The tallest building in Chicago once held the title of tallest building in the world for almost 25 years, this is the Sear Tower (now called the Willis Tower).
The tower was completed in 1974 and it tops out at 1,451 feet with 108 stories. It’s is now the third tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the 23rd tallest building in the world. This skyscraper is a giant amongst giants in the Chicago skyline and speaks to the importance is the Sears Company which, at the time, was the world’s largest retailer.
My destination in the tower was the 103 floor Skydeck, which gets more than 1.7 million visitors a year making it one of Chicago’s top tourist attractions. The Skydeck is the tallest observation deck in the United States.
I presented my Citypass and was given a 1:30 ticket to the top. I was corralled with other elevation-seekers, through lines, and mazes, and we finally came to the elevator. The elevator is one of the world’s fastest elevators, climbing 1,600 feet per minute. We reached the 103rd floor in just over a minute.
After spending some time at elevation, I headed down to street level, had a margarita at one of Rick Bayless’ restaurants, and then looked for a good perspective to sketch the tallest building in Chicago. I found a location across the street at 311 South Wacker Park.
I had to lean back, in an almost a sleeping position to fit the tower into my sketchbook. I’ve had warbler neck before but this was the first time I ever had skyscaper neck!