Renamed from Sears Tower, Willis Tower has played a vital role in establishing Chicago’s global reputation in the field of architecture. Situated on the 103rd floor of one of the tallest structures worldwide, the Willis Tower Skydeck presents unparalleled panoramas from the highest point in Chicago.
This remarkable vantage point allows you to behold the city’s splendor and the picturesque lakefront, and if the weather is clear, you may even glimpse up to 50 miles away, extending your view to encompass four neighboring states.
Elevated more than 1,300 feet above the ground, visitors not only encounter awe-inspiring vistas but also engage in educational and entertaining activities. Interactive exhibits and displays offer insights into Chicago’s history and its ongoing progression, with specific focus on the tower itself.
Moreover, your visit to Willis Tower can be a source of pride, as the building actively promotes environmental sustainability through initiatives such as recycling, energy-efficient lighting, shading systems, and other measures aimed at minimizing its ecological footprint.
Must-See Attractions at Willis Tower Skydeck
The Ledge: Experience breathtaking views of Millennium Park, Wrigley Field, Navy Pier, and more from this impressive glass balcony. Suspended 1,353 feet above the ground, the Ledge extends over 4 feet from the building, creating an illusion of walking on clouds. Please note that there might be long queues (sometimes 30-40 minutes) and each group is usually allotted just a minute or two to enjoy before making way for others. Ensure you’re ready to capture your pictures right away!
Skydeck Theater: Watch an engaging 9-minute movie that delves into the architectural significance of Chicago. Learn about the Willis Tower’s origin as a mere dream that eventually became a reality.
Amenities at Willis Tower Skydeck
Restaurants: Indulge in various dining options located on the lower level and second floor of Willis Tower, including popular choices like Starbucks, NYC Bagel, Marketplace Eats & Treats, and Market Creations. Please note that the restaurants are open from Monday to Friday.
Accessibility: Willis Tower Skydeck provides accessibility for wheelchairs, scooters, and strollers through ramps and elevators. The Ledge is also accessible to all. Complimentary wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, hearing assistance receivers are provided for video presentations, and licensed guide dogs are allowed to accompany disabled guests.
Nearby Attractions near Willis Tower Skydeck
Within a short walking distance, visitors can explore these amazing places in Chicago:
- National Hellenic Museum
- Giordano’s Pizza
- Art Institute of Chicago
- Grant Park (home to Buckingham Fountain)
- Crown Fountain (located in Millennium Park)
- Union Station
Getting to Willis Tower Skydeck
While parking can be challenging, you can reach Willis Tower by taking Interstate 90/94 East and exiting at Jackson Boulevard. Proceed east to Wacker, and you’ll find parking options in nearby garages.
Quincy Station is a convenient stop, just a short walk from the Franklin Street entrance. Alternatively, buses #7, #126, #151, and #156 also have stops near Jackson & Wacker.
Embrace eco-friendly transportation by cycling in one of America’s most bike-friendly cities. If you don’t have a bike, you can rent one from a Divvy station near you and ride it to Willis Tower. Once there, you can return the bike at Franklin & Quincy or Franklin Street and Jackson Boulevard.
Best Time to Visit Willis Tower Skydeck
Willis Tower Skydeck is open 365 days a year.
Operating Hours: Winter (10 am-8 pm daily); Spring/Summer/Autumn (9 am-10 pm daily)
For the best views of Chicago, choose a day with clear weather.
Weekday mornings are recommended to avoid large crowds and minimize waiting time for the Ledge experience.
Insider Tips for Willis Tower Skydeck
- Visit the “For Kids” section on the Skydeck website before your trip to make it a fun and educational experience.
- To capture great photos, try to visit during less busy times. Weekday mornings are ideal for smaller crowds.
- Check the sunset time for the day of your visit and arrive approximately an hour earlier.
- This way, you can enjoy the city views in daylight, during sunset, and after dark when the city lights twinkle.
- It’s worth mentioning that many locals still fondly refer to the tower as the Sears Tower.
- Consider purchasing a Chicago CityPASS or Go Chicago Card to bypass some of the lines.
Hello! My name is Kimberly L. Paquette, and I am delighted to welcome you to my website. Here’s a little bit about me and what I bring to the table:
I have always been passionate about travel and exploring new destinations. From a young age, I developed a deep curiosity for different cultures, landmarks, and experiences the world offers. This passion led me to create this website, Chicago City Travel, as a platform to share my knowledge and insights about the captivating city of Chicago.