Chicago Photography Guide Part 3 - CDOT Trains and Parking Garages

Chicago Photography Guide Part 3 - CDOT Trains and Parking Garages

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Written and Photographed by Mike Lindle


Heading out to Chicago but don’t know where to shoot? Are you feeling a little more adventurous? This guide maps out some hidden gems in the city from a few uncommon vantage points. These views are courtesy of Chicago Department of Transportation and the local Self-Parking Garages. This is Part 3 of a 4 part series on the best photography locations in Chicago:

Part 1 - The Classics

Part 2 - Waterways & Boats

Part 3 - CDOT Trains & Parking Lots

Part 4 - Alt Chicago

I’ve also included a few tips, the gear I used, and how to get to each location through Google Maps


L Train S-Curve at Wells Kinzie Garage

Chicago’s S-Curve is a popular location among Chicago night / long exposure photographers. It has become a hotspot for touring photographers throughout the world when they visit Chicago. It’s a unique view to catch a long exposure of the L Train passing through the S shaped curve in the tracks.

Chicago L Train CDOT Parking Garage Parking Deck View Kinzie Garage Blue Hour City Illinois Skyline Long Exposure
Chicago L Train CDOT Parking Garage Parking Deck View Kinzie Garage Blue Hour City Illinois Skyline Long Exposure

Double Q-Loop Parking Deck

Hidden in the heart of the Chicago Loop, this parking garage provides a unique look-down on their parking spiral, dubbed the “Double-Q”. Head straight into this parking deck and head up to the top floor to catch the view.

Chicago Parking Garage Deck View Double Q Loop Sunny Daylight City Illinois Skyline

Adams & Wabash Train Station Pedestrian Bridge

Adams & Wabash is an L station serving the CTA's Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, and Purple Lines. There are pedestrian bridges to cross the tracks at both ends of the platform. The north facing pedestrian bridge overlooks the tracks and Trump International Hotel. Make sure to time your shots with the passing trains! They run frequently during rush hour.

  • Pro Tip - The CDOT security guards apparently do not allow tripods. Execute the shot quick and head out before they ask you to pack up your equipment; or try a day composition!

  • Cost - $2.50 to tap through the turnstile.

  • Camera - Nikon D750

  • Lens - Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8D

  • Location

Chicago Adams and Wabash CDOT Pedestrian Bridge View Trump International Hotel Blue Hour City Illinois Skyline

View of Metra Railway Transfer from Lake Wells Self-Park

Another unassuming parking garage in The Chicago Loop. The views from this parking deck overlook the 4-way Metra Railway Transfer and is truly a unique subject to photograph.

Chicago Lake Wells Self Park Metra Railway Transfer CDOT Parking Garage Parking Deck View Blue Hour City Illinois Skyline Long Exposure

Skyline Reflection at 200 N Clark St Parking Garage

Practically hidden to the naked eye, this parking garage sits at the bottom 11-or-so floors of a taller office building with glass siding. Head inside head up to the parking garage, you’ll need to stand on the siding and poke your head over the ledge to enjoy the view! Make sure you time your shots to photograph the passing trains, or bring a subject to shoot with! (or both)

Chicago 200 N Clark St Parking Garage Self Park Deck View Blue Hour Sunset City Illinois Skyline 2 Prudential Plaza Reflection
Chicago 200 N Clark St Parking Garage Self Park Deck View Blue Hour Sunset City Illinois Skyline Reflection
Chicago 200 N Clark St Parking Garage Self Park Deck View Blue Hour Sunset City Illinois Skyline Reflection

Jackson Station Pedestrian Tunnel from Red to Blue Line

Surreal looking nearly Tron-themed pedestrian tunnel allows pedestrians to connect between the Red and the Blue Lines at Jackson Station. Bring a friend and frame up some cool portraits if that’s your thing!

  • Pro Tip - Don’t explore this location too late, it gets a little shady down there after hours!

  • Cost - $2.50 to tap through the turnstile.

  • Camera - Nikon D750

  • Lens - Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art

  • Location

Chicago Red and Blue Line Pedestrian Tunnel CDOT City Illinois Subway
Chicago Red and Blue Line Pedestrian Tunnel CDOT City Illinois Subway

Next Time:

The Robey Hotel

CTA Cermak-McCormick Place - Green Line Station

Chicago Skyline Views from the 18th Street Bridge


If you enjoyed this, check out Focal Collective’s other content on the Focal Points section of our website. Feel free to look through our Artist Interview Series as well!

Chicago Photography Guide Part 4 - Alt Chicago

Chicago Photography Guide Part 4 - Alt Chicago

Chicago Photography Guide Part 2 - Waterways and Boats

Chicago Photography Guide Part 2 - Waterways and Boats

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