The view from the Aon Building on the 71st floor
This weekend was The Chicago Architecture Foundation's Open House in Chicago. 200 houses, estates, and buildings were open to the public for forty-eight hours for free for everyone to wander though to see the best of Chicago's architectural history. A foggy Saturday morning did not stop us from getting up early, maybe some extra delays, and getting out in the city to all of the rooftops we could access. We made our way through the city, going building to building on our map to see which rooftops and high-rise floors had the best views of Chicago in the downtown area.
Aon Center // 200 E. Randolph St 71st Floor
The top of my list is the Aon Center. Although we waited in quite the line, and believe me we almost bailed, it was worth the wait. The Aon Center has the most amazing 360 views of the city: looking down at Millennium Park, Two Prudential Plaza barely below you with the Willis in the background, the John Hancock at the end of the northern skyline, and Lake Michigan.
Cite Chicago // 505 N. Lake Shore Dr 70th Floor
Okay, spoiler, I did not go to Cite Chicago on the Open House weekend, I went the weekend before. But since Cite was part of Open House Chicago, I thought I would include it. Until the meet up, I had no idea there was a restaurant at the top of Lake Point Tower. T has a different perspective of the Chicago skyline since it is the only building on the east side of Lake Shore Drive.
Left photo by @kaycreature
Marquee at Block 37 // 25 W. Randolph St
The Marquee at Block 37 is on the corner of Randolph and State Street, across from Macy’s (formally Marshall Field’s). Marquee is an apartment complex that opened in June. And while it may cost a pretty penny to live there, the views make up for it. Right below you from the 5th or 38th floor is the iconic Chicago Theatre.
Metropolitan Club at Willis Tower // 33 S. Wacker Dr 67th Floor
So, the Metropolitan Club falls in the middle of my list. The morning started off so foggy that there was no view other than our own reflections in the windows. As the morning went on, the fog cleared up a bit but it was still pretty thick. You can’t control the weather, so you just have to role with it. From the 67th floor you can see over most of Chicago, [edit and add]
Wintrust Bank at La Salle St // 231 S. La Salle St
Wintrust Bank’s roof wasn’t the highest roof, and I think that’s what made it really nice. It is right next to the Chicago Board of Trade Building and a few blocks in front of it is the Willis Tower. If you are daring enough, you can lean over the edge and get some pretty epic pictures of the Chicago Board of Trade Building.
Sky-Line Club // 307 N. Michigan Ave
Okay, I was slightly let down a bite when we first got to the Sky-line Club because I somehow got the idea in my head that it was on the river (I think I started getting locations mixed up at the end of the day). But when we got to the top, they had a pretty nice view of the Wrigley Building and the chaotic traffic below.
Chicago Temple “Sky Temple” // 77 Washington St
Ever since my first year in Chicago, I have always wanted to inside the Chicago Temple and go to the top. I didn’t even think it was a possibility or if there was even anything at the top of the Chicago Temple, it was just a wish in a way. When I saw that it was on the list for the open house, I was there. When you walk in and become surrounded by the Temple’s stain glass it transports you to another era, making it easy to forget that you are in the center of downtown Chicago. The Sky Temple itself was at the top of the building, but with a limited view of the city (but when you’re surrounded by the kaleidoscope colors from the stain glass, who cares!)
Other rooftops and views in Chicago:
Cindy’s Rooftop Restaurant
Plymouth Rooftop Bar and Grill
John Hancock - The Signature Room at the 95th & The Signature Lounge at the 96th
Trump Tower Terrance
& when in doubt The Skydeck and Chicago 360
xx A Traveler's Bliss
(hey - hey you. click the bliss above... do it.)