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TILT at 360 Chicago: Experience Chicago's Highest Thrill Ride
August 18, 2023 By CityPASS
Chicago is known for its world-class architecture and skyscrapers with fantastic city views. One view, in particular, is found at the former John Hancock Observatory. When the building — which is in the Magnificent Mile district of Chicago, Illinois — was finished in 1969, it was the second-tallest skyscraper in the world.
Today, the observatory is known as the 360 Chicago Observation Deck. At 1,030 feet in the sky, the deck has a bonus for visiting thrill-seekers: TILT at 360 Chicago. TILT is a heart-pumping thrill ride offering a unique vantage point of the Windy City's skyline. We'll explore the history of the building, share details about the TILT experience, and suggest other fun things you can do when you visit 360 Chicago.
Exploring the Former John Hancock Center
The John Hancock Center has a storied past. The 100-story skyscraper standing beside Navy Pier, now known as 875 N. Michigan Avenue, was first envisioned by Jerry Wolman, an American developer who owned the Philadelphia Eagles during the late 1960s. He hired the same team that built the Sears Tower, Bruce Graham of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Fazlur Khan as architects and structural engineers.
Construction began in 1965. However, the building kept sinking due to its location near the water. So, after a couple of years, concrete was poured, and the foundation had to be drilled deeper than almost any other building at that time to keep the skyscraper standing tall.
The building, completed in 1969, was residential and commercial, with observatories on the higher floors. The architectural masterpiece is currently Chicago's fifth-tallest building.
Today, the 360 Chicago Observation Deck offers breathtaking views of Chicago's skyline from around 1,500 feet above Michigan Avenue. To get to 360 Chicago, you can ride one of the fastest elevators in America up to the 94th-floor observation deck, where you can catch spectacular views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan.
With 360-degree views of Chicago the observation deck is a popular place for both residents and tourists to view the city. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Wrigley Field and up to four different states — Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
But there's more to 360 Chicago than just the excellent views. There's also a unique thrill ride you can experience called TILT.
The TILT Feeling: What Should You Expect From This Thrilling Ride?
TILT is a thrill ride like no other and has been a popular Chicago tourist spot since 2014. Up to eight visitors at a time are on a moveable glass platform that tilts down, where you can have the most amazing downward-facing views of North Michigan Avenue. The ride leans out three different times to a 30-degree angle, and you'll feel like you're falling forward each time, but there are handrails for you to hold on tight.
How To Prepare for 360 Chicago's TILT
If you're going to ride TILT, you want to decide if you want to see the breathtaking views at night or during the day, as they are two different experiences. If you're still unsure whether you feel up to the TILT Chicago ride, it's a good idea to watch others ride it a few times first so you can make sure it's something you want to experience.
Once you've decided that your nerves are ready to enjoy the ride, it's time to gather up your "team" of up to eight people with whom you want to enjoy the ride and visit the famous Chicago observation deck.
How Long Does TILT Last?
The thrill-ride experience lasts between two and three minutes.
What Floor Is TILT Located on?
Chicago TILT is located on the 94th floor, where the observation deck is. You will need a general admission ticket to the observation deck to ride TILT. TILT requires an additional ticket, so you'll need both tickets to go on the thrill ride.
Is TILT Safe?
TILT has never had a safety problem, as it undergoes frequent inspections and meets the highest safety standards.
Beyond TILT: Other 360 Chicago Attractions Worth Visiting
The 360 Chicago also includes a multimedia exhibit that teaches visitors about Chicago's history and its citizens' colorful culture throughout the years. The display is located on the ground floor of the building. The 360 Chicago Observation Deck has touch screens where you can learn about Chicago's architecture and the landmarks and scenery you may notice during your visit.
A recent addition to the 360 Chicago experience is an interactive display, "The Stories and Photos of Michigan Pete." It's a tribute to Evald Peterson, known as 'Michigan Pete,' who was a lead inspector for the construction of the John Hancock Center. He uses pictures and words in his journal to describe his journey while building the architectural marvel.
Chicago 360 also features the CloudBar. Here, you can enjoy a drink way up in the sky. The bar serves locally sourced drinks, too, so you can sip a made-in-Chicago beverage before you leave.
Enjoy Chicago 360 and the TILT Experience With a CityPASS® Ticket
Now that you know more about 360 Chicago and the exciting TILT experience, the only question is, when will you visit Chicago and try it? The good news is that, with Chicago CityPASS® tickets, you can see 360 Chicago and visit the Skydeck Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, and two more top Chicago attractions of your choice at a discounted price of off.
When you bundle with Chicago CityPASS® tickets, you can see Chicago from the best vantage points and enjoy much more of what this fabulous city offers.
To get the most out of your stay in Chicago, we recommend finding lodging near Chicago's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:
Header Image Courtesy of 360 CHICAGO