From Historic to Modern - These are some of the best skyscrapers in Chicago
Chicago has some of the largest skyscrapers in the world, and many of them are impressive and beautiful. Even some of the smaller skyscrapers have a unique history and beautiful architecture. The Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower, while not the tallest, are an important part of the Chicago skyline. The buildings listed below are not just to be admired from afar, as many of them have observation decks at the top levels with impressive views, or even restaurants where you can enjoy a meal.
Chicago Water Tower
The Chicago Water Tower is a landmark of the Old Chicago Water Tower District. It sits along the famous Magnificent Mile shopping district and was built in 1869, making it the second oldest water town in the country. Inside the building is a gallery that features local artists and photographers.
800 North Michigan Avenue, The Magnificent Mile, Chicago, Illinois, 60611
The Willis Tower, still called the Sears Tower by most locals, is a 110 story skyscraper that was completed in 1973. For 25 years it was the tallest building in the world. The tower's observation deck is famous for its glass boxes, with glass floors, which give visitors a unique view of the city.
233 South Wacker Drive, Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60606
The Rookery Building
The Rookery Building was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1972. The two story lobby was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright between 1905 and 1907 and the building's structure is notable as being the oldest surviving high rise in the city.
209 S. LaSalle St., Financial District, Chicago, IL, 60604
Marina City sits along a branch of the Chicago River in the downtown area. It's unique design includes two cylindrical 588 feet tall towers and at its completion it was the tallest residential building in the world. Within the building you'll find the House of Blues and the Hotel Chicago, part of the Marriott.
300 N State St, River North, Chicago, IL, 60654
The Wrigley Building
The Wrigley Building is one of the most notable early skyscrapers in Chicago. It was built in the 1920s and has two towers - a 30 story south tower and a 21 story north tower - with a walkway between the two on the 14th floor. This was also the first air conditioned building in Chicago.
400-410 N Michigan Ave, The Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL, 60611
875 North Michigan
Previously call the John Hancock Center, this building is an iconic symbol in the Chicago skyline. It climbs 1,128 feet high and is almost 1,500 feet to the tip of its antennas. The building is considered to be one of the best examples of structural expressionism in the city.
You can head to the 94th floor to see the Tilt attraction at 360 Chicago. When it's clear, you can see up to 55 miles away.
875 N Michigan Ave, The Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL, 60611
Previously known as the Standard Oil Building, this is the third tallest building in Chicago. It was built in 1973 and at one time it's white facade, now white granite, was wrapped in Italian Carrara marble.
200 E. Randolph St., Loop, Chicago, IL, 60601
Aqua is a more recent addition to the Chicago skyline. It was completed in 2009 and is considered to be a recognizable building for its dramatic undulating balconies that were designed to look like waterfalls. The building houses a hotel, apartments, and condominiums and it reaches 859 feet in height.
225 N Columbus Dr #220, Loop, Chicago, IL, 60601
This theatre is managed by an independent non-profit and it regularly hosts performances by the Joffrey Ballet, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Civic Opera. It is one of the oldest surviving concert halls in Chicago's downtown area, dating back to 1889.
430 South Michigan Avenue, Printer's Row, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
Chicago Architecture Center
Located in the impressive Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s skyscraper at One Illinois Center, this museum has exhibits on the many skyscrapers of Chicago. Located right by the Chicago Riverwalk, they offer a number of walking, bus and boat tours as well.
111 E Wacker Dr,, South Shore, Chicago, IL, 60601
One Illinois Center
One Illinois Center is a notable architectural landmark in Chicago for its International Style. It is also the home to the Chicago Architecture Center, which is an impressive museum with a number of exhibits and models. You can also pick up the Architecture River Cruise here which is organized by the Chicago Architecture Center.
111 E. Wacker Drive, South Shore, Chicago, Illinois
The Chicago Cultural Center
Located in Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center opened in 1897 to house the first Chicago Public Library and to serve as the headquarters for the Grand Army of the Republic. Today it is a free cultural center that hosts a number of free concerts, art exhibits and other activities that are open to the public.
78 E Washington St, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, 60602
25 stories high and spanning two city blocks, this unique marketplace sits at the intersection of the North, South, and Main branches of the Chicago River. The architects sought to bring together the concept of a warehouse, a department store, and an office building. Within the building you'll find a number of home furnishing showrooms and a large number of tech companies.
222 N. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Near North Side, Chicago, IL
This award winning skyscraper has a neo-Gothic design with influences by world renowned landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Angkor Wat and the Great Pyramids.
435 N. Michigan Ave., The Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL, 60611
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $30 to $30. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $30. A few of the best options are below.
Where to Stay in Chicago