Skydeck of Willis Tower

By Jeremy Patton

The Skydeck is located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago, Illinois. The Willis Tower is one of the tallest buildings in the world, standing 1,450 feet (not including it highest antenna).

From the Skydeck, tourists can access “The Ledge,” a series of enclosed, glass observation boxes that soar over Wacker Drive and the Chicago River.

The architects designed the Ledge without a steel framework, providing relatively seemless views of the city. On a clear day, visibility is about 50 miles with vistas of Lake Michigan and four states.

The boxes were designed to hold up to 5 tons. In 2013, I witnessed groups of people cram themselves into them, which I thought was stupid regardless of the weight limit. On May 29, 2014, the protective coating that covered the floor of one of the boxes shattered while visitors sat on it. I do not think that there was any real danger, but I am sure that hearing the glass crack must have been a sobering experience. It was repaired within a few days and reopened.

As of 7/28/17, basic admission is $23.00 for adults and $15.00 for kids. Children under 3 are free. You can order tickets online or buy them at the ticket window during regular business hours.

The Skydeck’s administrative office can be reached at (312) 875-9447, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If you plan on touring the main attractions of Chicago, such as the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute of Chicago, buying a city pass might save you money. Visit for more information.

Check the weather before you ascend to the Skydeck. Clouds can block the views.

Added 7/28/17