Skydeck Chicago#15 in Best Things To Do in Chicago
Nearly 2 million people make their way to Willis Tower's Skydeck Chicago each year, and it's easy to see why. Occupying the 103rd floor – that's nine floors higher than 360 CHICAGO – of the 110-story Willis Tower (the second-tallest building in North America after One World Trade Center), Skydeck Chicago boasts breathtaking views of the city. Visit on a sunny day and you may be able to see far beyond Chicago's borders to Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and other parts of Illinois.
The highlight for most visitors is the Ledge. Extending beyond the building's exterior, this platform is made entirely of glass – even the floor. Travelers also liked the video screens that show what it would be like to stand 103 floors above other Chicago attractions, including Wrigley Field and Millennium Park. However, long lines quickly form for Skydeck Chicago, so plan on arriving early or purchasing a Chicago CityPASS, which covers Fast Pass admission into the attraction. Or, visit on a Saturday or Sunday and buy an Early Bird ticket to get into the Skydeck before it opens to the public.
Willis Tower and its Skydeck sit above South Wacker Drive on the western edge of the Loop. You'll find the Quincy/Wells L station nearby, as well as several bus stops and a parking garage. The Skydeck is open daily March through September between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. and October through February from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. General admission is $23 for adults and $15 for children ages 3 to 11, while Fast Pass tickets cost $49 each and Early Bird admission costs $65 per person. Standard entry fees are covered by Go Chicago Cards. A gift shop and restrooms are provided inside, and breakfast and dinner services are available with advance reservations. Check out Skydeck Chicago's website for more information about the attraction.
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#1 Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain
Often referred to as "Chicago's front yard," Grant Park is a 319-acre swath of green space that starts at the eastern edge of the Loop and stretches down to the northern fringes of the Near South Side. First-time visitors should plan on spending a fair amount of time in Grant Park: This is where you'll find several of Chicago's most popular things to do, including The Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and Shedd Aquarium. (Millennium Park also rubs elbows with the northwest corner of Grant Park.) Baseball diamonds, flower gardens, walking paths and wide-open grassy terrain are available as well.
At the heart of Grant Park is Buckingham Fountain. One of the largest fountains in the world, this tiered water feature boasts 133 jets that shoot water as high as 150 feet into the air during 20-minute choreographed displays (which take place every hour on the hour between 9 a.m. and 10:35 p.m. from April to October). At night, the fountain's performance is accompanied by lights and music.
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