The Sears tower was the tallest building in the world for over 22 years and the building is still the tallest in the United States. The building was recently renamed the Willis tower to the consternation of many in Chicago. I had a chance to visit this iconic Chicago landmark on my recent trip to Chicago for the Travel Blog Exchange Conference.
One of the reasons that we wanted to visit the tower was to see the newly installed balconies on the 103rd floor, the Skydeck. These 4 balconies allow tourists to step out above the street into a clear glass structure and look straight down. Kids seem to take this experience in stride but about half the adults refused to step out and many of the other half did so very gingerly. There is certainly a part of your brain wired for self-preservation that is not too keen on the idea.
Even without stepping onto the balconies the view from the Skydeck is terrific. On a clear day you can see into Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and of course Illinois. The tower is just southwest of Chicago’s famous loop and most of the other tall buildings can be seen out the northeast corner of the building.
The line to get to the skydeck can take a while. You wait downstairs for the elevator, you wait in the line to get a ticket, you wait for the movie about the building of the tower, you wait in the movie (which I thought was very well done) and then you wait for the elevator to go to the top. The total wait was around 1 hour on a Summer weekday. I was able to skip about 20 minutes of that and one of our two admissions because of a pass that Explore Chicago had given to the travel bloggers in town.
Admission to the Willis Tower is $14.95 for adults and $10.50 for youth although you can save significantly if you are going to multiple attractions with passes like the Chicago Explorer Pass.
The Willis Tower may become the second tallest building in Chicago (and the United States) if construction on the Chicago Spire is completed.