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360 Chicago Observation Deck (formerly John Hancock Observatory) Admission
"With your admission to the 360 Chicago (John Hancock Observatory) step off Michigan Avenue and into a high-powered elevator that will take you on an exhilarating ride to the 94th floor at a speed of 20.5 mph (33 kph). The observatory provides unbeatable views of Chicago at all times of the day: Go in the morning or aft go at sunset for a romantic moment or go at night when the city becomes a sea of twinkling lights.More than just the tip of a tall building the 360 Chicago (John Hancock Observatory) offers several activities to complement the pretty view. Explore Chicago through the best technologies such as interactive screens that allow you to zoom in and out of famous locations across the city and test y head to the observatory’s Architect's Corner where you can take a break with an Italian coffees
From $20.00
 
360 Chicago Observation Deck (formerly John Hancock Observatory) Admission with Prosecco
"Hand in your ticket when you arrive at the centrally located 360 Chicago (John Hancock Observatory) and receive a voucher for your half-bottle of Italian Prosecco. Step into an elevator that will whisk you up to the 94th floor at a speed of 20.5 mph (33 kph). At the Architect's Corner present your voucher to receive your Prosecco and two glasses. Take your time drinking your bubbly while admiring 360-degree views of Chicago from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Appreciate the majesty of the buildings all around you in the daytime and delight in a sea of glittering city lights at night. See Chicago landmarks including the expansive Lake Michigan; the vibrant Magnificent Mile with its many shops and bars; Navy Pier the city's most-visited tourist attraction; and another famous Chicago skyscraper Willis (Sears) Tower. Make sure to check out the 80 foot-long (24 meter) wall with murals depicting Chicago's colorful past and have a souvenir photo taken in which you appear as a 360 Chicago (John Hancock Observatory) window washer. After you finish your Prosecco
From $68.00
 
Chicago Grand Tour and Admission to 360 Chicago (formerly John Hancock Observatory)
"Explore Chicago’s North Side and South Side on this comprehensive guided city tour! See Chicago’s highlights and visit the impressive 360 Chicago (John Hancock Observatory) for magnificent views of the Windy City! Take a narrated coach tour with known as the ‘front lawn of the city.’ See Soldier Field the Adler Planetarium with its massive sky dome.. Pass by the world's largest aquarium the Shedd Aquarium see the Field Museum of Natural History and travel through the South Commons a new 'close- in' residential community. You'll also get to pass by President Obama's old neighborhood and see where he used to live!On the North Side
From $63.00

John Hancock Center Tips (102)

Wonderful experience!

My experience at the John Hancock Center was great. The staff who worked there were kind, considerate, and helpful. I didn't go to any of the building's stores or apartments, but I did visit the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor - which, by the way, served excellent food - and saw the Signature Room on the 95th. There's one thing that really astonished me as I dined on crab cakes and, literally, a bottle of iced tea: the VIEW. Windows surrounding us on every side, the entire city of Chicago was visible to us. The JHC really changed my perspective, and, after two visits, this became one of my favorite spots in the city.

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SmanthaJones
Jul 23, 2015

John Hancock Center

The voice in the lift up the 314 meters to the Hancock Center's observation deck boasted that the skyscraper was the "most recognizable building in the world". Now I think the Hancock Tower is a fantastic looking building, but if they think it is more recognizable than the Taj Mahal, the Empire State Building, or the Eiffel Tower, to name a few, they must be living in some alternate universe that I've never been to.

Personally, and this may be due to my gross ignorance, I only recognised the Hancock Tower because I mixed it up with the other great black monolith in Chicago, Willis Tower. I'd never previously have been able to put a name to the building, only say "yeah that's in Chicago!"

The Willis Tower is also the Hancock Center's greatest competitor. They both have skydecks that offer grand views of the city, and they are both extremely tall buildings. Willis Tower obviously wins out in terms of sheer magnitude, but many in Chicago seem to think that the Hancock Center offers the best views. What cannot be argued with is that the Hancock Tower has the least queues. I also prefer its clean lines to the "staggered cigarettes" shape of Willis Tower. My personal view is that you should go up Hancock Tower for the love of great views, and the Willis Tower for the damn bullheaded desire to chalk off one of the record breakers from your list.

At least those were my reasons for going up both :).

Cost: $10.25 (plus local taxes = about $11).

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antistar
Feb 04, 2014

John Hancock, best view of Chicago bar none

There are only a handful of truly Iconic skyscrapers in the United States. Most look dated within 30 years. While the Trump Tower is a fine building, it is a building that will fade in significance over the years while the John Hancock will remain relevant and inspiring in 100 years. There are a half dozen reasons why and I'll touch on two. Although not three sided, the shape of the JH is that of a pyramid, a timeless shape. And not to pick on Trump, but it's a soul-less building. That little hottie will continue to be a hottie -- for ten more years. The Hancock is probably the most masculine building in the country with the possible exception of the Sears -- not Willis -- Tower. It is raw power that looks as if it ripped through the earth and settled on 100 floors with serious thoughtfulness. You must connect the building with the era. The JH topped off in 1969 during civil rights and civil unrest, love, sex and drugs. The young and old were suspicious of each other. Despite the differences, there was still a feeling among the vast majority of people that this was America, a land of dreams. 1969 saw Americans land on the moon. There was an invincibility, though not cockiness about the country. Politicians were expected to work together and didn't enact BS laws based on a two year voting cycle. Nope in those days, a great project might take 10 years and Americans could feel proud about having the guts to try anything. The JH embodies that spirit. It spits in the eye and kicks in the ass notions of doing anything that isn't excellent.

Hey, I'm getting to the view in just a minute.

Architect Bruce Graham conceived of the JH. One cannot take away from Graham the fact he envisioned the idea. However, the building would have never seen the light of day were it not for engineering miracle man, Fazlur R. Khan. His role and importance were so great that he will forever be given equal billing with Graham when there is any serious discussion of the structure. I know of no other architect that has been forced to share the credit with an engineer. Without going into too much detail, it was Khan who invented the method which allowed the building to rise 100 stories. The exoskeleton of the building is not merely decorative, it is load bearing. Having that property, the design group was able to significantly open up the interior of the building. There are only a fraction of the concrete and steel columns normally needed to support such a structure.

Oh yeah about those beams that make up the exoskeleton -- they are hollow and inserted one into the other up to 1,100 feet. The building is stronger as a result. It also shaved off more that 50% of the steel such a building might normally use. The project came in under budget.

Before going up to the top, go to a corner placing your chin on the apex and look straight up imagining how incredible it is that the building is a series of beautiful straight lines. It's also the best place to shoot a photo. The key to shooting a great photo is to get up as close as possible and shoot up. If it's taken at sunrise or sunset, you can see the subtle color of the building.

Some other reviewers suggest skipping the viewing deck and enjoying the view from the bar a few floors below. It's a nice view, but you're only getting 100 of 360 degrees. Plus, when people are sitting at tables, they don't like having people's tushes in their face while they take turns shooting photos. It's harried. Trust me, it's worth the money to go up a few floors.

I will go toe-to-toe with anyone foolish enough to suggest the Sears Tower (also designed by Khan and Graham) has a better view. The best time to go during the summer is Sunday night and Tuesday night if you are interested in avoiding crowds although half the fun is watching the wonder of kids. Get there an hour before the sunset and then stay another hour. You are three blocks from Lake Michigan. The view is spectacular. To the north you see the neighborhoods and jags of Lakeshore. Walk to the West side and take wonder in witnessing just how flat the land is. As a native Washington State guy, I never imagined such flat land existed. Go to the South side and look at the Jewel of the Midwest, arguably the finest city in the land and without question the most important one in regards to architecture. Look at the grid of streets that extend miles down the South Side. For six months a year you can see the glow of the stadium where the White Sox play.

Between Memorial and Labor day, the city has fireworks every Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. and every Saturday at 10:15. Watch them from the JH. It is a very interesting perspective looking down on fireworks.

BTW, of course you have to see the Sears. It's incredible, too.

Before you go, spend 5 minutes to learn about guy named Mies van der Rohe. Those buildings and their creators owe a great deal to the father of modern architecture. Here's to big John.

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ralphbrasethDotCom
Nov 08, 2013

Striking views of Chicago!

They whoosh you up to the top in a manner of seconds, and then you're free to wander around the area and take in the various views of the Windy City. I enjoyed seeing the gardens and pools on top of other skyscrapers--something I'd never considered before--as well as the shoreline and the traffic that looked like scurrying ants below.

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xoxoxenophile
Feb 16, 2013
 
 
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Chicago in four hours

Hey,

When we landed on O'Hare we had to get our bags and bring them from International to domestic. That was a breeze. When we came out of customs there was a bunch of people screaming and yelling to us: "bags transit to United - throw them here" and they almost took our bags out of our hands !

So, we took the CTA train from O'Hare to Chicago, looked at the CTA-map we got at the O'Hare station and got of at Monroe station. Then we walked to the millenium park, looked at "the bean" or "Cloud gate" as its real name is. Then we continued north on the Michigan Avenue, taking pictures of skyscrapers and stuff until we came to the John Hancock Center.

There we went up to the "Signature lounge" on 96th floor and had lunch. Their "Chicago StyleBeef Sandwich" was really good while the "Mini Cheeseburgers" were a bit dry. Also its really expensive up there, we had two sandwiches, on miniburgers, three beers and one cocktail and ended up paying 100$ with tip...

Of course we took a lot of pictures of the city from up there. Afterwards we walked back to the train, we had some difficulties finding a station even though we had a map.

However everyone (from beggars to police officers) were really, really helpful so finally we took the train from Clark/Lake.

In total we were really happy with the short and intense visit to Chicago. Especially since we went further to Los Angeles and Las Vegas which is TOTALLY different.

NOTE!!!
In total this trip took 6 hours including the CTA blue line transport to and from O'Hare.

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ArvidV
Nov 02, 2012

John Hancock Observatory

This is another big, tall thing (see my Skydeck review) included on CityPASS that we opted to do because we were sort of museum-ed out. "Big John's" glass observatory is perched a couple hundred feet lower than Skydeck in the Willis Tower but it was also less mobbed and has a bar and espresso cafe. For a small extra fee and a buck for blades, you can wobble around the synthetic "Skating in the Sky" rink for 1/2 hour during the winter.

If not using a CityPASS for this one, you might be able to get away with not forking over for fast-pass tickets (twice the price of regular admission) as queues were shorter here than at Skydeck. Busiest times, they say, is between 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Open 9:00AM -11:00 PM daily.

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goodfish
Feb 15, 2012

Top 10-John Hancock Building

Last visit June 2011

Of the four tallest buildings in Chicago, if I had to choose one to go up to take a look at the city from above, I'd choose the Hancock which at 1,127 feet and 100 stories is the 4th tallest in Chicago.

The 2nd tallest building in Chicago, the Aon building, doesn't have public access. I haven't tried to get to the top of the 3rd tallest building in Chicago, the Trump Tower, as far as I know the highest the general public can get is the 16th floor where there is a restaurant.

Why choose the Hancock over the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, the tallest building in Chicago and the US? The Hancock is located right in the heart of the tourist area on Michigan Avenue, the Willis Tower is in the business district. The Willis Tower often has a long line and a security check. But the main reason is that I think the view from the Hancock is better, you're right on the lakefront and Michigan Avenue.

You can pay the admission fee to go to the observatory or you can go have a drink at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor. The drink is as much as admission but you got a drink! This used to be a local secret but not anymore, on a Saturday night we waited 20 minutes in line for a table. Try to go near sunset, for both the day view and the night view, both equally stunning!

Ladies, check out the women's bathroom in the Signature Lounge, the view is amazing! (sorry guys!)

Included on the City Pass and the Go Chicago Card

A few more facts if you're not bored yet:

The elevators are among the fastest in the world, making the trip to the 94th floor in about 39 seconds.

Built in 1969, floors 4-12 are parking, 13-41 are office space, and the rest up to 92 contain some of the most exclusive condos in the city.

It was financed by the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, hence the name.

The Hancock is featured in at least 2 films-Risky Business and Poltergeist III

Chris Farley died at age 33 in his 60th floor apartment of a drug overdose.

If you are athletically inclined, there is an annual fundraiser called Hustle up the Hancock where you can climb up 1,632 stairs up to the 94th floor.

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Dabs
Jun 19, 2011

Better Than Willis Tower Part 2

part two of my 2 part Hancock Tower Tips with more pictures.

I like the hancock tower more than the Willis tower even though the Willis tower is taller and why? because the Willis tower does not have the awesomeness of a Signature Room and Lounge on the top floors, that is why! This skyscraper was named for John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, a developer and original tenant of the building and the buiding opened in 1968 and since then, offered an alternative view to the famed Willis Tower and the Observatory is a direct competitor of the Skydeck of the Willis Tower. The John Hancock Center is a multifunction building that includes 48 stories of apartments, 29 stories of offices, shops, a hotel, a swimming pool, an ice rink, restaurant and on top of the 344 meters (1127 ft) tall building radio and television facilities. This is a two part tip with more pictures of the Hancock Tower.

John Hancock Observatory
888.875.VIEW phone
Open 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Daily

Total Tower Experience - includes a General Admission ticket, open-air Skywalk, exclusive JHO souvenir and a turn on our new interactive telescopes.

Adults (12+) ....................$23
Youth (3-11) ....................$18
Children (under 3) ............FREE*

(pls see my separate Signature Room at 95th and Lounge Tips)

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machomikemd
Jun 10, 2011
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Dabs

"The place I call home"
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deecat

"Captivating City of "The Big Shoulders": Chicago"
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yooperprof

"Never A Lovely So Real"
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shrimp56

"Chicago!"
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rmdw

"Chicago - My Favorite City in the United States!"
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Better than Willis Tower Part 1

I like the hancock tower more than the Willis tower even though the Willis tower is taller and why? because the Willis tower does not have the awesomeness of a Signature Room and Lounge on the top floors, that is why! This skyscraper was named for John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, a developer and original tenant of the building and the buiding opened in 1968 and since then, offered an alternative view to the famed Willis Tower and the Observatory is a direct competitor of the Skydeck of the Willis Tower. The John Hancock Center is a multifunction building that includes 48 stories of apartments, 29 stories of offices, shops, a hotel, a swimming pool, an ice rink, restaurant and on top of the 344 meters (1127 ft) tall building radio and television facilities. This is a two part tip with more pictures of the Hancock Tower.

John Hancock Observatory
888.875.VIEW phone
Open 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Daily

Total Tower Experience - includes a General Admission ticket, open-air Skywalk, exclusive JHO souvenir and a turn on our new interactive telescopes.

Adults (12+) ....................$23
Youth (3-11) ....................$18
Children (under 3) ............FREE*

(pls see my separate Signature Room at 95th and Lounge Tips)

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machomikemd
Jun 10, 2011

enjoy the view!

Not only the Sears Tower offers marvelous views over the city and Lake Michigan, but on sunny days you climb that landmark! After that, enjoy lunch or dinner in the Cheescake Factory, one of the countries great chain restaurants. I have to make a separate tip for that, oh oh.

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dircelo
Apr 04, 2011

Chicago Architecture

Go to a bookstore and find a book about Chicago architecture and you're probably staring at a 500 page monster. I saw one like that for just the downtown area. So unless you're a speed reader with a photographic memory, I would suggest taking advantage of the Chicago Architectural Foundation. They give many types of tours - skyscrapers, neighborhoods, cemetaries, etc. - and vary them throughout the year. You can learn about Chicago architecture by foot, boat (on the Chicago River), bike or bus. Check it out.

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Birdbrain
Apr 04, 2011

John Hancock Center

This distinctive 100 storey building constructed in 1970 is a Chicago landmark. It's home to offices, shops, restaurants and apartments.

The main reason to visit though is the observatory on the 94th floor. From here the Observatory and the open-air Skywalk give you stunning views of Chicago.

The Observatory is open daily between 9am & 11pm. Prices can be found on the website below.

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tim07
Mar 07, 2010

Things to Do Near John Hancock Center

Things to Do

Signature Lounge-Hancock

Rosie [rozehill] and I went to the Hancock Building, but we did not wish to pay $13.00 for a view of the city. Instead, we rode the rapid elevator to the 96th floor (note that the observation deck for...
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Water Tower

The Chicago Water Tower is a contributing property in the Old Chicago Water Tower District landmark district. This tower was constructed to house a large water pump, intended to draw water from the...
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Fourth Presbyterian Church

This is an historic church in Chicago, built in Gothic Revival style in 1912. It serves a congregraiton founded in 1871. It is an interesting as well as peaceful place to relax in the church itself...
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Chicago Food Planet

Chicago Food Planet specializes in food tours in Chicago's Near North and Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhoods. The guides are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the city! The tours last about three...
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Museum of Contemporary Art

Recently,I returned to this art museum that emphasizes temporary art exhibits.I saw an excellent array of Alexander Calder mobiles,a fine group of Marisol creations,several fine Andy Warhol...
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Oak Street Beach

One of the really nice places to go to enjoy a great view of Lake Michigan is Oak Street Beach. I wasn't too sure at first about walking through the dark pedway that goes underneath Lake Shore Drive...
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Getting to John Hancock Center

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Hours

  • Sunday 09:00 to 23:00
  • Monday 09:00 to 23:00
  • Tuesday 09:00 to 23:00
  • Wednesday 09:00 to 23:00
  • Thursday 09:00 to 23:00
  • Friday 09:00 to 23:00
  • Saturday 09:00 to 23:00

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