A spectacular city view from atop a building is something that appeals to most people. In hotels, the room with a view commands a higher rate and yet they still attract the attention of lots of travelers. Perhaps man’s fascination with an aerial view of a city is brought about by one of the key aspects of life here on this planet: gravity.

We’re perpetually anchored to the earth, and that means being used to seeing cities from the ground up. Turn your gaze to the left or the right and you’ll see walls, buildings, trees, and other structures. But when you’re hundreds of meters off the ground, suddenly it seems that the whole world has opened up. Before you is a sprawling city, without borders, and only endless stretches of land and water as far as the eye can see. Sometimes, the view really can take your breath away.

Here are a couple of places you should definitely check out for some amazing city panoramas.

WHAT: SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE

WHERE: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

What’s great about climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is that not only do you get an amazing view of the city and the harbor, you experience the whole thing outdoors, with the wind blowing in your face and your toes tingling in anxiety. There are many climbs to choose from depending on your time frame and adventure level, but each one gives you a clear view of the opera house from on top, the ships coming in and leaving the harbor, and the busy streets in one of the prominent cities down under.

WHAT: SKY TOWER

WHERE: AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

The island country of New Zealand is quite famous for its beautiful natural scenery. But make no mistake, New Zealand is also home to a modern, bustling city and there’s no better way to appreciate the view than going up the Sky Tower in Auckland. Travelers visiting the Sky Tower can actually hit two birds with one stone: aside from being treated to picturesque scenery, you can also sit at a table in one of the highest casinos in the whole world. If you’re looking for some adrenaline pumping activities, check out the Sky Jump and plummet a whopping 192 meters from above the ground.

WHAT: THE EIFFEL TOWER

WHERE: PARIS, FRANCE

Here’s a fun fact for our dear readers: the Eiffel Tower is actually the very first structure in the world that was built for the purpose of viewing a city from an elevated area or sightseeing, if you will. When it was built, Tour Eiffel, as the French call it, held the title of being the tallest building in the world. This icon is the target of more than 6 million tourists each year, which in fact earns it more recognition by being the most popular monument across the globe. If you’re ever in Paris, a trip to the Eiffel Tower is something that we think every traveler should take. From high up in the air you can see people in cafes, manicured lawns, couples engaged in an amorous embrace, and the City of Lights in all its splendor.

WHAT: TOP OF THE ROCK

WHERE: NEW YORK, USA

The city of New York is one of those places that has a surplus of skyscrapers. Granted, a lot of these places offer a scenic view of the city, but your best bet at getting a truly scenic view of Manhattan and the other boroughs would be a spot at the Top of the Rock located at the Rockefeller Center. This observation platform, situated a dizzying 259 meters off the ground reopened just a couple of years ago back in 2005 after being closed for renovation for almost two decades. The people behind the Top of the Rock spent US 75 million dollars to renovate the observation deck, and from the looks of things, we’re giving it a two thumbs up.

WHAT: TAIPEI 101

WHERE: TAIPEI, TAIWAN

Another Asian destination makes it to our list. This time, we’re taking you to Taipei 101 in Taiwan where only recently, it was knocked off the top of the world’s tallest buildings list by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. When the building was completed six years ago back in 2004, it stood 509 meters high, towering over all other skyscrapers across the world. But despite being knocked off the #1 position, you can’t argue with the astonishing view of the city when you’re standing at the observation platform located on the building’s 91st floor. At this height, you’ll feel like an ant on top of a bamboo tree staring at the vast expanse of the city around you. It is interesting to note that in 2004, Taipei 101 got the Guinness world record for having the fastest elevators (they better!).

WHAT: STRATOSPHERE TOWER

WHERE: LAS VEGAS, USA

There are a lot of attractions in Las Vegas that will definitely keep a person occupied and his thoughts from straying about. Casinos, hotels, bars, shows, restaurants—they’re all part of the package when you visit this city. But in case you weren’t aware of it, Sin City is home to the tallest freestanding observation tower that can be found in the entire United States. If you were mesmerized by the view from the ground, maybe it’s time you check it out from the Stratosphere Tower. Take a break from the poker table and marvel at this thriving metropolis in the middle of Nevada’s deserts. Look out over the blinking lights of the city and the sand dunes that surround it. If you’re up for it, try going on some of the highest thrill rides in the whole world and get on Insanity: The Ride; Big Shot; or XSCREAM.

WHAT: ORIENTAL PEARL TV TOWER

WHERE: SHANGHAI, CHINA

China’s efforts at keeping up with highly developed cities in other countries can be seen through the numerous buildings that are beginning to dominate the skyline of their major cities like Shanghai. In the city’s Pudong District stands the Oriental Pearl TV Tower which is undoubtedly the most prominent structure in the area. The building measures about 460 meters high, and is a fitting edifice in Shanghai’s business center. The modern design and funky colors give you an idea of the path that China is taking towards the future. Looking out the window, you can watch as the city buzzes around you; vessels ply the Huangpu River, cars go about the city streets, and somewhere nearby, construction for another building in the city is likely to start soon.

WHAT: SEARS TOWER

WHERE: CHICAGO, USA

The famous Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois may not necessarily be famous for having a beautiful and dramatic appearance, but this prominent landmark makes up for its lack in cosmetics by giving visitors a clear view of The Windy City that you can’t get anywhere else. When you visit the building, push the 103 button on the elevator to get to the SkyDeck and look out at the sprawling city before your eyes. Not only will visitors here be treated to a clear view of one of the most famous cities in all of United States, you can also see as far as Lake Michigan and out into Wisconsin and Indiana. Just think, somewhere out there, Oprah can be walking around with her best friend, Gayle.

WHAT: LONDON EYE

WHERE: LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

The London Eye is currently one of the most popular attractions in the United Kingdom these days. For those who are wondering what in the world the London Eye is, it is actually a humongous ferris wheel smack in the heart of the city. It is also referred to as the Millennium Wheel. Every day, hordes of tourists and local residents line up to get on the wheel and take a 30 minute ride in the air as they name the prominent city landmarks that start cropping up around them. The brightly lit wheel measures 135 meters high and is located across the river Thames. From the passenger car, you can see the House of Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

WHAT: SINGAPORE FLYER

WHERE: SINGAPORE

Despite occupying an area smaller than other cities in its neighboring countries, Singapore owns the bragging rights for having the biggest observation wheel in the world today. The Singapore Flyer is so large that it beat its contenders London and China. Its height measures around 165 meters which is about as high as a building with over 40 storeys; and travelers who dare to conquer their fear of heights will be rewarded with a view not only of Singapore’s city proper, but also its neighbors specifically Malaysia to the north and Indonesia to the South East. The 360 view from atop the flyer is stunning during the day and even at night, when the city starts to turn on its lights and you look down on a glittering metropolis.


WHAT: CN TOWER

WHERE: TORONTO, CANADA

Back in the western hemisphere, we’re naming another record holder—the CN Tower located in Toronto, Canada. The tower holds the record of being the highest completed freestanding structure built on land. Its height measures more than 553 meters which means that visitors can look forward to an unobstructed view of the city below. For a scenic dining experience you can have a meal at the revolving restaurant right inside tower. Because it’s a popular destination for tourists, there are no less than three observation decks that you can check out. If you want to get that feeling of floating in the air, stare down at your feet and at the pavement hundreds of feet below while you’re in the glass elevator.

WHAT: SPACE NEEDLE

WHERE: SEATTLE, USA

If you’re in Seattle on the rare days that the skies are blue and it’s not raining, head up to the observation deck on the Space Needle and treat yourself to a scenic view of Seattle and the natural wonders that surround this city. See the clear waters at Puget Sound, watch as the Mt. Rainier grows from a white speck to a massive snow cone, and take in the sparkling waters of Lake Union. If the extreme height is making it difficult for you to see the objects on the ground, use your complimentary Swarovski Telescopes to enhance your view.

WHAT: BURJ KHALIFA

WHERE: DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Now standing proud as the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa is located in one of the busiest cities in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai. If you want to talk numbers, here are some statistics that might blow you away: its height measures over 800 meters; there are more than 160 floors in the building, the observation deck located at level 124; there are 57 elevators plus eight escalators used to shuffle guests up and down the building. You can even take a tour around the observation deck, which usually lasts an hour. From there, take in the view of one of the up and coming cities in the world today.

WHAT: TOKYO TOWER

WHERE: TOKYO, JAPAN

If you’ve always wondered what Godzilla’s view of Japan must be like, we suggest you make your way to the Tokyo Tower and check out their observation deck. If the day is clear, visitors can even see as far as the snow capped peaks of Mt. Fuji.

WHAT: INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

WHERE: IN SPACE!

Okay, okay. This may not exactly be the most accessible place you can get to, but we just can’t help putting it on our list because of the fact that from the station’s observation deck, you get a panoramic view not just of a single city, but of Earth itself. If you want a view of the entire Sahara desert, just come aboard! (or maybe we’ll just settle for a picture)

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