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Chicago's Top 10 : Sears Tower & its Views

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It might have lost the world’s tallest building slot to Taipei 101 Tower in Taiwan, thanks to its enormous spire, but Sears Tower is still the tallest if measuring the height from ground to roof – a staggering 1,450 ft (442 m). Designed by Chicago firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the tower uses nine exterior frame tubes, avoiding the need for interior supports. On a windy day, workers on higher levels can feel the building sway and hear squeaking noises: you might experience the same thing from the 103rd-floor Skydeck, where on a good day, the 360-degree views – the main draw for visitors – are awesome.

  • 233 S. Wacker Dr.

  • (note: entrance is on Jackson Blvd.)

  • 312 875 9696

  • www.theskydeck.com

  • El Station: Quincy

  • Open May–Sep: 10am–10pm daily; Oct–Apr: 10am–8pm daily

  • DA

Marina City

  • 300 N. State St.

Soldier Field

  • 425 E. McFetridge Dr.

United Center

  • 1901 W. Madison St.

McCormick Place

  • 2301 S. Lakeshore Dr.


Sears Tower

The tower has eight restaurants to choose from (

  • open Mon–Fri

).

Take an audio Sky Tour to get “inside” information on Chicago at the Skydeck’s 16 viewing points.


Check visibility levels at the security desk before you wait in line for the Skydeck.


Top 10 Views
  1. John Hancock Center

    The Sears Tower’s North Side counterpart is this 100-story skyscraper. It houses a retail area, offices, and apartments – as well as an open-air observatory on the 94th floor.

  2. Grant Park

    Built entirely on landfill following the Great Chicago Fire this 200-acre (81-ha) park is the city’s largest and the site of summer music festivals .

  3. Soldier Field

    Home to the Chicago Bears football team for over 30 years, the 1924-built lakeside stadium recently saw the addition of a controversial 63,000-seat structure. Critics have likened it to a padded toilet seat.

  4. Navy Pier

    A former naval base turned fun-filled Mecca, this is Chicago’s leading attraction .

  5. United Center

    This vast indoor sports arena and concert venue is also known as ‘the house that Michael built,’ as it was Michael Jordan’s fame that attracted the money to fund it. Outside the center there’s a statue of the now-retired, but ever-popular, basketball player.

  6. Marina City

    When built in 1964, these distinctive 60-story buildings (nicknamed the corncobs), were both the tallest residential and the tallest concrete structures in the world .

  7. Merchandise Mart

    The largest (in floor area) commercial building in the world, this 1930-built structure covers two blocks and was run by the Kennedy family until the late 1990s ).

  8. McCormick Place

    The first convention center opened here in 1960 but burned down seven years later. Helmut Jahn built the second in 1971 at twice the size with 40,000 sprinkler heads. Three buildings now make up this complex, and are connected by a shop-lined promenade.

  9. Lake Michigan

    This is the third largest of the five Great Lakes. Water temperatures struggle to hit tepid during summer, but many beach-goers swim nevertheless. On a clear day, you can often see across to the shores of Indiana and Michigan.

  10. Chicago River

    Chicago’s 156-mile (251-km) long river tops world records with its 52 opening bridges. An extraordinary engineering feat resulted in the reversal of the river flow in 1900. Every St. Patrick’s day the main branch is dyed green.

Top 10 Tower Facts

  1. It is 110 stories high

  2. It weighs 222,500 tonnes

  3. The tower took three years to construct

  4. Building costs topped $150 million

  5. It contains 2,000 miles (3,220 km) of electric cables…

  6. … And 25,000 miles (40,233 km) of piping

  7. 25,000 people enter and exit each day

  8. 1.5 million people visit the Skydeck each year

  9. The elevators travel at 1,600 ft (490 m) per minute

  10. Six automatic machines wash its 16,100 windows

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