When I was in Chicago one of the things that I wanted to do was see the city from one of the tallest skyscrapers there. The tallest building in the city is the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears tower), but all I read was it was a tourist trap. Next is the Trump International and the Aon Center, both of which do not have observation decks. That brings us to the John Hancock Center, which is where I ended up.
The John Hancock Center is the 4th tallest building in Chicago at 1,127 feet high with 100 floors. It is the 8th tallest building in the United States and was actually the tallest building in the United States in the 1960s. It was also the first building outside of New York City to rise at least 1000 feet.
At the John Hancock Center you actually have three options, first is 360 Chicago, which is the actual observatory on the 94th floor. This will cost you about $20 and does have the Tilt Experience, again it just seemed like a tourist trap. Next you have the Signature Room on the 95th floor. This is the restaurant and from everything I read the food was just ok, you were more or less paying for the view. Finally there is the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor, which is the bar / lounge. I ended up choosing this, and it ended up being the best choice (the restaurant was almost completely empty when we walked by it!).
I had read the best time to get to the Signature Lounge was 4-4:30PM to secure a table with a view for the sunset. We ended up getting there right around that time and got a table right as someone was getting up! I would suggest this time because after 5PM the place gets packed! Our table was right on the corner so we were able to enjoy views both west and south.
Now drinks are overpriced, just like the food at the restaurant (from what we heard), you are paying for the view not the quality of food or service. But you can easily sip on a drink, relax and enjoy the view. Mixed drinks where anywhere from $12-18, not bad considering the view. We actually ended up staying through the entire sunset until it got completely dark.
I think I took over 100 photos! If you want to get some amazing photographs for Instagram this is the place! I also took a few time lapse videos with my older iPhone using Hyperlapse, I still need to edit them though.
If you are in Chicago the John Hancock Center offers some of the best views of the city, and in my opinion the Signature Lounge is the way to go. It is a great place to grab drinks before dinner and enjoy an amazing view! After the John Hancock Center we ended up at Primehouse for dinner, which was amazing!