Skydeck Chicago Vs. Chicago 360: Which Has Better Views?

As a hub of iconic neighborhoods and outstanding architecture, there’s plenty to admire in Chicago. Every year, tourists enjoy the city from a panoramic view on two breathtaking observation decks, Skydeck Chicago and Chicago 360.

A visit to Skydeck Chicago or Chicago 360 is more than just a day trip with stunning views. However, skyscrapers in the same city can often make visitors wonder which one offers the best views. Here’s a detailed guide to help you make an informed decision.

Skydeck Chicago (Willis Tower)

The Willis Tower, home to Skydeck Chicago, is Chicago’s tallest building. Towering 1,353 feet above sea level, Skydeck Chicago’s Ledge offers tourists a quintessential Chicago experience. Spectacular views are the highlight of the destination, as visitors can enjoy views of four states through floor-to-ceiling windows. Plus, the panoramic views are exceptionally breathtaking at night, making it an ideal spot for romantic couples.


The observation deck is located on the 103rd floor, but this shouldn’t be a problem for visitors with a phobia of heights, as personalized tours with a guide can be arranged. Additionally, a backup observatory is available on the 99th floor, making it a breath of fresh air for tourists who prefer less crowded places. To avoid long lines, most visitors prefer early morning or at night.

Related: A Weekend in Chicago: How to See the City Like a Local in 48 Hours

Photography at Skydeck Chicago is the icing on the cake for beginners. The Ledge, a state-of-the-art laminated glass, allows visitors to see the street directly below their feet. The place is a favorite with photography enthusiasts, thanks to the Instagrammable glass boxes that stretch to the streets of Chicago. Plus, Skydeck offers a professional photography team of friendly guides who make sure all the photos are ready before visitors depart.

Formerly known as Sears Towers, the newly renovated Willis Tower raises the bar for unforgettable experiences. The building houses an outstanding museum focusing on Chicago’s unique history, culture, and neighborhood. Plus, history buffs can bask in the lower section of the museum with interactive technology, which includes a theater showing films shot on location.

Related: Chicago, IL: Planning the Perfect Weekend

Visiting Skydeck Chicago is an interactive experience for family tourists. The building has ramps that make it easy to navigate with strollers. While Skydeck Chicago is popular for adult-oriented activities, there are plenty of exciting adventures to keep the little ones wanting more. Entertainment for children includes fun facts, quizzes, coloring pages and scavenger hunts.

The Skydeck Chicago’s proximity to restaurants and shopping centers makes it a complete package for a family getaway. Visitors can complete their Skydeck Chicago experience with a sumptuous meal at Brown Bag Seafood. Other amazing restaurants include Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken, Urbanspace, and Sushi-San.

  • The adress is: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, Illinois 60606, USA
  • Visiting hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (weekdays and Sundays), 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Saturdays)
  • Basic Admission: $30 to $44 per adult (12 years and over), $22 to $26 per child (3 to 11 years old), free for children under three years old.

Chicago 360 (John Hancock Center)

Standing between Navy Pier and Oak Street Beach, Chicago 360 fascinates thousands of visitors each year. Formerly known as the John Hancock Center, the destination offers 360-degree viewing from a 1,000-foot vantage point. Visitors can experience magnified views of the unique city of Chicago with video screens connected to cameras. Additionally, the venue is equipped with interactive technology available in seven languages ​​to help visitors learn more about Chicago 360 during their visit.

This place will make adrenaline junkies sweat. It features clear glass windows and TILT, a thrill ride that pulls visitors away from the tower for that adrenaline rush. On a clear day or at night, scenic views can extend up to 55 miles in any direction. Places of interest include Lake Michigan and some states like Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana.

Chicago 360 offers shorter lines, thanks to prompt customer service and hospitable tour guides. The place has no shortage of events, with exciting activities like yoga, painting, and intriguing art exhibits. Equipped with tripods all around, the observatory is a paradise for photographers.

Along with short lines and incline rides, Chicago 360 offers the added bonus of an enclosed outdoor walkway. Visitors can enjoy the lake breezes and bustling city sounds while enjoying a cup of coffee or a glass of wine at the Signature Lounge. Alternatively, you can grab a bite to eat at Revolution Brewing, which specializes in local craft beers and comfy seating.

Alternatively, family tourists can enjoy their visit to the International Museum of Surgical Sciences, whose education, art, history and architecture are enough to arouse the wonder of history buffs everywhere. Sky School, a program that prints materials for kids to learn about Chicago, is also another building site worth checking out. Depending on the age of the child, the program is divided into four stages: early childhood, middle school, middle school and high school.

  • The adress is: 875 N Michigan Ave 94th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
  • Visiting hours: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • General admission: $30 per adult (12 years and over), $20 per youth (3-11 years old), free (children under 3 years old)

While both viewing sites offer incredible views and a touch of family fun, a few differences are worth noting before planning the trip. Visitors who prefer more height for the observatory will be happier at Skydeck Chicago, but those in a hurry can go to 360 Chicago as it has shorter lines. Past visitors say Chicago 360 is more expensive, but the TILT is worth it. Regardless of the visitor’s choice, an extraordinary experience is guaranteed from both counts.

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