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The 7 Best Apartment Views in Downtown Chicago

Chicago is packed full of head-turning views. What other city has a Great Lake, one of the world’s most recognizable skylines and a serene river snaking right through its downtown? Only Chicago, and we’re the lucky ones that get to call it home. 

If you’re fortunate enough to live in downtown Chicago, you know that a great view is practically priceless. There’s nothing more gratifying than waking up to a sunrise over Lake Michigan or coming home to the bright lights of the skyline right outside your window. 

Living in an apartment with a stellar view is a little luxury that adds invaluable ambiance to your home, and let’s be real – you work hard and deserve it. 

Luxury apartments are going up, up, up all over Chicago’s best downtown neighborhoods, but not all views are created equal. If you’re looking for an apartment with a great view, we’re here with a little advice. We surveyed our team of knowledgeable leasing agents (the greatest team in the city!) and when it comes to the best apartment views in Chicago, they definitely have favorites. 

1. Best View from a Pool: Eleven40

If you live in Chicago, you know we relish summertime. After trudging our way through snow and sleet for months, we deserve all the heat and humidity we can handle. And I’ll take mine poolside, thank you very much. 

Having access to a rooftop pool is one of my favorite luxury apartment amenities. Is it necessary? Nah. Is it splendid? YES! 

A bird’s eye view of the city reveals downtown rooftops are littered with pools. But – there’s one with a view that team HotSpot thinks rises above the rest: South Loop’s Eleven40.  

A view of the rooftop pool and Lake Michigan at from downtown Chicago's Eleven 40 luxury apartments
Peek a view of Lake Michigan while sitting poolside at Eleven40 in South Loop.

The View Goes On and On… 

Eleven40 sits just a half-mile off Lake Michigan in South Loop. It has 26 floors of gorgeous downtown living topped with one magnificent rooftop pool complete with an insane view. Since the south view is unobstructed, the glimpse of the lake and the city goes on, well…forever. 

The party doesn’t stop in the pool. Bring some grub to barbecue on one of the rooftop’s gas grills. When the sun sets and the air turns cool, take a dip in the hot tub or sit around the fire pit with a bottle of wine.  

A rooftop view of Chicago's South Loop from Eleven 40 luxury apartments
Light the fire and enjoy the south view from the Eleven40 rooftop.

Details Below Deck

There’s more to love about Eleven40 below that incredible view too. I love the modern, comfortable vibe that this building gives off. Natural elements like wood, stone, leather and marble are used throughout the lobby and other shared spaces, which are super unique and eclectic. 

From the club room to the game room, and even the music room (yes, a music room!), it’s packed with crazy-cool spaces. And the apartments are awesome too; complete with floor to ceiling windows and sleek and shiny kitchens. 

My final selling point on Eleven40 – it’s across the street from Trader Joe’s. Nothing like being able to grab a bag of pickle popcorn on a whim (seriously…have you tried that stuff?!). 

2. Most Impressive Lake View: 1350 N Lake Shore Drive

Looking for a piece of serenity in the middle of the city? 1350 Lake Shore Drive is a little slice of tranquil heaven smack dab in one of my favorite locations in Chicago. 

This luxury apartment’s lakeside perch and incredible views mean it easily takes the trophy for the best view of Lake Michigan. I could gaze out at the blue sky and aqua water all day long. And, it’s lucky residents can…

The view of beautiful Lake Michigan from 1350 N Lakeshore Drive in Chicago
The view from 1350 Lakeshore Drive’s terrace makes you feel like you’re practically on the water.

Good Morning, Gold Coast 

Wake up at 1350 N Lake Shore Drive and you don’t just have this insane view out your window, you have one of Chicago’s best neighborhoods right outside your door. The Gold Coast is home to world-class dining, shopping, entertainment and culture all wrapped up in quiet, tree-lined streets. Renters be warned – once you move to Gold Coast, you’re never gonna want to leave. And when you have views like this one, why would you? 

North vs. South 

Contrary to its namesake, 1350 N Lake Shore Drive is actually two buildings – 1350 AND 1360 N Lake Shore Drive. One sits to the north and one to the south. East-facing apartments in either building have breathtaking lake views, but I’m partial to the south building. The views facing south are less obstructed and all-together unbeatable. 

Between the two buildings, you’ve got everything you need to live comfortably. Renovated apartments, a fitness center and even a little outdoor dog park for your 4-legged buddy. Yup, you can bring your dog along to this great dog-friendly apartment

3. Favorite View from West Loop: Milieu

As its name implies, West Loop is a gem of a neighborhood that sits just west of the center of downtown Chicago. It’s a great location that attracts a lot of busy professionals who want downtown living, but a neighborhood-y vibe that’s just plain cool. It’s also becoming a landing pad for corporate headquarters making it a great place for Chicago newcomers looking for a fantastic neighborhood to relocate to. 

New luxury apartments are springing up in West Loop quicker than you can say “Chicago’s most hipster ‘hood”, and there’s one that our team is just loving – Milieu on the Park. Its views are the best in West Loop.

Mid-Rise Views 

That’s right – you don’t need to live in a high-rise to get a view that makes your heart flutter. With 19 floors, Milieu has mid-rise status, but a view that’s pretty dreamy. 

Night time view from West Loop's Milieu
A nighttime view from West Loop’s Milieu feels like an urban fairy tale.

Far enough from the cityscape for a view, but close enough to be standing in the middle of it in a heartbeat, Milieu’s east view is a smattering of skyscrapers and blue sky by day and twinkling stars and lights by night. 

Honestly, I love the west view too. In fact, my favorite spot in the building is on the southwest corner of the rooftop terrace. Curl up in a hammock and take in the sunset. And, just imagine spending the 4th of July at Milieu; you’ll be able to see fireworks from every suburb – amazing! And then there’s the park view. Milieu on the Park is literally on the park – Mary Bartelme Park sits just kitty-corner on the northwest side of the building. 

Sophisticated Styling and Services 

Every view you take in when you live at Milieu is, in a word, lovely! The design aesthetic has a European feel. It’s light, bright and modern but oh-so-cozy. The finishes are simple but high-end and both the amenity spaces and apartments are flooded with light. 

Speaking of amenities – you’ll love them. Milieu gives you more than just the standard pool and fitness center (gotta love luxury apartments when these are the standard). You’ll have services like a hotel-style concierge, a coffee bar with barista, and even cold storage for your Instacart deliveries. There’s even an on-site chef who will deliver meals right to your door. 

And yes, the other extras will make your head spin too. You’ll get conveniences such as bike storage and a parking garage as well as luxury amenities like a wellness studio and library. Every space is designed so beautifully; you’ll want to call Milieu home forever. 

4. Tallest View in Town: Nema

Take a look at the Chicago skyline and you’re sure to spy one very tall, very gorgeous tower that stands out from the rest. More than a high-rise, this luxury apartment building is a legit skyscraper. It’s South Loop’s NEMA and it was our unanimous winner of the tallest apartment view in Chicago.

With 76 floors reaching 896 feet into the sky, NEMA is Chicago’s tallest apartment building, making it a shoo-in for the tallest, most fabulous view from a residential building in the city. 

An evening view of Lake Michigan from luxury apartment building, NEMA
NEMA’s 48th-floor terrace is just one of its unreal outdoor living spaces – can you believe that view?! 

Resort-Style Living in the Clouds 

There’s certain clout that comes along with being a resident at NEMA. Its hospitality-style services, technology-equipped apartments and unparalleled design will leave you wanting for nothing. 

The views may draw you in, but it’s the amenities that will just about knock you over. Living at NEMA is like living at the best resort in downtown Chicago. It’s 70,000 square feet of amenity space is like your own personal playground. 

The “usual” amenities are beyond typical – you’ve got a state-of-the-art fitness center (including a boxing ring!), indoor and outdoor pools, more lounges than I can count on my hands and a kid’s club playroom that looks straight out of a fairy tale.  

For the Best View 

Let me be clear – there is not a bad view in NEMA. But, let me give you the inside scoop. If you’re looking for the very best view, snag a unit that’s north facing and above the 5th floor. You’ll be able to take in views of Lake Michigan, the heart of downtown, Grant Park and Navy Pier. 

A sky high view from NEMA Chicago
Looking north from one of NEMA’s resident lounges gives you a bird’s eye view of the whole city. 

I suggest above the 20th floor if you’re renting a unit facing west, east or south. Your monthly rent will be cheaper, but the views are still pretty cool! The east-facing view of Soldier Field is my top pick because I like the idea of watching the Bears from my couch while I watch the Bears out my window 

And then there are NEMA’s “Signature Collection” apartments. These exclusive units let you take in the views from your own (huge) recessed balcony or soaking tub that’s literally inches away from floor-to-ceiling windows. You don’t have to worry about neighbors because there aren’t any that high in the sky! 

5. Coolest River Views: Wolf Point West  

Yes, the lake is beautiful, but now I’m gonna focus on my very favorite water view in downtown Chicago – The Chicago River. Apartments with river views are tucked into the heart of downtown Chicago and give you the best of both worlds; an urban atmosphere and sparkling water right outside your window. 

And, we all agree that there’s one building with a river view to beat them all – Wolf Point West. 

This 46-floor wonder opened in early 2016 and is located right where the Chicago River branches. This means you get jaw-dropping river views in every direction, plus the bustling city right at your feet. 

A gorgeous downtown Chicago river view from luxury apartment building Wolf Point West
Wolf Point West’s downtown river views and soft sunrises are worth waking up for. 

Chicago River Apartment Views (And More!) 

It’s hard to emphasize how incredible these views are. And it’s not just the river…it’s the whole package. It’s like the view generates energy, youthfulness and and sense of urban-posh that’s actually tangible.

The best part about this view is that it’s yours 24/7. After sunset (and just wait till you see those sunsets!), the city doesn’t sleep. The lights from neighboring high-rises and lit-up bridges create a night-sky scene that makes an urban-dweller’s heart sing. 

For the best apartment view of the river, I suggest renting a unit on the south or west side. It might seem counterintuitive, but the lower floor units on the west side give you the best river views. And if you want to compromise on an apartment view, all you need to do is head to the gym, resident lounge or one of the outdoor sundecks to take in the best views Wolf Point West has to offer. 

Enviable Neighborhood Access 

If the views are the #1 reason to rent at Wolf Point West, then its location is #2. You’ll technically have a River North address, but a few steps across the north branch of the river and you’re in Fulton River. Jump to the south and you’re in the Loop. 

That means you have everything (literally everything) within reach. The Chicago Riverwalk is in your front yard. Millennium Park is less than a mile stroll away. Restaurants, coffee shops, nightlife, theater…the list goes on and on.  

6. Best Cityscape View: Niche 905

There’s nothing quite like the Chicago skyline. It’s iconic. From the Willis (ahem, Sears) Tower to the John Hancock Center, and even new skyscrapers like our #4 pick NEMA, the Chicago skyline is always expanding but forever classic. 

Our pick for best city view is Niche 905. This Near North beauty opened in 2017 to a neighborhood that was hungry for luxury apartments in an otherwise underserved market. 

When I tell customers about Niche’s million-dollar view they often doubt that it’s north west location could really offer a view that is worthy, but trust me, it does: 

A Chicago skyline view from luxury apartment building Niche 905
An east-facing view from Near North’s Niche 905, looking impressive even on a cloudy Chicago day.

A View of the City, Not Far From the City 

Pretty sweet balcony view, right? I could cozy up with a morning cup of coffee and evening nightcap every single day. I’d never tire of this view. 

If you’re not familiar with Near North you might be thinking “wait…the city feels a little far away, right?”. Don’t let that view deceive you, I think Niche’s location is actually awesome. It’s less than a mile to the business of downtown Chicago, but gives you a bit of peace and quiet from the hustle and bustle. 

You’ve got Old Town’s quirkiness just north, Gold Coast’s shopping north-east, Oak Street Beach a mile walk away and that skyline will be at your feet in a snap – it’s only a half-mile south. 

The Best City View Right Out Your Window 

To make that extra-beautiful view of Chicago yours, you’ll want to rent an apartment facing south or east. But if you wanna really flex, grab a 2-bedroom corner unit. Floor to ceiling windows spanning two walls, plus a balcony to show off views that’ll make you weak in the knees. 

A beautiful view of downtown Chicago from Niche 905 luxury apartments
East view from one bedroom apartment at Niche 905.

If a city view isn’t in your monthly rent budget, no worries. North-facing units have views of the lake, Lincoln Park and Old Town. And even west-facing units have a pretty cool view! Plus, when you’re craving that insane city view, all you need to do is enjoy one of the incredible shared spaces. The rooftop pool and spa, outdoor bar and skydeck lounge all offer insta-worthy 360-degree views that’ll make your friends green with envy.  

7. Most Fabulous View from the Gym: The Paragon

Let’s be real – sweating your tail off is a little more fun when you’ve got a great view. I love myself a gym that’s located on an upper floor and when it comes with an amazing view, it’s like icing on the cake. Sugar-free, carb-free cake, of course. 

Our top choice for the best view from a gym is South Loop’s The Paragon. Hop on the elliptical and take in the full-on, uninterrupted views of downtown Chicago.  

A Spectacular Sweat Sesh

The view from Paragon’s fitness center is so remarkable, it has the ability to turn a couch potato into a gym rat. Whether you’re up for a leisurely walk or are training for a marathon, a session on the treadmill is a whole lot more fun with a view of Soldier Field! 

A view from South Loop's The Paragon's fitness center
Paragon’s gym views of Soldier Field are so good, you can practically watch events as you workout.

The sunrise views over Lake Michigan are enough to get your butt out of bed and onto a Peloton. Yes, I said that magic word – Peloton! The Paragon’s gym doesn’t only offer views of Grant Park, Museum Campus and Navy Pier – it also has state-of-the-art equipment. 

More Than Just Gym Views 

If that glorious view doesn’t turn you into a fitness fanatic, no worries. There are plenty of spaces to enjoy The Paragon’s crazy-good views. 

First, the apartments themselves were designed to highlight the views and natural light. Floor-to-ceiling windows are pretty typical in modern high-rises, but the architecture of The Paragon’s exterior makes these units stand out. Panes of steel and glass create angular facets that are unlike any other modern apartments in Chicago. 

The amenities are almost as good as the views too. Grab a cocktail and head to the rooftop deck or sky lounge for yes – killer views. The sundeck is stocked with grills, the outdoor pool is a dream and the indoor spa is a refuge during Chicago winters. 

That’s a Wrap  

And that’s the list! The 7 best views of Chicago from luxury apartments, plus the inside scoop on what makes each building an incredible place to call home. Our luxury rental agents are the most knowledgeable in Chicago and ready to help you find the right apartment in the right downtown neighborhood. And, if “spectacular view” is on your wish-list, we’ll hook you up with the best in town. Give us shout and let’s find you a new place to call home.  

Blog Author Signature: Dorothy
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