Up there in name-recognition with the Willis (Sears) Tower, most visitors will have heard of Chicago’s John Hancock Center. Even if this building doesn’t hold the “tallest” title, the John Hancock Center does boast the world’s fastest elevator, flying you up 1,000 feet to the 94th floor observatory in a thrilling 40 seconds! From there, you’ll enter a stunning observatory with 360-degree views and on a day with good visibility you’ll be able to see no fewer than four states! Chicago’s residents have named a trip to 360 CHICAGO/John Hancock Observatory “an absolute must do”. Don’t disappoint them by missing it!
The John Hancock Center, named for the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, sits prestigiously above Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and visitors to the 94th floor observatory will find unparalleled views of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana, as well as sparkling Lake Michigan.
Just as breathtaking as a daytime visit is a trip to the Observatory at twilight, when the lights of all of Chicagoland (and beyond) twinkle on and off, making for a magical show and a very romantic experience!
Your trip to the top will include a multimedia “Sky Tour”, narrated by David Schwimmer, and available in seven languages— a great way to learn about the history behind the building as well as what, exactly, you are looking at from up there. Also on offer is a separate version of the audio tour designed just for children. Coincidentally, Chicago is called "The Windy City", not for its strong winds, as is commonly thought, but rather for its history of the hot-air bellowing from politicians. Still, you'll see where the confusion comes from when you step outside onto the city’s only open-air sky-walk! Not for the faint of heart, this platform allows you to look all the way down to the ground, at the busy Financial District below, and to really feel the wind… even on what may seem like a calm day at ground-level.
And if you haven’t experienced enough superlatives in this building, treat yourself to a hot shot of Italy’s favorite espresso or a smooth cappuccino at Lavazza Espression Café, Chicago’s highest café. Or go for one of the super-unique menu offerings, designed by the café’s own Michelin chef. If you need to stay connected, this café also offers free wi-fi, which will give you the chance to send home a customized picture of yourself “washing windows” at the Hancock building—an option that comes with your admission.
Chicago is perhaps the international hub of architecture, and the John Hancock Center should be an essential stop on your trip to this “City by the Lake”. Don’t go home without taking an exhilarating trip to the top and experiencing the incredible panoramic views available at 360 CHICAGO! Even after you descend back to earth, you’ll still feel your head is somewhere in the Chicago clouds.
Comments about Smart Destinations :
I Liked the views from here better than the sky deck but it feels more bare bones. The informational displays are difficult to operate and don't have much of a historical view.
Timed tickets for TILT are available at the box office for an additional fee.
Insider Tip: Don’t miss the brand new TILT! attraction. Experience Chicago in a whole new dimension as you’re tilted forward away from the building and over the Magnificent Mile. Timed tickets are available in advance or at the box office for an additional fee.
From the Kennedy Expressway exit at Ohio Street (both Ohio exits are eastbound only) and go east to Michigan Avenue. At Michigan, take a left (north), then carry on to Delaware Street then turn right (one-way heading east). Unload at the first building entrance. The escalator in the Delaware lobby will bring you straight to the Hancock Observatory entrance.
Traveling south on Lake Shore Drive exit at Michigan Avenue. Carry on south on Michigan to Delaware Street, turn left (one-way heading east) and unload at the first building entrance. The escalator in the Delaware lobby will bring you straight to the Hancock Observatory entrance.
Traveling north on Lake Shore Drive exit at Monroe Street and go west to Michigan Avenue. At Michigan, turn right (north). Carry on north until Delaware Street then turn right (one-way heading east). Unload at the first building entrance. The escalator in the Delaware lobby will bring you straight to the Hancock Observatory entrance.
Save even more with these pre-built discount packages that include 360 CHICAGO (formerly John Hancock Observatory) bundled with other great Chicago attractions.