There is a friendly argument in Chicago; who has the better view. Is it the Hancock Tower or the Willis Tower? I went to both buildings while I was in Chicago. Although the Willis Tower is taller I happened to agree with the Hancock folks – the view is better.
The Hancock Tower began construction in 1967 and completed in 1969. The building had some financial and engineering hurdles to overcome during construction. These hurdles resulted in the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company taking over the reins and completing the project.
The building stands at an impressive 1500 feet (457.2 m), can withstand 132-mile per hour winds (212 km) and weighs in at 46,000 tons. It also houses on the 94th floor 360 Chicago, formally known as the John Hancock Observatory.
I had my Chicago City Pass ticket for the 360 Chicago which granted me fast pass access to the elevator, where I was whisked up to the 94th floor. I stepped off the elevator and found clear skies, a great view of the city, Lake Michigan and beyond.
A few weeks prior to my trip 360 Chicago debuted a new attraction, the Tilt. I am not much of a daredevil but I decided I would try out this new attraction. 8 people at a time are loaded into individual compartments that are then tilted out over the side of the building to 38 degrees. Fortunately, I am not afraid of heights so the Tilt was more fun for me than anything else.
I will say that it does take quite a bit of arm strength to hold yourself up all off the glass as you are tilted out over the side of the building. And in hindsight, I should have brushed up on some strength training before I went! I did see others not use the provided arm bars and pressed their bodies up against the glass. Although I am sure it was safe I was not about to roll the dice on that. It’s 1000 feet (304 m) off the ground – no need to take any chances.
If you do try this attraction note that as you are tilted, the tilt happens in stages, most likely to build excitement. You tilt out, and then a little further and then the full 38 degrees. The tilt is a reasonable $5 extra and the line was not too terribly bad, especially as it was a new attraction. No personal photography is allowed while in the tilt but you can purchase a photo of you standing in your tilt box by the Chicago 360 staff for around $25, which I felt was slightly steep (pun intended).
After “risking” my life I snapped a few more photos of the city and got back in line for the elevator. There is no fast pass for the ride back down which is unfortunate. Skipping the line going up was quite delightful however.