It is not precisely the tallest building in Chicago,
but surely still one of the finest anywhere. With its distinctive twin aerials on top and X-shaped braces
along the facade, this slightly trapezoidal 100-story building is an
architectural marvel. Completed in 1969, it's hard to imagine the John Hancock Center not having always been a part of the Chicago skyline.
Architecturally unique, it's a sight to behold even from the ground.
But the Hancock offers visitors one of the best observatories anywhere
in the country. Providing one of the finest views of one of the finest
skylines anywhere, on a clear day you'll see all of Chicago and a whole
There are plenty of clear days in Chicago,
too. It isn't called the
Windy City for nothing. Those clear skies make possible
great views of
the award winning buildings in one of America's premier cities. You can
also see for dozens of miles and get a sense of the prairie from which
it sprang by looking out over Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
The Signature Room at the 95th, located as you might expect, on the
95th and 96th floors are aptly named, as well. Patrons can dine on some of the best food in Chicago
while they watch the view. Hit the lounge to enjoy some great jazz,
then head down to the observatory one floor below.
The observation deck offers displays that explain the building's
unusual construction and much about Chicago
itself. Be sure to spend
some time at the wall - 80-feet high - displaying over 100 photos of
the history of Chicago. You can take advantage, too, of the Windows on
Chicago display that shows you dozens of the most popular tourist spots
in the city.
From a meshed area visitors can feel the famous wind at 1,030 feet that
gives the city its nickname. Be prepared. The winds are sometimes so
strong that 60 mph (98 km/h) gusts in March of 2002 tore loose a
scaffold, which fell and crushed several cars.
There's a skylobby at the 44th floor that has America's highest indoor
swimming pool. Take a dip and enjoy the view out the
window at the same time. Other parts of the interior have been remodeled and the lobby is
also a sight to see with its textured limestone surfaces.
The elliptical plaza at the base completes the tour where you can enjoy
the plants that reflect the changing seasons of this mid-west city. Be
sure to look up at night to see the band of white lights around the
top, illuminating one of Chicago's architectural icons.
Located at 875 N. Michigan Ave in downtown Chicago's Magnificent Mile,
you'll find plenty of other attractions nearby. The high speed elevator can
carry you to the top in 40 seconds (they travel at 1,800 feet per
minute). But be prepared for a wait for tickets and to take the trip upstairs because "Big John" is very popular.