Oct 27, 2010

Tourist Tuesday: John Hancock Observatory

Kicking off Tourist Tuesday at the top. The top of Chicago. Or, at least, one of the tops.

Two staples of Chicago’s skyline are the powerful looking Sears Tower (Don’t call it Willis in front of a Chicagoan. They don’t like that) and the John Hancock building. At both, you can look out over Chicago about 100 stories above the sidewalk. Which is pretty cool.

I picked the observatory at the Hancock building because I wanted to check out the open-air Skydeck and the view of the lake.

Got the ticket online the night before and got to the gates at 9 a.m. as they were opening. The site suggests getting there before 11 a.m. to avoid crowds. And wouldn’t ya know it, 11 rolled around and what appeared to be two classes worth of field trips came out of the elevator.

The elevator is how one arrives at the 94th floor. Though, there is one day a year when you can pay to hustle up those 94 flights to the top. To each their own…

Before the 47 second elevator (fastest elevator in North America, so said the elevator voice), they’re going to stand you in front of a green screen to snap your picture. There’s no avoiding it, at least for me there wasn’t. I’m not a fan of souvenir photos so I didn’t bother to pick it up.

What I did get, was some 100 photos from my hour atop the Hancock.

Navy Pier

The view looking south on a quiet morning at the Observatory

Info wall behind the Skydeck, outlines a history of Chicago. I liked this quote. So did Chicago.

There's a cafe at the Observatory, which helps if you're an early bird and need a pick me up.

Lake Shore Drive and one of the longest waterfronts in America without any industrial presence.

The Skydeck. Breathe the open air, 94 stories above the street

So at the end, I like the Observatory. I'd suggest going early morning when it's not terribly busy. At the early hour of 9 a.m., it was just myself, a family, and a smattering of other visitors. The audio tour was pretty informative, more so, I'd imagine, for someone new to the city.

I liked seeing Chicago from above, gave me a new perspective on the city. I'm excited to get a closer look from the street level for the next Tourist Tuesday.

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