If you’re looking for big thrills this summer, follow this simple plan: Go downtown, head to the Hancock Building, soar up 94 floors and prepare to have your breath taken away. The landmark’s just-opened attraction, Tilt, puts you 1,000 feet above ground and then leans you at a 30-degree angle over the city. It’s an attraction that will draw tourists from across the world. And it’s so exhilarating and original that, as a local, there’s no way you should miss it.
The Way It Works
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 are taken into the exhibit area in small groups 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 love.
Tour the Observatory
Tilt is located in 360 Chicago, formerly known as the Hancock Observatory. In the past year, it’s been refreshed and has some spiffy new features, including panoramic touch screens that allow you to interactively learn about the sights from every angle. Pick up facts on the city skyline, as well as info on history, architecture, natural scenery and culture.
True to its name, 360 Chicago has views in every direction and they span four states. This summer it’s a great place to see the Navy Pier fireworks, held Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:15 p.m. More cool news: It’s all accessed by the fastest elevators in the country.
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 $18 for those 12 years and older and $12 for youth ages 3-11; children under 3 are free. Tilt has an extra fee which, for now, is an introductory rate of $5 per experience. You can buy tickets in advance by clicking here. 360 Chicago is open daily from 9 a.m.-11 p.m. For more info, go to 360chicago.com.
Will you try this new daredevil attraction? Let us know in the Comments!
— Kelly Aiglon