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Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest building in the world. Photo: iStockphoto

Last week Nik Wallenda, a member of the famed Flying Wallenda family of acrobats, crossed the Grand Canyon on a tightwire strung 1,500 feet above the ground. Wallenda’s walk takes a love of heights to the extreme, but you don’t have to be a daredevil to enjoy the view from these lofty landmarks.

The Ledge at the Willis Tower in Chicago gives you unsurpassed views of the city’s skyline. Formerly known as the Sears Tower and still informally called that by many Chicagoans, the Willis Tower is 103 floors tall and stands in the heart of downtown. The Ledge is a small glass room that sticks out over the edge of that 103rd floor, allowing visitors panoramic views to the north, east, and south. You also have the unique ability to see 1,353 feet down onto the streets of Chicago through the clear glass floor.

In 2010, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai surpassed the Willis Tower and other skyscrapers to become the tallest building in the World. You might recognize the Burj Khalifa from the fourth Mission: Impossible movie where Tom Cruise hangs from the outside of the building, more than 2,000 feet above the ground. Fortunately you can enjoy the view without the daredevil antics, as the Burj Khalifa has an observation deck where you can look out over one of the fastest growing cities in the world. There’s also a shopping mall, a hotel, and restaurants in the building to entertain you when you come down.

The Heaven’s Gate Stairs near Zhangjiajie, China were believed in ancient times to be the portal between heaven and earth. It’s unknown why the 6,660 steps were carved into the side of the Tianmen Mountains, but today visitors have the option of taking a tram to the top. The Heaven’s Gate provides incredible views of historic ruins, epic rock formations, and a pristine valley below. For the truly adventurous, there’s also a glass-bottomed walkway that winds around the side of the mountain more than 4,000 feet above the Tianmen gorge.

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Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith is a writer, traveler and lover of cities currently living in Austin, Texas. Follow her on Twitter at @shameonseamus.
Jamie Smith

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