You can now ride the L 1,300 feet up in the sky.
Whether you’re a visiting tourist or a seasoned local, the Willis Tower Skydeck is an essential Chicago bucket list experience. Breaching the dimensions of the tallest tower in Chicago (and the third tallest in the United States) while taking in one of the world’s most famous skylines from its pinnacle is an absolute must-do.
After undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation the iconic experience is reopening today boasting even more reason to head up to the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower.
After three years of work, the Chicago Tribune was given an exclusive look before opening day. The 45,000-square-foot space is now, according to the Skydeck general manager Randy Stancik, “part Chicago museum, part selfie museum, part architectural river tour, and part children’s museum.”
Acting as the entrance to the Skydeck, an interactive museum featuring lighting, sounds, and visuals offers a journey through Chicago’s history on the level below the observation deck. Guests will find information about the city’s formative years through the Great Chicago Fire, the reversal of the Chicago River, and other key events in the “Origins” section.
Entering into the “Architecture” section and presentations of the Willis Tour, Chicago’s famous skyline, and how Chicago architecture flourished await, including some quirky facts about the number of whales, football fields, and Michael Jordans equal the height of the Willis Tour.
The museum teaches guests all about the history and spirit of Chicago. In one section a life-size “L” train car takes visitors on a simulated journey through several of Chicago’s most renowned neighborhoods including Pilsen, Hyde Park, Garfield Park, Northalsted, and Chinatown. Afterwhich come some photo opportunities with a giant Chicago-style hot dog and references to Chicago’s iconic gastronomy scene in the “Taste of Chicago” section.
The 50-minute museum experience has not been designed just for people visiting Chicago, however. “If you’re from Chicago, we want to dazzle you with stuff you may not have known. A high percentage of our guests are from Chicagoland, so we really wanted to make sure we hit some points that resonate,” explained Stancik.
The observation deck itself has also been given a revamp. Visitors can now get right up to the line of windows, more wheelchair and stroller access has been added, and interactive monitors now offer information about the views to the east, south, and north.
Skydeck Chicago will be open 9 am to 10 pm every day from Friday, April 23 onwards. Guests can purchase tickets and find more information on the Skydeck Chicago website.
[Featured image from Unsplash]