from 50-fott block towers projecting video images of Chicagoans onto delighted children throughout the warmer months
Perhaps Chicago should now be added to the “Wonders of the World” list? Just an idea.