Willis Tower can be seen from across Chicago and is a highlight on most sightseeing tours and Chicago River cruises. To head to the top, book admission tickets in advance to skip the long lines—the 70-second elevator journey to Skydeck Chicago includes a film which covers the tower’s history. Then, admire the city from above and take a turn on the glass-bottomed Ledge; alternatively, book an early-access breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the 99th floor or Skydeck.
Things to Know Before You Go
Allow at least an hour for a trip to the top.
It’s best to book tickets in advance to avoid waiting in admission lines.
The building offers free public Wi-Fi.
Gift shops and a café—serving popular Chicago fare from Connie’s Pizza and Vienna Hot Dogs—are located at the Skydeck.
The Skydeck is completely accessible for wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Willis Tower is located on the west side of the Loop, not far from the Chicago River. It’s serviced by several bus lines and is near the blue, brown, orange, pink, purple, and red lines on the L train. The Ogilvie Transportation Center and Union Station are both under half a mile (0.8 kilometers) west of Willis Tower. The entrance to the Skydeck experience is off Jackson Boulevard.
When to Get There
Willis Tower is open year-round, with the Skydeck and The Ledge open October through February from 10am to 8pm and March through September from 9am to 10pm. Last entry to the Skydeck is 30 minutes prior to closing. To beat the crowds, visit early; alternatively, head there at sunset for great views. Avoid midday—the sun casts shadows and glare on the viewing windows and Ledge platform.
Where to Get the Best Views of Chicago
Chicago is a city made to be admired from above and, thankfully, there are plenty of vantage points from which to do so. For views with a cocktail in hand, head to Cindy's Rooftop at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel; stop by the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel Tower for vistas over the University of Chicago; or—for a different perspective—take to the water for an architecture cruise and admire the buildings from below.
- Chicago Riverwalk
- Chicago Board of Trade Building
- Rookery Building
- Marquette Building
- Chicago Temple
- Harold Washington Library Center (Chicago Public Library)
- Chicago Picasso (The Picasso)
- Palmer House Hilton
- Chicago River
- Chicago Theatre
- Art Institute of Chicago
- Chicago Cultural Center
- Millennium Park
- House of Blues
- American Writers Museum