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The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago

Posted: Tuesday, October 02, 2012
The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago
  • The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago
  • The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago
  • The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago
  • The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago
  • The Ledge at Willis Tower Skydeck
  • View in Google Maps

At 1,353 feet and 110 stories above the streets of downtown Chicago, The Ledge at Willis Tower's Skydeck will transform any visitor's--or local's for that matter--experience with the Windy City. In January 2009, Willis Tower owners began a major renovation of the beloved Skydeck, which originally opened in 1974, and served as a premier tourist attraction throughout the skyscraper's tenure as the Sears Tower. When ownership changed hands, the fresh blood added a fresh look--and adrenaline rush--to the 103rd floor in the form of retractable glass balconies extending about 4 feet over Wacker Drive and the Chicago River below. Still the 8th tallest building in the world, and the absolute tallest in the Western Hemisphere, Willis Tower's Skydeck will reward anyone brave enough to step onto its Ledge with unparalleled views of Illinois' enthralling metropolis.

Willis Tower, Skydeck, and The Ledge Fast Facts

  • The hundreds of forehead prints visitors left behind each week on Skydeck windows served as this inspiration for The Ledge.
  • The Ledge boxes can each bear about 4-1/2 metric tons of weight, and adventurers who trust that statistic enough to prove it can often be found jumping and bounding around the entirely translucent enclosures as Chicago's heavy traffic and infrastructure bustle below.
  • The Ledge’s glass panels weight 1,500 pounds apiece, and each box is comprised of three layers of half-inch thick glass laminated into one seamless unit.
  • In addition to serving 1.3 million tourists per year in its 4.5+ million square feet of space, Willis Tower is home to more than 100 companies, including prominent law, insurance, transportation, and financial services.
  • The Ledge's glass boxes retract into the Skydeck main floor for easy maintenance, probably mostly cleaning off the 974 dead birds that must fly into them every month.
  • The Moonwalk is the most popular dance performed on The Ledge, followed closely by the Running Man. Riverdance clocks in at a distant third.
  • Bringing people who are afraid of heights to The Ledge is not recommended, unless you are mean-spirited or really don't like them. In which case, you should probably just take them here.
  • Willis Tower was known as Sears Tower for decades, until the 30th anniversary of Diff'rent Strokes, at which point it was rightfully renamed.
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