How to visit the John Hancock Building for (almost) free...

GM Mike
By GM Mike,

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The John Hancock Center is the second tallest building in Chicago. Its top floors feature dramatic views of the city and lake. Although it's not nearly as tall as the Sears/Willis Tower, the views are still great, and it can be much more affordable...

The official Observatory is on the 94th floor. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $10 for children, minus a 5% discount for booking on the official website.

The least expensive option is to, instead, have a drink in the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor. Drinks generally cost $5-$10 each but the Lounge windows have great views to the south and east over the city. A one-drink purchase generally secures a table for about a half hour and there are a few places around the tables to take pictures. The Lounge has its own elevator, typically with shorter lines than for the Observatory.

Another great option is to have lunch in the Signature Room restaurant on the 95th floor. Monday-Saturday, the lunch buffet is $20 for adults and $11 for children. On Tuesdays through August 2010, the pricing is $15 for adults, $10 for children - the same price as admission to the Observatory. This is a great value if you make a reservation on their website (https://www.signatureroom.com/Reservations/) as you will have an appointment to use their private elevator to avoid most of the lines.

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