After a nice cruise on the Chicago River followed by lunch in the Navy Pier, the gang from IgoUgo and I made our way to our next stop: The Sears Tower. We thought of taking a water taxi to save time to get to the tower, but when we got to the dock, we found out that the water taxis only ran from May to September. Oh well, didn't we need to burn off lunch anyway?!
The Sears Tower was once the tallest building in the world. Plans for the building started in 1969 when two Chicago architects were having lunch, and one of them pulled out a pack of cigarettes and put five of them in his fist in varying heights above his thumb. That was the design for the Sears Tower, 5 towers of varying heights and floor levels. Construction of the Sears Tower officially began in 1970 and took three long years to complete. The doors finally opened in 1973, and the Sears Tower was a place for many businesses to have their main offices and for tourists to see the sights of Chicago from the top of the building. In the late 20th Century, The Sears Tower lost its #1 tallest building status to the Petronus Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In order to win back the title, the new owners of the Sear's Tower built a 22-foot antenna, but it was to no avail, and today, the Sears Tower is the 4th tallest building in the world.
All of this information was included in a short History Channel video that was shown to us before ascending the tower. Watching the scenes of the construction was enough to give me a case of acrophobia (fear of heights), and these are the dreams we fear in our sleep!
After the video, we went up to the 103rd floor, which was crowded with families and groups of students. My ears started to pop going up, and I pulled gum out of my purse to stop the pain. We had to plow through them to the windows to see some spectacular views of Chicago and its environs. It was nice to see, but I wasn't that impressed and agreed with some of the tourist books about the Sears Tower being overrated. My friend Leslie and I agreed that "it was just a building."
The Sears Tower is open from 10am to 10pm during the summer and from 10am to 8pm in the off season and costs $12 to go up to the top, but there are deals for seniors and children.