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Life Museums

Skydeck Chicago Reopens Revealing a Fully Transformed Experience and New Interactive Museum

Following an extensive redevelopment and raising the bar even higher, Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower has officially reopened to the general public. The highly popular experience offers incomparable views of Chicago from unique angles and is a can’t miss, one-stop attraction.

The transformation encompasses the lower level of Skydeck Chicago, presenting an interactive experience that celebrates the unique personality, history, neighborhoods, and sites of Chicago. The lower-level museum is further enhanced by a visit to the observation deck to take in the city from 103 floors up and step out on The Ledge; the four thrilling glass floor balconies extending from the Tower.  

Firmly rooted in Chicago traditions and distinctive moments, the revolutionized attraction brings various elements of the city to the forefront, igniting a sense of excitement and capturing what makes Chicago so memorable, all within one interactive environment.

“A visit to Skydeck Chicago has always been about the exhilaration of seeing the city from a new perspective,” said Randy Stancik, General Manager at Skydeck Chicago. “With the reimagined attraction, we wanted to take that experience a step further. The new Skydeck tells the story of Chicago—from the Great Chicago Fire to iconic city legends—and allows visitors to actively engage with our beloved home in a way that is wholly their own. From interactive and educational installations to fun, photo-worthy moments, guests of all ages, backgrounds, and geographic locations will leave with a newfound connection to Chicago and the incredible memories of our unparalleled views.”

The New Skydeck Chicago Experience
The adventure begins on the lower level of Willis Tower, where guests are guided through an immersive, Chicago-themed museum in advance of the swift elevator ride up to the highest observation deck in the United States. Featuring modern physical and visual displays, guests of all ages will become engaged and educated in Chicago history, culture, cuisine and architecture through interactive and informative experiences.

  • Beginning with “Origins,” visitors will discover the history of Chicago; encounter the Great Chicago Fire; and walk through a glowing Chicago River tunnel, all while learning about the city during its formative years.
  • The “Architecture” section showcases an interactive fly-through video tour of the city known for its skyline, ending at the iconic Willis Tower. Guests will then have the chance to pose next to floor-to-ceiling Tower antennas to capture the perfect social media shot.
  • From there, visitors will hop aboard a full-scale ‘L’ train replica and tour a plethora of vibrant Chicago neighborhoods by viewing the windows’ pass-through video displays.
  • Moving further into the experience, visitors will encounter a true “Taste of Chicago” and can strike a pose on the larger-than-life deep-dish pizza platform or grab a seat on the nine-foot long, Chicago-style hot dog bench.
  • In the “Characters” and “Streetscapes” areas, guests will have the opportunity to tell jokes on a Second City stage, interact with Chicago’s performing arts scene and pose with Chicago icons and landmarks, such as Michael Jordan and the legendary Wrigley Field marquee.
  • The lower-level experience culminates with “Urban Playground,” leaving visitors with a lasting impression of what makes the energetic metropolis so extraordinary.

The complete transformation on the 103rd floor observation deck includes fresh design features and interactive monitors, providing a space to inspire guest poses and allow visitors to upload and display their Ledge social media photos. Along with the stunning views, guests can indulge in informational videos about the city’s growth, travel patterns, cultural attractions and the making and history of The Ledge. Guests are invited to leave a mark on the city by creating drawings or messages on the interactive sequin wall. Screens also feature the impressive eastside views from the 103rd floor, allowing visitors to discover more about local sights, no matter the weather.   

The project was spearheaded and developed by EQ Office, operator of Willis Tower. “Skydeck has always been the best way for locals and visitors to see all of Chicago, and now we have dramatically expanded and elevated the experience beyond what anyone has seen before. The new Skydeck experience celebrates hometown traditions and Chicago’s storied history, with incredible views that you can’t find anywhere else,” said David Moore, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Director at EQ Office.

Skydeck Chicago uses a timed-ticketing system for social distancing and safety guidelines in accordance with the City of Chicago’s latest COVID-19 regulations. Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance of a visit based on limited supply. For more information, including ticket reservations, visit TheSkydeck.com.

Photo by Eric Zhang on Unsplash

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