What is an Observation Deck?

The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago

Many of the world’s tallest skyscrapers have special viewing platforms known as observation decks. These elevated decks are open to the public, and provide phenomenal panoramic views that can change the way people think about cities. If you’re in the area, you’re in luck — Chicago is home to the tallest observation deck in the US! Stay with us for a closer look at the Willis Tower observation deck, and other record-breaking towers across the globe. 


How High is the Willis Tower Observation Deck?

The steel-frame “Chicago Skeleton” building technique kicked off the skyscraper age, and subsequent innovations have taken us from the Home Insurance Building in 1885 to the tallest Chicago observation deck of all, Willis Tower. Just how high is the Willis Tower Observation Deck? At 1,353 feet from ground level, Chicago’s most famous attraction is actually the tallest observation deck in the US! Check out these fun facts about the premier Chicago observation deck:

  • Approximately 1.7 million tourists visit Skydeck Chicago every year.
  • Visibility from the Skydeck observation deck reaches up to 50 miles in each direction.
  • The elevators within the tower operate as fast as 1,600 feet per minute.
  • The Ledge, 4 glass boxes that extend 4.3-feet outside the Tower, standing 1,353 feet above Wacker Drive.

Tallest Observation Decks Across the Globe

Sure, it’s the tallest observation deck in the US — but Willis Tower ranks 17th when the competition goes global. Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, boasts the world’s highest observation deck: 1,821 feet from ground level. Rounding out the top five, the following global towers feature the world’s tallest observation decks:

  • Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, China: 1,791 feet
  • Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen, China: 1,773 feet
  • Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea: 1,642 feet
  • Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China: 1,601 feet

Visit the Tallest Observation Deck in the US!

Ready to experience the view from the tallest Chicago observation deck? When you take a loft to Willis tower’s 103rd floor, there’s a lot more to do than look out the window. Contact us to learn more about family-friendly activities on the observation deck, or to reserve the space for special events like engagement parties.

Important Notice Regarding COVID-19

Willis Tower and Skydeck Chicago have implemented measures consistent with CDC and local and federal guidance to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on the premises, including enhanced cleaning protocols. Even with these procedures in place, PLEASE BE ADVISED that building occupants, building and Skydeck visitors, or others currently or previously present upon this property and/or the Skydeck MAY HAVE CONTRACTED OR BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, and may expose you. By accessing and using building common areas, the Skydeck, and their associated amenities, you and your party voluntarily assume all risks of your use—INCLUDING THE RISK OF EXPOSURE TO INFECTIOUS DISEASE—and you waive all claims, including claims for negligence, against Willis Tower, Skydeck Chicago, and their respective owners, managers, affiliates, agents and representatives, arising out of such use. The above parties hereby disclaim all liability for any injuries arising out of your use of this property and the Skydeck, including exposure to infectious disease.

Accept and ContinueAccept and Continue