15 Architectural Landmarks Near SAIA Conference Center

Nobody gets up close and personal with architecture quite like scaffold professionals…the two go hand-in-hand. In preparation for the Scaffold & Access Industry Association’s (SAIA) conference in Chicago, IL, we decided to put together a list of the most interesting architectural designs found within walking distance of the annual conference. This year the SAIA conference is being held at the historic Palmer House Hilton hotel in downtown Chicago.

Chicago is such a big city with so much to see, but there are so many amazing buildings very close to the conference center. It would be a shame if attendees missed the opportunity to recognize the unique designs from the early 20th century. Every building listed is within a 20 minute walk from the conference center. Whether you’re looking to get some fresh air or to stretch your legs, we have you covered.

Ordered by walking distance from the hotel:

Download the SAIA Landmark Walking Map

1 – Inland Steel Building

inland steel building chicago
By Bill BobzienOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Walking Directions
3 minute walk from hotel – 0.1 miles
30 W Monroe St Chicago, IL 60603

Constructed in the years of 1956-1957, this was the first skyscraper built in the Chicago loop following the Great Depression. This is still one of the city’s most defining buildings, which showcases the post-World War Two era of modern architecture.

2 – Kluczynski Federal Building

chicago federal center
By US General Services Administration – US General Services Administration, Public Domain, Link
Walking Directions
4 minute walk from hotel – 0.2 miles
230 S Dearborn St Chicago, IL 60604

Named in honor of Us Congressman John C. Kluczynski, it is the local office for Air Force Recruiting Service, the Department of State Passport Agency, Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, Office of Personnel Management, Consumer Product Safety Commission, General Services Administration and offices for both the U.S. senators from Illinois, Richard “Dick” Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

3 – Chicago Cultural Center

chicago cultural center - public library
By VictorgrigasOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Walking Directions
6 minute walk from the hotel – 0.3 miles
78 E Washington St Chicago, IL 60602

This Chicago Landmark was once the central library building, and was the nation’s first free municipal cultural center. It is now one of the cities most popular attractions and one of the most comprehensive art showcases in the United States.

4 – Richard J. Daley Center

Daley plaza in chicago
By User:JeremyAOwn work, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link
Walking Directions
8 minute walk from hotel – 0.4 miles
50 W Washington St Chicago, IL 60602

Named after longtime mayor Richard J. Daley, it is the premier civic center of the city. It was featured in major movie productions like, The Blues Brothers and The Dark Knight. Make sure to get your picture taken in front of this building!

5 – Chicago Board of Trade Building

chicago board of trade building
By Joe Ravi, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Walking Directions
8 minute walk from hotel – 0.4 miles
141 W Jackson Blvd Chicago, IL 60604

The Chicago Board of Trade Building was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1978. While originally built for the Chicago Board of Trade, it is now the primary trading venue for the derivatives exchange. It is a lasting reminder of the city’s former industrial might.

6 – Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)

sears tower chicago
By Photo taken in 1998 by Wikipedia user Soakologist. No rights claimed or reserved. – From enwiki., Copyrighted free use, Link
Walking Directions
10 minute walk from the hotel – 0.5 miles
233 S Wacker Dr Chicago, IL 60606

The former Sears Tower was once the world’s tallest building and is still one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. It is a 110-story, 1,450-foot skyscraper that has become the 16th tallest building in the world since its completion in 1973. This amazing building sees over 1 million visitors each year; mostly to get a glimpse of the city from the skydecks located on the 99th and 103rd floors.

7 – James R Thompson Center

James R Thompson Center Chicago
By Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA – James R. Thompson Center, Chicago, Illinois, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
Walking Directions
10 minute walk from hotel – 0.5 miles
100 W Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601

This building serves as a secondary capital for the state of illinois and holds offices for the Illinois state government. While the inside may not be in the best condition, it is one of the more fascinating buildings within the city.

8 – Carbide and Carbon Building

carbide and carbon building chicago
By MusikAnimalOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Walking Directions
11 minute walk from hotel – 0.5 miles
230 N Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60601

Covered in polished black granite, dark green terracotta, and gold leaf accents, this building is an Art Deco masterpiece as it demonstrates an appearance of the subterranean carbon deposits in the decay of ancient plants. It was designated a Chicago Landmark on May 9, 1996.

Download the SAIA Landmark Walking Map

9- Aon Center

Aon Center Chicago
By Jay Carriker (User:JCarriker) – Author, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link
Walking Directions
11 minute walk from the hotel – 0.5 miles – also get to walk through millennium park
200 E Randolph Drive Chicago, IL 60601

Formerly the Amoco Building, this skyscraper is the third tallest building in Chicago. When completed in 1974 it was the tallest building in Chicago but was surpassed by the Willis Tower and the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Originally built for Standard Oil of Indiana (Amoco), it had the nickname “Big Stan”.

10 – 330 North Wabash Ave (formerly the IBM building)

Chicago IBM building
By J. Crocker, Attribution, Link
Walking Directions
13 minute walk from hotel – 0.6 miles
330 N Wabash Ave Chicago, IL 60611

Currently a high end Langham hotel, this was once known as IBM Plaza and home to IBM. Now renamed AMA Plaza, this 52 story building overlooks the Chicago River and its major tenants include the American Medical Association (AMA).

11 – Marina City

Marina City Chicago
By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Walking Directions
13 minute walk from hotel – 0.6 miles
300 N State St Chicago, IL 60654

Marina City was the original “city within a city” development. It consists of two 587-foot, 65 story towers, and this was the first building in the United States to be constructed with tower cranes.

12 – The Wrigley Building

Wrigley building Chicago
CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Walking Directions
15 minute walk from hotel – 0.7 miles
400 N Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60611

The Wrigley Building is one of Chicago’s earliest architectural icons. This building was one of the first major office buildings in downtown Chicago, which served as the headquarters for William Wrigley Jr.’s famous chewing gum company.

13 – Aqua Tower

aqua tower chicago
By George Showman – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gshowman/3668250139/, CC BY 2.0, Link
Walking Directions
16 min walk from hotel – 0.8 miles
221 N Columbus Dr Chicago, IL 60601

The Aqua skyscraper is an 82 story mixed-use residential building in downtown Chicago. It was previously awarded the Emporis Skyscraper award as 2009 skyscraper of the year.

14 – 333 West Wacker

333 Wacker drive chicago
By MusikAnimalOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Walking Directions
16 minute walk from the hotel – 0.8 miles
333 W Wacker Dr Chicago, IL 60606

With it’s glossy curves that reflect the Chicago River, this is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The design allows the glass to reflect both the sky and the river flowing next to it. It’s one of the must-see buildings in the city.

15 – Tribune Tower

Tribune Tower chicago
By Luke Gordon – originally posted to Flickr as Chicago 29 Oct116, CC BY 2.0, Link
Walking Directions
17 minute walk from hotel – 0.8 miles
435 N Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60611

This neo-gothic skyscraper was once the home of the Chicago Tribune, which conducted both publishing and broadcasting from the location. It is listed as a Chicago Landmark, so it is a must-see during a trip into the city.

Download the SAIA Landmark Walking Map

*Allied does not deem this blog entry as a complete and thorough listing or overview of the above topic, and does not recommend it be primarily relied on. It only highlights some common issues and resolutions. For a thorough overview, please contact Allied’s Risk Engineering Division.