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Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower (Sears Tower)

233 S Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois

Once the world’s tallest building, Willis Tower is still way up in the clouds. Though it functions as an office building, the skyscraper’s 103rd-floor Skydeck Chicago draws 1.7 million annual visitors for a trip out onto The Ledge, an enclosed glass balcony extending 4 feet (1.2 meters) out over the city, as well as panoramic views that—on clear days—extend as far as Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Willis Tower can be seen from across Chicago and is a highlight on most sightseeing tours and Chicago River cruises. To head to the top, book admission tickets in advance to skip the long lines—the 70-second elevator journey to Skydeck Chicago includes a film which covers the tower’s history. Then, admire the city from above and take a turn on the glass-bottomed Ledge; alternatively, book an early-access breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the 99th floor or Skydeck.

  • Allow at least an hour for a trip to the top.

  • It’s best to book tickets in advance to avoid waiting in admission lines.

  • The building offers free public Wi-Fi.

  • Gift shops and a café—serving popular Chicago fare from Connie’s Pizza and Vienna Hot Dogs—are located at the Skydeck.

  • The Skydeck is completely accessible for wheelchair users.

Willis Tower is located on the west side of the Loop, not far from the Chicago River. It’s serviced by several bus lines and is near the blue, brown, orange, pink, purple, and red lines on the L train. The Ogilvie Transportation Center and Union Station are both under half a mile (0.8 kilometers) west of Willis Tower. The entrance to the Skydeck experience is off Jackson Boulevard.

Willis Tower is open year-round, with the Skydeck and The Ledge open October through February from 10am to 8pm and March through September from 9am to 10pm. Last entry to the Skydeck is 30 minutes prior to closing. To beat the crowds, visit early; alternatively, head there at sunset for great views. Avoid midday—the sun casts shadows and glare on the viewing windows and Ledge platform.

Chicago is a city made to be admired from above and, thankfully, there are plenty of vantage points from which to do so. For views with a cocktail in hand, head to Cindy's Rooftop at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel; stop by the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel Tower for vistas over the University of Chicago; or—for a different perspective—take to the water for an architecture cruise and admire the buildings from below.

One of the Windy City’s most popular tourist destinations, Skydeck Chicago is an observation deck located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) that offers views overlooking the city, Lake Michigan, and four states. Its glass floor balcony is called The Ledge.

The lofty Skydeck Chicago is the tallest observation deck in Chicago, located a whopping 1,353 feet (412 meters) up the Willis Tower. In comparison, the next-tallest observation deck in the city, the John Hancock Center’s 360 Chicago, tops out at 1,030 feet (314 meters) high.

Yes, you can purchase advance tickets to the Skydeck Chicago online—and you should. The observation deck remains one of the city’s top tourist attractions, making pre-booking wise. You also can book an evening dining experience at the landmark: Enjoy deep-dish pizza at Skydeck for a high-altitude, only-in-Chicago dining experience.

The Ledge is one of the key attractions at Skydeck Chicago. This enclosed glass balcony extends 4 feet (1.2 meters) outside the SkyDeck and invites you to look down and see the city spread out beneath your feet, as well as enjoy unimpeded views of the skyline.

Yes, Skydeck Chicago is completely accessible to visitors traveling via scooters, wheelchairs, and strollers and is certified ADA compliant. Its elevator is large enough to accommodate wheelchairs, and there are wheelchairs available to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis. Even The Ledge—Skydeck Chicago’s glass balcony and signature attraction—is wheelchair-accessible.

Visitors typically spend between 1–2 hours at Skydeck Chicago, which is enough time to ascend to the observation deck, walk onto The Ledge (the landmark’s glass balcony), and pose for photos. However, you may need more time if you haven’t pre-booked tickets, as lines to get in can be long.


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