10 Best Observation Decks in the USA

The United States has some of the best cityscape views and natural landscapes in the world. Views from atop America’s observation decks provide an aerial perspective of some of the nation’s best sights.

Many of the tallest buildings in the United States feature observatories on top levels for panoramic views of iconic cities. Other natural landmark attractions incorporate observation decks to enhance the viewing experience.

Let’s travel around the country to find some of the best observation decks in the USA.

1: Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower - Chicago, IL

Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower - Chicago, IL
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Bari D

Visit Chicago, where you’ll discover the tallest observation deck in the country at the Willis Tower. Skydeck Chicago is the observation deck experience on the 103rd floor of the building, proving you with amazing views of the city and neighboring states.

Willis Tower was once the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1973. The 110-story building predominantly consists of offices but serves as one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. The observation deck opened one year after the building’s completion, opening up the Chicago skies for visitors’ viewing pleasures.

Visitors ascend to the top of the tower in one minute on the elevator, bringing you to the deck with 360 views of Chicago. On clear days, you could see as far as Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

The skyboxes are among the newest additions to the experience, allowing visitors to climb into the boxes with glass bottoms to see all the way down to the Chicago streets.

Address: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

Website: www.theskydeck.com

2: Top of the Rock Observation Deck - New York, NY

Top of the Rock Observation Deck - New York, NY
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Steve Gardner

New York City is one of the most iconic cities in the world, and thanks to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the ‘Big Apple.’ The central location of the deck provides one of the best panoramic views of all of NYC.

The Top of the Rock Observation Deck experience is located atop the Comcast Building in Rockefeller Center Plaza. Also referred to as 30 Rock, the building is the tallest within the plaza and the 28th tallest in the city. The building towers 66-stories, but the outside observation deck extends for three additional levels.

Although it’s not the highest observation deck in NYC, many tourists prefer it because it has the best overall view. The panoramic views include many landmark buildings such as the Empire State Building, One World Tower, and Central Park.

Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

Website: www.topoftherocknyc.com

3: SkyPod at The Strat - Las Vegas, NV

SkyPod at The Strat - Las Vegas, NV
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Stephan Rudolph

Las Vegas is known for doing things a bit over-the-top, so it’s no wonder that they introduce a new twist to one of the tallest observation decks in the country. SkyPod at The Strat is for more than just viewing, but to give you some exhilarating experiences while you’re up there.

The Strat (formerly known as The Stratosphere) is a multi-building complex consisting of the hotel and casino in one and a separate observation tower. The Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the US, with an elevation of nearly 1,150-feet.

There are two observation decks at the top of the tower – an indoor deck and an outdoor deck. The tower is located just north of the Las Vegas Strip, giving you a complete view of the strip and the rest of the Las Vegas Valley.

In addition to the views, visitors can enjoy four amusement park-style rides like bungee jumping and a roller coaster, some of the world's highest rides.

Address: 2000 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104

4: One World Observatory at One World Trade Center - New York, NY

One World Observatory at One World Trade Center - New York, NY
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Maria Eklind

The One World Observatory is more than a place for just amazing views. It is also a reflection on the historical events of September 11th that forever impacted the New York City skyline. The One World Trade Center was erected in honor of the fallen Twin Towers, and now has one of the country’s tallest observation decks.

One World Trade Center is newly built in 2015 and surpassed the Willis Tower to make it the tallest building in America, mainly because of the building spire at the top. It’s located in Downtown Manhattan near Ground Zero, where the original Twin Towers stood.

One World Observatory is located on the 102nd floor of the One World Trade Center – it has multiple levels of sweeping views of the NYC skyline. You can see nearly all of NYC from the deck, and it provides lots of information to locate and learn about the most iconic skyscrapers in New York.

Address: 117 West St, New York, NY 10006

5: Clingmans Dome Observation Tower, Gatlinburg, TN

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower, Gatlinburg, TN
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/daveynin

Many of America's observation decks deliver amazing views of the cityscapes, but the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower provides a different perspective. Nature-lovers will find the observation deck truly incredible as you admire the views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Clingmans Dome is a mountain peak within the Great Smoky Mountain range, recognized as the highest point in Tennessee. Located within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the entire setting is lush nature with forested grounds and mountains.

You can take in the beautiful natural scenery from atop the observation tower. Clingmans Dome Observation Tower is a 45-ft tower, built in 1959 out of concrete. Visitors can take the Clingmans Dome Trail, which leads to the tower, and begin the ascent to the top with the elevated ramp.

On clear days, you’ll have 360-degree views of the landscape – the circular deck has several information panels around the platform with information on the points of interest to see.

Address: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN

6: The Loupe at the Space Needle, Seattle, WA

The Loupe at the Space Needle, Seattle, WA

The Space Needle is one of the most iconic towers in Seattle. It was built in 1962 for the World’s Fair yet remains a symbol of the city and a popular tourist attraction thanks to the observation deck at the top.

The Loupe is the newly renovated observation deck within the tower. The deck sits at the height of 520-ft, delivering one of the best views in the Pacific Northwest – on clear days you can see points of interest such as Downtown Seattle, Mount Rainier, the Cascade Mountains, and the islands of the Puget Sound in the distance.

Visitors take the high-speed elevator to reach the top of the tower in less than one minute. Although it’s not one of the tallest observation decks in the US, the newly built rotating glass floor is the first of its kind. There is also an open-air deck for views while leaning against the tilted glass window.

Address: 400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109

Accomodation: Where to stay in Seattle

Website: www.spaceneedle.com

7: Empire State Building Observation Deck - New York, NY

Empire State Building Observation Deck - New York, NY

The Empire State Building is one of the most popular buildings in the world and among the tallest in NYC. It features multiple observation decks but doesn't wait until you reach the top before immersing you in the experience. From the moment you enter the ground floor to riding up to the deck in the glass elevator, you'll be truly amazed by what it has in store.

Empire State Building was built in 1931, quickly becoming a pop-cultural icon thanks to the King Kong film. You can get the same viewpoint from the top of the building, giving you the only 360-degree view of Manhattan. You can see up to six states from the outdoor deck on a clear day.

The main observation deck is on the 102nd floor, which puts you 1,224-ft above the ground. Alternative indoor observatories are on the 80th and 86th floors.

Address: 20 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001

8: Eagle Point Skywalk at the Grand Canyon

Eagle Point Skywalk at the Grand Canyon
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Richard Martin

Exploring the best of America’s observation decks takes us to the Grand Canyon, one of the natural wonders of the world. As if you need an observation deck for such a fantastic sight, the deck actually adds a bit of thrill to the Canyon experience.

Breath-taking views of the Grand Canyon are the main tourist draw to the Grand Canyon National Park. While most people only get to stand on the edge of the Canyon rim to view it, a trip to the Eagle Point Skywalk lets you look across and down into the Canyon.

The Eagle Point Skywalk is a pedestrian walkway shaped like a horseshoe to extend over the Canyon ledge. It opened in 2007, allowing visitors to walk over the glass floor and peer down into the depths of the Grand Canyon.

Address: Grand Canyon West, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

9: One Liberty Observation Deck - Philadelphia, PA

One Liberty Observation Deck - Philadelphia, PA
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Peter Miller

The Philadelphia skyline is impressive enough, but nothing can prepare you for what you’re getting ready to see at the One Liberty Observation Deck. Also called Philly From The Top, the observation deck gives incredible 360-degree views of the historical city.

The One Liberty Building is Philadelphia’s tallest skyscraper – the perfect location to establish an observation deck. The observation deck opened in 2015 on the building’s 57th floor for a modern indoor viewing experience. It has an elevation of 883-ft.

Visitors can see up to 40-miles in either direction as you walk around the deck surrounded by windows. The elevator ride to the top is an audio/visual experience to learn about the city, building, and landmarks to look out for from the deck.

There are many extra features to the deck, including interactive displays, statues, and even games for kids.

Address: 1650 Market St Suite 5700, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Website: www.phillyfromthetop.com

10: OUE Skyspace LA at US Bank Tower - Los Angeles, CA

OUE Skyspace LA at US Bank Tower - Los Angeles, CA

Celebrate LA’s creative atmosphere by getting an actual overview of the city from its tallest observation deck at the US Bank Tower. Whether you want to enjoy rooftop drinks, take photos against the glass windows, or ride the Skyslide, the OUE Skyspace LA is a must-visit place in Los Angeles.

Located in Downtown LA, the US Bank Tower is the tallest building in the city. It features an amazing observation deck experience on its 70th floor, placing you almost 1,000-ft high above LA.

There are indoor and outdoor regions of the deck. Inside, you’ll find the rooftop bar and lounge where you can sit back and enjoy drinks with the view. Step outside into the California sun and see an aerial view of LA, reaching out towards the Hollywood Hills and beyond.

Address: 633 W 5th St 2nd, 54th, 69th & 70th Floors, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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