CHICAGO, April 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- EQ Office announces the exciting reopening of Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower to the public on April 23 after completing an extensive redevelopment, raising the bar once again for the world-renowned experience. The revamped Skydeck Chicago—already rated a Top 10 destination by Tripadvisor.com—will provide a can't miss, one-stop attraction to discover and see all that the city of Chicago offers from an incomparable vantage point. The complete transformation encompasses the attraction's lower level, delivering an interactive experience that celebrates the unique personality, history, neighborhoods and sites of Chicago. The lower-level museum is further complemented by a visit to the internationally recognized observation deck to take in the city from 103 floors up and step out on The Ledge; the four thrilling glass floor balconies extending from the Tower.
Deeply rooted in Chicago traditions and distinctive moments, the revolutionized attraction brings various elements of the city to the forefront, igniting a sense of excitement and capturing what makes Chicago so memorable, all within one interactive environment. "A visit to Skydeck Chicago has always been about the exhilaration of seeing the city from a new perspective," said Randy Stancik, General Manager at Skydeck Chicago. "With the reimagined attraction, we wanted to take that experience a step further. The new Skydeck tells the story of Chicago—from the Great Chicago Fire to iconic city legends—and allows visitors to actively engage with our beloved home in a way that is wholly their own. From interactive and educational installations to fun, photo-worthy moments, guests of all ages, backgrounds and geographic locations will leave with a newfound connection to Chicago and the incredible memories of our unparalleled views."
The New Skydeck Chicago Experience
The adventure begins on the lower level of Willis Tower, where guests are guided through an immersive, Chicago-themed museum in advance of the swift elevator ride up to the highest observation deck in the United States. Featuring modern physical and visual displays, guests of all ages will become engaged and educated in Chicago history, culture, cuisine and architecture through interactive and informative experiences.
- Beginning with "Origins," visitors will discover the history of Chicago; encounter the Great Chicago Fire; and walk through a glowing Chicago River tunnel, all while learning about the city during its formative years.
- The "Architecture" section showcases an interactive fly-through video tour of the city known for its skyline, ending at the iconic Willis Tower. Guests will then have the chance to pose next to floor-to-ceiling Tower antennas to capture the perfect social media shot.
- From there, visitors will hop aboard a full-scale 'L' train replica and tour a plethora of vibrant Chicago neighborhoods by viewing the windows' pass-through video displays.
- Moving further into the experience, visitors will encounter a true "Taste of Chicago" and can strike a pose on the larger-than-life deep-dish pizza platform or grab a seat on the nine-foot long, Chicago-style hot dog bench.
- In the "Characters" and "Streetscapes" areas, guests will have the opportunity to tell jokes on a Second City stage, interact with Chicago's performing arts scene and pose with Chicago icons and landmarks, such as Michael Jordan and the legendary Wrigley Field marquee.
- The lower-level experience culminates with "Urban Playground," leaving visitors with a lasting impression of what makes the energetic metropolis so extraordinary.
The complete transformation on the 103rd floor observation deck includes fresh design features and interactive monitors, providing a space to inspire guest poses and allow visitors to upload and display their Ledge social media photos. Along with the stunning views, guests can indulge in informational videos about the city's growth, travel patterns, cultural attractions and the making and history of The Ledge. Guests are invited to leave a mark on the city by creating drawings or messages on the interactive sequin wall. Screens also feature the impressive eastside views from the 103rd floor, allowing visitors to discover more about local sights, no matter the weather.
The project was spearheaded and developed by EQ Office, operator of Willis Tower. "Skydeck has always been the best way for locals and visitors to see all of Chicago, and now we have dramatically expanded and elevated the experience beyond what anyone has seen before. The new Skydeck experience celebrates hometown traditions and Chicago's storied history, with incredible views that you can't find anywhere else," said David Moore, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Director at EQ Office. The new destination was designed and constructed with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Thinc Design, Clark Construction Group and Chicago Scenic Studios.
Before or after a visit to Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower, guests are invited to enjoy Catalog, a new five-level, curated dining, retail and entertainment experience at the base of the Tower.
The safety and well-being of visitors and staff remains Skydeck Chicago's top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. The attraction uses a timed-ticketing system with capacity limits and safety guidelines in accordance with the City of Chicago's latest COVID-19 regulations. Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance of a visit based on limited supply. To reserve tickets and for more details on the latest health and safety protocols when visiting Skydeck Chicago, please visit www.theskydeck.com or follow the destination on social media at @skydeckchicago.
ABOUT SKYDECK CHICAGO AND THE LEDGE
Skydeck Chicago is the breathtaking, thrilling observatory destination atop the iconic Willis Tower. The highest observation deck in the United States, Skydeck provides views of the city spanning up to four states and 50 miles on a clear day. Recently named a Tripadvisor.com World's Top Ten Attraction, Skydeck features The Ledge, four glass floor balconies extending 4.3 feet from Willis Tower and made of three layers of half-inch thick glass laminated into one seamless unit. After undergoing an extensive transformation in 2021, Skydeck offers a one-stop, Chicago-themed experience, highlighting the rich history, culture, cuisine and architecture of the city. For more information, please visit www.theskydeck.com or follow us on social media at @skydeckchicago.
ABOUT EQ OFFICE
EQ focuses on the experience of its 29 million square feet - how space feels, activates and performs to amplify the human experience. We're proud to work hand-in-hand with more than 1,500 customers of all sizes, from Fortune 100 companies to emerging startups, to bring humanity back to the workplace. Our diverse team of more than 200 professionals is responsible for creating inspired office environments in major cities across the country including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. As a U.S. office portfolio company wholly owned by Blackstone's real estate funds, we have the resources to lead the changes happening in work space. Explore your space for greatness at www.eqoffice.com.
ABOUT WILLIS TOWER
Located at 233 S. Wacker Drive in the heart of downtown Chicago, Willis Tower is an urban destination and state-of-the-art workplace that welcomes prominent businesses ranging from law firms to large airline corporations to insurance companies. Standing 1,450 feet and 110 stories tall, Willis Tower has the region's most breathtaking views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Willis Tower's Skydeck attracts more than 1.7 million visitors each year with its inviting hospitality and memorable experiences. In early 2017, Blackstone and EQ Office announced plans for the biggest restorative transformation project in the building's 47-year history. The redevelopment includes the addition of Catalog, a more than 300,000 square-feet curated dining, entertainment and community experience, as well as a 30,000 square-feet outdoor deck and garden, evolving at the base of the tower. The Catalog name is a historical nod to Willis Tower's original developer and owner, Sears Roebuck, and its popular printed catalog, which was a retail disrupter of its age. Catalog offers an effective way to experience great content, products and experiences. New tenants are now opening in Catalog, and this will continue through its completion in 2021. The Tower renovation also includes 150,000 square feet of new tenant amenity spaces. As part of the renovation, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded Willis Tower the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification for energy efficiency upgrades made throughout the Tower. Willis Tower was also recently named one of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat's (CTBUH) 50 Most Influential Tall Buildings of the Last 50 Years and to the Illinois Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Illinois' 200 Great Places list. For more information, visit www.WillisTower.com and connect on Facebook and Instagram.
SOURCE Skydeck Chicago