Before we begin, yes we still dislike calling it anything but the Sears Tower. Now that that’s out of our system, let’s get down to business. A visit to the Willis Tower Skydeck isn’t a tough sell. People flock from all over the world to visit the tallest building in America, and considering the unparalleled experience, the obscene amount of visitors is certainly warranted.
Like everything else though, there are always a few questions that repeatedly come up, “How much is it? When is it open? Can I just show up? Where can I park?” Oftentimes, it’s enough to get your undies in a bunch, and people won’t make the trip because they either don’t want to do the research or aren’t sure where to look.
Well, you can now unbunch those undies (unless you’re in public). We’ve put together a guide detailing all you need to know about making a trip to the Skydeck. Let’s delve into it shall we?
What to Expect
Let’s start it off with the experience. The Skydeck is on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, 1,353 feet off the ground. You can see up to 50 miles away on a clear day, and in addition to views of every major Chicago attraction, four surrounding states are visible. The Ledge is the newest and coolest part of the Skydeck. It allows you to stand on a thick sheet of reinforced glass that juts out from the side of the Tower. It’s pretty much impossible not to feel your pulse quicken as you step out on it, but it’s worth every second of the thrill.
Here’s the Skydeck’s official advertising video to show you exactly what the Ledge is like. To be honest, it’s a bit cheesy for us, but it does a good job of showing you The Ledge, the views, and what to expect. Here it is:
When is the Best Time to Visit?
To get the best views, arrive for either dawn or dusk. The perfect trip would involve showing up about an hour before sundown. This way you get to see the daytime view, the sunset, and the gleaming city nightscape afterwards.
Can I Take Pictures?
Absolutely! In fact, we’d love to see them too! Feel free to send any memorable pics our way at Tips@ChicagoGenie.com. We’ll happily share any great photos on social media as well (with your permission of course).
What is Date Night?
There are two different options here. The first is Breakfast on The Ledge. Before the Skydeck opens to the public, a private table is set up at the Ledge. You’re then catered to for a private affair that has the best view in the entire city.
The alternative is Pie in the Sky, a slightly less intimate choice that occurs after the Skydeck closes for the evening. This features a 3-course meal, catered by Giordano’s, and you’re able to bring up to 9 guests for your table. It’s not a bad choice for a family outing either.
The Skydeck is open 365 days/year, but hours vary based on the month:
April-September, 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
October-March, 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Adult – Ages 12 and up, $19.50
Child – Ages 3 to 11, $12.50
Children under 3 are FREE
Where Can I Buy Tickets?
You can either buy tickets at the location or print them out here.
233 S. Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60606
Enter Skydeck on Jackson Blvd. (south side of building)
Parking is available at 211 W Adams, the official garage of the Willis Tower. The garage is located directly across the street, so you don’t need to worry about a long walk. There are both All-Day and Evening Specials available to Skydeck visitors. You can click here to get more info and reserve a spot online at a discounted rate.
There are quite a few restaurants both around and inside the building, so don’t worry about bringing a lunch.
Some notable places to eat around the area include:
- The Billy Goat Tavern
- Poag Mahone’s
- Wow Bao
- Chicken Planet
These restaurants are located within the Willis Tower:
- Argo Tea
- Corner Bakery
- French Accent
- Salseria Grill & Cantina
- Market Creations
- Venice Café
- Dunkin Donuts
- Baskin Robbins