Graceland Cemetery: my own walking tour

graceland cemetery chicago

I’ve been wanting to check out some of Chicago’s cemeteries for a while now. Call me morbid, but I really like visiting old cemeteries – the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris is probably my favorite thanks to the atmosphere and cats, but Pere Lachaise was cool too. And I still need to post about Warsaw’s cemeteries.

Anyways, the other day I finally checked out Graceland Cemetery on the city’s north side. The entrance is located right by Irving Park Road and Clark Street, and there’s actually parking right when you enter. The main office is also right at that entrance, and the staff kindly provided me with a brochure and map so I wouldn’t have to blindly wander around like I’ve sometimes done before.

A brief history: the cemetery was established in 1860 and designed by landscape architects. That explains the beautiful trees, monuments and even the lake that make up the cemetery. Some of the famous Chicagoans who are buried there include builder Daniel Burnham, retailer Marshall Field, architect Louis Sullivan, railroad car manufacturer George Pullman and many others.

While there were some beautiful tombstones and monuments, my favorite part was just walking through the cemetery. It was a perfect fall day – cool but not too cold, sunny with just a few clouds in the sky, and the fall colors were in full blast on all the trees. The gray stones surrounded by the colorful trees was just amazing.

My cell phone photos don’t do the cemetery justice, but here goes, and be sure to check out Graceland on your own one of these days (before the fall colors disappear!). Click on the photos to open up the gallery & view larger files:


  1. That is a gorgeous lake and bridge with the fall colors! Would that be weird if I told families to meet me at the cemetary for photo sessions?

    • I know! It was amazing….although I wonder if the fall colors are even still there now since this was a couple weekends ago. Ha – I don’t know if there’s a photo policy, but that might be against it 🙂 Although I was thinking to go and hang out there to write/read/relax/get away from it all someday.

  2. I live around the corner and actually conduct tours there informally myself. No policy against photos, as long as you’re respectful. And I often go in and just hang out to get away from it all!

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