Skylines of major cities around the world capture the imagination of travelers young and old, whether they’re visiting new places for the first time or returning to treasured destinations to relive memorable experiences. The skyline tends to reflect the nature of the city, whether as a major center of business, a worldwide tourist destination, the gambling capital of the world, a bastion for eco-friendliness and sustainability, or any combination of the above. It all depends on what makes the city unique.

New York City Skyline

The New York City skyline is one of the top skylines of the world. Anyone who has flown into the massive metropolis will tell you that it appears that the city will simply never end, especially when viewed from the sky at night. The legendary Empire State Building, Bank of America Building, Chrysler Building, and New York Times building are only a small sampling of the impressive structures that pepper the New York City skyline. The 86th-floor observation deck is one of the most popular in the world and has been visited by more than 100 million people over the years. Photos of the New York skyline, Times Square, and Central Park can be seen around the world.

Chicago Skyline

The Chicago skyline is the second largest in the United States, behind only New York City. Chicago features the 108-story Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), which is the tallest building in the country and the fifth-tallest building in the world, at 1,451 feet. The Trump International Hotel and Tower, Aon Tower, and John Hancock Center are amongst the other most impressive and tallest skyscrapers in the Windy City. The Skydeck, located on the 103rd floor, tops out at over 1,350 feet and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

Las Vegas Skyline

The Las Vegas skyline is all about bright lights and flashing bulbs is one of the most distinctive skylines in the U.S. There is an interesting mixture of skyscrapers, towers, and massive hotels and resort casinos. The 1,200-foot Stratosphere Tower is perhaps the most intriguing of all the structures in Vegas—it is the tallest structure and features bungee jumping and a roller coaster at the pinnacle.

San Francisco Skyline

The San Francisco skyline is another of the most scenic in the western United States. It is one of the best city skylines on the West Coast, and some would say the best in California. The city features an array of alluring neighborhoods and districts and there is always something going on in and around downtown. San Francisco has more than 370 skyscrapers that exceed 400 feet. The tallest buildings are the Transamerica Pyramid, 555 California Street, 345 California Street, the Millennium Tower, and One Rincon Hill South Tower. The views of the city from the Bay Bridge, which connects San Francisco with Oakland and the East Bay, are particularly breathtaking.

Seattle Skyline

Although the Seattle skyline is best known for the oft-photographed Space Needle, which is home to the third-tallest observation deck in the United States, it actually features a range of dynamically designed and architecturally engaging skyscrapers. The 76-story Columbia Center is 937 feet tall and stands as the tallest building in the city. It also ranks in the top 20 for tallest buildings in the United States. 1201 Third Avenue, Two Union Square, the Seattle Municipal Tower, and Safeco Plaza round out the list of the tallest skyscrapers in the city. Be sure to take your camera and/or camcorder if you make the trip to the top of the famous Space Needle, which is located about a mile from downtown and has great views of the skyline.

Pittsburgh Skyline

On the other end of the country, the Pittsburgh skyline shines brightly at the well-known confluence of the Three Rivers: the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela. There are many beautiful buildings as well as scenic bridges and quirky neighborhoods scattered throughout the city that lend Pittsburgh its reputations as one of the best city skylines in the eastern US. The U.S. Steel Tower is the tallest building in the city, at more than 840 feet high. The BNY Mellon Center, One PPG Plaza, Fifth Avenue Plaza, and One Oxford Centre complete the list of the top five tallest buildings in Pittsburgh. One of the best places from which to view the skyline and the river bridges is Mount Washington.

Sydney Skyline

The Sydney skyline is one of the most frequently photographed parts of Australia and another one of the top skylines of the world. Major attractions like the Sydney Tower and Sydney Opera House make their way onto postcards around the globe. The views of the city and the harbor from the Sydney Tower, the tallest structure in the city and the second-tallest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere, are awe-inspiring, to say the least.

Toronto Skyline

The Toronto skyline is arguably the most impressive in Canada, if not all of North America. The 1,800-foot plus CN Tower dominates the skyline but is only one of the seemingly endless skyscrapers that comprise the impressive cityscape. There are not only myriad things to see in the city, but also a wide variety of activities and attractions to enjoy. Toronto is a cultural center for the arts and the city is a vital part of the vibrant scene.

Hong Kong Skyline

An ocean away lies another of the top skylines of the world, that of Hong Kong. The shimmering lights of the sprawling Hong Kong skyline and the vast expanse of the cityscape with Victoria Harbour in the background invite comparisons to mega-cities like New York and Shanghai. If you have the opportunity to fly into Hong Kong at night, the aerial view of the city will be an experience that you will not soon forget.

Tokyo Skyline

The Tokyo skyline is also nothing to scoff at. The Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower, Midtown Tower, Sunshine 60, and Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building No. 1 stand as some of the most impressive constructs in this largest city in Japan. There are amazing skylines to be found all over the globe. Determining the best city skylines is largely subjective. The good thing is that you will have to visit all of them for yourself to judge which is most appealing to you.

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