Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Above the Clouds in the Willis Tower


Where can you see sights like this, where you feel as if you are looking out onto a heavenly landscape?  (All photos will enlarge if double clicked on, use your back arrow to return to the post)


That is what the views looked like that day my husband and I visited the observation deck of the Willis Tower  (formally known as the Sears Tower) located in Chicago. Standing at 1,450 feet and 110 stories high, Willis Tower is the tallest building in the western hemisphere. The building held the record for the world’s tallest building in the world for 25 years until the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia were built in 1998. In 2000, one of the building’s antennas was extended to 1,729 feet, making it again the world’s tallest building to the tip of its antenna. The building held this title until early 2009 when Burj Dubai topped out at over 2,600 feet, which now makes it the tallest man-made structure in the world.       


The Willis Tower is located on Wacker Drive in the heart of the West Loop of Chicago.  I had to use my camera's wide angle lens just to try to capture the whole length of the building as it reached up above the clouds!

The Skydeck observation deck is 103 stories, 412 meters, or 1,353 feet high!  On a clear day you can look out onto four states and up to 50 miles.


The morning we visited a cold front was coming in and the outside air temperature was falling from the high 70's to the high 50's. Clouds were quickly forming over Lake Michigan


We could see the giant cloud formation approaching like a giant fluffy blanket being pulled up over the city.


It began to cover all but the highest surrounding buildings.


It made everything look surreal and so heavenly.


If they dare, a visitor to the Skydeck can step out on The Ledge, which are glass boxes extending out 4.3 feet on the west side of the building.  In the photo above my husband was in one of the ledges taking a video of me ......


......as I was standing in another ledge!


It does take a bit of bravery to walk out into the ledges and look around and down.


The views were well worth it and are exhilarating!

Many visitors were brave enough to do it, and a ledge was a popular place to stand......


...........to take in all the views.........


........ before the clouds covered everything.

If you'd like to see what the entire experience of visiting the Willis Tower Skydeck on a clear day is like, from the ground floor exhibit up to the Skydeck floor itself, and onto The Ledge platforms, you can watch this Youtube video:



I'd love to visit Skydeck again, when the sky is blue, but I'm also happy to have visited on a day when I felt like I was above the clouds in heaven. It's a view of Chicago I'll never forget!

I'm linking this post to the "Outdoor Wednesday" event on Susan's blog A Southern Daydreamer and also to Skywatch Friday -- thanks to all of their crew.

PS: I have been experiencing problems leaving comments today because of another apparent Blogger bug. I wasn't able to sign in automatically with my Blogspot profile when trying to leave a comment. I kept coming up as "anonymous."  I heard  in e-mail from a few others bloggers who were having the same problem. I discovered that I had to click on "select profile" under the comment box and sign in with my name and blog URL. That worked!  It's a longer step, but hopefully everything will be back to normal with Blogger soon. If you are having this problem try my solution and hopefully it will also work for you.



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51 comments:

From the Kitchen said...

Aha, Chicago's famous "low ceiling" as airline pilots like to point out when landing in just such circumstances. It can be rather disconcerting to see the ground just as the wheels touch down! You, my friend, are much braver than I. I've made only one trip to the top of the, then, Sear's Tower. When I got off the elevator, I stood with my back against the wall until time to head back down!! It is a fantastic view!

Here goes trying to post my comment.

Best,
Bonnie

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Oh Pat...you have no fear at all! Amazing views and pictures, but I am not sure that I could go in the glass box...maybe, wow that is high up!

EliFla said...

OMG...me and hubby have got the same pics...ahahahah...anyway that day was rainy,but there wasn't any fog!!! I remebered when I went to WTC Twin Towers.... it was the same great emotion "be in the sky", hugs, Flavia

Barbara F. said...

Pat,this was just spectacular, the photography unbelievable. You are BRAVE and so is your husband! I have an unbelievable fear of heights. xo,

Old Kitty said...

Ok Pat!! I'm dizzy now!! LOL!! Oh my goodness!! Those people in the clip lying down on the glass floor are very brave!! LOL!! Oh wow! I mean I may just survive the lift ride up to over a hundred floors and even the window views but that glass ledge...I'd need an irish coffee first!! LOL!!

Awww I think seeing above the fluffy clouds is just as beautiful as a clear view!! It really looks like you've ascended to somewhere heavenly!!! The pics are fantastic too!! And it's so lovely to see you and your hubby enjoying yourselves! Thank you for a fantastic ascent to the skies - and back down again!! Yay! Take care
x

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Fabulous shots - well done!

Linda said...

Those are amazing photos! I think my legs were shaking a bit while looking at them!

diane b said...

Thi sis great you are giving me a tatste of what is to come. Our tour takes in the tower but I don't know if we'll be brave enough to do what you did. The weather looks scary but magic views.

Lucy (aka rharper) said...

Yikes! I honestly don't think I could do that. My stomach does a turn around just thinking of it.

GrandmaK said...

Oh my goodness! Made me queasy just looking at the pictures...Lovely pictures of the cloud cover. Next week begins the summer Adventure Tour Express. Please stop by and link with your lovely adventures! Cathy

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

WOW! That first photo is awesome! It looks just a little spooky! I love seeing things from a plane through the clouds! ♥

Ms. Bake-it said...

Wow! That is awesome! I love how you and your husband took pics of each other. If I ever get the opportunity, I would definitely be one of the brave ones!

Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

~ Tracy

Vittle me this... said...

wow those last photos look so scary!

Vittle me this... said...

wow those last photos look so scary!

podso said...

Another beautiful post about Chicago. And to think my sister was probably at work in that bldg when you were there. Your photos of the clouds coming in are wonderful!

Vee said...

No ledges for me! I got dizzy just looking at the pictures. Ha! You two ahh very bwave. Gotta say that some things seem unusually named: Willis Tower is located on "WACKER Drive in the heart of the West LOOP of Chicago." What kind of a place is that? Oh I remember...the kind where people can walk out on glass ledges and look down 110 stories. Yup, sounds pretty crazy to me.

(I have had that problem in the past and have heard from a few of my commenters today via email. Hope that it gets fixed. I will try your suggestion if it ever happens again.)

Carol said...

Spectacular shots, Pat. You are brave! I can't imagine the guys that built those buildings, WOW, talk about fearless!

Sarah said...

Pat, these shots are amazing. I can remember visiting the Sears tower in the 60s. I think it was a clear day, but being up in the clouds would be an amazing experience. Thanks again for sharing this visit. ~ Sarah

Linda Makiej said...

Marvelous shots!!

I would LOVE to be on those ledges!!

Lily Hydrangea said...

Yikes! that ledge is scary!
how very brave of you and your hubby.
Thanks for sharing this.
I definitely want to go to Chicago someday. So,thanks Pat.
: )

Oliag said...

I would think that being on that tower in the clouds is like floating and may be better than being there with a blue sky!

Those photos of you and your husband in the boxes are fantastic!..and the tops of the buildings in the clouds?....divine!!

Ebie said...

What a great post Pat. All your photos are so fantastic! As I check each one, I could feel a real sense of being up their with you.

The clouds high above made me feel like floating, a stairless gateway to heaven!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Pat, Those pictures are just awesome. Love seeing the two of you on the ledges... I'd be right out there also!!!!

I have heard about the Sear's Tower all of my life--but have never been up in it.. Thanks so much for taking us with you...

Love the 'fog' pictures. You truly were on top of the world. WOW!!!
Hugs,
Betsy

Light and Voices said...

Fantastic fog shots of Chicago!
Joyce M

Pondside said...

You are brave! I have to admit that I couldn`t enlarge some of the photos because they made me feel a little dizzy!

Catherine said...

That view is as cool as our "Skywalk"! Amazing.

Ola said...

really good pictures! I am impressed-you have been in heaven:)

Mary said...

Oh Pat~ How fantastic these shots are with the building peaking out of the clouds! I'm afraid I could never step out on that ledge, but I'm sure it's an experience you'd never forget! Will you be my travel agent? :-)

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Amazing pics Pat and congrats for having the nerve to "step out onto the ledge":@) Don't know if I would or not!
Thanks also for the tip about commenting through the Blogger issues yesterday, I still could't figure it out but appreciate the help!

Gracie said...

WOW that was impressing! I saw it on various tv programs, I don't know if I would have been so brave to do as you did.....

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Up above the clouds...I like that! Thanks for taking us with you...and venturing onto the glass platform. I would have been right there with you.

Grandmother said...

This gives me the willies just looking at the photo of someone on that ledge! Not a good place with fear of heights but awesome photos.

Beverly said...

Unbelievable photos, Pat. It seems like flying above the clouds.

You were very brave. I know I wouldn't be so brave. I am not good at looking down. Even the photos made me a bit queasy - but it was well worth it.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I love, love, love that top photo Pat! It looks so sureal! You need to submit that somewhere to a magazine or the Tribune, I can't get over how awesome it looks! Now as for walking out on that glass ledge, you are brave my friend, my stomach is queezy just looking at you do it!

Only Cute Things said...

OMG! It's amazing! I love these pics!

I wanna be there!

Hi Pat How are you? always your blog is so cute and very interesting!
I was in USA again, on March and april, I love your country!

xoxo

Ginny said...

I missed you and am glad to be back! After seeing this, you are the bravest person I know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And those fog pictures are totally amazing, so are the statistics! Your photos are a combination of nature and man made at it's best!

Lisa@GrandmasBriefs said...

Wow! Even just your photos take my breath away. I *might* be able to try such a thing, but there's no way in the world my husband -- who's terrified of heights -- would step out there with me. Such awesome photos you took!

(I was having trouble commenting on your site ... and another Blogger site ... the last couple days. Hope things get better for the Blogger bloggers soon!)

Ⓙ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

This is some of your coolest photography ever! Have you ever considered taking a broad sampling to a gallery to see if you could have a show? What about local coffee shops or doctor's offices? They could display the art for free and you'd have a captive audience for potential sales. Really. You're travels and photos are that good.

Donnie said...

No way could I go in that glass box...lol....Loved the photos though. Blogger had a go at me too with the commenting after I closed my blog but I think I have it sorted out.

H said...

I would love to stand on that ledge and look down! How exhilerating that must be! Awesome :)

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat, that first shot is stunning. You have more courage than I to have stepped out on that ledge. I really want to visit Chicago after seeing those photos.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Great shots! I have only been to the top when it was still the Sears Tower and I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to walk out onto the ledge.

BECKY said...

Hi! I'm here from "Lavender Dreams"
Your comment about the Nurse Nancy Little Golden Book and then Cherry Ames books brought back such memories! I, too, had Nurse Nancy and read a few of the Cherry Ames books. Now, I'll have to put my thinking cap on and see what other ones I can remember.
Love your photos, but just looking at the ones of the people on The Ledge, makes my stomach do flips! Yikes!!

Claudia said...

I could not, could not walk on the ledge. We made a pact not to go into buildings unless it rained and so we didn't (we did hang out in every greenspace, fountain and waterfront). Next time. Both Paul and I decided there would be a next time. I love the "above the clouds" photos - they are so other-worldly - a fantasy. A beauty.

steviewren said...

Gosh, I love the photos of the buildings peeking through the clouds. Wonderful, one of a kind shots!

I stood on a glass floor in the CN Tower in Toronto once. It gives you that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Sue said...

Pat, You are one brave girl!!! I would have been woozie. LOL Loved seeing your photos. Okay, I must be out of the loop- when did the Sears Tower get re-named? It was amazing to see the building in your wide angle shot. :-)
~ Sue

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

It will always be the Sears Tower to me. Just like the Met Life Building in NYC will always be the Pan Am Building, lol!

Your photos are FANTASTIC. I love Chicago. I'm headed there for work in a few weeks and am hoping to have a little time to get out and about.

Houseelf said...

Wow amazing sky decks! We used to have mists filling the valleys in Wales which made us feel as if we were on a mountaintop island. How amazing to see so far.

thestonerabbit said...

I am DEATHLY afraid of heights, Pat. Just LOOKING at you and your hubby standing in those clear boxes made my head spin....then to look at the scene beneath your feet....OMG, I nearly lost my breakfast.

HOWEVER, I did love your photos of the buildings encased with clouds. . . .I could have never taken such great shots, cuz my hands would have been shaking too badly!

Have a great weekend.

L, Dana

diane b said...

It is a fantastic building and so scary on the glass deck. We did it at night and the view of all the lights was amazing. I believe I heard there was an incident where the glass cracked but everyone was safe or was that another tower??

Carol-Ann said...

Wow! some beautiful shots here! I especially love the shots of the tops of the buildings poking through the cloud cover.
Carol [Diane b's daughter]