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Something interesting to do in Chicago

KaryCam

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Gold Member
May 8, 2006
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This article just caught my eye.
Can't say I will do it, but someone might like it.


Sears Tower Unveils 103rd Floor Glass Balconies
Chicago's Sears Tower has opened a glassed-in viewing platform that is not for the faint of heart.
Visitors to the Sears Tower's new glass balconies all seem to agree: The first step is the hardest.

"It's like walking on ice," said Margaret Kemp, of Bishop, California, who said her heart was still pounding even after stepping away from the balcony. "That first step you take – 'am I going down?'"

Kemp was among the visitors who got a sneak preview of the balconies Wednesday. "The Ledge," as the balconies have been nicknamed, open to the public Thursday.

The balconies are suspended 1,353 feet (412 meters) in the air and jut out 4 feet (1.22 meters) from the building's 103rd floor Skydeck. They're actually more like boxes than balconies, with transparent walls, floor and ceiling.

Visitors are treated to unobstructed views of Chicago from the building's west side and a heart-stopping vista of the street and Chicago River below – for those brave enough to look straight down.

John Huston, one of the property owners of the Sears Tower, even admitted to getting "a little queasy" the first time he ventured out. But 30 or 40 trips later, he's got the hang of it.

"The Sears Tower has always been about superlatives – tallest, largest, most iconic," he said. "Today is also about superlatives. Today, we present you with 'the Ledge,' the world's most awesome view, the world's most precipitous view, the view with the most wow in the world."

The balconies can hold five tons, and the glass is 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) thick, officials said.

Sears Tower officials have said the inspiration for the balconies came from the hundreds of forehead prints visitors left behind on Skydeck windows every week. Now, staff will have a new glass surface to clean: floors.

The balconies are just one of the big changes coming to the Sears Tower. The building's name will change to Willis Tower later this summer.

Last week, officials announced a 5-year, $350 million green renovation complete with wind turbines, roof gardens and solar panels.
 

pampchefsarah

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Mar 24, 2008
2,212
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Sure, I'll do this on the same vacation I walk on the glass bridge in the Grand Canyon - which will be NEVER!!
 

ChefBeckyD

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Sep 20, 2005
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I saw that this morning on the today show, and almost threw up just seeing it on TV - I wouldn't even go up that high in the Sears Tower to begin with!
 

nikked

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Gold Member
Apr 10, 2005
2,139
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I do a lot of things in the name of overcoming my extreme fear of heights, there is no amount of money that will ever convince me to go on one of these glass platforms...Grand Canyon (where I'm from), Sears Tower, or whatever...NO WAY, NO HOW!
 

Chef Bobby

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Gold Member
Feb 1, 2007
1,050
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Can't be much worse than going up those elevators on the outside of buildings. That is hard on my nerves. Last year we did go up to some restaurant that was about 95 stories up. We took pictures from the windows and left. That building is on Michigan Ave.
 

aussiecook

Gold Member
Jun 21, 2009
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I did something like this in New Zealand. Its called the sky needle and has glass floors on the observation deck. Pretty scary. Got some cool pics of my little brother laying on the floors looking down at the ground!!!

Cant say Id want to do it again. Seems my fear of heights has gotten worse in the past few years and just seeing something on tv that shows something falling from a height, or a pic down the side of a building, makes me feel physically ill!!!!
 

DebbieJ

Legend Member
Oct 6, 2005
10,901
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Talk about a case of vertigo--yikes!

It's all over the news here.

As for it being close to your hotel, depends how you define close. :)
 

esavvymom

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Sep 8, 2008
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I was just showing DH the site. I think we can hop a River Taxi from the Sheraton up to the Sear's Tower...so we may do that Thursday afternoon/evening (they say best time is after 5pm)...and then depending on how long it takes us, we'd like to take our boys (my DH and 2 boys coming with me to the city) to Dave & Busters for dinner and arcade-fun. So hopefully we'll get some good photos to share. :D
 

Nanisu

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Sep 1, 2005
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Yeah, I'd probably wet myself the first time I went out on it, LOL. And then when I'm done here I'll lean over the top of the Empire State Building for fun.
 

esavvymom

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Sep 8, 2008
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Chicago River.
This struck me funny (from the Fact Sheet):

The inspiration for The Ledge came from hundreds of
forehead prints visitors left behind on Skydeck windows every
week. From the memorable scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
to curious children going right up to the window, visitors are
constantly trying to catch a glimpse below. Now they have a
unique and unobstructed view of the city.


These boxes are retractable too! They can pull them into the building - for 'easy cleaning and maintenance.'

We saw on the news last night they supposedly can hold up to 5 tons. SORRY! But a big Sumo-wrestler with a donut steps into the box while I'm out at the edge, and I just might have to hurt him! "Step away from the donut and exit my space!!" I wouldn't trust it. :D
 

jwpamp

Veteran Member
Jan 13, 2006
1,646
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Sear Towers ob deck is definately going to be a hot attraction -- especially with all of the media on it this week.

One of the other things are Fireworks at Navy Pier on Wednesday night at 9:30pm, concerts at Millenium / Grant Park: Millennium Park :: Park Events Wednesday 6-8pm, and the River Walk is beautiful. You can also take the architectural tour on the riverboat (various times available): CAF Tours

There is soooooo much to do! Living so close to the city, we go there often just to do 'something' or hang out.

Don't just sit in the hotel room! There is toooooo much out there for you!
 

PamperChefCarol

Veteran Member
Oct 2, 2006
1,055
1
oh you faint of heart PC'ers

We are staying over Saturday night and this might be just the thing to do on Sunday. Years ago, when we still had the World Trade Center, we went up to the top of that. Talk about feeling the earth move, you could literally feel the building sway. But the view was breathtaking. Years before that, we went up the Eiffel tower to the top, another amazing view of the world. Now don't get me wrong, I am not a thrill seeker by any stretch of the imagination, but I try to push myself. And I have a very strong stomach. Wave 3, any other takers?
 

Shawnna

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Feb 2, 2005
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I think that is so cool...but I bet it would make even the bravest of persons a little queasy.
 

chefHLM

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Mar 19, 2009
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yeah, there's no way I'd be going! I got quite queasy at the Ghost Bar in Vegas...which is 55 floors up and only the side of the patio are glass...though I admit was an awesome view, but still made me dizzy LOL.
 

cookie325

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Apr 27, 2009
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If I have any extra money, I'm definitely going to make a trip up there. Dh is going with me, and he doesn't like heights, but he said he'll go with me. Otherwise, I'll go alone. Now, how's this for irony - I'm not scared to step out into a glass box 103 stories in the air, but the elevator ride up there is going to terrify me (I'm claustrophobic). Go figure.

For the person curious about the prices, here you go: Chicago attractions, chicago loop buildings, breathtaking chicago views, tourist sightseeing at Sears Tower Skydeck
 

mscharf

Advanced Member
Oct 19, 2008
700
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We just saw this on the news last night and I almost yacked watching people on it. I told my husband I WOULD NEVER do that!! But I might like to peak my head over the edge.... he would die if I brought home a pic of me in there, but I don't think I could muster the guts.
 

pampered1224

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Apr 13, 2004
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OH BOBBY - You mentioned a restaurant on the 95th floor of a building on Michigan Ave. That was the Hancock Center. Not sure which restaurant is there now but there is a Cheesecake Factory in the basement there! UMMM!
 

chefpenny99

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May 31, 2007
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The Sears Tower is about a five minute cab ride from the Chicago Hilton. When I did it two years ago the cab fare was about $5 or $6 each way. You could also walk form the Hilton I just chose not to because of the heat.
 

kuntrycook

Novice Member
Apr 24, 2009
28
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I'd love to go see the view of Chicago from this new deck...I'm afraid of heights, but I trust the engineers who created these structures...I can't imagine they are unsafe...
 

raebates

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Dec 6, 2005
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I doubt they're unsafe. Logically, I realize they will hold my weight. It's the visceral reaction to the optical illusion of standing in thin air--stepping out onto "nothing" I can't take.
 

mscharf

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Oct 19, 2008
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The news story said it is three seperate 1/2 inch pieces, that can hold up to 5 TONS!! I think it can hold anyone!
 

Melissa78

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May 10, 2009
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Anyone know how far the Sears Tower (soon to be Willis Tower) is from the Sheraton? We are staying until Sunday morning and I would LOVE to go out on the new Glass Balcony. With everyone here saying they wouldn't go, that makes the line shorter. hehe I have done the Empire State Building, World Trade Center & Statue of Liberty, would love to add the ST to my list, especially before it changes name. I can't imagine how gorgeous the pictures of Chicago would be from up there.

I'm praying daily that it won't be super hot days when we are there so walking wouldn't be an issue.
 
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