Considered as a symbol of modernity and economic power, skyscrapers have come to dominate the panorama of the great metropolises in the last 130 years. Much steel, reinforced concrete, and glass has been built since the Home Insurance Building of Chicago was inaugurated in 1885, a 10-story building that although today cannot be considered a skyscraper, at the time it was a revolutionary show of what was to come in the next century.
Although the birth of the skyscraper occurred in Chicago, it was the city of New York that began to experience massively with them from the 1930s and throughout this time, rather than exhaust the model, and the skyscraper seems to be more fashionable than ever, with projects that increasingly challenge the limits of what is possible.
After the skyscrapers come to their viewpoints, those spaces that give us privileged and unprecedented views of the heights that inevitably become tourist attractions that must be visited. This list, although it is classified in order of height, includes a varied sample of skyscrapers both geographically and as regards its importance as cultural icons, also exploring the attractions of their respective viewpoints, the qualities that make them special and the details to visit them. These are 10 skyscrapers that will take your breath away.
- Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Since its opening in 2010, it has managed to stay undefeated as the tallest skyscraper in the world. The 828-meter-high Burj Khalifa is a colossus that defies all that has been established and has set a precedent for skyscrapers and lookouts. Not only has one but two viewpoints: At the Top Burj Khalifa (located on the 124th floor) and At the Top Burj Khalifa Sky, which has two levels.
The first, on the 125th floor, has 360º views of Dubai and Falcon’s Eye View, a special attraction with spectacular video projections. The second level, located on the 148th floor at 555 meters, you can enjoy the Sky Lounge and the highest viewpoint in the world.
- One World Trade Center, United States
The task of replacing the old World Trade Center is not easy, but the architect David Childs (also the designer of the Burj Khalifa) was behind the project that was built on the site of the extinct twin towers, and that has become the centre of all eyes in New York.
One of the reasons is its imposing height: 541 meters, which makes it the tallest building in the Big Apple and the whole country, occupying the sixth place in the world ranking. Another reason is its brand new observatory, one of the most recent attractions in New York. Reaching the top of the 100th floor in just 60 seconds, the observatory offers 360º views of Manhattan and offers several multimedia attractions, as well as a restaurant on the 101st floor.
- Shanghai World Financial Center, China
Although many of the most famous are in the United States, you will be surprised to know that China is the country with the most skyscrapers in the world. Although it is not the highest in the Asian country (it is the fifth highest in China and the ninth in the world), this 492-meter skyscraper is very famous since its opening in 2008 because of the large opening in its pinnacle that resembles a bottle opener of bottles. It consists of 101 floors and its observatory, which has three levels (floor 100, floor 97 and floor 94), offers the best possible views of downtown Shanghai. Do not miss the Sky Walk at level 100, whose glass floor will make you believe you are walking through the skies.
- Willis Tower, United States
Although it has been named since 2009, the formerly called Sears Tower (which at 442 meters was the tallest building in the world at the time of its opening) is still named after Chicago residents. Its observatory, the Skydeck, renovated the same year of its name change, installed new glass caissons that allow the visitor views of vertigo of Chicago at 413 meters high without a floor that interferes. It currently ranks 14th among the tallest in the world and is one of the most visited attractions in Chicago.
- Empire State Building, United States
From 1931 to 1972 it was the tallest building in the world, but even though it does not even enter the top 25 skyscrapers with the highest height, the Empire State Building (381 meters without counting the antenna) is still one of the main attractions of New York and an architectural icon with its own name. Its legendary observatory on the 86th floor offers views of the heart of Manhattan, and the visit can be combined with the second observatory on the 102nd floor.
- John Hancock Center, United States
One of the main competitors of the Willis Tower is precisely one of the icons in the “Windy City,” thanks to a new installation in its observatory. Located on the 94th floor, the 360 Chicago observatory of the 344-meter John Hancock Center offers fantastic views of the city and Lake Michigan through a new attraction. This is “Tilt,” a steel platform with floor and glass walls that tilts 30 degrees to give a new turn of vision to visitors.
- Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Center, United States
It is not one of the tallest, but it is impossible to ignore one of the buildings whose history is so closely linked to the city of New York. Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 buildings, one of which is the Comcast Center, 240 meters high, popularly called “30 Rock”, for its address of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. So observatory, “Top of the Rock,” is an attraction with its own name in the Big Apple and one of its most spectacular viewpoints.
- CN Tower, Toronto, Canada
In addition to skyscrapers, the communication towers are the perfect opportunity to see the skies of cities just by stepping on an elevator. The mythical Toronto CN Tower is one of them. With its 553 meters high, it is the highest in America and the third in the world, in 2016 it celebrates 40 years of existence and its observatory, the Sky Pod, is one of the highest observation points in the world and has a platform with glass floors 342 meters high. From its terrace, you can see downtown Toronto, Lake Ontario and if visibility is good, Niagara Falls.
- Tokyo Tower, Japan
Although its height of 332 meters pales before the new and brand-new Tokyo Sky Tree (632 meters high, the tallest tower in the world), the Tokyo Tower, which in other words could be considered as a kind of Eiffel Tower Japanese, it is a symbol of the city’s skyline since 1958. To visit it is to have the opportunity to see the urban panorama of Tokyo in the main observatory 150 meters high, although there is also a second platform at 250 meters. An ideal place to watch the sunset.
- Sydney Tower, Australia
Finally, we head to one of the tallest towers in the southern hemisphere, the Sydney Tower which is 309 meters high. Its innovative observation platform, called Skywalk, offers visitors the opportunity to literally go outside and observe the best views of Sydney and its bay without any glass or barriers, in a 45-minute guided tour. You can also buy a simpler visit, which has an internal platform with a glass floor. Undoubtedly, one of the most original observatories in the southern hemisphere.