Finding Beauty in the City

Chicago is a bustling metropolis filled with cultural diversity, history and entertainment. Yet it also contains stunning natural sanctuaries that make you feel like you're miles away from busy city streets—places like Promontory Point, one of my favorite spots in Chicago (pictured at sunrise).

City life can sometimes be draining, so it's important to rediscover the gifts of Mother Nature—in fact, research has found that hiking outdoors can actually be beneficial to your brain. This summer as you're exploring the city during our Find Your Way initiative, I challenge you to capture what's beautiful in Chicago: parks both large and small, forests, conservatories, riverwalks and the lakefront.

The National Audubon Society and Sierra Club are both dedicated to conserving nature, and they create exquisite photos to showcase the planet's beauty. Check out the National Audubon Society Guide to Nature Photography or The Sierra Club Guide to 35 Mm Landscape Photography to see how they do it!

Hands down, I can't think of a more incredible nature photographer than Ansel Adams, whose epic black and white images enchant viewers of all ages. From gigantic landscapes to close-ups on roses and tree branches, there's a calmness in his photos that nurtures the soul. Travel the nation with Ansel Adams in the National Parks or read the artist's autobiography, Ansel Adams, An Autobiography, to find out more about his life.

Now it's your turn to go exploring and share your opinions of Chicago's natural wonders with sketches, photos and videos in our Teen Chicago Travel Guide, opens a new window. Want to learn more about nature photography before you hit the trail? I've created a list of resources to get you started.

What's your favorite natural landmark in Chicago?

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