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John Hancock Observatory
Pictures from the John Hancock Observatory building located at 875 N. Michigan Ave. in downtown Chicago.

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John Hancock Observatory
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The John Hancock Observatory & Residences building is located at 875 North Michigan Avenue in Downtown Chicago.

We were staying at the Westin Hotel directly across the street from the John Hancock Center, so we took the 10 second walk over to begin our trip up to the observatory on the 94th floor.

The entrance fee for the Hancock Observatory was $9.95 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, and $6.00 for children aged 6-12.

Since the observatory is open from 9am-11pm we took our time exploring the rest of downtown Chicago. We waited till just before sunset, which is the photographic "golden hour", before heading over to the John Hancock building.

There was a line for the high speed elevator up to the 94th floor but it only took us about 15 minutes to arrive at the observatory.

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Lake Michigan
The views of Chicago from the John Hancock Observatory were excellent and I became a believer of their claim about the 360 degree view spanning over 80 miles, including 4 states.
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Water Filtration Plant
Navy Pier

Some of the other features of the John Hancock Observatory include the personal audio "Sky Tours", the "Windows On Chicago" computer driven photo tour of the must-see Chicago sights, the "Chicago History Wall", the "Soundscopes" that let you hear downtown Chicago, and finally the "Sky Walk" open air section of the observatory.

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94th Floor Observatory

Visiting the Hancock Observatory really improved my sense of direction during our visit in Chicago by allowing me to see an overview of the city just like a Google Satellite Maps view. Whenever I got turned around or a little lost I could just look skywards, find the Hancock building and navigate my way back to the Westin Hotel on Michigan Ave.

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Downtown Chicago
Some of the more notable downtown Chicago buildings that you can see from the John Hancock observatory include the Sears Tower, the Aon Center, the Bank One Plaza, the IBM tower, the Marina City corn cob towers, the bright Merchandise Mart, the Tribune Tower, and the NBC Tower.
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The Skywalk
Skyscraper Building Guide
Chicago Skyline Map

Looking at the sights guide for the Lake Michigan view, I could see that more than a few military battleships, commercial ships and passenger cruise boats have wrecked close the Chicago shores. Some of the boat names included the "Evening Star", "Wells Burt", "Wings of Wind", "Flora Hill", "Jenny Lind", "Lady Elgin" and the "J. Loomis McLaren".

I bet that the stories of these ships could be found on the "Wall of History" display in the observatory.

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After we walked around the Hancock Observatory a few times, the sun began to get too intense.

Since I had taken plenty of pictures with my trusty Canon Powershot SD110 digital camera,  we went to browse around the gift shop, and then headed for the express elevator back to the lobby.

Windows On Chicago
Chicago Wall of History
Novelty Picture Booth
Lake Shore Drive
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Hancock Center Lower Level

Down below at the base of the John Hancock building are an assortment of cafes, eateries, and restaurants including Jamba Juice, and Cheesecake Factory. There was also an artificial waterfall, chairs for taking a break, and two American flags on very tall flag poles. Overall the Hancock Observatory was a great part of our Chicago trip and well worth the price of admission.

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