The John Hancock Center

The John Hancock Center is one of the tallest freestanding structures in the world and, in this writer's humble opinion, offers the best view of Chicago from its Observatory. But I've been on enough uncomfortable first dates with restaurant hostesses and personal trainers to know that, often times, a gorgeous view by itself won't do. Well, the Hancock Observatory's partnered with de pinxi to create an immersive, educational experience with interactive kiosks and 42 inch LCD screens. Translation: beauty and brains.

With 18 stations, including flat screen monitors and touch screens, visitors can use the latest technology to navigate Chicago's storied architectural and social history. Best of all, this multimedia excursion into the city's cultural roots is a totally free add-on to any guest with an admission ticket.

The multi-touch software allows guests to tailor their learning experience to specific interests and hot spots. So if you're especially taken by a particular building or design style, more information is literally at the tip of your finger. The interactive experience is also inclusive and translates to seven different languages.

The Hancock Observatory view looking north

Your informational tour is hosted by an animated mascot named Seemore Miles. Get it? Seemore Miles as in see. More. Miles. Like, witness more with the help of a guide. Seemore (as his friends call him) invites guest on a competitive journey from kiosk-to-kiosk, answering challenges and (fingers crossed!) recording a score high enough to be forever enshrined in the system's "Hall of Fame."

For more information visit the John Hancock Observatory on Facebook or Twitter at @aThousandFeetUp.

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