August 14, 2018

A View For The Birds

We’re going big on this #TravelTuesday, since I really have yet to say much of anything about probably Chicago’s most iconic landmark, the Willis Tower. I’ll start off with a pro tip: to most of us here, it’s still the Sears Tower. Hard to believe they changed it all the way back in 2010! Anyway, locals who can remember the summer of 68 like it was yesterday will be shocked to find out that this year is the 45th birthday for this iconic building on the corner of Wacker and Jackson.

There’s plenty to do in Chicago without taking a ride up to the SkyDeck on the 103rd floor, but if you’re with a group of friends or visiting for the first time or just haven’t ever gotten around to doing it, it’s definitely an experience to remember. The walk through the building takes you on a little history tour of the construction of the building and skyscrapers in Chicago, and by the time you get to the gift shop right below the SkyDeck, you’ve somehow forgotten that you’re 1,200 feet in the air! But that all changes real quickly when you make it up to the observation deck and step out onto “the Ledge,” the famous glass boxes hovering a whole 103 floors above the street. It might be a little bit nerve wracking at first, but trust me, the view makes it all worth it.

And that’s what you’re really there for, right? There might not be a more spectacular cityscape vista in the whole world. To the east, you can see the shores of Lake Michigan stretching for miles in either direction, and you really don’t get a sense of just how big the Great Lakes are until you see that gigantic, flat body of blue expanding limitlessly all the way to where it meets the sky on the horizon. You can look down at the rest of the downtown skyline like they’re just toys; you see the elevated train lines scribbled in all directions; you can almost even see the demarcations between neighborhoods and communities as houses change and the streets light up. In some senses, the Sears (oops—Willis) Tower is the ultimate exercise in tourism, but at the same time, I think there’s really something to be gained by visually appreciating the giant spectacle that is Chicago. So like I said, whether it’s your first visit or you’re just finally getting around to it, this is a check on your bucket list that needs to happen!