360 Chicago is also known as John Hancock Observatory.
Located 305 meters (1000 feet) above the Magnificent Mile of Chicago, in the iconic John Hancock Building, this observatory offers stunning 360 degrees views of the city.
The best part of 360 Chicago is ‘The Tilt,’ considered by many the most thrilling ride in the city.
In this article, we explain everything you must know before visiting the 360 Chicago.
Where is 360 Chicago?
360 Chicago is in the heart of Chicago city.
It is at the top of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile – the corner of Michigan Avenue and Delaware Place.
It is within walking distance of many of Chicago’s attractions and shopping areas.
360 Chicago address
875 N Michigan Avenue,
94th floor, Chicago,
IL 60611, United States.
How to reach 360 Chicago?
There are many options to reach 360 Chicago.
You can take the CTA’s 125 Water Tower Express bus to the John Hancock Center from Union or North-western Stations.
Divvy bike is one of the preferred options to get to 360 Chicago.
Divvy’s bike program is Chicago’s bike sharing system which now has thousands of bike and hundreds of bike stations.
There are many bike stations located within walking distance of 360 Chicago.
The easiest way to get to 360 Chicago is to take the L’s Red Line to the Chicago subway station or one of several bus routes to the Michigan & Chestnut or Chestnut & Miles Van Der Rohe bus stops.
360 Chicago parking
Parking for 360 Chicago is located at the John Hancock Center garage.
If you show your 360 Chicago tickets, you will receive a $5 discount on your parking fees.
The vehicle clearance is about 6 feet 7 inches.
360 Chicago hours
360 Chicago observation deck remains open every day from 9 am to 11 pm.
The last entry at 360 Chicago is at 10.30 pm.
What to see in 360 Chicago?
There are many things to explore and enjoy at this observatory.
360 CHICAGO observation deck offers breathtaking 360 degrees views of the Chicago city skyline and Lake Michigan.
When the weather is clear, you can see up to 80 Kilometres (50 Miles) – up to four different states.
360 Chicago TILT
TILT is one of the most thrilling attractions in Chicago.
This novel feature sets 360 Chicago apart from other observatories.
Tilts are full-length window panes with bars on both sides for you to hold.
Once you are ready, the window panes tilt forward and outward from the 94th floor of John Hancock tower.
These panes tilt out gradually up to 45 degrees more than 305 meters (1000 feet) above the ground.
Chicago Multimedia Exhibit is an experience which begins at the ground floor of the John Hancock tower.
It is a Museum styled just like an exhibition to celebrate Chicago’s history and nine of its culturally rich neighborhoods.
There are educative high definition interactive touch screens in seven different languages for the guests to explore.
This is an interactive multimedia exhibit which narrates the construction of the John Hancock Building through the eyes of one of the workers.
Evald Peterson, who was also known as ‘Michigan Pete’ worked as head caisson inspector while constructing the John Hancock Building.
He documented with notes and photographs the whole process, which is now a fantastic history of the iconic building.
Bar 94 is perhaps the highest bar in Chicago.
It is on the 94th floor of the John Hancock tower and offers 360-degree views of the city.
If you are above the drinking age, we highly recommend you check it out.
We are sure, it will be a stimulating experience for you.
You will be served locally produced bear by Revolution Brewing and spirits by Koval Distillery.
Best time to visit 360 Chicago
Since 360 Chicago is one of the most popular attractions in the city, so it remains busy.
We recommend you to visit 360 Chicago before 10 am so that you can beat the crowds and go straight to the top.
We also recommend you to check the weather before planning your visit.
The best time and day to visit any observatory is when the skies are clear.
Best time for photographers
It is tricky for photographers to find a photo-worthy attraction which allows photography.
360 Chicago solves this problem for photographers.
On Mondays, 360 Chicago allows photographers to set up shots the way they like.
In fact, they can also use their tripods the way they want – both during the day and at night.
Best time for artists
If you have a passion for art and creativity, then you must visit 360 Chicago on Wednesdays.
Painters and illustrators are invited on Wednesdays to bring up their easel and canvas up to the deck of 360 Chicago to capture the stunning Skyline through an artist’s eye.
Best time to visit if you love beer
If you love beer, you must visit 360 Chicago on Thursday’s evening.
On Thursdays, from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm, there is Revolution Brewing’s locally brewed craft beer, big TV screens, board games with music etc.
Everything is fun with a sea of city lights all around you.
Perfect time for Yoga enthusiasts
360 Sky Yoga takes place every Saturday’s morning from 9 am to 10 am.
Yoga enthusiasts can take their practice of Yoga up to the new level.
This one hour Yoga class is led by a professional instructor who takes participants through an all–level Yoga flow and meditation.
How long does 360 Chicago take?
The duration of your 360 Chicago visit depends on how much time you wait in the ticketing line, the elevator lines, the line for TILT and the amount of time you spend in the Observatory.
Waiting in lines at 360 Chicago
Waiting in lines totally depends on the season and time of the day you are visiting the 360 Chicago.
The usual wait at 360 Chicago is of about 10 to 30 minutes, but the waiting time can extend to even an hour on busy summer days.
If you visit during off-peak times of the day, you may don’t even have to wait for 5 minutes.
One of the easiest ways to reduce this waiting time is to buy 360 Chicago tickets online.
How long does TILT last?
The TILT lasts for around 2-3 minutes.
However, you may find a queue waiting for their turn to experience the TILT.
Depending on the time of the day and the season this can take 5 to 15 minutes.
In effect, during peak times you need at least three hours to explore 360 Chicago and at other times, two hours will be enough.
360 Chicago tickets
360 Chicago tickets are generally classified into two categories:
360 Chicago ‘Skip the Line’ tickets
Skip the line ticket gets you admission to the 360 Chicago observatory once and in the shortest possible time.
This ticket also gets you access to the famed TILT feature.
However, you can opt to not go through this ‘scary’ experience.
Adult ticket (12+ years): $19.88
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): $13.55
Children below 3 years walk in for free.
360 Chicago’s Sun and the Stars ticket
This ticket gets you to access the most beautiful observatory in the whole of Chicago twice – once during the day and once at night.
Thus you get to view two different spectacular views of the city from the 94th floor.
This ticket also gets you access to the TILT.
Adult ticket (12+ years): $23.94
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): $17.62
Children below 3 years walk in for free.
360 Chicago or Skydeck Chicago
Tourists visiting Chicago tend to compare Skydeck Chicago (also known as Willis Skydeck) with Hancock 360 Chicago.
They want to know which is better – 360 Chicago or Skydeck Chicago – so that they can choose the best experience.
The 360 Chicago observatory is only 3.2 Kms (2 Miles) from Skydeck Chicago observatory.
This proximity further confuses tourists.
Here is a short countdown: 360 Chicago vs Skydeck Chicago
Location is important because based on the tourist attraction you are visiting or the hotel you are staying in, one observatory may be closer than the other.
360 Chicago is located on Michigan Avenue and Skydeck Chicago is on Wacker Avenue (entrance is on Jackson Boulevard).
However, if you won’t be staying in the city centre, the location won’t matter much because they aren’t that far apart.
2. Ticket prices
360 Chicago’s tickets are cheaper than Skydeck’s tickets.
Skydeck Chicago has a standard entry ticket which costs $23 for adults aged 12+ years and $15.64 for children aged 3 to12 years.
360 Chicago tickets are a dollar cheaper at $22 (for adults) and $15 (for kids).
3. Waiting times
The average waiting time at Skydeck Chicago is double the waiting time at 360 Chicago – during peak times.
This is why if you are travelling with impatient kids (or elderly adults) it may be worthwhile to opt for 360 Chicago.
4. Opening hours
Sometimes the opening times of the observatories may help you decide on which one to visit.
360 Chicago is open daily from 9 am to 11 pm, and the last entry is at 10.30 pm.
Skydeck Chicago is open daily from 9 am to 10 pm.
However, during the lean months – October to February – the hours get reduced to 10 am to 8 pm.
5. Additional Features
However, what really differentiates Chicago’s two observatories is their unique feature – 360 Chicago’s Tilt and Skydeck Chicago’s Ledge.
To experience 360 Chicago’s Tilt, you must pay $7 extra.
You can buy 360 Chicago tickets with the Tilt experience beforehand, or you can decide to upgrade at the venue.
Skydeck Chicago’s Ledge is a glass box extending 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) away from the main walls of the Willis Tower.
There are four such ledge boxes, and you don’t need to buy a ticket to try them out.
360 Chicago view
On a clear day, the 360 Chicago observatory in Hancock building offers excellent views of the city and beyond.
In fact, you can even see the other States across Lake Michigan.
You get fantastic views of the Navy Pier, downtown Chicago etc.
Ironically, you can even see the Willis Tower (which has the Skydeck observatory) in the Chicago skyline.
Visitors love the large glass panes of this observatory, which make it easy to look around and take photos.
The night time view is also brilliant – you can see the lit up Chicago skyline.
360 Chicago at night
This is a question many tourists ask.
Continue reading to understand what tourists who have been here before you think about 360 Chicago.
360 Chicago at night or day?
It is a difficult choice for sure.
If you have the time and the money, we suggest you visit the building twice – once in the morning and once at night.
For this, you must buy the Suns and Stars ticket, which allows you two visits within 48 hours.
You can visit once during the day and once at night.
However, you must know that at night one side of the building will just be dark since there are no lights on Lake Michigan.
360 Chicago at sunset
If you don’t have the time and money for the Sun and Stars ticket, we have yet another suggestion.
You don’t have to choose between the night and day – do both with a single ticket and in one visit.
Plan your visit, just before sunset.
However, be ready for long lines because many tourists prefer to check out the sunset from 360 Chicago.
If you opt for this time, you can witness the City skyline during the day time, see it change colours as the sun sets, and then watch in admiration as the lights come up one by one.
Once the sunset is over, the crowd thins down making it seem like a private preview of the city of Chicago. Buy the regular ticket