Skydeck vs 360 Chicago: Which Chicago Observation Deck Should You Visit? (2024)

Want to gain a whole new perspective on the Windy City? Take your sightseeing to dazzling new heights when you witness the Chicago Skyline, Lake Michigan, and more, from two of the city’s top observation decks.

Follow along as we dive into the Skydeck vs 360 Chicagodebate.

Are you seeking immersive technology, museum-quality exhibits, and a glass box that extends 4.3 feet outside the building? Or, are you angling to try one of the fastest elevators in the world? Either way, there are plenty of opportunities to observe everything from the Navy Pier to Indiana and Wisconsin from The Windy City’s famous observation decks.

Reenact your favorite moment from Ferris Bueller at the Willis Tower, or test your courage with an adrenaline-pumping TILT experience.

However you choose to see the Second City, you’re in for a thrill!

About Skydeck

Jaw-dropping visuals, interactive history, and stunning glass windows come together at the tallest building in Chicago. Brace yourself for 360 degrees of scenery when you make your ascent to the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower. Formerly known as the Sears Tower, Skydeck Chicagois your ticket to the full Chi-town experience.

Learn all about the Great Fire, dive into the delicious history of deep dish, or hop aboard the metro. Start your journey by making your way to 233 S. Wacker Drive, utilizing the entrance on Jackson Boulevard.

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Your general admission ticket will afford you access to the elevator ride to the Skydeck, The Ledge, and the glass floor balconies towering over Chicago.

Skydeck vs 360 Chicago: Which Chicago Observation Deck Should You Visit? (1)Skydeck Benefits

Wondering just what are the benefits of a Skydeck trip? Sensationally popular, 1.7 million visitors flock to this Second City attraction each year. Home to the highest public viewing area in the United States, Skydeck visitors will be treated to:

  • Visibility for 50 miles, four states (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan), and the Chicago River.
  • The chance to walk across a daring glass balcony composed of glass boxes, each weighing 7,500 pounds.
  • Unforgettable photo memories, as the Skydeck makes the ideal spot for wedding, engagement, or family pictures.
  • Recreating the memorable scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with your own forehead print.
  • The city’s detailed architectural and cultural history is told through immersive museum-quality exhibits and theater presentations.
  • The opportunity to eat the iconic Chicago classic Giordano’s Pizza from 103 feet up.
  • Plan your next special event, reunion, or birthday party at Skydeck and lock in one of the city’s most unique event spaces.

About 360 Chicago

Heard the hype about 360 Chicago? Originally called the John Hanco*ck Center, 360 Chicago is located at 875 N. Michigan Ave and is known as one of the city’s greatest observation towers. Spellbound visitors will have the opportunity to soar 1,000 feet up over Michigan Avenue while they revel in views from the 94th floor.

Bring along that camera, as you’ll want to capture the sweeping panoramas of Chicago’s lakefront, magnificent skyline, and four neighboring states. Your 360 Chicago tickets also grant you access to a 40-second ride in one of North America’s fastest elevators. Add on the TILT experience to your adventure and delight in a one-of-a-kind Windy City thrill.

Skydeck vs 360 Chicago: Which Chicago Observation Deck Should You Visit? (2)

360 Benefits

Curious about the advantages of a day at 360 Chicago? From interactive learning displays to a crash course in Chi-town architecture, there is so much to uncover at this nationally lauded attraction:

  • A view that Travel & Leisure declared one of the best in America.
  • Explore a sprawling 17,000 square feet of observation deck.
  • The opportunity to ride Chicago’s highest thrill ride – TILT.
  • Appreciate the stunning artwork and the optical illusion of 360 Chicago’s new 3D mural by artist Nate Baranowski.
  • Enjoy elevated co*cktails and cuisine at CloudBar 360.
  • Interact with high-definition touch screens and showcases on the concourse level that illustrate Chicago’s rich history and heritage.
  • The opportunity to engage in unique 360 Chicago events such as 360 Sky Yoga Saturday or Sip and View.

What to Pick: Chicago 360 vs Skydeck

So, which observation deck is right for you? That depends; while both Chicago 360 and Skdeck offer jaw-dropping views, there are some other important factors to consider.

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Windy City guests looking to make their selection on skyscraper height will lean towards the towering Skydeck. In addition, if you have a special occasion or photo session in mind, Skydeck may be your best bet.

On the other hand, families traveling with intrepid kids may opt for 360 Chicago to participate in the thrill of TILT. If food is a factor, keep in mind that reservations are a must for dining at Skydeck, but admission to 360 CloudBar is included with your ticket. Ultimately, the best observation deck experience is the one that caters to your specific Chi-town trip.

Skydeck vs 360 Chicago: Which Chicago Observation Deck Should You Visit? (3)

Tips for Skydeck and Chicago 360

Nothing is worse than wasting time waiting in line or making your way to the Skydeck summit sans camera. Follow along with our tips to make the most of your Second City viewing adventure:

  • Both Skydeck and Chicago 360 are extremely popular Chicago attractions. To minimize wait times and guarantee entry on the date and time of your choosing, we highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance.
  • Bring along a fully charged phone and/or camera.
  • Check the weather forecast prior to your visit! Low visibility can translate into subpar pictures, but often lower crowds as well.
  • Be sure to consult the hours for Skydeck and 360 Chicago prior to your visit. The last entry to Skydeck is 30 minutes prior to closing, whereas 360 Chicago is one hour prior to closing.
  • To avoid massive crowds, try to plan your visit for a weekday and opt for early morning or late evening time slots.

World-renowned art museums, a sparkling sapphire lakefront, and slices of sauce-laden pizza. So many of Chicago’s treasures lie within the city’s bustling streets.

However, an exciting aerial perspective can open up a whole new world of Chicago wonder.

Take a break from your river cruises and walking toursto sojourn to the heavenly skies with Skydeck and 360 Chicago.

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Dare to live on the edge as you let nothing but a thin pane of glass separate you from a bird’s eye perspective of Michigan Ave. Or, become part of Chi-town history with a visit to the skyscraper formerly known as the Sears Tower.

Discover the story behind a Second City hot dog, or perhaps even pop the most romantic question from 1,353 feet in the air.

However You Choose to Observe the Windy City From Above, You’re in For The Ultimate Treat!

Tell us in the battle of 360 Chicago vs Skydeck – what would you pick?

Leave a comment below!

Written by Isis Maya Nissman

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central...

Skydeck vs 360 Chicago: Which Chicago Observation Deck Should You Visit? (2024)


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