Two more options on the Go Chicago card were entrances to the observation decks at both the Willis Tower and the John Hancock building. My mom and I took full advantage of this and visited both! After spending a half a day at the Navy Pier, we took the short ride on bus #66 over to Water Tower Place. It is a large mall located at north end of Michigan Ave., if you’re interested in shopping. Taking the Red Line to the Chicago station would also be an easy way to get there from elsewhere around the city.
Our wait to get onto the elevator, up to the John Hancock Observatory, was about 20 minutes on a Sunday afternoon. As we got off the elevator at the top, we were handed an iPod and headphones. On it there were little audio files accessed by typing in a number. As you move around the observation floor, there are numbers placed onto the window. When you get to one, just type in the number and you’ll listen to a brief description of what can be seen, along with a few additional pictures on the iPod. There is even a section of the observation floor where you are able to walk outside and feel the wind that whips against the building.
Getting to Willis Tower was pretty easy, the closest ‘L’ stop is only two blocks away, at the Quincy station. While there, our wait to get on the elevator was a little faster then at the John Hancock building due to our visit being on a Wednesday morning. Although once we got to the top it was crawling with people. The main attraction has to be the four glass cubes that are sticking out the side of the observation deck. This allows you to walk out into them and see straight to the ground. Even though there are four cubes, there had to have been 10 people trying to get in each so it was hard to get a picture. It would have been nice if there was some type of system to give each person a chance alone in the cube for pictures and to view the city.
All in all, both observation decks offered amazing views of Lake Michigan and many famous spots around the city. I enjoyed the views of the beach, Navy Pier and the Willis Tower, from the John Hancock Tower. While from the Willis Tower, one can see the Chicago River, Millennium Park and downtown Chicago from the middle of it all!
What city has your favorite observation deck? What building is it in?