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Views of Chicago: Skydeck Chicago (Willis Tower)

Views of Chicago: Skydeck Chicago (Willis Tower)

Four of the six tallest buildings in the United States are located in the city of Chicago and the tallest of them all is the famous Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), which stands at 1451 feet tall.

Within the Willis Tower is The Skydeck, 1353 feet and 103 floors above the ground. Like the John Hancock Observatory to the north, The Skydeck a top tourist attraction in the Windy City and a must visit for many travelers here.

Facts about the Willis Tower

Facts about the Willis Tower

The lobby of the Skydeck offers information about Chicago’s history, culture and the building itself – a good place to start before heading up to the 103rd floor. You need to pass through security checks before getting to the elevators but once you’re on them, it doesn’t take long to get up to the Skydeck – the elevator travels at a speed of 24 feet per second and takes just over a minute to reach your destination.

After stepping off the elevator, you get access to some of the best views in Chicago! If you’re there at the right time, you can even watch the sun set looking out over the West of Chicago.

Looking north from The Skydeck Chicago

Looking North from The Skydeck Chicago

Looking south from The Skydeck Chicago

Looking South from The Skydeck Chicago

The sun setting over West Chicago

The sun setting over West Chicago

The Ledge

The views are amazing, but the main attraction at the Skydeck since mid-2009 is the Ledge – glass boxes that extend 4.3 feet from the skyscraper providing a whole new way to view Chicago.

With just one a half inches of glass separating you and the pavement, it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. But if you’re brave enough to step out onto the Ledge, it’s a cool experience!

Our Feet on The Ledge

Our Feet on The Ledge

As the photo illustrates, you can see directly through the glass and down to the street below. The Ledge provides some great photo opportunities – you can also get one taken professionally at one of the glass boxes reserved for the Skydeck’s photographers. We even saw a couple doing a jumping photo on the Ledge which was all kinds of awesome!

Amy on The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago

Amy on The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago

Another fun thing to do is step into separate glass boxes and take a photo into the adjacent Ledge of your traveling partner. By now you’re probably getting the impression that we enjoyed this way too much and you’re right – it was great!

Amy on The Ledge Skydeck ChicagoKieron on The Ledge Skydeck Chicago

The Ledge is very popular and the majority of crowds within the Skydeck congregate in and around these glass boxes, however the people move pretty quickly so you’ve got plenty of time for photos.

The Important Details

Address: 233 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago (Google Maps)
Ticket Prices: General Admission – $17 Adults, $11 Youths, Children Under 3 Free. For Admissions & Skylights Tour (personal audio/visual tour) – $22.50 Adults, $16.50 Youths.
Hours of Operation: April through September between 9:00AM and 10:00PM. October through March between 10:00AM and 8:00PM.

Disclaimer: We received complimentary admission from The Skydeck. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

3 Comments

  1. Posted October 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I stood on a similar kind of ledge once in a tower in Auckland, New Zealand. It’s pretty amazing. That one also had bungee jumping.

    • Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      Yeah they’ve got one in Melbourne too at the Eureka Skydeck but it cost extra so we skipped it when we visited. That’s crazy that the ledge also has bungee jumping – do you know what the tower is called?

    • Posted October 25, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Looked it up, it was the Sky Tower. Tallest man-made structure of New Zealand. Can’t miss it in Auckland.

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