The city of Chicago has a history that dates back to the 17th century.
It is known for being one of the largest cities in the United States and is also regarded as one of its most popular tourist destinations, but it was not always this way.
In 1871, a massive fire destroyed much of what made up downtown Chicago at the time. It left many people homeless and destitute.
However, they were determined to rebuild their home into something better than before while still keeping true to its roots as an urban center with a strong industrial presence.
Today’s skyline features some impressive Chicago skyscrapers that are among the tallest in not only America but worldwide!
Thank architects like Daniel Burnham for making this possible by designing them according to strict building codes set forth by local officials and engineers responsible for overseeing these projects from the beginning until completion.
Willis Tower (Sears Tower), John Hancock Center, Trump International Hotel and Tower, Aon Center, and the Franklin Center are among the tallest buildings in Chicago.
Willis Tower (Sears Tower): Chicago’s Tallest Building
The Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower) is the city’s tallest building completed in 1973. The structure is still considered one of Chicago’s most iconic landmarks even after surpassing other structures throughout North America.
However, Willis Tower has recently come under scrutiny due to its structural integrity issues and its lackadaisical approach to building maintenance procedures such as window washing and exterior cleaning efforts.
Many of these issues date back when the building was referred to as the serious tower.
These problems could potentially result in loss or injury for some individuals working on this high-rise building or visiting it as a tourist.
Nevertheless, Willis Tower is still the tallest building in Chicago and the entire state of Illinois and remains on the list of the tallest billings in the nation!
Willis Tower Will be Dethroned Soon
As mentioned earlier, Willis Tower is currently the tallest building in Illinois and Chicago.
However, this may not be the case for much longer since several new structures are being planned or have already been completed taller than Willis Tower.
John Hancock Center: Chicago’s 2nd Tallest Building
Right behind Willis Tower, as the second tallest building, is the John Hancock Center which, at 1,128 feet high, has nearly 100 floors, making it one of the most spacious buildings in Chicago, not to mention the United States.
This building has also been rated as one of the safest office buildings in America today due to its high-security features ensuring everyone who comes into this area remains safe at all times.
It is also the tallest rental apartment building and corporate center in Chicago.
However, these same features have also created some problems for residents since it is nearly impossible to get a permit for a home improvement project of any kind.
For instance, even routine maintenance tasks such as an air conditioning repair or a clogged kitchen sink drain may not be carried out without the proper paperwork being filed and approved by building officials first.
Nevertheless, this particular skyscraper is still one of the most beloved buildings in the entire city of Chicago since it offers panoramic views of the skyline along with magnificent views of Lake Michigan.
The Trump International Hotel and Tower: Chicago’s 3rd Tallest Building
The Trump International Hotel and Tower is the third among the ten tallest buildings in Chicago at 1,389 feet (423 meters) tall.
It has 98 floors and was completed in 2009. This building is also famous for being the only skyscraper within the city with a hotel.
These are just some facts about this particular structure. Despite its intense height, it was built with several green technologies in mind to ensure that it would have less of an impact on global warming while still remaining aesthetically pleasing enough to work.
The hotel and tower are connected by a sky bridge between the 40th and 41st floors. The bridge provides access to residents in this particular building.
The Aon Center: Chicago’s 4th Tallest Building
Another famous skyscraper found within the Chicagoland area is the Aon Center (formerly Standard Oil Building), which is only slightly shorter than Trump International Hotel.
The Aon Center, located in the heart of Chicago’s central business district, measures 1,136 feet (346 meters) tall and has 92 floors.
The fourth-tallest building completed in 1973 was originally called the Standard Oil Building, located within this metropolitan area among Chicago skyscrapers.
The building has its own observation deck for visitors to enjoy and a restaurant on the top floor for anyone who wants an upscale meal.
Lastly, this skyscraper was named after Arthur Aon, one of the original business partners within the project.
The Franklin Center: Chicago’s 4th Tallest Building
The Franklin Center is the fifth among the fifteen tallest buildings in Chicago at 1,007 feet (307 meters) tall. It has 110 floors and was completed in 1989.
This structure houses commercial offices and private apartments within its towering walls. It looks like a pyramid partly due to its unique shape from the outside. The two spires on the top floor resemble the tips of a pyramid when viewed from below.
The building was named after Ben Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, who was a printer by trade.
Other Notable Tall Buildings on the Chicago Skyline
The Chicago skyline is a wide assortment of towering buildings that offer unique features and benefits to the people who live and work within them.
Some of the other notable skyscrapers in this area include the Wrigley Building, completed in 1924, and a Chicago Landmark. Other notable buildings include:
Two Prudential Plaza
Two Prudential Plaza is another prime example of a skyscraper built to resemble the Empire State Building in New York City but only on a smaller scale.
This building is home to the world headquarters of Prudential Financial and other businesses and organizations looking for office space in a prime location.
What’s more, the Two Prudential Plaza has an award-winning landscape design that features both natural and man-made elements to make it stand out from all other buildings in the vicinity.
However, the same security measures put into place throughout other tall structures can also be found here, which means you cannot carry certain items such as knives or firearms without demonstrating proof of proper credentials first.
The Citigroup Center Tower, also known as the AT&T Building, was completed in 1990 at 984 feet tall.
This building was designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei and featured a unique curved design that makes it one of the most recognizable structures in Chicago.
What’s more, this skyscraper is also home to numerous shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes frequented by residents of the building and visitors who are passing by.
Nevertheless, security is still a major concern for this structure since you cannot enter any part without being subjected to strict screening procedures.
Water Tower Place
The Water Tower Place is a mixed-use skyscraper completed in 1975, and it is located on the Magnificent Mile.
This building stands 859 feet tall and has 74 floors used for various purposes, such as residential apartments, office space, retail stores, and a hotel.
What’s more, this particular structure is a Chicago Landmark and is home to a staggering collection of art, which includes items from famous artists such as Andy Warhol.
In fact, most of the retail stores in this building are dedicated to high-end fashion brands compared with other commercial centers or strip malls in nearby areas.
However, you will find that security is tight here since it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.
The Chase Tower in Chicago is home to 4,539 windows and stands at the height of 1,169 feet.
This building was completed in 1969 and is one of the most well-known structures in the area since it offers beautiful views from each floor due to its large number of windows.
In addition, this skyscraper is also home to the regional headquarters of the Chase Bank.
What’s more, the Chase Tower has a unique design that makes it stand out from all of the other buildings in Chicago and is often used in films and television shows to depict the city skyline.
Nevertheless, you will find that security is tight here, given its close proximity to suburban areas and the ongoing concern of terrorism.
311 S. Wacker Drive (The White Capitol Building)
The White Capitol Building, also known as 311 S. Wacker Drive, is a colossal structure completed in 1990 and stands at the height of 1,422 feet.
This building is the ninth-tallest building in Chicago and features a unique design that makes it one of the most recognizable buildings in the city.
What’s more, this skyscraper is also home to the world headquarters of United Airlines.
Nevertheless, security is tight here, and you will need to go through many checkpoints before being allowed access to the building. In addition, you are not allowed to carry any type of weapon into the premises.
Chicago Board of Trade Building
The Chicago Board of Trade Building was completed in 1930 and is the oldest building on this list and a part of the very early construction boom in the tallest building constructed in the Art Deco design.
This structure stands at 1,451 feet and has 47 floors used for office space, commercial purposes, and a trading floor.
What’s more, this building is a Chicago Landmark and was designed by world-renowned architect Louis Sullivan.
Salesforce Tower Chicago (Wolf Point South Tower)
The Salesforce Tower Chicago is a 1,700-foot skyscraper completed in 2018 and is the tallest building in the city.
This building also has 73 floors used for various purposes such as commercial space, office buildings, shopping malls, and more. In addition, it’s one of the most secure structures in Chicago since it has many features that are designed to protect occupants and visitors.
Old Town Park Tower
The Old Town Park Tower is also on the list of tallest buildings, Standing 658 feet high.
This building was completed in 1974 and has 38 floors used for various purposes, such as residential apartments, office space, and retail stores.
What’s more, this structure is the only tower located in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago and offers beautiful views of the city skyline.
The United Building, also known as the Monadnock Building, is a Chicago Landmark completed in 1893 and stands at the height of 609 feet.
This structure has 25 floors used for various purposes such as office space, apartments, and retail stores.
Lakeshore East J Tower
The Lakeshore East J Tower is the final building on this list and is also the shortest, standing at the height of 532 feet.
This building was completed in 2009 and has 42 floors used for various purposes, such as apartments, office space, and retail stores.
Three First National Plaza
Completed in 1975 and standing at 736 feet, Three First National Plaza is the fifth among the tallest buildings in Chicago.
This skyscraper has 50 floors used for office space, with many companies choosing to move their headquarters here in recent years due to the favorable leasing terms.
Southbank Building B
The Southbank Building B is a 548-foot building among Chicago’s tallest buildings completed in 1990 and is the eleventh-tallest building in Chicago.
This building has 42 floors used for office space, with many tenants in the legal and financial sectors choosing to lease space here.
The Waterview Tower is a 558-foot building completed in 2002 and is the sixteenth-tallest building in Chicago.
This building has 34 floors used for office space, with technology and advertising companies leasing space at this location instead of Chicago’s tallest skyscrapers.
Tallest Structures in the United States
While Chicago can boast numerous beautiful skyscrapers in the downtown area, other metropolitan cities throughout the United States also have tall structures.
Some of the structures include:
The Freedom Tower
The Freedom Tower, also known as One World Trade Center, was completed in 2014 and is located in New York City.
This building stands at a height of 1,776 feet and has 104 floors.
This structure was built to commemorate the victims of the September 11 attacks and was built on land that the Twin Towers previously occupied.
The Empire State Building
The Empire State Building, located in New York City, stands at 1,454 feet and has 102 floors. This building was completed in 1931 and remained one of the most iconic structures in the United States.
In addition, this skyscraper is often used as a symbol of New York City in films and television shows.
Central Park Tower
Central Park Tower in New York City stands at 1,550 feet and has 99 floors. This building is currently under construction but isn’t expected to be completed until 2020.
Nevertheless, this structure is designed to provide extremely luxurious living spaces for some of the wealthiest people in the area.
30 Hudson Yards
As the 42nd tallest building globally, 30 Hudson Yards in New York City stands at 1,296 feet and has 70 floors. This building is currently under construction but isn’t expected to be completed until 2020.
Nevertheless, this structure will provide luxury living spaces for some of the wealthiest people in New York City who want to live close to the city’s center.
Crescent City Towers
Crescent City Towers in New Orleans, Louisiana, stands at 1,039 feet and has 26 floors. This building was completed in 1965 and is located near the city’s central business district.
In addition, the Crescent City Towers are often used by local businesses for office spaces since they can accommodate a large number of employees.
Bank of America Tower
As the eighth tallest building in NYC, Bank of America Tower in Bryant Park stands at 1,200 feet and has 58 floors. This building was completed in 2009 and is home to the world headquarters of the Bank of America.
What’s more, this skyscraper is also often used in films and television shows to depict the New York City skyline.
Comcast Technology Center
In 2017, Comcast Technology Center was opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The building stands at 1,121 feet and has 60 floors.
Numerous corporations use the Comcast Technology Center to provide office spaces since the building can accommodate up to 40,000 people.
Upper East Side Tower
Located in New York City, Upper East Side Tower stands at 1,050 feet and has 46 floors. This building was completed in 2007 and is located near the Upper East Side neighborhood.
In addition, this structure provides numerous offices for some of the world’s most renowned companies such as Accenture LLP, Law Offices of Daniel Aaronson, and many others.
Some of the Tallest Buildings In The World
Burj Khalifa is the tallest building globally, standing at the height of 828 meters and having 163 floors. This building is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, completed in 2010.
What’s more, this skyscraper often appears in films and television shows to depict the Dubai skyline.
Shanghai Tower is the second tallest building globally, standing at the height of 632 meters and having 128 floors. This building is located in Shanghai, China, completed in 2015.
This skyscraper often appears in films and television shows to depict the Shanghai skyline.
Makkah Royal Clock Tower
The Makkah Royal Clock Tower is the third tallest building globally, standing at the height of 601 meters and having 120 floors. This building is located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, completed in 2012.
This skyscraper often appears in films and television shows to depict the Mecca skyline.
Ping An Finance Centre
Ping An Finance Centre can be seen on the Shanghai skyline, standing at the height of 599 meters and having 115 floors. This building is located in Shanghai, China, and was completed in 2017.
Abraj Al-Bait Towers
Abraj Al-Bait Towers are the sixth tallest buildings globally, standing at the height of 601 meters and having 120 floors. These buildings are located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and were completed in 2012.
The Petronas Towers are the seventh-tallest buildings globally, standing at the height of 451 meters and having 88 floors. These buildings are located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, completed in 1998.
Emaar Square is the tenth tallest building globally, standing at the height of 319 meters and having 69 floors. This building is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and was completed in 2018.
Located on the Peak in Hong Kong, Chater House stands 881 feet and has 30 floors. This building is used as the regional headquarters for numerous companies and organizations.
These companies include Jardine Matheson, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank.
These are only a few of the world’s tallest buildings and structures and some of the most remarkable in the United States and Chicago. While security is tight at each of these locations, it’s vital to understand what it takes to get inside so you don’t encounter any delays when attempting to enter your workplace. Thanks for reading!
5 Tallest Buildings in Chicago Resources:
- EMPORIS – Tallest Buildings
- Chicago – The Skyscraper Center – Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat