It typically costs $6 to visit the Terminal Tower observation deck, & tickets are limited, both in quantity & timing. At the end of last month, though, my friend Lindsey & I were lucky enough to score a private visit before the deck was even open to the public!
We'd already been planning to see a film at this year's Cleveland International Film Festival (as blogged about here), but what sealed the deal was learning that anyone with a CIFF ticket stub was entitled to a free visit up to the observation deck - before it opened for the season.
After a packed-to-the-gills night at the movies, we assumed everyone & their mother would take CIFF up on the opportunity to check out the observation deck - but when we got there on Saturday morning, we were thrilled to find that we were the only ones there.
It's a 42-story ride to the top, one that triggered Lindsey's elevator phobia, & I'm sure it was super helpful to her that I rambled all the way up in an effort to distract her. When we finally reached the top, we headed into the observation deck, which is just, like, set amidst offices & carpeted corridors, totally normal. No one even escorted us - we were just on our own, exploring the 42nd floor of Terminal Tower.
At a total of 52 stories high, Terminal Tower was the tallest building in the United States outside of New York when it was built in the 1920s, an honor it held as late as 1964. It was a perfectly blue-sky day - & when the weather's clear, you can see as far as 30 miles (which means my mom's house is juuuust out of view). It's Cleveland's most iconic symbol & the most recognizable piece of our small but mighty skyline, lighting up each night in colors often related to local & global events. (It's going dark for Earth Day tonight, but beyond that, I'm expecting a lot of wine & gold, to represent lots & lots of Cavs wins!)
It was such a cool experience to visit the Terminal Tower observation deck completely alone, just us & the view - & we were lucky to get such a blue-sky morning, especially because it started pouring within the hour. Seeing Cleveland all laid out like this, bustling with activity & life & its new reputation as a cool place to be instead of a depressing one, I fell in love all over again. OK, that happens at least once a week - but this was a really special experience.
Check out my other Cleveland adventures, which so far include activities like visiting a dead president's crypt, seeing a show at Playhouse Square, & buying everything at the West Side Market - &, of course, stay tuned for more to come!