360 Chicago Observation Deck

Rising more than 1,000 feet over the Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, this spot provides panoramic vistas of skyscrapers, streets and vast blue of Lake Michigan. 

360 Chicago Observation Deck (photo by Nick Ulvieri)

The 360 Chicago Observation Deck rises more than 1,000 feet over the city’s Magnificent Mile, providing panoramic vistas of skyscrapers and streets, green parkways studded with lagoons and the vast blue of Lake Michigan as it touches the shores of four states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The 17,000-square-foot observation deck is housed in what was formerly the John Hancock Center, which for 50 years was one of the city’s most iconic buildings. Now known as 875 N. Michigan, the 1,128-foot structure is the fifth-tallest skyscraper in the city and the 13th-highest in the United States. The views on a clear day stretch 40 miles in all directions. Depending on the way one is looking, visitors can see suburbs morph into prairies, farms, train yards and steel mills. Lake Shore Drive winds its way north passing marinas that from on high seem to be the size of bathtubs with toy boats bobbing up and down. Spotting Chicago landmarks like the Lincoln Park Zoo and Navy Pier is part of the fun, too.

To heighten the experience, visitors can step into Tilt — a hydraulic steel and glass cage with eight individual passenger compartments. As it separates from the top of the 94th floor’s upper exterior, Tilt incrementally moves until it reaches a 30-degree angle — about four degrees beyond our equilibrium comfort zone. It stirs up feelings of falling or flying and is a must for thrill seekers both young and old. (There are no age restrictions, other than being able to hold on to the bars.)

After your visit to the observation deck, head to Water Tower Place — a delight of stores, entertainment and restaurants just across the street.  

875 Michigan Ave., 94th Floor, Chicago, Illinois, 888/875-8439, 360chicago.com