Top 10 best observation decks in the world

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today: Top 10 best observation decks in the world

The desire to watch spectacular panoramas from above has always been on the bucket list of most travelers and has given rise to spectacular observation decks (so called sky decks) around the world. These marvels of technology and architecture provide a unique bird’s eye perspective on the urban and natural landscapes they overlook. Here’s my selection of the 10 best observation decks in the world that offer fabulous views and a memorable travel experience.

There is more information (with YouTube videos) below the slide show. Think I missed one? Share your favorite observation deck in the comments section.

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Built in the 1990s, these majestic twin towers reach an impressive height of 452 m (1,483 ft) and were once the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004. An aerial bridge connects the two towers on the 41st and 42nd floors, making it the highest two-story bridge in the world. The towers have appeared in a number of films, notably “Entrapment,” which starred Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones in 1999. While the towers themselves are a sight to behold from the ground, one experience that should not be missed is a visit to the Petronas Twin Towers observation deck, which is located on the 86th floor at a height of 370 m (1,213). Here, visitors an enjoy breathtaking view of the city skyline and learn about this phenomenal architecture masterpiece through scale models and interactive Augmented Reality (AR) screens.



Towering above the city like the gigantic bamboo stalk it was designed to resemble, Taipei 101 is impossible to miss. At 508 m (1,667 ft), Taipei 101 held the title of ‘world’s tallest building’ from 2004 until the 2010 completion of Dubai’s Burj Al Khalifa. Its design incorporates a number of features that enable the structure to withstand the Pacific Rim’s earthquakes and the region’s tropical storms. The tower houses offices and restaurants as well as both indoor and outdoor observatory. Located on the 89th floor, the Taipei 101 observation deck is the best place to get a bird’s eye view of Taipei. If the weather is good, you can also enter the outdoor observation deck to feel the wind forces at the top of the building, which will definitely give you an unforgettable urban experience. The 89th floor offers a variety of other facilities, including  ultra-high magnification telescopes and the world’s highest postal box.



Skydeck Chicago is the highest observation deck in the USA located on the 103rd floor of the iconic Willis Tower (originally the Sears Tower). The skyscraper opened in 1973 as the world’s tallest building, a title that it held for nearly 25 years; it is currently the third-tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The tower’s indoor deck is a can’t miss, one-stop attraction featuring Instagram-worthy moments from street to sky. The experience starts on the lower level where an interactive museum celebrates Chicago’s unique personality, history and neighborhoods. Next, elevators take visitors head up 103 floor, which offers breathtaking views spanning 80 km (50 mi) and four states on a clear day. The deck is also home to ‘The Ledge’, a glass floor balcony that juts out from the side of the skyscraper offering unparalleled views from 412 m (1,353 ft up).



One of the world’s most thrilling cantilever glass bridges is found at the Grand Canyon. Here, a 3 m (10 ft) wide, horseshoe-shaped glass bridge extends 21 m (70 ft) out over the rim of the Grand Canyon, offering breathtaking views 1,200 m (4,00 feet to the Canyon floor below. This $30 million USD modern engineering marvel took four years to build. At that time, Skywalk was the world’s biggest glass cantilever bridge (China’s walkway in Chongqing took that title in 2016) Highly skilled craftsman used 1.2 million pounds of steel and glass to build the Skywalk, using glass units that can hold up to 800 people at any given time. The glass bridge can withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake, wind speeds up to 100 miles per hour, and can support the weight of seventy-one 747 airplanes. Since its opening, the world-famous structure has welcomed more than 10 million visitors to experience a bird’s eye view of the Grand Canyon.



Also known as the Iron Lady, the Eiffel Tower (la Tour Eiffel) symbolizes the grandeur of Paris. Named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was constructed from 1887 to 1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair. It was initially criticized by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable monuments in the world. The tower is 324 m (1,063 ft) tall – about the same height as an 81-story building – and is comprised of 18,000 iron parts held together by 2.5 million rivets. Climbing the Eifel Tower is a highlight for many visitors to Paris: observation decks on the 1st, 2nd and top floor offer incredible panoramas over the City of Light. Be prepared though for long winding security lines and long waiting times for the elevators to get up the tower (booking your ticket online is highly recommended).


The Tokyo Skytree is a television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo. With a height of 634 m or 2,080 ft (634 can be read as “Musashi”, a historic name of the Tokyo Region), it is the tallest structure in Japan and was the second tallest in the world at the time of its completion in 2012. The highlight of the Tokyo Skytree is its two observation decks which represent them the highest observation decks in Japan. The spacious lower deck (at 350 m or 1,148 ft) spans three levels and features wide windows, a cafe, shops and a restaurant. The upper deck (at 450 m or 1,476) ft – dubbed the Tembo Galleria – is notable for a glass and steel enclosed ramp that spirals around the building, gaining height as it circles the tower. Both offer spectacular, unobstructed views out over much of the Kanto Region. An aquarium and shopping mall are found at the base of the tower.



The 128 story, 632 m tall (2,073 ft) Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China and the 2nd tallest building in the whole world, only after Burj Khalifa in Dubai (cf below). Like the Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Tower which are the two other skyscrapers that are situated adjacent to it, there’s an observation deck at the uppermost floors of Shanghai Tower, named Top of Shanghai. The observatory is on the 118th floor. The world’s fastest elevator can take you to this 546 m (1,791 ft) high observatory, which is the world’s highest indoor observation deck. From here, you have a 360 degree bird’s-eye view of Shanghai’s ever-changing skyline, including Huangpu River, the Bund located in the west and several surrounding Shanghai skyscrapers. Don’t miss the  immersive auditory experience designed to serenade visitors to Shanghai, located on the 126th floor of this 128-story building.



Defining the Toronto skyline, the CN Tower is Canada’s most recognizable and celebrated icon. Standing at 553 m (1,815 ft), the CN Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the western hemisphere and one of Toronto’s most popular attractions for tourists and locals of all ages alike. The tower took 40 months to build and weighs 117,910 metric tonnes or the equivalent of 16,844 large male elephants. A full 114 stories above ground, the tower’s main observation deck gives guests the chance to see the full sweep of the cityscape. In 2011, the CN Tower also opened EdgeWalk – the first attraction of its kind in North America. The world’s highest full-circle hands-free walk takes place on a 1.5 m (5 ft) ledge encircling the top of the CN Tower’s main pod 356 m (1,168 ft) above Toronto. Visitors walk around the pod while attached to an overhead rail by a secure harness.



The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and a global icon. At 828 m (2,716 ft) tall, this magnificent structure  has drawn visitors from all over the world since opening in 2010. The towering structure is based on an abstraction of the Hymenocallis flower, and is essentially three sections arranged around a central core. Viewed from above, it is consistent with the onion-dome design frequently found across a variety of Islamic architecture. The unmatched Burj Khalifa view can be taken in from not one but two observations decks – the two-story ‘At the Top’ on the 124th and 125th floors, as well as one of the world’s highest observation decks (at 555 m or 1,820 ft) on the 148th floor.  For a truly special time, visitors can choose to dine in the restaurant on the 122nd floor, or experience new heights at The Lounge, Burj Khalifa, which is spread across floors 152, 153 and 154, making it the tallest lounge on the planet.


New York from above offers a perspective on the City That Never Sleeps you absolutely shouldn’t miss under any circumstances when visiting the Big Apple. The megapolis has no shortage of observation decks, but the best views are enjoyed from Edge. Rising over 335 m (1,100 ft) in the air from the heart of Hudson Yards, Edge is is the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere extending out almost 24 m (80 ft) from the 100th floor of 30 Hudson Yards. A 52 second elevator ride brings visitors to Edge’s outdoor viewing area revealing new 360-degree vantages of New York City’s iconic skyline, Western New Jersey and New York State spanning over 130 km (80 mi). The sky deck includes a thrilling glass floor and nine-foot tall, boldly angled glass walls enabling visitors to lean, out over Manhattan. The views are at their most beautiful on a clear day around sunset.

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  1. Most articles on this website are unfamiliar to me, as while I’m an avid traveler, I don’t have the budget to be a ‘luxury’ traveler (I’ve only stayed in one five star hotel in my whole life, and I was about 9 years old so I don’t remember much!) But this one features places I’ve actually been. I’ve been to the Eiffel tower and the Willis tower, and I’ve seen the Tokyo tower (although I didn’t go in it). Next summer I’ll be in China and will get to see the Shanghai tower! If the list were longer I’d also include the statue of liberty and the space needle!

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