Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018. To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities. Now that the state is starting to open back up following the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.
We continue things this week with one of the entries from the Architecture category: Skydeck at Willis Tower, from Chicago, IL.
No story about Illinois architecture would be complete without name-dropping Willis Tower, or as many old-schoolers still like to call it, Sears Tower. When it debuted in 1973, the 110-story icon from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill began its quarter-century reign as the tallest building in the world. Play tourist, and pose for pictures on the Ledge, a glass balcony jutting out 4.3 feet from the side of the Skydeck on the 103rd floor.
I’ve made the trip up to the Skydeck at Sears Tower (not being one of those people, just haven’t been there since the name change) a handful of times over the years. Two stick out in my memory: once in high school and my most recent trip back in 2004.
The high school trip was memorable, mostly for what went on outside the Tower than in it. My friends Scott, Mike, and I made the trip downtown (probably when we weren’t supposed to) and tried to help some poor soul parallel park. If the goal was to not hit the cars in front or behind her, then we failed. After that, we managed to get Scott in for the 12 and under price, despite being 16-ish.
The 2004 trip came between games of a crosstown doubleheader, this one featuring the Marlins and Expos playing at US Cellular Field during the day. With time to kill before the nightcap at Wrigley, Pete and I went up to the Skydeck, since he had never been before.