This post is dedicated to the best spots along the Chicago River. I'll start with 6 spots that are the best along the river. It's always easier to see what I'm explaining. These are in no particular order, but number 18th Street is my favorite location. Also keep in mind that most of these spots are on bridges. Bridges often shake. So when using a tripod keep shake in mind.
I tried adding Google Maps to show you exactly where the locations were, but Smugmug doesn't allow iframes, the properties behind the embedding for Google maps. Some of these locations should be self-explanatory already. If you have any questions on the whereabouts of any of these locations just message me.
State and Wacker Drive
This is one of my favorite spots to shoot from with my fish-eye lens. It offers a stunning array of architecture; from old and new. Not only that, but it is near the Veteran's Memorial. It has views of the IBM Plaza, Trump International Hotel & Tower, Hancock, Wrigley Building, Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront, and the Marina Towers.
When to shoot: This view is best had during blue hour.
333 N. Canal Street
This spot offers great views of the downtown skyline, but unfortunately it may soon be gone due to recent developments in new buildings.
This entire area has been recently renovated. So the look might be a bit different now.
When to shoot: Anytime of the day is good, but I like night and blue hour at this location
Trump International Hotel & Tower
Again, I know this spot is also real close to State Street, but it's like another world on this side of the river. Especially from the grounds of the Trump. I've heard of people getting the boot around here before so be careful. As long as you keep to yourself you shouldn't be bothered. Here is a photo that I've never published before from Below Trump Tower.
Under Lake Shore Drive
This spot is definitely sketchy. First off, it's located on a double bridge. Secondly Lake Shore Drive is heavily busied with traffic at most times of the day. So bridge shake is definitely happening. When I shot here it was 4:30 in the morning on a Sunday so traffic was kind of weak. You can shoot below the bridge from the Riverwalk without any shake. Both spots offer stunning skyline views. The other not so great thing about this spot is the parking. You can park on Lower Lower Wacker and chance it or walk a mile down the Riverwalk. You can also park on Ohio Street and trek over to the bridge.
Kinzie Street Bridge
This is the shakiest of all the bridges in Chicago. I just mentioned Lake Shore Drive being bad, but this bridge really tests my patience at times. This spot is fairly easy to get to in terms of parking and walking. I deal with the heavy flow of cabs shaking the bridge because the view is second to none in the city. If you're looking to get an iconic view of the city this is it.
When to shoot: Get here early in the morning. The less traffic that goes over the bridge the better. Lots of vibration from moving cars.
18th Street Bridge
This spot will always be my favorite place to shoot from no matter how sketchy it can appear at times. This is outside the downtown area along the south river branch. There is parking near Canal and there is parking near the baseball field on 18th and Wentworth. This spot overlooks Ping Tom Memorial Park.