When I first put “Going to the top of the Sears Tower” on my bucket list, it was the tallest building in the world …and it was called the “Sears Tower.” Today, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai holds the distinction as the world’s tallest building and the Sears Tower is now the Willis Tower. Regardless of the name, going to the top of that big tall building in Chicago remained on my bucket list.
I have been to Chicago several times over the years but my schedule never afforded me the opportunity to ride the elevator to the Skydeck on the tower’s 103rd floor. But finally, I found myself in Chicago to begin an Amtrak adventure at Union Station. I had arrived at the station a couple of hours early so after checking my luggage at the Metropolitan Lounge, I ventured out to look for a bite to eat. I exited the station and turned right on West Adams Street and saw that Willis Tower was just across the river. I could walk there in less than 5 minutes! So I did.
The entrance to the Skydeck is on West Jackson Blvd. and oddly enough, I had to take the elevator DOWN to get to the place to buy tickets. So I purchased a ticked, watched a short movie about the history and construction of the tower. On the elevator ride up, a recorded voice announces when you are at the height of various other structures; the Taj Mahal, the Seattle Space Needle, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building etc.
The views of the city from the top were spectacular. Some of the windows were a little crowded and I’d have to wait for others to finish taking photos before being able to get close enough to snap my own pictures. After a while, I figured that I could help speed things up a bit by volunteering to take pictures of the people whose arms were too short to take satisfying selfies.
One really cool feature of the Skydeck is the retractible glass balconies. Unfortunately the wait in the lines for pictures on the balconies were far too long for me to ever make it back to Union Station before my train was to depart and I had a feeling that Amtrak wouldn’t hold the train just for me. I was however able to get close enough to the balconies to snap a few pictures of others enjoying the thrill of being suspended 103 floors above South Wacker Drive. Now, I’m adding “going out on the Skydeck balcony” to my bucket list.