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I Tilt Out at the Chicago 360 in the Hancock Tower, Chicago Illinois

tilt chicago john hancock
view from Hancock Tower

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.

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View from the Hancock Building, Chicago

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.

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The Tilt

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.

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Do you see the tilt out? The second section from the left near the top

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).

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The view from above

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.

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8 replies on “I Tilt Out at the Chicago 360 in the Hancock Tower, Chicago Illinois”

Wow, what a great view from the Hancock Tower!! The tilt looks a bit scary though! Lucky you who are not afraid of heights, I think I would have panicked a little :). I have unfortunately never been to Chicago. It looks like a beautiful city!

Chicago is a great city with lots to do. I may not be afraid of heights – but I was holding on to the railing when they lowered us forward unlike some of the others who just laid on the glass. YIKES!!

I’ve never been up to the top of the Hancock building – I keep being put off by the wait – but I plan on getting around to it sometime. I’m not sure if I could handle the tilt, though. Maybe I’d watch someone else go first.

Hi it’s Christa, host of the Sunday Traveler, I just wanted to pop in and say thanks for joining in on the fun! Nothing beats a spectacular city view, that is breathtaking! Being 1500 feet above the rest of the city sounds like something I have to do.

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