Chicago’s famous Sears Tower is now called the Willis Tower, to the chagrin of many Chicagoans. But in spite of the unpopular name change, it remains a dominant feature of the city skyline. At 110 stories (1454 feet), it was, for a while, the tallest building in the world. The tower was completed in 1974, and uses an innovative structural system consisting of nine square tubes that combine to form a larger square. They rise to create a dramatic, staggered profile. The tower has more than 100 elevators to carry the 12,000 people who visit it each day.
The main attraction for visitors is the Skydeck observatory on the 103rd floor. From there observers have a spectacular, panoramic view of Chicago and Lake Michigan. On a clear day you can actually see four states: Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. Sunsets seen from here are unforgettable. Visitors should also take in the multi-image slide show, The Chicago Experience, at the visitor’s center. Don’t miss the dynamic artistic piece, Universe, created by sculptor Alexander Calder. After you’ve been to the Skydeck Observatory, take time to enjoy a meal in one of the tower’s fine eating places. Affordable accommodations are available in budget hotels and discount hotels near the Sears Tower in Chicago.