World Class Architecture: 5 Must-See Chicago Landmarks

Chicago has some amazing buildings making up its famous skyline. On your next trip to Chicago, be sure to check out some of these must-see buildings for a thrilling sightseeing tour and a look into Chicagoan history. From beautiful views to beautiful architecture, here are a few of the best buildings in the city.

Willis (Sears) Tower


Image via Flickr by veritatum

Widely known as the Sears Tower (though, officially named the Willis Tower), this is simply a must-see for visitors in Chicago. The building was the tallest building on earth for 25 years—starting the year of its completion in 1973. What really makes this stop spectacular is the 360-degree view from the public sky deck that allows you to see across four states and 50 miles out. On top of the great city view, the glass boxes on the sky deck allow you to see straight down to the tiny people milling about the city below.

Trump Tower


Image via Flickr by mootown

Only the Sears Tower rises above the Trump Tower in the western hemisphere. Completed in 2009 at 92 stories, the Trump Tower features three “setback features” that line up with other important buildings in the Chicago skyline—the Mies van der Rohe IBM Plaza, The Marina City Towers and the Wrigley Building. Visitors can view luxury retail spaces and condominiums, as well as a restaurant, lounge, hotel, and spa.

Water Tower

One of the most unique buildings in Chicago has to be the Historic Water Tower. Located in the center of the Magnificent Mile, the Chicago Water Tower was completed in 1869 and was one of the few buildings to survive the path of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. The building now houses exhibits of local photography pieces of artwork.

Aqua Tower

This unique building is the tallest building in the U.S. designed by a woman and was completed in 2009. The floor plan for each level is rectangular, but uses outside terraces to create a wavy, sculptural form to simulate water. The 82 stories include hotel rooms, rental apartments, condominiums, retail spaces, underground parking, gardens, gazebos, pools, hot tubs, an exercise track, and a fire pit.

Hancock Tower


Image via Flickr by allistair

Located just north of Magnificent Mile, the John Hancock Tower is an iconic Chicago skyscraper. The building should be one of your last visits of the day, since the breathtaking scenic view from the 95th floor lounge offers an amazing sunset skyline. The 94th floor is called 360 CHICAGO and offers a café and a unique TILT observatory feature that extends outwards and faces down for a wild view 1,000 feet above the ground.

Check out reviews of the best hotels on and find accommodations near your favorite part of the Chicago skyline. From hotels near the Magnificent Mile, like the Peninsula Chicago, to rooms in the Trump Tower, you can find pricing and guest reviews. Get your up-close-and-personal opportunity to see amazing Chicago architecture on your next trip to the Windy City!



Tags: Aqua Tower, Hancock Tower, Must-See Chicago Landmarks, Trump Tower, water tower, World Class Architecture

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