photo: courtesy of Skydeck
An elevator ride for a mere $12.95! On the north end of downtown, you can take a free ride to the 96th floor of the Hancock building and spend your $10 on a fancy martini, but at 1,353 feet up, the Skydeck of Chicago's signature tower (formerly called the Sears Tower) has the better view of the city (especially with the glass-bottomed Ledge, opened in 2009. On a clear day you can supposedly see Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. And the Great Wall of China.
There are interactive learning exhibits, high-powered telescopes and binoculars and multi-lingual interactive kiosks. The Sears Tower (or Willis Tower, as it's now allegedly called) was built in the "mega-module" system, so with its multiple tiers, it looks like a few buildings melted into one. It weighs more than 200,000 tons and has almost 4 million square feet of rent-able space. This is scary, but the average sway of the Sears Tower is six inches. The building blows in the wind!
Pricing is $12.95 for adults (12-64); $9.50 for kids between 3 and 11; and free for the really little tykes.
Centerstage Reviewer: J. Tyson