Observation decks around the world are architectural marvels that offer visitors a unique opportunity to witness breathtaking views from towering heights. These elevated platforms, often located in iconic skyscrapers or landmarks, provide panoramic vistas of cities, natural landscapes, and famous landmarks.
From the dizzying heights of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai to the historical significance of the One World Trade Center in New York City, each observation deck offers a different perspective of its surroundings. Visitors can gaze upon sprawling urban landscapes, meandering rivers, and majestic mountain ranges, capturing the essence and beauty of the world from above.
These observation decks not only serve as popular tourist attractions but also as symbols of human achievement and resilience. They allow us to appreciate the wonder and diversity of our planet while providing insights into the history, culture, and architectural prowess of the cities they adorn.
Here is the list of best observation decks in the world:
- Sky View Observatory: Located atop the Columbia Center in Seattle, Washington, the Sky View Observatory is one of the tallest public viewing platforms in the United States. Standing at an impressive height of 902 feet (275 meters), this observation deck offers mesmerizing panoramic views of the city and its surrounding natural beauty. Visitors are treated to stunning vistas of the iconic Space Needle, the Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, and the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges.
The Sky View Observatory provides an immersive experience for tourists and locals alike. Its floor-to-ceiling windows allow visitors to capture breathtaking photos and soak in the ever-changing cityscape, from the hustle and bustle of downtown to the serenity of the Pacific Northwest landscape. Additionally, interactive displays and informational panels offer insights into Seattle’s history, culture, and landmarks.
- Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck: The Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck is an iconic architectural marvel located in Singapore. Offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city, this world-renowned attraction sits atop the triple-towered Marina Bay Sands hotel. Rising 200 meters above the ground, the Observation Deck showcases the stunning Singapore skyline, including the towering skyscrapers, the picturesque Marina Bay, and the bustling port.
Visitors can indulge in a unique experience of walking on the sky-high deck, which boasts a glass-bottomed section for spine-tingling views of the ground below. From sunrise to sunset and beyond, the Observation Deck provides a captivating play of colors across the horizon. Additionally, the deck houses lush greenery, tranquil gardens, and dining options, creating a serene environment for relaxation and enjoyment.
- The Shard: As one of London’s most iconic structures, The Shard is renowned for its modern architectural design and awe-inspiring views of the city. Standing at 1,016 feet (310 meters) tall, it is the tallest building in the United Kingdom and Western Europe. The Shard’s observation decks, situated on floors 68, 69, and 72, provide visitors with an extraordinary opportunity to witness London from a bird’s-eye perspective.
From this vantage point, one can spot famous landmarks such as Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament, and the Thames River weaving through the urban landscape. On a clear day, the view extends up to 40 miles, offering glimpses of the English countryside in the distance. The innovative architecture of The Shard’s observation decks enhances the visitor experience. The floor-to-ceiling glass panels and open-air terrace on the 72nd floor allow guests to feel as if they are floating above the city.
- One World Trade Center: As a poignant symbol of resilience and hope, One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, stands tall in Lower Manhattan, New York City. This 1,776-foot (541-meter) structure is the main building of the World Trade Center complex and holds a special place in the hearts of Americans and people worldwide.
The observatory, known as One World Observatory, is located on floors 100, 101, and 102 and offers sweeping views of the city that never sleeps. Visitors ascend to the top in high-speed Sky Pod elevators, which display a time-lapse video of New York City’s development over the centuries. Upon reaching the top, visitors are greeted with an awe-inspiring view of Manhattan and its iconic landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Empire State Building.
- Petronas Towers: Standing tall as the symbol of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s vibrant and modern capital, the Petronas Towers are an architectural marvel and an iconic landmark in Southeast Asia. These twin towers, soaring to a height of 1,483 feet (452 meters), were once the tallest buildings in the world and continue to be the tallest twin towers globally.
The Petronas Towers’ Skybridge, located on the 41st and 42nd floors, is a popular attraction for visitors. Spanning between the two towers, the double-decker Skybridge offers breathtaking views of Kuala Lumpur’s cityscape and its surrounding natural beauty. The bridge is not directly attached to the main structure but is designed to slide in and out, allowing for flexibility and safety during high winds.
- John Hancock Center: The John Hancock Center, now known as 875 North Michigan Avenue, is an iconic skyscraper located in the heart of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Standing at a height of 1,128 feet (343 meters), it has been a prominent feature of the Chicago skyline since its completion in 1969. The observation deck, known as 360 Chicago, offers visitors breathtaking views of the Windy City and Lake Michigan.
From the 94th floor, visitors can enjoy a 360-degree panorama of the city, taking in famous landmarks such as Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and the Willis Tower. The TILT experience, a unique attraction at 360 Chicago, tilts visitors outward from the building’s façade, providing a thrilling perspective of the cityscape below.
- Gran Torre Santiago: Located in Santiago, Chile, Gran Torre Santiago, also known as Costanera Center, is the tallest building in South America, soaring to a height of 984 feet (300 meters). The observation deck, called Sky Costanera, is situated on the 61st floor and offers stunning views of the Chilean capital and the Andes Mountains.
From the Sky Costanera, visitors can see Santiago’s modern cityscape and its historic neighborhoods. On clear days, the vista extends to the majestic Andes, providing an unforgettable backdrop. Sunset visits are particularly popular, as the changing hues of the sky complement the city’s twinkling lights.
- Taipei 101: Taipei 101, located in the bustling metropolis of Taipei, Taiwan, held the title of the world’s tallest building from 2004 to 2010. With a height of 1,671 feet (509 meters), it is an engineering marvel, especially designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. The indoor observation deck on the 89th floor, known as the Observatory, offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding mountains.
From Taipei 101’s Observatory, visitors can admire the city’s dynamic urban landscape, including landmarks like the National Palace Museum, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, and Elephant Mountain. The observatory is also famous for its massive tuned mass damper, a large pendulum that stabilizes the building during strong winds.
- Montparnasse Tower: Located in the Montparnasse district of Paris, France, the Montparnasse Tower is a 689-foot (210-meter) skyscraper that offers a unique and often overlooked view of the city. The 56th floor observation deck, known as the Panoramic Observation Deck, presents visitors with an unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and other Parisian landmarks.
One of the key advantages of the Montparnasse Tower observation deck is that it provides a view of Paris with the Eiffel Tower itself in the vista, creating stunning photo opportunities. As one of the tallest buildings in the city, the Montparnasse Tower offers an excellent alternative to the Eiffel Tower for those looking to avoid long lines and crowded elevators while still enjoying a magnificent view of the City of Light.
- CN Tower: Dominating the Toronto skyline, the CN Tower is an iconic symbol of Canada’s largest city. Standing at a height of 1,815 feet (553 meters), it was the world’s tallest freestanding structure until 2009. The observation decks, located at various heights, provide awe-inspiring views of Toronto and the surrounding area.
The LookOut Level, situated at 1,136 feet (346 meters), offers panoramic vistas of the city’s downtown core and Lake Ontario. The Glass Floor on the same level allows brave visitors to stand directly above the city and experience the thrill of looking down through a transparent floor. For those seeking an even more exhilarating experience, the SkyPod at 1,465 feet (447 meters) offers an unmatched view, extending far beyond the city limits on clear days. The CN Tower’s height and unique features make it a must-visit attraction for tourists and locals alike, offering an unforgettable view of Toronto’s skyline and beyond. Each of these observation decks presents a distinct perspective of its respective city, showcasing urban landscapes, natural beauty, and iconic landmarks.