Editor’s note: This blog post was last updated 4/14/15
Whether you’re visiting Chicago for the irresistible good eats, world-class museums, or just for fun, no Chicago trip is complete without a trip to Skydeck Chicago in the Willis Tower to stare down 1,353 feet from “The Ledge” made entirely of glass on the 103rd floor.
Brush up on some Willis Tower facts and what to expect for your trip to The Ledge on the Skydeck before you go.
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A little bit about the Willis Tower:
Located in the heart of Chicago’s downtown, the Willis Tower stands at 1,450 feet tall and is made up of 110 stories.
- The Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, was originally built to be a new corporate headquarters for Sears Roebuck and Company (which was the largest retailer in the world at the time) who commissioned architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill to design the building.
- Building started in 1970 and took 3 years to complete with a staff of 2,000 workers.
- The Willis Tower is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1,450 feet tall with 110 stories.
- Skydeck Chicago attracts around 1.5 million tourists each year.
- The glass ledge, located on the 103rd floor, extends 4.3 feet from the edge of the building.
- On a clear day, visitors can see up to 50 miles out and three surrounding states.
- The tower contains 25 miles of plumbing, 1500 miles of electric wiring, 80 miles of elevator cable, 796 restroom faucets, and more than 145,000 light fixtures.
- As a finishing touch during the building’s completion, the last beam that was put in place was signed by 12,000 construction workers, Sears employees, and Chicagoans.
What to expect when you visit:
- Test your fear of heights when you step out onto Skydeck Chicago.
- Unobstructed views of iconic Chicago sights such as Wrigley Field, Cloud Gate at Millenium Park, North Avenue Beach, and more.
- For the less-daring visitors, the Willis Tower Skydeck Chicago has video screens set up that simulate the experience of stepping out onto The Ledge.
- Insider tip: be sure to leave extra time for any crowds or lines you may encounter.
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