Spend some time enjoying the amazing views that Illinois and Indiana have to offer. From towering skyscrapers and rock formations to long stretches of sandy beaches and spectacular sunsets, the best views are right here.
Look no further than the Willis Tower’s SkyDeck for an unforgettable view of Chicago, day or night. As the tallest building in the western hemisphere, standing 110 stories high, the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) is an impressive sight. The SkyDeck, located on the building’s 103rd floor, offers 360-degree views of the city including recognizable attractions like Wrigley Field and the Lincoln Park Zoo to the north, Lake Michigan to the east, O’Hare Airport and Oprah’s Harpo Studios to the west and Soldier Field to the south. If you’re really brave, step out onto one of the glass boxes that extend more than four feet out from the building and take in the sights more than 1,300 feet below. More details about the SkyDeck are available at www.theskydeck.com.
Enjoy a spectacular view that’s been 320 million years in the making; the Garden of the Gods, located in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, contains more than 3,300 acres of lush forest. Emerging from the forest, however, are amazing sandstone bluffs and rock formations that jut out more than 100 feet, providing hikers with unparalleled views of the natural scenery below. With more than five miles of trails, there are plenty of opportunities to explore, but be sure to try the Observation Trail while you’re there. The one-quarter-mile loop takes you around the towering rock formations and offers panoramic vistas of the surrounding wilderness. If you need more than one day to take in the beauty of the Garden of the Gods, there are campgrounds available. For directions to Shawnee National Forest and other information, visit www.shawneeforest.com/Hiking/GardenoftheGods.aspx.
For a relaxing day at the beach coupled with a unique view of Chicago’s skyline, head to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana. With more than 14,000 acres of dunes, marshes, woodlands, rivers and bogs, as well as 15 miles of shoreline, there is plenty to see and do in this natural escape. From West Beach, you can enjoy a dramatic view of the Chicago city skyline across Lake Michigan. A variety of trails with different levels of difficulty offer great ways to see the park’s surroundings. Bring your binoculars along as you tackle the Cowles Bog Trail – which leads you through five miles of ponds, marshes, forested dunes and open beach – and you can enjoy some excellent bird watching opportunities at the same time. Spring is an ideal time to see species like the green heron, wood duck, mallard and sandhill crane. If you’re lucky, you might even see rare species like the red-throated loon or a bald eagle. Plan your visit to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at www.nps.gov/indu/index.htm.
Pair a breathtaking panoramic view of the Ohio River with satisfying country cooking at the Overlook Restaurant in Leavenworth, Indiana. Located on a bluff overlooking 20 miles of the Ohio River, the restaurant is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Catch an Indiana sunset while enjoying a delectable dessert, or watch barges float up and down the river over breakfast. Check out the rest of the mouth-watering menu options, from fried chicken to sweet and spicy ribs, at www.theoverlook.com/index.php?id=1.
Whether you’re looking for thrilling new perspectives of the Windy City or a relaxing day surrounded by nature’s beauty, Illinois and Indiana offer plenty of amazing views.