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Private Guided SUV Tour for up to 4 Guests
"Your expert local guide and professional chauffeur arrive at your hotel in a luxury SUV with comfortable seating for 1-4 guests plus the guide and driver. Bring your camera!Your guide will give an overview of the options for your 3-hour tour. Let Marina City Willis (Sears) Tower Merchandise Mart Harold Washington Library Board of Trade the Rookery
From $650.00
 
Private Guided SUV Tour for up to 4 Guests
"Your expert local guide and professional chauffeur arrive at your hotel in a luxury SUV with comfortable seating for 1-4 guests plus the guide and driver. Bring your camera!Your guide will give an overview of the options for your 3-hour tour. Let Marina City Willis (Sears) Tower Merchandise Mart Harold Washington Library Board of Trade the Rookery
From $650.00
 
Private Tour: Chicago Highlights
"Join this private 3-hour city tour in Portuguese English or Spanish. Visit the main tourist areas in Chicago. See places such as the Magnificent Mile River North South Loop Streeterville Gold Coast
From $99.00

Sears Tower or John Hancock Building Tips (15)

Sears Tower

Getting up there is not all too cheap. And before you get on the elevator, they force you to pose for a picture with a fake background. On your way out, they try to sell you that picture for nearly $30. Then they force you to pass through a long hall of gift shops instead of walking straight out.

Unique Suggestions Take in the views at the top though. That's one thing that's not a scam. Just remember to BYOB--bring your own binoculars--because the coin telescopes on the skydeck are also a ripoff.

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Fewf
Aug 01, 2006

Don't go unless it's sure to be less crowded

I would only suggest going if you have a budget attraction card like the Go Chicago Card--because at least you know it's discount priced. The Sears Tower gets so crowded with tourists that by they time you get to the top you'll be ready to leave right away.

Unique Suggestions Get a budget card so that the fall-out won't be as bad--at least if it's discounted you'll know you got your money's worth.

Fun Alternatives If you're dying to see awesome views try the John Hancock Tower--usually less crowded and in a better location.

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deeply
Mar 07, 2006

Hancock Tower Observation Deck.

You can spend $10-11 and visit the official observation deck on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building, or you can wait in another line, sometimes shorter, and always free line to go to the Bar/Lounge on the 96th Floor.

The view isn't as dramatic with tables, and bars and people sprawled along the window seats, but for the budget traveler, or drinker, you can get a 2nd-rate view and spend your $10 on a couple of expensive drinks.

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chesterridenour
Feb 28, 2005

Better lounge room than Observatory!

OK, this is not a tourist trap but my personal opinion what is better while visiting this remarkable building. Instead of going to the Observatory, better take elevator to the lounge room. You can enjoy there in nothing less beautiful city panorama having glass of wine and some appetizers for more or less same price you pay for Observatory admission.

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SnoopySue
Feb 04, 2005
 
 
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Avoid the Sears Tower/Hancock Bldg. traps

If you want to spend the money and get a fabulous NIGHTIME view over the city and waterfront.......

Unique Suggestions spring for a sinfully delicious dinner at La Cite`, the fabulous round restaurant on top of Lake Point Tower (the wave-shaped glass building across the street from Navy Pier). Prix fixe menu.
This is Champagne and Chateaubriand heaven.

For daytime views at a more modest cost Sunday brunch is sometimes offered.
Call ahead to check/make reservations: 312-644-4050.
Valet parking available in the building.

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pedersdottir
Feb 25, 2004

Sears Tower - Consider Visibility

On a good, clear day, you can see all of Chicago from its observation deck on the 103rd Floor. It's great!
However, the tickets aren't cheap, the lines can be long, and depending on the weather conditions you may not see anything anyway, So ask the attendant or call first. (312) 875-9696 - 233 S. Wacker Dr. (entrance on Jackson Blvd.)

Unique Suggestions So, before you stand in line to buy a $10 ticket, ask the elevator attendant what the visibility at the top is like. He or she will know, and will probably tell you. If he or she says the visibility is bad, save your time and money for another day or another attraction.
Do not assume that because it's a great, sunny day on the street, that the view will be fantastic. Many times there is a haze that prevents visibility 'up there' that you won't notice until too late.

Fun Alternatives Weather bad, but you're already there?
Get a slice of Chicago style deep dish pizza, or stroll over the canal bridge and see Union Station (2 blocks west) or just catch the 60, 130 or 151 buses east to Michigan Ave and the Art Institute. Or even stay on the 130 to get to the Museum Campus and many more attractions.

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Jim35
Sep 13, 2002

The Sear's Tower is EXPENSIVE....

The Sear's Tower is EXPENSIVE. Ok, yes, go up by all means if you want to say you've been in the tallest building in the world (I wouldn't believe other claims to this title!). And the views are incredible, don't get me wrong. But, I think better views can be had at the Hancock Center for a little less. And ugh, you have to wait through lines and a movie, and... might not be worth it. Depends on what you want to say you've done in Chicago!

dzni
Aug 26, 2002

SEARS TOWER IS GOOD TO JUST GO...

SEARS TOWER IS GOOD TO JUST GO UP AND EASE YOUR CURISOITY, BUT THE VIEW FROM THE HANCOCK TOWER IS MUCH, MUCH BETTER. BE A BIG SHOT AND PAY TO GO UP DURING THE DAY AND THEN AT NIGHT. ANOTHER OPTION FOR THE NIGHT VIEW IS TO GO TO THE BAR UP AT THE TOP OF THE HANCOCK WHICH DOSEN'T CHARGE ADMISSION. OF COURSE YOU'RE PAYING 6 OR 7 BUCKS FOR A BUD LIGHT SO IT'S ABOUT THE SAME BUT YOU HAVE A BEER TO SHOW FOR IT. THE BAR STAYS QUITE PACKED SO BE WARNED.

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travelmisfit
Aug 26, 2002
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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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I'm not a local. But we went...

I'm not a local. But we went up the Hancock building. It cost US$ 19 for two tickets. Best I can say about it is that it's a building and it's very tall. The much vaunted Skywalk isn't very big and the view out is masked by fine netting. Sears Tower wasn't that much better. But when you're going round the world trying to visit the tallest buildings I suppose you have to do it.

selbyone
Aug 26, 2002

Going to the top of the...

Going to the top of the Hancock Building is definitely something you can skip. It's expensive and you can see more from the Sear's Tower. If you have to go I would recommend going up to the restaurant at the top and enjoying the view from there. It's free. If you want you can have an overpriced martini to go with the view.

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denver662
Aug 26, 2002

John Hancock building has this...

John Hancock building has this photographer who politely asks to take your photograph as you wait to ride the elevator up and gives you a tab asking you collect the photo at the top. When you go to the desk, you're told its going to cost about $10 and you can choose your own background from the cheesy choices they have...falling off the building etc. They have you lapping up the photo in no time.

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Nikdinde
Aug 25, 2002

Chicago itself is kind of a...

Chicago itself is kind of a giant tourist trap. It's a money motivated town to it's core and that's reflected by the inflation you'll find here. The entirety of Magnificent Mile and most everywhere else inside the Loop is going to be very expensive. The Sears Tower Observatory is not worth the price of admission. The Hancock Observatory would be a better choice because it's got a bar and retaurant.

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Don_Bodie
Aug 25, 2002

Things to Do Near Chicago

Things to Do

Chinatown

I lived in China for 2 years, so I had high expectations. I went to Chef Bao for lunch (used to be Lao Hunan), which is food from the Hunan region (where I lived), the food was spot on authentic so...
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National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum

Chicago's Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, located on the Riverwalk between Wabash Avenue and State Street, is one of the largest in the nation outside of Washington, D.C. It features a fountain and a...
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Monument to the Great Northern Migration

This moving fifteen foot tall statue stands at the northern entry into historic Bronzeville. Encouraged by reports from those who went before, as well as the influential Chicago Defender newspaper,...
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Adler Planetarium

Opened in 1930, this is the oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere and it is a wonderful place. It has several different shows, a collection of astronomical and location-finding instruments, and...
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Soldier Field

Attention sports fans! This is a must-see for all of you. It's one of the most famous stadiums in the world. Like most things in Chicago, Soldier Field has a grand style of architecture that reflects...
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Buddy Guy's Legends

If you are fortunate enough to be planning a trip to Chicago for January, check Ticketmaster for Buddy Guy's annual headlining weekend events at his own club: Legend's. It is the best $30 that you'll...
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