Skywalk Observatory

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Located on the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower, the second tallest building in Boston, Skywalk Observatory offers unprecedented views of the city of Boston, its harbor, and beyond. In addition to fantastic photo ops, the Prudential Tower itself has a special story to tell and visitors to Skywalk can learn about it and the city through a self-guided audio tour.

About Prudential Tower

[When construction on the Prudential Tower began in 1960, the building was set to become the tallest in the world outside of New York City. And, when it opened in 1964 it was exactly that: 749 feet tall, with 52 floors, and 1.2 million square feet of retail and office space. The Prudential Tower, built by and named for the insurance company, was a towering presence on the Boston skyline, making rival insurance company’s John Hancock Tower, to former tallest building in Boston, pale in comparison.

The Prudential Tower was built by Edward F. Donovan of Donovan Steel along with a partner, Roy N. Edwards and, unlike most other cities’ prolific towers, generally lacks style or grace. A rather harsh looking steel and glass box, it’s hard to miss Prudential Tower. Indeed, though many architectural reviews praised the tower in 1964 that was mainly due to its height and new title as one of the world’s tallest buildings.

Just ten years later, largely in response to the accolades presented to the Prudential Tower, rival John Hancock redesigned its own tower, surpassing the height of Prudential by 41 feet to reclaim the title of Boston’s tallest structure. In addition, using minimalistic, modernist design principles, architect Henry N. Cobb made the Hancock Tower stand out as a structure of much more elegance and distinction, one emblematic of Boston’s view of itself. Still, the Prudential Tower stands as a remnant of another side of Boston, the strong, sturdy, blue-collar side. In addition, since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Prudential’s Skywalk is the highest observation deck open to the public in all of New England. This fact leaves the strong and steady building on top, at least figuratively, once more.

Main Attraction

Located on the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower, in the heart of the Prudential Center retail area on Boylston Street in downtown Boston, the Skywalk Observatory offers 360 degree views of the city and a one-of-a-kind aerial tour of its most famous neighborhoods and haunts. It also features the Dreams of Freedom Museum which features highlights from the immigrant history of Boston and celebrates the fantastic diversity still present in this ever-changing metropolis.

Tours are self-guided with the aid of Acoustiguide audio tour equipment allowing visitors to begin and end their tours at their leisure. The Acoutsiguide tours are offered in three languages: English, French, and Japanese. Open year-round, seven days a week, the observatory has extended hours during the high tourist season of March through October. Prices are grouped as follows: Adults (18+), Seniors (62+), Students (13-22, with ID), and Children under 12. Tickets also include the elevator ride to the 50th floor.

In addition to the views and tours at the Observatory, the Top of the Hub restaurant and bar are located two floors above, on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Tower. The restaurant offers prix fixe meals and accepts reservations, the bar also offers food and drink, but seating is first come, first served.

Why It’s a Must-See

The audio tour offered at the Skywalk Observatory is one of the most unique perspectives, literally and figuratively, that the city of Boston has to offer. A great way to get to know the city’s diverse and wonderful neighborhoods before walking through them at street level as well as gaining a real “view” of what Boston has to offer, a trip to the top of the Prudential Center is well worth the time.

Where to Buy It

There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.

1. Purchase a ticket from the Skywalk Observatory when you get there.

2.   .

3. Purchase as part of a money saving package. Popular examples to the right.

4. Purchase a Tourist pass. The Skywalk Observatory is available on the Boston CityPass. It’s now also available on the Go Boston Card