A travel guide for skyscrapers in Chicago, Illinois.

A travel guide for skyscrapers in Chicago, Illinois.

Located on Lake Michigan, Chicago is famous not only for its nickname Windy City , but also for its skyline – a skyline that is considered one of the tallest in the world.

Think of a skyscraper, and you might not immediately think of Chicago. Located on Lake Michigan, the famous Windy City is actually the birthplace of the skyscraper — the first was built here in 1885 — and today its skyline is considered one of the tallest in the world.

Guide: skyscrapers of Chicago, Illinois, USA - Photo 2

A travel guide for skyscrapers in Chicago, Illinois.

It all started with the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It leveled the Windy City, leaving only a few buildings like the Chicago Water Tower on Michigan Avenue. He became a symbol of a city determined to rebuild something innovative.

Chicago’s Skyline is the tallest in the world.

This created an opportunity for architects to try new and innovative ideas to rebuild the city. “The Chicago School was a group of architects who enthusiastically promoted the construction of load-bearing masonry and steel frames for new buildings, and some of them are really incredible pieces of architecture.

It’s a whirlwind tour of an amazing collection of buildings that form a concrete and steel canyon in just four square miles.

Guide to skyscrapers in Chicago, Illinois, USA - Photo 3

Chicago’s Skyline is the tallest in the world.

Walk along the Riverwalk for a quarter mile along the blue-green waters of the Chicago River from Lakeshore Drive and Lake Street, remembering to look up.

You’ll see the Trump Tower above the Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue. There are also Art Deco, Art Nouveau, International, Beaux Arts and even Spanish Colonial Revival buildings.

Even the bridges over the river are stylish and made of steel painted a dull red, some with stone bridge towers.

See the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

One of Chicago’s first iconic structures is the Friendly Confines . Wrigley Field is on the north side of the city and was built in 1914. It was named for the gum king William Wrigley in 1927.

We suggest walking around the neighborhood outside the ballpark called Wrigleyville . The neighborhood and the ballpark seemed to come together to provide a unique baseball experience . Peanut and T-shirt vendors are on almost every corner .

Skyscrapers of Chicago, Illinois, USA.

See the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The famous red sign at Wrigley Field sits above the entrance to the home field announcing tonight’s game.

The beauty and functionality of this steel-framed venue has allowed it to survive and become the second oldest Major League Baseball park in the United States.

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The Magnificent Mile (and shopping on Michigan Avenue)

The construction boom began in 1920 with the revolutionary DuSable double steel bridge over the river on Michigan Avenue . It has huge Bedford stone bridge towers carved with historical scenes. The bridge serves as a Beaux-Arts-style gateway to the Magnificent Mile of Shops along Michigan Avenue.

Michigan Avenue runs north from the bridge and allows you to shop at some famous stores along the first “magnificent” mile where you can shop at Bloomingdale’s, Marshalls, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany’s, Disney, Nike, to name a few.

Skyscrapers of Chicago, Illinois, USA.

The Magnificent Mile (and shopping on Michigan Avenue)

A jammed water tower sits across the avenue from the dark exterior of the huge John Hancock Center with the Chicago Lookout a thousand feet above the street.

Next door is a multi-story mall called Water Tower Place , which has long been a Macy’s and a very cool Lego store that has a display of the Chicago skyline made of Lego in the front window.

Skyscrapers of Chicago, Illinois - Photo 6

The Magnificent Mile (and shopping on Michigan Avenue)

TIP: There’s a Harry Carays restaurant on the seventh floor, though the original Harry Carays on Kinzie Street, with its white-jacketed waiters, memorabilia and Frank Nitty’s Cellar, is a more authentic Chicago experience.

Chicago River Architectural Tour

The Chicago River Architectural Tour takes you past the Merchandise Mart, which was the largest building in the world when it was built in 1930. Its four million square feet along the river occupy more than two city blocks in Art Deco walls.

Skyscrapers of Chicago, Illinois - Photo 7

Chicago River Architectural Tour

The more modern “Chicago School” of architects built the first steel and glass towers along Lake Shore Drive by 1951. They were built in 1967 and included an office building, theater, gym, swimming pool, skating rink, bowling alley, bars and restaurants, and a dock for your boat, in addition to residential space.

The river changes from green to brown as the tourist boat turns into the south branch of the river because of Lake Michigan, which flows into the Chicago River, carrying its green algae with it.

Chicago has reversed the waters of the Chicago River to create this reverse flow of water to help clean up its polluted waterway and protect Lake Michigan’s drinking water. The river is now a source of pride and beauty.

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333 West Wacker sits on the “T” of the river, and its huge curved green glass exterior reflects other skyscrapers around it, creating a mirror of the city. The El train, Chicago’s famous surface public transportation, flips over the bridge as it crosses the river below.

Chicago, Illinois, USA - Photo 8 Guide to Skyscrapers in Chicago, IL.

Chicago River Architectural Tour

It was the first postmodern building that combined the simplicity of the international style with an elegance that changes as the sun and clouds shift during the day. The Tuning Fork building at 150 North Riverside, with a narrow base that uses only 25 percent of its site, slips as we headed south.

The view to the north is a symbol of Chicago’s tallest building in nearly 25 years, the Willis Tower. It soars 1,450 feet and 100 stories into the Illinois sky. In 1973, it was called Sears Tower and contained the headquarters of the world’s largest retailer, Sears Roebuck and Company. This postmodern building has a 105-foot cylinder surrounded by four other smaller cylinders on the roof that resemble a crown, especially at night when it is lit by more than a thousand fluorescent lights.

Skyscrapers of Chicago, Illinois - Photo 9

Chicago River Architectural Tour

The Willis Tower, along with the John Hancock Center, marks the beginning of the ultra-high-rise skyscraper movement. The innovative use of the bundled tubular steel construction method allowed the architects and engineers of the Second Chicago School to address structural and wind resistance problems not found at lower elevations.

View the view from the Navy Pier

For a spectacular panoramic view of the Chicago skyline and some of the tallest buildings in the world – six of them over 1,000 feet tall – head to the Navy Pier. Included are the second tallest Trump International Tower and the new number three contender under construction, the Vista Tower , which will rise to 1,191 feet, taking third place from its neighbor, the Aon Center.

Skyscrapers of Chicago, Illinois - Photo 10

View the view from the Navy Pier

Eat and Drink: Shaw’s Crab House and Andy’s Jazz Club

We ended our tour in Chicago by eating seafood at Shaw’s Crab House and enjoying the sounds of Chicago at Andy’s Jazz Club right down the street. These 48 hours here will leave you feeling like Chicago is just starting to rise to greater heights, as are its buildings.

Stay at the Sheraton Grand Hotel

The Sheraton Grand Hotel is located right on Chicago’s waterfront, Water Street and Columbus Avenue. It has rooms overlooking the river and the beautiful cityscape and is within walking distance of almost everything, including the Navy Pier.

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Chicago is famous for its amazing architecture and numerous skyscrapers that you can stare at for hours. Not for nothing is one of the best attractions in the city for tourists and locals alike, a boat tour called the “architectural tour”. We won’t recount everything you can hear firsthand on a boat tour, but we will describe the city’s most famous skyscrapers that you are bound to recognize as you stroll through Chicago.

By the way, if you’re going to the U.S. for the first time, be sure to read our article ” What Should You Know Before Your First Trip to the U.S.? “. Learn about the peculiarities of American hotels, restaurants and shopping in the second part of the article – “What you need to know before you travel to the USA? Part 2” .


1. Tribune Tower.

The Tribune Tower is located on Michigan Avenue, just after the Chicago River Bridge. This neo-Gothic style building is the headquarters of prominent media outlets, notably the Chicago Tribune, Tribune Media, and Tronc, Inc. and is also home to CNN’s Chicago branch.

The Tribune Tower building is interesting in several ways. First, the building’s façade contains images made in honor of the tower’s two architects, Raymond Hood and John Howells. The former is symbolized by Robin Hood, and the latter by the image of a howling dog, a play on words in English, since the word “howling”, a consonant of the architect’s surname, means “howling”. The sculptor who made these and other figures for the decoration of the Tribune Tower also immortalized himself on the façade as a frog, as a mockery of his French roots.

The second interesting thing about the Tribune Tower is that fragments of various famous structures of the world were used in the construction of the lower part of the building. Even before the construction of the Tribune Tower began, Chicago Tribune correspondents brought in stones and bricks from the Taj Mahal, Notre Dame, the Great Wall of China, the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul, Angkor Wat, and many other landmarks. Apparently, in the 1920s, there wasn’t much care for the integrity of historical monuments, so the Tribune Tower in Chicago truly became a peace tower.

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Chicago Flood Tower

2. Wrigley Building.

Right across from the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue is the Wrigley Building, the headquarters of the corporation of the same name, the same corporation that became famous for its chewing gum back in the late 19th century.

The building is said to have been inspired by one of the towers of a cathedral in Seville, combined with French Renaissance details. The Wrigley building itself has 2 towers – the north tower and the south tower. The latter is the most noticeable because it is 9 stories higher, and most importantly, it has a clock.

The white facade of the Wrigley building is covered with glazed terracotta, which makes it shine, especially noticeable in the evening, when the building is illuminated by spotlights.

By the way, an interesting fact is that the Wrigley Building was the first building in Chicago to have air conditioning.

3. John Hancock Center

The John Hancock Center in Chicago (not to be confused with the John Hancock Tower in Boston!) is one of the most recognizable skyscrapers in the city, easily distinguished by its black facade with cross-shaped lines that resemble the letter “X” and two antennas on the roof.

On the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center is an observation deck with a 360-degree view of both the Magnificent Mile and Lake Michigan. The views are truly stunning, and the best time to get to the observation deck is in the evening, just before sunset. That way you can catch unique shots of Chicago in the light of the setting sun, and a few minutes later you can catch a glimpse of the lights starting to come on. You can take your own pleasure in watching the sunset from this height, and the benches on the west side are set up for that and are occupied long before the sun goes down.

In addition to the standard sightseeing things, such as screens indicating various sites in the city, the John Hancock Center has recently been offering an entertainment not for the faint of heart called “Tilt.” Its essence is that you stand close to the glass, which tilts down by 30 degrees, and accordingly, with it inclines and you. Feelings from this “fall” on the city is absolutely unforgettable! The main thing is to enjoy the view of Chicago below you from a completely unexpected angle. Worth the pair of minutes of increased adrenaline 7 dollars – do not be afraid, and overcome your fear of heights!

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4. Willis (Sears) Tower.

The Willis Tower, or as Chicagoans still call it, the Sears Tower, is the tallest building in the city and for 25 years it held the title of the tallest skyscraper in the United States.

The Willis Tower now houses the United Airlines headquarters, which occupies 20 floors. Visitors can go up to the 103rd floor and reach one of several glass balconies. Just imagine there are more than 400 meters between you and the ground and just a layer of glass. Of course, just thinking about it takes your breath away, but it’s another way to overcome yourself and your fear of heights. It’s also common to come to the Willis Tower observation deck to watch the sunset, though frankly the view from the John Hancock Center is better. The pleasure of getting to the top is not cheap – a ticket for an adult costs $22, but it is still the second tallest building in the United States, so the price matches the high regalia of the skyscraper.

5. Trump Tower

Another famous building in Chicago, although brand new, belongs to newly elected U.S. President Donald Trump. In 2001 Mr. Trump announced an idea to build the tallest building in the United States, but after the 9/11 tragedy he revised his grand plans.

Certainly Trump knew where in Chicago the winning location for the next skyscraper was – next door to the Wrigley Tower, across from the Tribune Tower, on the north side of the river near the Magnificent Mile and the Michigan Avenue Bridge.

The building ended up being the fourth tallest in the United States when it was completed in 2009. In doing so, Trump Tower took over the palm from the John Hancock Center for the tallest residential building and was even ranked first in the world for this parameter before the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai was completed.

You can easily see that the building is built in ledges, each one corresponding in height to the nearby buildings – the Wrigley Tower, River Plaza, and the former IBM Plaza building – although because of the many other buildings nearby, this is not always obvious.

Trump Tower is now home to a hotel, apartments, and one of Chicago’s most prestigious restaurants, Sixteen.

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