The Hancock building is Chicago's third tallest building and is situated north of the main downtown "loop". This means that when on top of this building you get a great view of the rest of the city.
Now a lot of tourists go to the observatory deck. Worth the money if you have kids. However, if you are an adult and like to drink as much as I do, skip the observatory and go to the bar.
The Hancock has a restaurant on its 95 floor - The Signature Room. I recommend going up the bar/lounge area and enjoy a drink while gazing out along the city. The drinks are outrageously expensive, but you pay the same at the observatory. May as well get your drink on with that cash.
Dress Code: I can't really say. I think you'll be safe with jeans or shorts.
As the best view of the city is from the 3rd tallest building in Chicago, I opted for a lovely drink in the Signature Lounge of the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center (the restaurant is one floor below).
The cost of the view equals the cost of a drink, $11.50 and up. You'd pay about the same going to the observatory but here you are protected from the wind and you get a drink besides plus the ability to converse with others who've popped in for the same purpose!
The broad-paned windows afford panoramic views of the city on all sides (as attested to by my photos). If you time it right, you can watch the city fall under the glow of sunset as you while away the time with a drink or two.
If you like, you could linger over a long lunch at NoMi, then walk about a block west on Michigan Ave to this building for one of the best views of the city (especially of Sears Tower to the NE).
Dress Code: I wore black pants and a Violent Femmes t-shirt as I was off to The Pogues concert. Nobody blinked an eye so I suppose casual is acceptable here, although most others were dressed to the nines!!
Photos: March 2008
Top floor in the building of John Hancock is definitely a wonderful place to enjoy the beautiful night scene of Chicago. Only thing is you have to wait in line both downstairs in the lobby and also in line again when you get to the top floor as the lounge is usually full. Don't forget to bring your photo-ID with you - I always do as I always look young (yay!!). Cheese cake is yummy!!! Hope you are lucky enough to find a spot by the window and u can count how many airplane takes off and lands.. gosh.. O'Hare is definitely one of the busiest airports in the world.. seems there are more airplanes than stars in the sky of Chicago!
Oh by the way.. if u are the lady.. u are soooo lucky.. I think the best scene is from the lady's room's window.. sorry gentlemen!!
The Signature Lounge on the 96th floor at John Hancock has a great menu of top-shelf martini's, each named with a Chicago theme. The martini's generally cost about $11 but were very good and obviously chock-full of alcohol. I enjoyed a "Lake Shore" martini. I felt the price was worth it for the views, atmosphere, and novelty-status of being at 1000 feet. A great place to start the night with guests from out of town!
Dress Code: Smart. You can get away with jeans if you are wearing a classy shirt and nice shoes, but most people are dressed to impress.
The Signature Lounge at the 96th
Incredible view from the top of the Hancock Building! This is a 'classy' kind of lounge, with a piano and everything. Anyway, it's a great place for an after-dinner drink and to sit and talk. You can sit at the bar or wait for a seat next to a window. I'd probably wait for the window seat.
Dress Code: Nice-casual... You don't have to be dressed-up very fancy to get in here, and you'll see a mix of different people. Some just came from the theatre while others are wearing jeans and a golf shirt. I'd stick with something in-between.
located in the 96th floor of the john Hancock Center in the Magnificent Mile and is one of the most spectacular and romantic views around the city of chicago and lake michigan aroundso it is ideal for romantic dates or proposal but even for just chit chat and hanging around. For the price of a trip to the John Hancock tower observatory ($15, two floors below), you can drink in the view and a cocktail at this lofty lounge so it is cheaper to go here and have a drink than paying for the Hancock Observatory 2 floors up. At the bar, a small selection of domestic and imported beers run $8 and cocktails $14. Signature Lounge features 24 "signature" martinis, ten champagnes and a nice selection of cognacs, single malt Scotch and armognacs. Cheapskates beware (not me hehehe): there is a one drink minimum and a bottled water costs $6.
Dress Code: smart casual
Open Mon-Thu,Sun 11am-12:30am; Fri-Sat 11am-1:30am
Rather than pay $10 to see the city from the 94th floor observation deck, why not use that money to get a nice drink while you're enjoying the view from the 96th floor. The signature lounge is located on the 96th floor and requires no tickets. Just take the elevator up. Depending on the number of people you might have to wait in line while seats open up, but on most weekday nights (even in the middle of summer), it is never more than a few minutes. Yes, the drinks are expensive, but considering you'd pay $10 for just the view from the observation deck, they're worth it.
A good tip is to try to get a seat on the left side of the room (facing south) to get a view of downtown and the Sears tower. Also (if you're a woman) make sure you take a look of the view from the ladies room.
An upscale atmosphere and upscale crowd, the Signature Lounge is a great place to go for a drink or two, and get great views of the city and Navy Pier from the 96th floor of the Hancock Building. Many different flavored martinis are always fun to pick from...I strongly recommend the Pear martini...you'll pay about $11 for a drink here, but it's worth the splurge. Unfortunately we didn't get the most friendly waitress, but the crowd was great and so were the drinks, the views and the atmosphere!
Dress Code: We had jeans on, as we were out wlking the city this day. However the majority of the crowd was in nicer clothes; if wearing jeans I suggest nice shoes and nice shirts.