A view from the top: Chicago’s Willis Tower

As you stand in the elevator and quickly ascend to the top of North America’s (and the Western Hemisphere’s) tallest tower, the Willis Tower elevator gives you friendly updates about which world monuments you’ve now passed:

“You are now higher than the great pyramids”

“You are now above the Washington Monument”

One which isn’t mentioned is the Hancock Tower, which the Willis Tower handily surpasses to claim the title as the Tallest of Chicago’s two amazing vistas. (The Hancock, on the other hand, contents itself with the title of “fastest elevator.” hmmm.)

But let me back up. I’m sure your asking me “What is the Willis Tower, and if it’s as tall as you claim…why have I never heard of it?”

Well that’s because the Willis Tower is probably better known for its former (and original) name of the Sears Tower. A quite interesting video at the entrance to the tower fills visitors in on the tower’s entire history, but the basic gist is that the tower was originally commissioned and built for Sears, but recently the name was handed over as part of a lease agreement with a new tenant. (Willis Insurance Group)

Having visited the Hancock earlier that morning, I was interested to see what this new and taller tower would offer. And while the views are similar (and arguably the Hancock delivers better on that front), the stand out attraction of the Willis Tower is the unbeatable Skydeck.

Four, entirely glass and see through boxes suspend visitors hundreds off feet (103 floors to be exact) above the streets of Chicago.

And yeah, sure, it’s a gimick. But its really a super fun gimick. My one regret was that I didn’t bring a friend to help me work out some sweet through the glass photos.

Ah well. You live you learn. At least I got to take this really awkward you-can’t-tell-it’s-even-glass-i’m-sitting-on pic.

If you are questioning the awkward pose, here’s a hint: Shorts + Glass + Pale Winter Thighs = Not an Attractive Photo Op. Think of this as the skinny arm pose for glass floored observation towers. Trust, me – I wasn’t the only one.


Disclaimer: I received complimentary entrance to the Willis Tower Skydeck. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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2 Responses to A view from the top: Chicago’s Willis Tower

  1. I used to work in the Willis Tower back when it was the Sears Tower. Back then it didn’t have that glass box attached to the side of it and before I read your post, I didn’t even know that existed. It looks amazing. why couldn’t they have built that ten years ago? I feel a little ripped off, having to enjoy a normal view without floating above the Chicago streets far below.

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