Chicago. America’s Second City has held a warm place in our hearts since that unforgettably frigid day in 2013 that we arrived and stayed for a year. As we gazed on that Chicago skyline view, our eyelashes froze to our faces. Sidewalk slush ruined our jeans. The heel snapped off my boot. Our faces turned red with windburn. Strangely, it was love at first gust. Inexplicable…raw…primal city love. (Our version of Carrie Bradshaw’s crush on New York City).
Living and working and grocery getting and running and public transportationing and overpaying in downtown Chicago was as sensational as it was demanding. Though we’ve since had the awesome opportunity to live on Florida’s Emerald Coast and in the St. Louis metro area, the “throat lump” returns whenever we visit Chicago and that magnificent skyline comes into view.
Every view tells a story
Why is that? Maybe it’s because we’ve viewed and photographed it from all angles, yet each memory is special. We’ve admired it through clouds while approaching Midway, from aboard boats and the shoreline of the the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, from the 34th and 19th floors of the high-rises we lived in, from all 24 miles of the Lakefront Trail, from the packed streets of the Blackhawks victory parade, from the Polar Vortex, from the El’ looking every which way, from Michigan Avenue, and from the windows of my former office building in the Loop.
But until this past weekend, we had never seen it like this…
Welcome to The Ledge
This view, brought to you courtesy of the Skydeck Ledge, was truly incomprehensible in person. Simply magnificent! Notice we’re standing on a glass overhang a mere 1,353 feet above the Chicago River? The Ledge extends over four feet outside of the 103rd floor of Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower. It’s the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the eighth tallest in the world.
Much to the delight of our quivering lips, we got to enjoy the views on a clear day. (Friends in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, that was us waving to you!). Stepping out is a little scary and a lot fun. And yes, the glass was very cold on our butts.
Heading to The Ledge? Here are some handy tips.
- Leave your flowy, loose-fitting clothing behind, or at least remove your parka and scarf for photos. Excess “stuff” will block the camera’s view.
- The Ledge photo spots face west, but there are incredible 360-degree views and photo spots from windows encircling the 103rd floor.
- When you enter Willis Tower to proceed to the Skydeck, take time out to admire the impressive art and architecture that many people miss in their rush to the Ledge.
A special shout out goes to Eddie, Skydeck photographer extraordinaire, and his trusty mascot “Willy.” Eddie, thanks for talking love with us on the 103rd floor. Best wishes to you and your girlfriend. We’ll see you on Instagram. Keep on smiling.
Have you been to Chicago? Where’s your favorite skyline view? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments below.
Live big, kiss often!
Tara & Mike