360 CHICAGO Observation Deck#9 in Best Things To Do in Chicago
One of Chicago's most notable attractions is its skyline, and one of the best places to experience it is at the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck. Formerly known as the John Hancock Observatory, 360 CHICAGO towers 1,000 feet over The Magnificent Mile from its location on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center. Encased by floor-to-ceiling windows, 360 CHICAGO boasts expansive views of the city; on a clear day, you can see for 55 miles in any direction. Meanwhile, the interactive screens will help you identify different landmarks that appear in your panorama.
For a different point of view (and an adrenaline rush), test out 360 CHICAGO's TILT. In this mechanized room, visitors hold on to handlebars as the top of the room's windows extend outward, tilting you toward bustling North Michigan Avenue down below. Should you prefer to experience the view without feeling your heart skip a beat, grab a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or a snack at the cafe and bar or look for souvenirs in the gift shop.
Past visitors say 360 CHICAGO's shorter lines, abundance of windows and better views make this attraction worth visiting over its more famous counterpart, Willis Tower's Skydeck Chicago. Some travelers bemoan the 360 CHICAGO's high ticket prices, however, if you have a Go Chicago Card or a Chicago CityPASS, your entrance fees are covered by your attractions pass.
Parking garages are situated nearby, but the easiest way to get to 360 CHICAGO is to take the L's Red Line to the Chicago subway station or one of several bus routes to the Michigan & Chestnut or Chestnut & Mies Van Der Rohe bus stops. The property is open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., but keep in mind that last entry is at 10:30 p.m. Tickets cost $21 for adults and $14 for children between 3 and 11, and you'll have to fork over an additional fee to experience TILT. To learn more, visit the 360 CHICAGO website.
More Best Things To Do in Chicago
#1 Millennium Park
A first-time visit to Chicago isn't complete without a stop at Millennium Park. Situated in the Loop just north of the Art Institute of Chicago, this 24.5-acre space is used to showcase cutting-edge art, architecture and landscaping; it also acts as a backdrop for concerts and festivals. Most visitors come to Millennium Park to see the Crown Fountain and Cloud Gate, better known as "The Bean." Designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, the Crown Fountain features two 50-foot towers that face each other at opposite ends of a shallow reflecting pool. The towers' LED screens project the faces of 1,000 different Chicago residents, which are perfectly aligned with spouts so that it appears they are spitting water on passersby. Cloud Gate – created by British artist Anish Kapoor – is a 110-ton bean-shaped sculpture forged from stainless steel. The Bean's elliptical shape reflects the Chicago skyline.
There are plenty of other reasons to visit Millennium Park: You can see a concert at the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, stroll through the Lurie Garden or the Boeing Galleries (where contemporary sculpture is displayed outdoors), or sign up for a Segway tour at the McDonald's Cycle Center.
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