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Best Observation Decks In Chicago

Beyond landmark Chicago buildings like Hancock Center and Willis Tower, it could appear that there are few options among observation decks. Word has it that the third tallest, Aon Center, might construct another in the years to come, but in the meantime enjoy these other Chicago skyward spaces. Take to the sky and get a glimpse of the breathtaking views of our Windy City.
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John Hancock Center's 360 Chicago
875 N. Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 654-5023

On a clear day, Chicago's fourth tallest edifice offers unparalleled views of the city. You'll have to pay an admission fee of $20, but the views at 360 Chicago will be well worth the cost. You will stand around 1,000 feet high above Michigan Ave. with views of the Lake and the city's breathtaking architecture. Touch screens at the 94th floor facility inform viewers (in a half dozen or so languages) about the city's history, natural elements and of course the architecture. 360 Chicago now boasts a café and bar to experience while you take in the view. After a drink, you may or may not want to experience TILT, a glass area which extends out so you can look directly over the specks of people and cars below.

Sears Tower To Unveil New Glass Ledge On 103rd Floor
Children check out the view from the Ledge, a new glass cube that juts out from the 103rd floor Skydeck of the Sears Tower. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Sky Deck/Ledge
Willis Tower
233 South Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 875-9447

Chicago's tallest building earns a large revenue each year from locals and tourists who want to experience the Ledge. Glass boxes extend out more than four feet from the observatory called Skydeck, offering brave visitors the chance to get a unique and unobstructed view of the city below. The views are superlative from the 103rd floor, as are the thrills you will experience when you gaze straight down at the ground below you. The wait can be long at times, but the view will be well worth the delay.

Chicago Temple
77 W. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 606o2
(312) 236-4548

The tallest church building on the planet, Chicago Temple is home to the oldest congregation in the city, First United Methodist Church of Chicago. The congregation took architect Daniel Burnham's words to heart when they constructed this sky scraping church, "Make big plans; aim high in hope and work". Visit the Sky Chapel on the building's highest level during free tours Monday through Saturday at 2 p.m,. as well as on Sundays after each worship service.

Related:  Five Must-See Museums In Chicago

The Kemper Building
One E. Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 661-4600

The Kemper Building, one of Chicago's tallest skyscrapers, has a 41st-floor observation deck that was once closed a mere decade after the building opened in the early 1960's. The newly renovated space offers fantastic 360-degree views of the Chicago River and surrounding architecture. It's accessible  during special tours via the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Trump International Hotel And Tower
401 N. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 558-8000

Chicago's second-tallest building offers a magnificent view from The Terrace at Trump International Hotel and Tower. Perched on the 16th floor, one can expect amazing views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and the Wrigley Building's Clock Tower. It's closed during the winter months, but when the weather cooperates seating is on a first come-first served basis. Nothing is cheap here, but neither is the view.

Related: Best Attractions For Art Lovers In Chicago

Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at
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