Towering at 1,353 feet above ground (103 stories), Willis Tower's Skydeck Chicago (formerly the Sears Tower) is the highest observatory in Chicago. Since its creation in 1973, Skydeck Chicago averages about 1.5 million visitors each year. On a clear day, you can view 40-50 miles straight out and see beyond the borders of our neighbors Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Willis Tower is currently the tallest building in the Western hemisphere and the third tallest in the world. The building itself is an astonishing 1,450 ft. tall, boasts 110 floors, and encompasses more than 4.5 million square feet, which are home to over 100 of the top companies in the city.
Skydeck Chicago - Attractions
The Skydeck Chicago in the Willis Tower not only has some of the most breathtaking views of the city, but it can be an interactive experience for the visitor as well. Check out these exciting attractions at the Skydeck.
The Ride up to Skydeck Chicago
The Skydeck elevators are an exhilarating ride up to the top—103 stories—in just 60 seconds. Some of the fastest elevators in the world and several 50-inch flat screen monitors complete the feeling of being in a rocket lifting off. Be prepared for your ears to pop!
The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago
The most popular addition to the Willis Tower is The Ledge at Skydeck, built in 2009. It's an exhilarating new experience that puts the visitor in a glass box that protrudes 4.3 feet from the side of the Tower. The Ledge gives Skydeck the visitors a clear view of Wacker Drive and the Chicago River…right under their feet!
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), the original architects of Sears Tower (now Willis Tower), designed The Ledge so that the enclosed glass boxes retract into the building for easy maintenance. MTH Industries, the Chicago-based 120-year-old glass and architectural metal contractor installed The Ledge’s 1,500 pound glass panels.
Each box of The Ledge is made up of three half-inch-thick glass layers. The clear glass is fully tempered for strong durability providing optimum safety for its guests. It may seem like a step from the carpet to the glass is a brush with death, but architectural experts made this adrenaline-rush of an addition completely safe.
Views at the Skydeck Chicago
Visitors can see over 50 miles on a clear day. To enhance visibility of famous Chicago landmarks, Skydeck is equipped with top-of-the-line telescopes to provide closer views of the city.
Skydeck's Views Just for Kids
The world looks different when you are viewing it from the eyes of a child. So, Skydeck Chicago has made this Observatory kid-friendly with Knee-High Chicago. Kids have interactive displays available at their eye level where they can learn about some of Chicago's most colorful moments in history.
Have your kids print out this interactive sheet online to bring with them when they visit Skydeck. This will keep them busy hunting for landmark places they can see at more than 1,300 feet high.
Click here to print out the scavenger hunt.
Skydeck Chicago Tickets
Skydeck Chicago hours
April to October: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
October to March: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Parking at Skydeck Chicago
The Willis Tower parking garage is most convenient place to park while visiting Skydeck. The entrance is located on Franklin St. directly across from the Willis Tower.
The Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Bus Co. stops at Skydeck Chicago.