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View Poll Results: Sears Observatory vs John Hancock Observatory
Sears is better 11 31.43%
Hancock is better 24 68.57%
Voters: 35. You may not vote on this poll


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Old June 21st, 2006, 11:11 PM   #1
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Sears Observatory vs John Hancock Observatory

Which one is more worthy and offers better views?

- Outdoor
- Better Angle At Skyline
- Lower
- Cheaper

-Offers historic stories on skyline of Chicago
-More well known
- More expensive

I have yet to go up both.
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 12:03 AM   #2
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Skydeck gives an impression of higher density. Here is a reply I got from Anders G Nyberg, (Operations Director
The Sears Tower, Skydeck) when I asked him if tripods are allowed:

Amateur photographers may shoot for their own use with no additional
equipment. We allow professional photographers, who pay a location fee
and have certificates of insurance, use of tripods and other equipment
on the Skydeck. If you are interested in pursuing this avenue, please
let us know and we will forward you an application.

Hancock says on their homepage that tripods are NOT allowed. I'm not sure if this is true. I've seen lots of tack sharp pics taken at night from JHC.
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 10:01 AM   #3
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I personally like the Sear Tower observatory better. I love to see all of the growth in the South Loop area.
Chicago rules!
I love Pittsburgh
Toronto is great!!
Montreal is unique!!
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 10:51 AM   #4
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I used to give a slight nod to the Hancock. Not any more. Two words changed it all: Millennium Park; from Sears you've got a great view of it, while it is not vissilble from JHC.
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 04:31 PM   #5
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Hancock says on their homepage that tripods are NOT allowed. I'm not sure if this is true.
I went to JHC in November of 2003 and they allowed tripods.
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 05:08 PM   #6
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I prefer Hancock, although by a slight margin.
To be honest, if anyone visits Chicago, he or she should go up to both.
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 05:20 PM   #7
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I prefer Sears because of its location in the loop. 311 South Wacker at night is spectacular. Millennium and recent additions to Wacker have boosted Sears.
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 07:33 PM   #8
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Hancock all the way. I'm a bit biased; UChicago's orientation reception was on the Hancock observatory.

Hancock, imo, has a much more spectacular view. You have a wonderful view of the lake and the beaches below, in addition to having River North and the Loop unfold before you.
Mmm... forbidden donut...
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 07:38 PM   #9
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I love them both but I prefer the Sears Tower, in fact my name Chicago103 is in homage to the 103rd floor Skydeck. I think it has the best view because it is higher and allows you to see the entire city wheras in the Hancock its harder to see the south, southwest and part of the west sides, Sears doesnt have that problem with the northside view. People say that Hancock is closer to and has a better view of the lake but you can see the lake perfectly from Sears. Also the view of Milennium Park, the south loop, UIC area, and Grant Park/Museum campus/northerly Island area makes Sears better IMO. The Hancock is blocked by Sears and to an extent Aon as well from seeing parts of downtown. The Sears also has better historical/tourist exhibits to look at on its interior walls.

However the Hancock does have some advantages that are not related to view or height. It does have the outdoor viewing area but much of what it has over Sears is the atmosphere. The Hancock observatory is a more relaxing place to visit because it has benches in which you can sit down and take your time wheras Sears has no benches and seems like a place where they want you to get in and out of fairly quickly. If you ever hang around both at closing time you will know what I mean. In the Hancock me and my friend (now roomate) actually got left behind on the observation deck after closing, there might have been a warning or two that they were closing but noone was insistent on anyone leaving and noone escorted you to the elevators. In the Sears Tower the employees are borderline rude at closing time, ten minutes before closing time you are escorted to the elevators. My friend just went to the drinking fountain to get a drink and the worker was looking at his watch like he has some hyper **** boss that wants people out ASAP. Then when you get down they chase people out of the gift shops as well, when they say they close at 10 they mean the last person is out and the door is locked at the Skydeck entrance on Jackson. It could be to the nature of the Sears which is dead after the skydeck closes as opposed to the Hancock in which the elevators open to a public plaza entrance and has a bar open later than the deck. Also the Sears has this somewhat annoying elevator music playing where they play the same six songs over and over again "downtown, chicago, my kind of town, sweet home chicago, danny boy, and ragtime", in the Hancock they play music but it seems alot less monotonous. I used to find the Sears elevator ride video thing annoying but since they changed to those birds I dont mind it as much. Sears is also more touristy and commercialized, they try to sell you those overpriced photos of your group in front of a Sears Tower backdrop, then there is the fact that Sears is more expensive period and offers no special coupons or discounts (at Hancock they pass out $1 off coupons all the time and now that I am a Hancock resident I get an additional $5 off ).

Last edited by Chicago103; June 22nd, 2006 at 07:44 PM.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 03:36 AM   #10
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I love Sears so much that I like the Hancock observatory because you can see Sears from there and its awesome presence.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 05:39 AM   #11
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Ive only been to the Hancock, but I prefer photos from the Sears, only because the photos from there tend to look north, and get the sunlit side of the buildings. Hancock photos looking south usually look into the sun, and get the darker, shadowed sides of the buildings. For night photos, however, I like the Hancock views of Linkin Park, and the Sears views of the south and west sides.
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Old June 26th, 2006, 07:17 PM   #12
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I went to the Hancock observatory last night and got in for free! I am a resident of the building and am supposed to get 1/2 off but a worker at the ticket desk said I didnt have the right building identification (I have an electronic swipe thing that my building management told me was all I needed), she said I needed some blue ID card, I told her I didnt know what she was talking about and after that she said to just go on through, perhaps because she just didnt want to argue about it and I wasnt going to argue with fee admission! So me and my roomate went up to the deck and stayed for about 2 1/2 hours, time flew by pretty fast probably because of the benches up there you can sit on. Also we were there for closing again and almost got left behind again!

They give one fifteen minute warning over intercom and then at 11:00 they say they are closed but there is noone pressuring you to get out, we took the last elevator down and someone said there is still another couple roaming around the deck and the worker replied "its ok, they will find their way down eventually". In the Sears Tower that would never happen, there 10 minutes before closing everyone is forcibly escorted to the elevators to leave the building by closing time. Also when we were watching a film up there about the Hancock we sat on the floor and noone cared, in Sears they would never let you do that, there if you sit near the window someone will tell you not to do that. So I like the more laid back atmosphere of the Hancock observatory over the very uptightness of Sears. Overall I like Sears better due to its height and views but the Hancock is a more leisurely experience.
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Old June 26th, 2006, 07:20 PM   #13
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How much do you have to pay ?
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Old June 26th, 2006, 07:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tom_Green
How much do you have to pay ?

Typically as a Hancock resident I would have to pay $5 (regular admission is $10), however they have been distributing $1 off coupons on the street, so that would bring it down to $9 or $4 for me. I was lucky enough to get in for free this time. At the Sears Tower it is $12, tax included. http://www.theskydeck.com/visitor_info/index.html
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Old June 26th, 2006, 08:57 PM   #15
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I like both. The last time in CHicago, I did daytime viewing at JHC, and nighttime at Sears Tower. The best of both.
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Old June 26th, 2006, 09:06 PM   #16
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Well, when I was in Chicago in April we went with our jazz band up to the sears tower skydeck and then on the last day me and this other guy went into town for a bit and ended up going into the JHC. We were cheap-asses though so instead of paying to go up to the observatory we sneaked into the lift for the lounge
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Old June 27th, 2006, 01:14 AM   #17
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I've been up each twice, and I liked them both, but I think I'm gonna have to go with Sears on this one.
One $300 hookerbot, or 300 $1 hookerbots??
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Old July 8th, 2006, 02:48 PM   #18
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JHC, especially looking at Lincoln park.

Only if the Fordham spire has an observatory, an ideal building, at an ideal location, with an ideal height.
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