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Cascading waterfalls hidden in a forest, towering cliffs over pristine blue water, a rolling field of lavender… Yes, I love to travel and visit the natural wonders all around world. But there’s something beautiful, also, about the stark contrasts and clean lines of skyscrapers reaching above you and the hustle of people crowding the streets. And when it comes to urban landscapes, Chicago is one of my favorites.

I spent a too-short weekend celebrating Easter just outside of the Windy City, but I made sure to take an afternoon trip downtown. I met a friend in the lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center to soak in a birds-eye view of the city before hitting the streets to capture my favorite sights on camera.

My favorite photo-op of Chicago is at the river. The buildings look so grand rising above the water, and you can marvel at the mixture of architecture. Old meets new: the old staple of the corncob-shaped Marina City stands its ground across from 77 West Wacker (formerly known as the United Airlines Building, a personal favorite) and the sleek new Trump tower. Turn your gaze north of the river and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower beckons visitors to cross the street for a closer look.

A trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without finding the best angle to capture the Bean. From there, I walked up Monroe Street to revel in the lobby of the Palmer House, now a Hilton hotel, which is a wedding location dream and features a ceiling of Grecian frescoes by Louis Pierre Rigal.

Take a look at some of my favorite shots of Chicago, and let me know what else I need to check out next time I’m in the Windy City!

Chicago, Hallie Rybka Chicago river view, Hallie Rybka Chicago, Hallie Rybka Chicago, Hallie Rybka Trump Chicago, Hallie Rybka Chicago, Hallie Rybka Chicago, Hallie Rybka Palmer House Chicago, Hallie Rybka

Photos by Michael Ciuni // Canon T3i, 24-105mm f/4L