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Where to Find the Best Views in Chicago

Where to Find the Best Views in Chicago

Chicago is one good-looking town. The Windy City’s skyscrapers are architectural icons, and its streets are filled with public art, all set against the beautifully serene backdrop of Lake Michigan. Bring your camera along, and get ready to take in some truly impressive vistas. Here’s where to find the very best views in Chicago.

Skydeck Chicago

Located 1,353 feet (412 meters) above ground level at the Willis Tower, Skydeck is the highest observation deck in the city. Perched on the 103rd floor of what was once the world’s tallest building, the viewing platform offers extraordinary panormas of the Windy City—particularly from its vertigo-inducing glass ledge.

360 Chicago

A near rival to the lofty Willis Tower, the John Hancock Building—which overlooks the Magnificent Mile—offers a different, but similarly vertiginous, perspective on the city. Ascend to its 94th-floor 360 Chicago observation deck for top-notch views, and, if you’re brave, try Tilt: the building’s moving-platform ride that tilts you out over Michigan Avenue. 

Lake Michigan Cruises

Enjoy a tranquil way to sightsee in Chicago—and kick back and relax as you admire pristine skyline views—when you book a cruise along Lake Michigan. Travel by day to see the sun glinting off the skyscrapers, or head out at sunset to watch the neon-lit city come to life as darkness descends. 

Helicopter Tours

For truly memorable views of the Windy City, and to soar above even its highest spires, book a helicopter tour. In the space of just a short trip, you can drink in aerial perspectives of the city’s many parks, neighborhoods, and architectural icons—and even spy highlights such as Navy Pier and the Shedd Aquarium from the air.

Adler Planetarium

Part of the city’s Museum Campus, Adler Planetarium has a lakeside location that lends it a striking perspective on the Chicago skyline. But that’s not the only viewing it offers. The planetarium’s Doane Observatory, home to Chicagoland’s largest-aperture telescope, makes it easy to spy the heavenly bodies in Chicago’s skies, too.

Architecture Boat Tours

Chicago is a city with a surfeit of architectural icons, and there are few better ways to see them than by going for a ride in an open-top boat. As you trawl along the Chicago River, keep your eyes peeled and camera at the ready: You’ll discover highlights ranging from the Wrigley Building and Marina City to the Chicago Tribune Tower.

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9 Tours and Activities | All Chicago Tours

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Chicago Architecture River Cruise

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

star-5
5160
Cruise down the Chicago River to see the city's famous architecture on this boat tour. With commentary from your onboard guide, watch the spectacular skyline glide by, including more than 40 notable buildings like Navy Pier, the Wrigley Building, and the John Hancock Building. Cover all three branches of the Chicago River, passing the East Bank Club, the old Post Office Building and the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$44.69
From
$44.69
Taking safety measures

360 CHICAGO Observation Deck Admission (Hancock Center)

360 CHICAGO Observation Deck Admission (Hancock Center)

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281
Tower above the Windy City’s world-famous skyline with admission to 360 Chicago (John Hancock Observatory). Ascend 94 stories to the observation deck of one of the tallest buildings in North America aboard its lightning-fast elevator. Then check out bird’s-eye views of landmarks like the famous Willis (Sears) Tower and the lakefront shoreline, and enjoy a variety of educational exhibits on site. Upgrade your ticket to include TILT, a thrill ride that offers visitors unique, downward facing views from 1,030 feet. Or, choose the Sun and Stars package for two visits to the observation deck within 48 hours. With mobile tickets, simply scan your phone for direct entry into 360 Chicago.
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  • 1 day
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$30.00
From
$30.00
Taking safety measures

Chicago Architectural River Cruise

Chicago Architectural River Cruise

star-4.5
681
See the towers, piers and iconic landmarks along the Chicago River on an architectural cruise through the heart of the city. Enjoy complimentary refreshments on deck as you cruise down the historic waterway, while listening to fun stories and facts throughout the tour. Spot gargoyles that keep watch high above the city, and buildings that range from Neoclassical to Art Deco. Take in over fifty sites from Lake Point Tower to the Navy Pier, and see the Second City from the water.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$49.05
From
$49.05
Taking safety measures

Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise

Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise

star-4.5
172
Take in iconic views of the beautiful Chicago lakefront and its many landmarks during this 40-minute Lake Michigan sightseeing boat cruise. Climb aboard your vessel for a laid-back ride, enjoying panoramic views of the Windy City's skyline from a unique perspective. Along the way, you'll listen to informative commentary and take in views of the John Hancock Center and Willis Tower, along with many other landmarks. Plus feel free to bring your own lunch or grab a drink at the onboard bar, during your ride.
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  • 40 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$27.25
From
$27.25
Taking safety measures

Private Sunset Sail on Lake Michigan with Breathtaking Views of Chicago

Private Sunset Sail on Lake Michigan with Breathtaking Views of Chicago

star-5
8
Soak up the views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline with a 2-hour sailing tour. This private charter is completely customizable, giving you the chance to choose your music, route, and up to 5 additional guests. Sail into the sunset with your own drinks and snacks (refrigerator and ice on board) and your family or friends by your side.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$427.28
per group
From
$427.28
per group
Taking safety measures

Chicago CityPASS

Chicago CityPASS

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314
Get the most out of your trip to Chicago as you enjoy discount access to five of the city’s top attractions with the CityPASS. This easy-to-use mobile ticket grants you free entry into top-tier sights including the Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago (Opening with reimagined experience in Spring 2021), and the Field Museum plus your choice of admission to 3 of the following attractions: Adler Planetarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, and the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck. Also enjoy a wealth of useful Chicago tips and savings at a variety of other venues and retailers.
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  • 9 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
$109.00
From
$109.00

Chicago Skyline Tall Ship Cruise

Chicago Skyline Tall Ship Cruise

star-4.5
63
Escape the bustle of the city on a sailboat tour through Lake Michigan with a convenient departure from Navy Pier. The cruise offers plenty of frame–worthy photo opportunities, including sweeping views of the Chicago skyline rarely seen by visitors. As a popular choice for both locals and visitors, your experience is guaranteed to be family–friendly and tailored to your needs.
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$44.00
From
$44.00
Taking safety measures

Chicago Premier Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan

Chicago Premier Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan

star-4
90
Take a gourmet dinner cruise on a high-end luxury yacht with the stunning skyline of Chicago serving as your backdrop. Climb aboard your recently renovated vessel, featuring a sumptuously-appointed rooftop lounge and stylish interior design, for your cruise along Lake Michigan. Then sit down for a 3-course dinner, informed by some of the world’s top celebrity chefs and composed of fresh ingredients cooked right on-board. After dinner, enjoy coffee and tea, captivating views of Chicago landmarks like the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and Navy Pier, plus musical entertainment provided by the onboard DJ.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$111.38
From
$111.38
Taking safety measures

Sparkling Chicago: 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck (Hancock Center) with Prosecco

Sparkling Chicago: 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck (Hancock Center) with Prosecco

star-4
16
This admission ticket for two people gets you and a special someone access to 360 Chicago (John Hancock Observatory) plus a half bottle of Prosecco — a package that’s not available for purchase at the tower. After a quick elevator ride to the 94th floor of the Hancock Center, savor panoramic views over Chicago from 1,000 feet (304 meters) above the Magnificent Mile. Lift your glass in a toast to landmarks like Navy Pier, the Willis (Sears) Tower and Lake Michigan. With mobile tickets, simply scan your phone for direct entry into 360 Chicago.
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  • 1 day
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$70.00
From
$70.00
Taking safety measures