signature lounge

sign me up for this tourist trap

Signature Lounge is the bar perched on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Tower (which, apparently is no longer called that, but like in solidarity with all stubborn Chicagoans, we refuse to call anything else). On any given evening, it’s filled with tourists, and locals with tourists in tow. Sure, the drinks are pricey and the atmosphere is, well, touristy, but the view is priceless. And that’s what you’re here for. The view. Because the 96th floor of the 4th tallest building in Chicago has great views of the city, maybe the best views you can get without buying a ticket.


Going to the Signature Lounge isn’t just something you do after work one day. It’s a process. It’s an event. First, you have to navigate the lobby floor(s) of the building and figure out which elevators you’re going up. But the good thing is, unlike the elevators to the Skydeck observatory, your ride up to the lounge is free. Once you get up there, you’ll probably continue to stand in a line, waiting to get seated. But don’t worry, it doesn’t take long. People don’t tend to stick around here for a long time (again, hectic atmosphere). Soon you’ll be staring wistfully out the windows, wondering if you’re feeling a slight sway in the building… or if it’s just the wine.

the details

Address875 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
  • 11am to 12:30am Sunday – Thursday
  • 11am to 1:30am Friday – Saturday
Price$$$ – you’re paying Disney World prices for Disney World experiences I suppose
AestheticI mean, the lounge itself is forgettable (not that you’d be able to see past the people anyways), but the views are unforgettable

good to know

Go here for: drinks when you have friends visiting from out of town

Order this: whatever cocktail sounds good, you’re really here for the view anyways

Amount of time to spend: enough time to take in the views, but not so much time to start getting annoyed by the crowd

When to come: if you can, on a weekday before 4pm when everyone gives up on work and starts drinking. If you don’t mind the crowds, try to get in about 30 min before sunset for those golden hour views. Oh, and please for the love of all things aesthetic, don’t come here on a cloudy day, the fog sets low in this city and you won’t even be able to see across the street. 

Getting there: take the red line to Chicago, and then walk east until you hit Michigan Ave, and then up north a couple blocks. You literally cannot miss it. 

Other things to note: 

  • If you’re looking for an actual meal, to get away from the crowds and don’t mind paying up for a fancy schmancy brunch or dinner, there is a restaurant on the 95th floor that offers a calmer experience than the lounge above. They take reservations. The lounge does not.
  • The ladies room has an excellent view too. I’ve heard the mens does not.
  • If you’re traveling with children, come before 7pm, because no one under the age of 21 is admitted in after 7pm each day.

Last visited: November 2015

Last updated: December 2018

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