Willis Tower and the Skydeck
Willis Tower—originally known as the Sears Tower—was the world's tallest building for 23 years until it was unseated in 1996 by the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The 110-story skyscraper is still mighty impressive. Its "bundled tube" design by architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was originally inspired by a handful of cigarettes and the innovative bundling changed the construction of supertall, wind-resistant buildings thereafter. The tower's height is even more thrilling when measured from the 103rd-floor windows of the Skydeck observatory and the Ledge, a glass-enclosed box which juts more than four feet out from the side of the building so that visitors can (gingerly) walk out and stand 1,353 feet above the street.
By Ann Shields, AFAR Staff
Up 100+ stories, you'll feel on top of the world at the skydeck of the Willis Tower in Chicago. The city is extremely beautiful, and especially awesome from up here. On a pretty clear day like this one was, you can see quite far in all directions. This is a must for anybody visiting Chicago and any resident here.
By Blake Burton
No View Like It: the Ledge at the Skydeck
I wasn't sure what to expect going to the Skydeck and the view really did surpass any expectation I had. Wow! Seriously. I think this is my favorite photo from my trip in Chicago. The Ledge transforms how visitors experience Chicago. At 1,353 feet up, the Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the skyscraper’s Skydeck on the 103rd floor, providing never-before-seen views of the city. Be prepared to take at least a good hour to get up to the Skydeck. You go through lines, ticketing, and a security check; watch a cool movie about the history of the Sears Tower; and then make your way up on the elevator.
By Natalie Taylor, AFAR Local Expert
233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606, USA
Sun - Sat 9am - 10pm