Willis Tower (Formerly Sears Tower), Chicago

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 110 Reviews

233 S. Wacker Drive

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  • Willis Tower from Hancock Observatory
    Willis Tower from Hancock Observatory
    by goodfish
  • Willis Tower (Formerly Sears Tower)
    by Skibbe
  • 1450 FEET ABOVE THE STREET..DONT LOOK DOWN !!!
    1450 FEET ABOVE THE STREET..DONT LOOK...
    by DennyP
  • sunshine9689's Profile Photo

    See Chicago like birds do

    by sunshine9689 Updated Sep 15, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On Jackson Blvd corner. 2007
    1 more image

    .. actually I do not think birds fly that high.. :-)

    Went there Saturday morning, 10 minutes after it opened. It was not crowded, probably 50 people or so.
    One of its 104 fast speed elevators brought us up to the 110th floor within 1 minute. Everybody was constantly swallowing - to unblock the ears.

    It was a nice sunny day, visibility was pretty high and we enjoyed roaming on room`s perimeter.

    Photography tips: When taking a pic with someone standing next to the window, decide what`s more important: to have a clear shot of that person (use flash) or Chicago behind him/her (shoot in non-flash mode).

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  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo

    Sears Tower

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Aug 27, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sears Tower, Chicago
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    Although we said in another tip that the view from Chicago's Hancock Tower is better, still don't miss visiting the Sears Tower also. The view is still truly astounding in this building of superlatives. When it was completed in 1973, Sears Tower was the highest building in the world, at 1,450 feet. It became second highest to the Petronas Towers , completed in 1996 in Kuala Lumpur. And recently, just in October of 2003, Taiwan's new Taipei 101 officially topped out at 1,667 feet, relegating SearsTower to a still respectable third place.

    Sears Tower's obversation deck, the Skydeck, is on it's 103 floor. The ticket price of $10.95 doesn't seem so bad when one considers that the Skydeck recently underwent a $4-million renovation. The Skydeck experience includes an excellent multimedia presentation, and numerous interpretative displays.

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  • Skip the Sears Tower, head to Signature Room

    by kalixp Written Aug 18, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Sears Tower is great but if you like cocktails go to the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the Hancock building. The view is excellent and instead of paying $15 or $20 for access to the top of the Sears Tower or Hancock pay $10-$15 for a martini on the 95th floor.

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  • traveloturc's Profile Photo

    Sears Tower

    by traveloturc Updated Aug 6, 2007
    silhouette of sears tower
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    I use to look to the catalogues of Sears & Roebuck when I was young and I was always amazed with the variety of products.I was also amazed when I see the Sears Tower in my first visit of Chicago as well.
    Build in 1971 - 1974 with the height of 443m and 110 floors was the highest building in the world 1974-1997.74000 tons of steel were used for the construction.
    At the time the Sears tower was constructed in 1974, it was the world's tallest building, eclipsing New York's twin-towered World Trade Center by 26 meter. It would keep the title of tallest building in the world, until the Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were constructed in 1997.Anyhow, the Sears tower is still the tallest Chicago skyscraper, exceeding the height of the number 2, the Aon Center by 93 meter and the John Hancock Center by 95 meter.The result is an interesting tower, which looks different from all angles. The constructionn is designed by Fazlur Kahn (1929-82)

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  • yooperprof's Profile Photo

    Sears Tower & Observation Deck

    by yooperprof Written Jul 13, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    going high in the sky is my idea of nothing to do
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    (I thought about putting this in the Tourist Trap section.)

    If you are an architecture-snob (like yooperprof), you would probably say that the John Hancock is a classier building, with a sleeker, more dramatic design, so if you are looking to have just one "observation deck" experience while you are in Chicago, you should probably hoof over to North Michigan Ave.

    On the other hand, you can't see and fully appreciate Big John _from_ Big John - so if you want to see the relationship of the trapezoid to all the rectangular boxes of this boxy city, go to the Sears Tower. The Sears Tower _is_ about 300 feet higher than the John Hancock, and it does have the privilege of being the tallest occupied structure in North America (sorry CN tower in Toronto, I don't buy it.)

    You can purchase your tickets for the "sky-deck" on-line. Isn't that nice?

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  • See it at night

    by myca99 Written May 15, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I am somewhat claustrophobic and I wasn't excited about being cramped in an elevator with too many people for a long ride up. Someone told us to go about 9 in the evening and it was a great tip. There are fewer people and the lights are breathtaking at night.

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  • raulaf's Profile Photo

    America's Tallest Building

    by raulaf Updated Oct 28, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Sears Tower
    1 more image

    The Sears Tower was once the headquarters of the Sears & Roebuck Company. This black edifice is 103 stories high and is presently the tallest building in the U.S. The elevator ride to the top will take you approximately 1 minute and 3 seconds. Believe or not, the architect's concept of this building came from a bundle of uneven cigarettes. Tours are about $ 12.00 per adult. A short video is included.

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  • bocmaxima's Profile Photo

    Rip Off

    by bocmaxima Written Sep 6, 2006

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    Looking northeast
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    The first line is to descend from the lobby to the ticketing area. The second line is to go through a metal detector. The third line is to purchase your ticket. The fourth line is to wait to enter an edited screening of the History Channel's "Modern Marvels" about the Sears Tower's history. The fifth line is to go up the elevator (the longest). The sixth line is to come back down to the ticketing area. The seventh line is to ascend back to street level.
    The view on the top is nice, but not really worth the money and hassle of getting up there. I would highly advise not coming here with kids because of all of the waiting required. I felt sorry for the young kids that were there.

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  • Martman's Profile Photo

    Sears Tower

    by Martman Updated Aug 30, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    This tower is 1450 feet higs and 110 floors. It is the third tallest building in the world. For a long time it was the tallest in the world. I am open to correction, but believe this structure was the tallest building in the world for a longer time than any other building.
    It is still presently the tallest building in North America.

    I visited this tower with my friend. It was an experience that I enjoyed. When I visited, there was a long line-up, but it was not terrible.

    built: 1974
    floors: 108
    Height: 1451 feet
    Height : 442 meters

    The tower is the tallest in the world when measuring from the sidewalk to the top of the antenna.

    Click here to return to my VT CHICAGO HOMEPAGE.

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  • sevilsungur's Profile Photo

    View from +412.00 AFF

    by sevilsungur Written Jun 24, 2006

    Everytime I was up at the skydeck, it was a gloomy day, i.e. visibility less than 5 miles, yet I always enjoyed the sense of being above all on my own (well with hundreds of others actually). I am sure one day I will get to see all that is in the horizon. I am yet to have that sunny day, regardless you can enjoy 360 degrees view of Chicago any time of the year.

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  • Taffster's Profile Photo

    View from the top

    by Taffster Written Mar 18, 2006
    View from Sears Tower
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    Get yourself to Sears Tower to see the view from the 110th floor. On a clear day you can see across 4 states! Besides this, there are fantastic views of the surrounding buildings and Lake Michigan. This is not to be missed. I'd say I enjoyed this more than the Empire State Building, although the crystal clear weather we had on the day did help a lot!

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  • mwenn2100's Profile Photo

    Gorgeous View

    by mwenn2100 Written Feb 27, 2006

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    Amazingly enough I had never been to the Sears Tower, but finally found my way there! Everyone who goes to Chicago should go to the Sears Tower Skydeck at least once. The Skydeck is 1353 feet above Chicago and offers views as far as 50 miles on a clear day. Looking out over the architecture of Chicago, not to mention Lake Michigan and the surrounding states is amazing.

    I was expecting to just go up to the Skydeck and look out over Chicago, but thanks to a recent renovation there are now also exhibits and a movie. Once you buy your tickets to the skydeck you are shown into a small room where a History Channel special is shown outlining how the Sears Tower came into being and it's importance in history. The group then moves to the elevator that will deliver you to the Skydeck. Along the way there are exhibits about architecture and other important buildings. The Skydeck itself has windows all around the perimeter which allow vistors to walk the circle and see many different views of Chicago. Along the back wall are more exhibits and information on Chicago in general. There are also coin operated telescopes which can give you a closer view of the buildings.

    It was cloudy the day that we went so we couldn't see quite as far as we would have liked, but it was amazing seeing the bustling city and the architecture that makes Chicago so beautiful.

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  • IrishFem's Profile Photo

    Fantastic Views from Sears Towers

    by IrishFem Updated Feb 10, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    View from Sears Tower

    The building of the Sears Towes began in 1970 and was completed in 1973. It is one of the worlds tallest buildings. 1431 above the ground. It has 110 stories. 2232 steps to the top. I took the lift. More than 1.5 million people visit the Skydeck. The lift moves as fast as lighting it took 70 seconds to reach the top. If you suffer from Vertigo you won't have a problem. You watch a video in the lift and before you know it your at the top. When you buy your ticket you have to sit through a short video which gives you the story of the building its called "Over Chicago". I was lucky as there were not so many people in the "q". When l reached the top the views were fantastic. The day was warm and sunny and l could see the United Centre, Greek Town, John Hancock Centre, Lake Michigan, Soldier Field, Navy Pier, Grant Park and the Wrigley Field to name but a few. You can also find exhibits on Chicago history on the interior walls. You can't go outside as it is all enclosed in glass.

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  • PetraG's Profile Photo

    Overview 4 US States

    by PetraG Written Jan 16, 2006

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    Sears Tower Chicago
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    The view from the Skydeck on the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower is amazing! On a clear day, you can see 40-50 miles -- the city of Chicago and it beautiful architecture, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin.

    For your enjoyment on the way up, the elevators are equipped with 50-inch flat screen monitors that make you feel like you're blasting off through the top of the Sears Tower and into space - with views of the earth compliments of NASA and the Space Shuttle Endeavor.

    The Skydeck also features interactive, museum-quality exhibits highlighting Chicago's history and historic characters. Interactive kiosks provide a tour of Chicago's landmarks. Knee-High Chicago is a kid-level display that extends all the way around the Skydeck. Cool cut-out windows put kids eye-to-eye with scenes from Chicago's most fascinating moments in history. The Skydeck also has high-tech, high-powered telescopes for a closer look at the city.

    Restaurants in the Sears Tower include Mrs. Levy's Delicatessen for New York deli favorites and ice cream, Mia Torre for authentic Italian cuisine, Dos Hermanos for Mexican and Tex-Mex specialties, and Eadies Kitchen and Market for fast and convenient offerings.

    The Skydeck opens at 10am daily. May - September we're open until 10pm. October - April until 8pm.

    Adult 12-64 $ 11.95
    Senior 65+ $ 9.95
    Youth 3-11 $ 8.50
    Children Under 3 FREE!

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  • lashr1999's Profile Photo

    The Sears Tower-a disappointment

    by lashr1999 Updated Nov 13, 2005

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    The Sears Tower
    4 more images

    The Sears tower is the highest point(at 1353 feet) for you to see a view of Chicago. It is the highest building in North America and the third largest in the world. It certainly does not provide the best view of Chicago. On a clear day you should be able to see 40 – 50 miles and be able to see Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. The main obstruction to our viewing pleasure was that the windows were marred by black dust and dirt. Once the windows are cleaned I suspect many more have a better time.

    The Sears Tower elevators operate about 1,600 feet (488 meters) per minute. This is bit slower than the one at the Hancock tower.

    One good point are there are exhibits on the inside walls of the Skydeck which shows Chicago’s past and present history.

    The following restauants operate near the tower: Mrs. Levy’s Delicatessen(a NY style Deli),Mia Torre( Italian), Dos Hermanos(Tex-Mex), Eadies Kitchen & Market(American food food court style).

    Ticket prices are a bit more expensive than the Hancock tower:
    .Adult 12-64 $ 11.95
    Senior 65+ $ 9.95
    Youth 3-11 $ 8.50
    Children Under 3 FREE!

    The Skydeck opens at 10am daily. May - September we're open until 10pm. October - April until 8pm.

    My final recommendation is to take a picture in front of Sears tower. For the view and experience go to the Hancock tower instead!

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Comments (1)

  • Jan 15, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    I’ve on the Sears Tower on Saint Patrick’s Day. I was kind of surprised to see a green Chicago River. I didn’t know that this is a long tradition for Chicago. Crazy folks! :D

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