Until the completion of the new World Trade Center in New York City, the Sears Tower is the tallest building in the United States, standing 442m (527m to the spire). It was built between 1969 and 1973 as headquarters for the Sears corporation, formerly the largest retailer in the world.
Designed by architect Bruce Graham, the Sears Tower was the tallest building in the world from 1973 until 1998, when it was surpassed by Taipei 101. The design consists of nine separate rectangular prisms of different heights, which give it the distinctive terraced look. Unfortunately for Sears, it did not retain its position atop the retail heap and sold the tower in 1994. When the naming rights expired in 2009, they were acquired by the Willis Group Holdings, an insurance company. Though officially called the Willis Tower, few acknowledge the name change.
There's no doubt that the tower's Observation deck offers a great view, but if you only choose one observation deck in Chicago, choose the John Hancock Center. The Willis Tower is located further inland, at the southwest corner of the Loop, and the view just isn't as good. There is a lot of information about the tower and the city of Chicago. There are also glass sky boxes hanging off the edge of the deck if you're not too afraid of heights. On a clear day you can see all the way across Lake Michigan.
Address: 233 South Wacker Drive
Telephone: (312) 875 9696/9447
Train: Quincy/Wells, Union
Hours: Open daily 09:00-22:00 (April-September); 10:00-20:00 (October-March)
$17.00 Adult (>12)
$11.00 Children (3-11)
Free for children under 3.