Chicago’s Hancock Tower during a Thunderstorm

When I woke up my first morning in Chicago, the sky was black and it was evident that a huge storm was fixin’ to roll in. (Yes, I’m using the word fixin’ now). As I looked up directions from Caroline’s apartment to downtown, Google alerts told me Illinois was under a sever thunderstorm alert. After I got over my initial confusion over why I would care about what was happening in Illinois (oh right, I am IN Illinois..Chicago is part of the Mid West… weird), I started to get excited. I love thunderstorms, especially watching them out the window and as it turns out Chicago is home to two very famous tall, windowed towers: The Hancock and the Willis (nee Sears) tower.

The Hancock was closer, so I rushed to get there before the storm showed up. I got to the entrance right as the thunder started to sound outside- I was the only person there.

“M’am visibility is less than half a mile right now… there is a storm,” explained the guy working the entrance. I have to assume he thought I was a bit daft. Luckily I had my CityPass booklet at the ready, so I breezed right in, got a cheesy photo of myself in front of a greenscreen and headed to the top.

What's on floor 95?

The Hancock tower is great for many reasons, the best of course being that they sell beer at the top. My CityPass ticket entitled me to 20% all food and drink, so pretty quickly I had set myself up with a Goose Island 312 (A Chicago Local Beer)

The Hancock also as an open air skydeck that allows you to go outside at the top with nothing but a screen separating you from the open air. As you can imagine this was quite exciting in the thunderstorm. And by exciting, I mean not ideal.

The next hour was spent hanging out, drinking Goose Island and watching a lightening struck the city of Chicago. One exiting moment involved lightening actually hitting the nearby Willis Tower.

Overall, it was a great time to visit the Hancock. It might not have been the best visibility, but it was certainly an experience. Also, the crowds were greatly diminished (probably in part because it was before earlier in the day).

Many Chicagoans claim that the view (and the cafe) make the Hancock a better experience than the Willis. Having checked out the Hancock, it was time to make my way over to the Willis Tower to find out for myself.

About CityPass

CityPass is a great deal if you plan to visit lots of Chicago Highlights. For one price, you get tickets to five different attractions. Even better (in my opinion) is the fact that you also get to use the special express Fastpass lines which let you skip the crowds.

At most attractions, you will see special lines and elevators labeled “FastPass” or CityPass. At the Hancock there was a special elevator for CityPass holders that I actually had all to myself. Skipping the ticket and entrance lines helped me save a ton of time and let me see much more in one day.


Disclaimer: Citypass provided Caroline and I with two complimentary CityPass booklets. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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