Chicago Skyscrapers

I’ve been to Chicago twice, and it remains one of my top North American cities. There’s so much to see and do there: Navy Pier, Lincoln Park Zoo, go see the Cubs or the White Sox, the Field Museum, the Shed Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium… I could go on.

Panorama of the Chicago skyline from the Shed Aquarium (left) to Navy Pier (right)

Panorama of the Chicago skyline from the Shed Aquarium (left) to Navy Pier (right)

But my favourite thing about Chicago has to be its skyscrapers. To start with, their sheer massiveness amazes me. And they’re such a diverse range of shapes and sizes.

The Chicago skyline reflected in Cloud Gate - aka The Bean (August 2009)

The Chicago skyline reflected in Cloud Gate – aka The Bean (August 2009)

Skyscrapers from the Chicago River

Skyscrapers from the Chicago River, including the Trump tower (tall silver building left of centre), the Wrigley Building (clock tower right of centre) and the Tribune Tower (June 2003)

IMG_2692Perhaps predictably, my favourite of all Chicago’s skyscrapers is the Willis Tower. When I first saw it in 2003, it was still known as the Sears Tower, and to be honest that’s still how I think of it. Completed in 1974, the Sears/Willis Tower remained the tallest building in the world, until it was succeeded by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in 2010.

The Sears Tower (June 2003)

The Sears Tower (June 2003)

On my first visit, I don’t know what impressed me most. Standing on the sidewalk, staring up at the black monolith soaring 1451 feet into the air above me? Or looking down on all the other Chicago skyscrapers from the Skydeck on its 103rd floor (out of 108)?

Looking north-east from the Sears Tower Skydeck (June 2003)

Looking north-east from the Sears Tower Skydeck (June 2003)

Looking down from the Skydeck (June 2003) - Does anyone know the name of this building?

Looking down from the Skydeck (June 2003) – Does anyone know the name of this building?

As is always the case with observation platforms, the only problem with the view from the Skydeck is that a crucial part of the Chicago skyline is missing… the Sears/Willis Tower itself! We solved that particular issue by also ascending to the observation deck of the John Hancock Center (now known as 360 Chicago, but previously simply called the Observatory), which itself is over 1000 feet above the ground.

The black building with the double antennas is the John Hancock Center (June 2003)

The black building with the double antennas is the John Hancock Center (June 2003)

Looking south from the John Hancock Center's Observatory (now 360 Chicago)  - the Sears Tower is in the distance on the right (June 2003)

Looking south from the John Hancock Center’s Observatory (now 360 Chicago)
– the Sears Tower is in the distance on the right (June 2003)

I returned to Chicago in August 2009, coincidentally less than a month after the Sears Tower was renamed the Willis Tower. Yet for me, a far more exciting change to the building since my last visit was the addition of three glass boxes that jut out from the Skydeck.

The Willis Tower (August 2009) - look carefully and you can see the glass boxes of the Ledge near the top on the left

The Willis Tower (August 2009) – look carefully and you can see the glass boxes of the Ledge near the top on the left

There they are...

There they are…

I can tell you, stepping out onto the glass floors of these boxes (unofficially known as the Ledge), 1353 feet above the sidewalk, gave me a severe case of the heebeegeebees. But boy, what a view!

Me and Sue in one of the Ledge boxes, taken by Rich in one of the others (August 2009)

Me and Sue in one of the Ledge boxes, taken by Rich in one of the others (August 2009)

It's a long way down - 1353 feet, to be precise (August 2009)

It’s a long way down – 1353 feet, to be precise (August 2009)

This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, which this week is City Structures.

(Apologies for the fact the 2003 photos are scans.)

IMG_2777While you’re debating whether or not you could step out onto the Ledge, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
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8 Responses to Chicago Skyscrapers

  1. Cee Neuner says:

    These are great. I want to ride in that elevator!!! 🙂

  2. Sue says:

    Oh my gosh – my son went to Chicago when he was 18 and sent me a photo taken from the “ledge” – from the vantage point of between his feet, pointing down to the ground. I immediately texted him and told him he was giving his mother gray hair again and to please stop it. He thought it was hilarious.

  3. iMagll says:

    Yeap. Chicago is now on my bucket list too! =) Thanks for leading me to this post.

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