Skyscraper observation decks are generally reserved for tourists. For many travelers, when exploring a new city, there is a need to see it from as lofty a vantage point as possible.  Maybe to get the lay of the land, to measure the breadth of it, they want to take it all in at once. 

Locals can be counted on to want a birds-eye peep of our city, but will usually be satisfied with the views from one of Chicago’s myriad roof top bars or a friend’s high-rise apartment view and will avoid the observation decks atop our city landmarks.

360 Sky Yoga

On the other hand, neighborhoods are traditionally occupied by locals.  Chicago is famously a “city of neighborhoods” and locals know to head to Chinatown for dim sum and Devon Street for Indian food, while tourists stay close to the Loop and the Magnificent Mile.

Related: find things to do in Chicago

Fireworks from 360 Chicago, photo by Janelle Rominski

360 Chicago Observation Deck, located on the 94th Floor of the John Hancock Building, 875 N Michigan Avenue, is one of the top tourist attractions in Chicago, and they've also launched a multi-layered campaign seeking to change these traditions for the local and the tourist alike.

Dubbed #TheRealChicago, the initiative seeks to show the world “more than just our views” by hosting Neighborhood Takeovers on Pop-Up Thursdays, a new neighborhood partnership promoting interesting city neighborhoods, emphasizing community ties and 360 Chicago’s nonprofit commitment.

  • Thursday, May 2:  Magnificent Mile   During the Neighborhood Takeover, The Magnificent Mile will be bringing in a variety of ‘hidden’ gems and activities to encourage guests to explore beyond the “Mile” as 360 CHICAGO promotes #TheRealChicago.  That night attendees can also taste then purchase a Magnificent Mule, the signature cocktail served at Bar 94 and which will raise funds for The Magnificent Mile Charitable Foundation. Locals and visitors alike will be introduced to numerous finds in the area through a brochure available at the attraction, hoping all will go explore after they visit the observation deck.
  • Thursday, July 11:  Old Town
  • Thursday, September 5:  Andersonville
  • Thursday, October 3:  Pilsen and the National Museum of Mexican Art
Tilt at 360 Chicago

To promote 360 Chicago Observation Deck to locals, they will offer the 606 Resident Appreciation Rate every day, giving those with proof of 606 zip code residency a 50% savings on general admission.  Additionally, they offer the 360 Chi Series, a series of events that will be of interest to locals and tourists alike:

  • 360 Tripod Mondays (Mondays 9am – 10:30pm):  photographers with tripods are welcome to set up and capture astonishing skyline views in every direction.  #360TripodMondays
  • Solstice Meetups 
    • Summer Solstice:  Friday, June 21, all day access beginning at 4:30am.
    • Winter Solstice:  Friday, December 21, all day access beginning at 6:30am.
  • 360 Sky Guide (Tuesdays 12pm – 8pm):  360 Chicago expert guides are available to answer questions (What kind of whisky did Al Capone drink?  Why does everyone still think Oprah lives here?  Can you see Michigan from here?) with complimentary skyline tours of Chicago from the 94th floor.
  • 360 Sky Art – Weekly (Wednesdays 9am – 10:30pm):  Artists are welcome to bring their supplies and practice their craft.
  • 360 Sky Art --- Monthly  (Wednesdays 6pm --- 9pm):  360 Chicago teams up with Bottle & Bottega for an unforgettable monthly painting party.  Tickets are $47 and include:
    • General Admission
    • Use of paint supplies and aprons
    • Expert instruction from an experienced Bottle & Bottega artist
    • One beverage from BAR 94
    • One ride on TILT, Chicago’s highest thrill ride
    • A 16x20 take-home canvas
    • Happy little clouds
  • 360 Hoppy Hour (Thursdays 6pm --- 9pm):  Every Thursday night, 360 Chicago and Revolution Brewing host happy hour with local brews, amazing views, live DJ, bar games and drink specials.
  • 360 Sky Trivia (Fridays 6pm --- 9pm):  Host Nicole Kawell will test your Chicago IQ with six rounds of questions ranging from pop culture to academia.
  • 360 Sky Yoga  (Saturdays  9am – 10am):  Practice your sun salutations 1,000 feet closer to the sun.
  • 360 Sunday Funday  (Sundays 1pm – 3pm):  Bring the kids to the observation deck every Sunday for a little magic, a little music and a lot of magnificent views.

Be sure to check the website for details regarding availability and prices:  360 Chicago Observation Deck.

Follow them @360Chicago