Celebrate National Skyscraper Day with Musement this year by taking a trip way up to the 8 coolest observation decks in America.
Skyscrapers are a key part of any city, not only because of their size but because of the way they help to define city skylines. One built higher than the other into the sky, these impressive feats of architecture date back to 1885.
National Skyscraper Day is celebrated on September 3, the birthday of American architect Louis Sullivan. Known as the “father of skyscrapers,” he influenced many architects who began to design high-rise buildings. Many of them include observation decks which provide opportunities to get some of the best aerial views of a city.
This year, we decided to celebrate National Skyscrape Day by compiling a list of eight observation decks that will take your visit to another level when in these cities:
1. Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower, Chicago
The Willis Tower, situated in the heart of downtown Chicago, held the title of the world’s tallest building for 25 years after its completion in 1974. Admire amazing views of the Windy City and up to four states on a clear day from its observation deck. Sitting on the 103rd floor (over 1,350 feet up), Skydeck Chicago is the highest observation deck in the US. It’s one of those Instagrammable places in Chicago you often see on your feed. If you feel daring enough, step out onto The Ledge, the four-foot glass platform that extends out from the building’s end to really experience something different!
2. Empire State Building Observatory, New York
One of the most iconic skyscrapers to grace the New York skyline, the Empire State Building, stands at 1,250 feet(not including the antenna). In a race to build the world’s tallest skyscraper, the 102-story building was constructed in only a one-year span between 1930 and 1931 led by developer John Raskob. The Art Deco style building offers not only one, but two cool observation decks (on the 86th and 102nd floor) where visitors can take in breathtaking views of the Big Apple.
3. Space Needle, Seattle
Seattle’s Space Needle has been a staple to the Emerald City dating back to 1962. Originally built for the World’s Fair, the 605-foot observation tower draws over 1 million visitors each year. The 360-degree views will allow you to see the Cascade and Olympic Mountains as well. Just below the observation deck is the Space Needle’s bar, The Loupe Lounge. Enjoy a cocktail from 500 feet up at the world’s first and only revolving glass floor. Have the city at your feet…literally.
4. SkyPod at The STRAT, Las Vegas
Las Vegas is known for going beyond expectations and that does not change when it comes to The STRAT. A key fixture to the Vegas skyline, The Strat is listed as America’s tallest freestanding observation tower. SkyPod, the tower’s observation deck, has both an indoor and outdoor observation deck. Visitors can take in unparalleled views of the Strip and Sin City from 1,150 feet up. Besides these two observation decks on the 108th and 109th floors, four exhilarating thrill rides await you, if you are a daredevil of course.
5. 360 Chicago Observation Deck, Chicago
Located on the 94th floor in the John Hancock Building, 360 Chicago exhibits the city from 1,000 feet up. Throughout the week numerous events are held at the observation deck including yoga, art classes, and happy hour on Thursdays. Grab a drink at Bar 94, the bar that provides amazing views of the Magnificent Mile. If you want to take your 360 Chicago experience to another level, then a trip on TILT is a must. This thrill ride will have you tilted outwards facing downwards overlooking Chicago.
6. One World Observatory, New York
More than just a skyscraper, One World Trade Center was built to pay homage to the fallen Twin Towers which once stood 20 years ago. Standing at 1,776, an ode to the year the Declaration of Independence was signed, it is the tallest skyscraper in the United States. One World Observatory sits atop of the tower and offers visitors 360-degree views of the New York skyline from over 100 stories above the streets. Interactive exhibits will enhance your experience by talking about the history of New York City and the building’s construction. Paying a visit to the World Trade Center is a must when visiting the Big Apple.
7. Flags Over Texas Observation Deck at Tower of the Americas, San Antonio
Out of this world 360-degree views of the gorgeous Alamo City can be seen from the Flags Over Texas Observation Deck. Located in downtown San Antonio, the Tower of Americas was also built for the World’s Fair. Completed in 1968, the 750-foot-tall tower features a high-end revolving restaurant and a 4D Theater ride that will take you on a journey through Texas. Learn about the historical events that took place in the Lone Star State, from the attack at the Alamo to the six flags that once flew over Texas.
8. Sky View Observatory at Columbia Center, Seattle
Stunning views of downtown Seattle, Elliot Bay, and the Seattle Great Wheel can be appreciated from 900 feet up at the Sky View Observatory in Columbia Center. Developed by Martin Selig, the observatory is located on the 73rd floor and includes a café and bar. If you really want to have a romantic trip, come during the evening to watch as the sun sets behind the Olympic Mountains.
Honorable mentions: A few observation decks that could have easily made this compilation but were left out include the Top of the Rock and The Edge in New York. Both attract a large number of tourists daily and provide sweeping vistas across the city.