360 Chicago Offers Breathtaking Views, Bourbon, and Beer

photo credit Janelle Rominski

I would like to state, at the outset, man was not meant to fly. I say that because it explains the feeling which swept over me as I was tilted off the safe, secure, firmly attached, not-at-all-about-to-fall-or-anything edge of the John Hancock Observatory, now called 360 Chicago, on the 94th floor to stare 1000 feet straight down at Chestnut Avenue and the rather surprisingly sharp spire of Water Tower Place upon which my idiot body was convinced it would shortly be impaled.

I also say that to assure you I am not afraid of heights, I’m just experiencing what any human would experience when faced with certain death from falling, which is a piercing, abject, all-consuming, arms flailing, sense of horror and dread. I’m not saying my life flashed before my eyes–my God, the thing is completely safe. I’m an adult, people. However, I’d like to apologize to the entirety of Mrs. Blankenship’s 4th Grade class from 1975 for that thing I did during the science lab. That was uncalled for.

I’d also like to apologize to the seven other people with me on the TILT ride Wednesday night who may have experienced several moments of the word NOPE bellowed in an earsplitting, high pitched shriek which may be described diplomatically as piano fortissimo weasely screamo. That, also, was uncalled for, as my wife repeatedly explained.

360 Chicago Offers Breathtaking Views, Bourbon, and Beer 1

photo credit: Janelle Rominski


Because she, like so many others riding the Tilt, was entirely unafraid to be canted out to face down the side of the John Hancock seeing as the ride is attached to the building by black magic and quality engineering and is entirely and perfectly safe and is, in her words, merely thrilling not, in my words, *&^% suicidal. She’s the brave one.

Thank God they have a bar. The newly remodeled Bar 94 offers snacks and a selection of locally distilled spirits from Chicago’s amazing Koval distillery and locally brewed beer from Revolution Brewing. The custom drink list includes a Mag Mile Mule made with Koval’s single barrel bourbon and finished with Top Note Ginger Beer which is delicious and after sampling it 37 times I was able to board the Tilt again and finally enjoy the view, which is spectacular moments before being leveraged forward and entirely and completely terrifying immediately after.

The other views from 360 Chicago are frankly spectacular and, true to the name, offer an uninterrupted vista of the city and the lake which, during sunset is breathtaking and after sunset, when the city lights up like a magical jewel, also breathtaking.


Looking East at Sunset from 360 Chicago

photo credit: Bull Garlington


360 Chicago offers regularly scheduled thematic events in their 360 Chicago Series that make a good case for visiting the 94th floor on the regular:

360 Tripod Mondays – 9:00 to 10:30 am Bring your tripod and your camera to take amazing pictures of Chicago. Rainy days are actually a bonus since the observation of storms while in the sky with the storms is a rare opportunity. Well, not so rare at 360 Chicago, which turns bad weather into good photography with the help of their photography ambassador, Nick Ulivieri. You may want to attend his storm Photographer Workshop on April 16th.

360 Sky Guide – Tuesdays 12 to 8 pm – 360 Chicago’s expert guides lead complimentary skyline tours and answer questions about the city from visitors who think Oprah still lives here.

360 Sky Art – Weekly on Wednesdays, all day – all 17000 feet of the observatory is your personal art studio. Bring your easel and supplies and set up to paint views you can’t get from your ground level studio at home.

If you’re new to painting or you just think (rightly) that it pairs best with a nice Cabernet, then sign up for the monthly art class hosted by Bottle & Bottega.

360 Hoppy Hour–Thursdays 6 to 9 pm ­– Revolution Brewing puts your favorite local bar 1000 feet in the sky as they offer their beers at Bar 94 along with a DJ from Made Events.

360 Sky Trivia – Fridays, 6 to 9 pm – Hosted by Nicole Kawell, who’s been running the best trivia games in the city for years, promoting content that is gender and age neutral, fun, and nostalgic.

360 Sky Yoga – Fridays 9 to 10 am – These classes are led by Ashley Christiansen of Maksha Yoga and sell out quickly. I would go but I already did Downward Facing AAAAAAAA! So I’m pretty relaxed . . .

360 Sunday Funday – Sundays 1 to 3 pm – Bring the kids for music and magic. Myster AJ performs sleight of hand while talking history. Mr. Dave Music delivers kid and family-friendly tunes.

Of course, the Tilt is always there to dangle you over the city and help you develop healthy lungs.

Click here to get tickets to 360 Chicago

360 Chicago is located at 875 N Michigan Ave 

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