John Hancock Center. Skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois

John Hancock Center

Skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois

John Hancock Center Photo © Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

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John Hancock Center

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 - John Hancock Center
John Hancock Center. Photo by unknown
The John Hancock Center is a famous skyscraper in Chicago that is the eighth-tallest building in the United States. When this impressive 1,127-foot tall building was completed in 1970, it was the second-tallest building in the world. Today, the iconic Chicago landmark is the city’s fourth-tallest building after the Willis Tower, the Trump International Hotel and Tower, and the Aon Center (Wikipedia Article). Its 100 stories contain 700 condominiums, numerous offices, restaurants, shops, and an observation deck that provides breathtaking views of Chicago.


The John Hancock Center was built in the late 1960s and financed by the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, which was in turn named after famous American Revolution patriot, John Hancock (Wikipedia Article). Since its completion in 1970, it has been one of the most desirable office spaces and residential areas in the city of Chicago. It is known for its distinctive architectural style, which features x-bracing on the exterior that allowed it to be built to such an immense height. The top of the building features a band of lights that change colors for various local events and holidays, as well as two tall antennae that have been used to broadcast radio and television for decades.


The most exciting attraction at the John Hancock Center is 360 CHICAGO, the only open-air observation deck in Chicago. When you arrive, you’ll fly up to the 94th floor in one of the country’s fastest elevators in an impressive 39 seconds. Once you’ve reached the top, you can enjoy the breathtaking 360° views of Chicago and marvel at the immense Willis Tower, beautiful Lake Michigan, and the sight of Wrigley Field from above. When you’re done posing for photos with the skyline as a backdrop, you can check out the touchscreens that provide tons of fascinating information about the many historical sites, architectural wonders, and natural areas that you can see before you. They also offer an audio tour narrated by David Schwimmer (known for playing Ross on the TV show Friends) for those who want to learn even more about this Chicago landmark.

傾斜玻璃 -
	John Hancock Center
傾斜玻璃 - John Hancock Center. Photo by I-Ta Tsai
In addition, 360 CHICAGO has a new attraction called TILT, a uniquely thrilling experience that allows you to stand in front of one of the observation deck’s many windows and hold on as it tilts outward above the Magnificent Mile. It’s certainly worth the price if you’re not faint of heart.

View from observatory - John Hancock
View from observatory - John Hancock Center. Photo by JH

Shopping and Dining

The John Hancock
	Building in Chicago - John Hancock Center
The John Hancock Building in Chicago - John Hancock Center. Photo by Roman Boed
If you’re afraid of heights, you can still experience the John Hancock Center while enjoying a nice meal or perusing its stores, which sell everything from shoes to sports apparel. Its most famous restaurant is The Signature Room at the 95th, which features an Art Deco design and floor-to-ceiling windows that provide spectacular 360° views of the city from the building’s 95th floor. However, if it’s too pricey for you, there are several other dining establishments within the building, including a reasonably priced café.

Hustle Up the Hancock

Each year, the John Hancock Center hosts the Hustle Up the Hancock, when thousands of people race up the 1,632 steps from the main lobby to the observation deck in order to raise money for lung disease research, education, and advocacy. It’s a great experience if you think you’re in shape to participate!


The innovative design of the John Hancock Center allows it to only sway between five and eight inches in conditions with 60 mph winds.

The building is shaped like a wedge to make it look even taller than it is, as well as accommodate large commercial areas and parking near the bottom with smaller residential spaces near the top.

It’s so tall that the only birds you’ll see from the observation deck will be far below you, as they rarely climb above 152 meter!

Chicago -
	John Hancock Center
Chicago - John Hancock Center. Photo by Bert Kaufmann

208/365 - John Hancock
208/365 - John Hancock Center. Photo by Shutter Runner

Practical Information

While the John Hancock Center does have a parking garage, the easiest way to get there without spending a ton of money is by walking or taking public transportation to downtown Chicago. Numerous CTA buses stop near the building, while the nearest ‘L’ stop is Chicago on the Red Line.

Address: 875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Hours: 360 CHICAGO, the observation deck, is open daily from 9:00 until 23:00, with final entry at 22:30 each evening.

Prices: Admission to 360 CHICAGO costs approximately $ 19 USD for visitors over the age of 12, $ 13 USD for children between the ages of 3 and 11, and is free for children under 3. The TILT attraction can be added to your ticket for an additional fee.

Similar Landmarks

The United States is home to several other record-breaking skyscrapers, including the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, the Willis Tower, the Chrysler Building, and the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Nearby attractions in Chicago that are worth visiting include Lincoln Park and the Lincoln Park Zoo, Millennium Park, and Navy Pier.

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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: Apr 21, 2015

Pictures of John Hancock Center

302/365 - John Hancock Center
302/365 - John Hancock Center. Photo by Shutter Runner

Oak Park - John Hancock Center - Chicago - John Hancock Center
Oak Park - John Hancock Center - Chicago - Photo by Anh Dinh


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