Chicago is a bustling metropolis filled with architectural marvels, beautiful parks, and awe-inspiring skyline views. While it's a photographer's dream, it's essential to know which locations require permits before setting up your camera and tripod. In this blog post, we'll discuss some of the key spots around the city that need permits, along with helpful resources to guide you through the process.

  1. Chicago Park District:
  2. The Chicago Park District oversees over 600 parks across the city. While some parks are free for casual photography, commercial photography, and larger productions may require a permit. Fees and application processes vary depending on the park and the nature of the shoot. Visit the Chicago Park District's website here for more information on obtaining a permit.
  3. Millennium Park:
  4. As one of the city's most iconic locations, Millennium Park is a popular destination for photographers. However, professional and commercial photography does require a permit. Learn more about the fees and application process here.
  5. Chicago Transit Authority (CTA):
  6. If you're looking to capture the essence of Chicago's public transportation system, you'll need a permit for commercial photography or filming on CTA property. More information about the requirements and application process can be found here.
  7. Public Buildings:
  8. Many public buildings, such as the Chicago Cultural Center, Harold Washington Library, and City Hall, require a permit for professional photography and filming. To obtain a permit for these locations, visit the City of Chicago's Film Office website here.
  9. Private Property and Businesses:
  10. Remember that if you plan to shoot on private property or inside a business, you'll need permission from the owner or management. Some locations may have their own permit requirements, so it's always best to inquire before shooting.


While this list covers some of the most popular spots for photography in Chicago, it's important to remember that every location is unique. Always research the permit requirements for your chosen location and follow all rules and regulations. By doing so, you'll ensure a smooth photography experience while capturing the beauty of Chicago.

Happy shooting!

Please note: This blog post was accurate at the time of writing, but rules and regulations may change. Always consult the relevant websites and authorities for the most up-to-date information.