360 CHICAGO has been offering big time thrills since the installation of TILT, which is a glass box that puts you 1,000 feet above ground at a 30-degree angle over the city. You might think this is a destination reserved for tourists, but with the addition of a new bar and daily programming geared toward locals, you might just find yourself with a new favorite hangout. Read on to hear why you should plan a family date 94 floors up.
Begin the Experience
Wind your way through a museum-style exhibition on the ground floor which celebrates Chicago’s history and nine of its culturally rich neighborhoods, before hopping onto some of the fastest elevators in the country. You’ll travel 20mph to the 17,000-square-foot observatory on the 94th floor, where breathtaking 360-degree views of Chicago’s skyline and lakefront await.
Taking the prize for highest bar in Chicago, Bar 94 has a full 360-degree view of the city. Located on the north side of the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck, they serve locally produced and inspired beers and cocktails from Revolution Brewing and Koval Distillery.
Mondays: 360 Tripod; 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
360 CHICAGO welcomes photographers with tripods all day long every Monday, a privilege unavailable on other days of the week, to capture astonishing skyline shots of the city in every direction. Use #360TripodMondays for a chance to be featured (with credit) on 360’s social feeds. Check their website for additional photography events with photographer Nick Ulivieri.
Tuesdays: 360 Sky Tour; noon-8 p.m.; free with general admission ticket
Get all those burning questions answered . . . What kind of whisky did Al Capone drink? . . . Has anyone ever swam to MIchigan? . . . Why does everyone still think Oprah lives here? . . . by 360 CHICAGO’s expert guides. Expect complimentary skyline tours from the 94th floor and an offbeat crash course on the history, architecture and culture of our city, along with insider tips and unique facts you won’t find in guidebooks.
Wednesdays: 360 Sky Art; one per month, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.; $45/person
You won’t have to look far for creative inspiration with the city’s skyline within view for 360 Chicago and Bottle & Bottega’s Sky Art class. The city’s highest art class is perfect for beginners and experienced artists alike and makes for an unforgettable date night or GNO. Skilled instructors walk participants through the process of creating a unique work of art they can take home. Check the website for classes scheduled now through December.
Thursdays: 360 Sky Hoppy Hour; 6 p.m.-9 p.m.; registration is free and includes admission to observation deck
Show your Chicago pride by keeping your drinking local with drink specials from Revolution Brewing and KOVAL Distillery at Bar 94, your new favorite bar 1,000 feet above your ‘hood. Elevate your happy hour with these local brews, amazing views, a live DJ and bar games.
Fridays: 360 Sky Trivia; 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
Gather your wisest friends and head to Bar 94 for Sky Trivia, which tests your Chicago IQ with 6 rounds of questions ranging from pop culture to academia.
Saturdays: 360 Sky Yoga; 9 a.m.-10 a.m.; $15, includes admission to observation deck
Practice your morning sun salutations in the clouds during this one-hour class led by a professional instructor. Yogis will enjoy the meditation and gentle flow movements that awaken the senses, stretches and breath-centered movements. This class sells out every week, so don’t wait to book.
Sundays: 360 Sunday Funday; 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
Sure, sleeping ’til noon on a Sunday is swell, but what’s even better is 360 CHICAGO’s Sunday Funday for families. Infuse a little excitement into your life by taking the family to the observation deck on the 94th floor for a little magic, a little music and a whole lot of amazing Chicago views.
And coming soon . . .
Starting at the end of May, 360 CHICAGO is a great place to see the Navy Pier fireworks, held Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:15 p.m.
A Crash Course on the TILT Attraction
TILT is contained in its own glassed-in area of the observatory and, like the rest of the room, has floor-to-ceiling windows. You’re taken into the exhibit area in groups of 8 and each guest gets their own lookout area on the southern wall facing downtown. When the experience is ready to begin, you step on a glass and steel platform against the window and hold the side bars; you’ll be thankful for the support when the whole wall starts tilting! The countdown begins — 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 — and the platform shifts downward, putting you at an angle over the city.
The thrill goes in stages. At first, it’s just a little tilt and then a little more before, at last, you’re at a full 30-degree angle. The sensation is a bit like the moment before you take big drop on a roller coaster — you’re going slow and you can see the big drop ahead. If you’re a daredevil, you’ll love it. If you get vertigo, your heart may skip a few beats. Either way, it’s a totally memorable experience and one that kids of all ages will absolutely love.
Plan Your Visit
360 CHICAGO and TILT can be accessed through the Garden Plaza off Michigan Avenue at the concourse/lower level. General admission to 360 Chicago is $21/adults, $14/ages 3-11, free for children under 3, with an additional $7 fee to TILT. Residents with a 606 zip code receive a 50% discount. You can buy tickets in advance by clicking here. 360 Chicago is open daily from 9 a.m.-11 p.m., 365 days a year. For more info, go to 360chicago.com.
Have you experienced the TILT yet? We’d love to hear about your experience in the Comments below.
— Maria Chambers