04:54 | 01/10/2021 Print
|Top 10 most beautiful skylines in the United States|
Being the first site, visitors encounter from air or water, the city’s skyline is essentially its soul that it shows to others. The mentality or the personality can be showcased in various ways, from erecting high-rise buildings to unique architectural structures, to the green areas of the city.
And since we like a good argument as much as the next guy, we examined pictures of a ridiculous number of US skylines (we even looked at Hartford!) and then ranked the top 10 based on aesthetics, recognizable and beautiful buildings, and the natural beauty that surrounds them.
10. New York City, New York
9. Las Vegas, Nevada
8. Los Angeles, California
7. Chicago, Illinois
6. Honolulu, Hawaii
5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
4. San Francisco, California
3. Seattle, Washington
2. St. Louis, Missouri
1. Washington, D.C.
|Photo: Getty Images|
The city so good they named it twice, New York is so iconic that even those that haven’t visited are able to recognise it instantly thanks to its distinctive skyline. In this guide, we look at some of New York’s most iconic buildings.
Famous for its elaborate Christmas tree, romantic ice rink and unique art deco style, 30 Rockefeller Plaza (also known as the Rock), is a must-see when on a cruise to New York. The Rock, and several other surrounding buildings, were designed by John D. Rockefeller Jr in a similar art deco style - giving the area a completely unique feel. 30 Rockefeller Plaza’s observation deck is hugely popular thanks to its impressive views of Central Park and the Empire State.
Brooklyn Bridge’s distinctive style makes it instantly recognisable. Used to link the Brooklyn Borough of the city to Manhattan over the East River, the bridge has been operating for almost 140 years. In 2016, it was estimated that 105,679 vehicles crossed the bridge per day.
Situated on the east side of the city, the Chrysler Building is most recognisable for its art deco architecture. Although not a tourist building, it is still a very distinctive part of the city and for good reason. Built in 1930 by Walter Chrysler, head of the Chrysler Corporation, it was the tallest building in the world for only 11 months before being knocked off the top spot by the Empire State Building in 1931.
Perhaps America’s most iconic structure, the Empire State Building is adored by architects worldwide thanks to its instantly recognisable silhouette. Offering an unobscured view over Manhattan, the observation deck is visited by over 3 and a half million people every year, making this an essential part of a cruise to New York.
Las Vegas, often known simply as Vegas, is the 26th-most populous city in the United States, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, and the county seat of Clark County. The city anchors the Las Vegas Valley metropolitan area and is the largest city within the greater Mojave Desert. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city, known primarily for its gambling, shopping, fine dining, entertainment, and nightlife. The Las Vegas Valley as a whole serves as the leading financial, commercial, and cultural center for Nevada.
The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino-hotels and associated activities. It is a top three destination in the United States for business conventions and a global leader in the hospitality industry, claiming more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world. Today, Las Vegas annually ranks as one of the world's most visited tourist destinations. The city's tolerance for numerous forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of "Sin City", and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for literature, films, television programs, and music videos.
Although some might consider that having even half of the following in single city would be over-the-top, but the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, pyramids, a giant hot-air balloon, and the Greek-influenced architecture are fitting for the city where everything is an exaggeration, anyways. With expensive hotels and dining, too much money spent on gambling, too much skin on the streets, the conglomeration of the structures and buildings make the city's personality, as well as one-of-kind skyline to marvel at. The desert set behind the neon-lit streets of a cityscape makes the famed Vegas skyline impossible to replicate. Vegas, is also installing the world's biggest spherical structure, at $1.8 billion, equipped with the largest LED screen, of the highest resolution.
Despite the blinking billboards and the entertainment- and nightlife-calling structures, the architecture of other buildings has given Vegas the title of an "architectural playground for postmodern designs". Set against the gorgeous backdrop of mountainous desert, are the Drew Las Vegas at some 224 meters with 63 floors holding 3,780 hotel rooms, the traditional yet modern Resort World Las Vegas, the Trump International Hotel, The STRAT Tower and hotel, The Encore, The Palazzo, and of course the Eiffel Tower replica. There are also the iconic Fountains of Bellagio, the Nevada Supreme Court, and the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
Los Angeles, often spoken and written as its initialism, L.A., is the largest city in California. With a 2020 population of 3,898,747, it is the second-largest city in the United States, after New York City, and the third-largest city in North America, after Mexico City and New York City. Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic and cultural diversity, Hollywood entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolitan area.
The tallest building on the LA skyline is the Wilshire Grand Center. It's easy to recognize as one of the two tallest buildings in the skyline, the one with a distinctive spire on top. In fact, that spire is the only thing that makes it taller than the US Bank Tower.
The US Bank Tower is tall, but it's also the only one with a rounded structure at the top which crowns a 73-story skyscraper with light-colored cladding and green glass.
The Aon Center is also one of the tallest buildings downtown at 62 stories. It's not much to look at, a nondescript vertical shaft clad with dark gray glass and white frame. The word “Aon” at the top makes it easy to identify.
City Hall isn't nearly as tall as newer buildings downtown, but In 1928, it took an exception to LA’s building height regulations to create the 454-foot tall building with a pyramid-shaped top. Don't be surprised if it looks familiar; it has appeared in more films than many B-list actors.
The Westin Bonaventure is also distinctive, with its mirrored, cylindrical towers. You can only see it from the south side of downtown.
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|Photo: Curbed Chicago|
Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois, and the third most populous city in the United States, following New York City and Los Angeles. With a population of 2,746,388 in the 2020 census, it is also the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the fifth most populous city in North America. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the U.S., while a small portion of the city's O'Hare Airport also extends into DuPage County. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, defined as either the U.S. Census Bureau's metropolitan statistical area (9.6 million people) or the combined statistical area (almost 10 million residents), often called Chicagoland. It is one of the 40 largest urban areas in the world.
The most distinctive skyscraper hovering above all is the US Bank Tower at 1,018 feet, with a summit reminiscent of a travel plug. Despite the 2014 law dictating flat-topped roofs to accommodate helicopters, LA's downtown is an interesting collection of tightly-clustered buildings. A unique architectural marvel in itself, The Griffith Observatory, best viewed from the air or from the Standard Hotel, it appears to be an "outsider" set against the City of Angeles, with its stocky-silhouetted domes.
|Photo: Getty Images|
Honolulu is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Hawaii, which is located in the Pacific Ocean. It is an unincorporated county seat of the consolidated City and County of Honolulu, situated along the southeast coast of the island of Oʻahu, and is the westernmost and southernmost major U.S. city. Honolulu is Hawaii's main gateway to the world. It is also a major hub for international business, finance, hospitality, and military defense in both the state and Oceania. The city is characterized by a mix of various Asian, Western, and Pacific cultures, as reflected in its diverse demography, cuisine, and traditions.
Honolulu doesn't have much in the way of "skyscrapers" that top out over 150 meters, let alone 300 meters. What it does have is a lot of tall buildings—and apparently they're getting taller.
Although First Hawaiian Center has remained the city's tallest building since 1996, the rest of the top three buildings were built in the last five years: Kakaako condominiums Pacifica Honolulu (2011) and the Moana Pacific towers (2008). Over the past decade, nine of Honolulu's 20 tallest buildings have been erected. Surprisingly, most of the new high-rises aren't Waikiki hotels or downtown office buildings, but rather luxury condos in Kakaako.
Nevertheless, it appears that Honolulu's skyline will continue reaching higher. Developers have proposed building another six high-rises in Kakaako alone.
|Photo: National Review|
Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is a city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States. It is the sixth-most-populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, with a 2020 population of 1,603,797. It is also the second-most populous city in the Northeastern United States, behind New York City. Since 1854, the city has had the same geographic boundaries as Philadelphia County, the most-populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural center of the greater Delaware Valley along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill rivers within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's 2019 estimated population of 7.21 million makes it the ninth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.
Tuesday. At 9am. Is as good a time as any to gaze at the best skyline on the East Coast, where America’s fifth-largest metro area shows its size with the towering 119 total floors of One and Two Liberty Place (the former stands at 945ft). Philadelphia City Hall, though only the ninth-tallest building in town, was the tallest in the world from 1901-1908.
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San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in the U.S. state of California. Located in Northern California, San Francisco is the 17th most populous city in the United States, and the fourth most populous in California, with 873,965 residents as of 2020. It covers an area of about 46.9 square miles (121 square kilometers), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second most densely populated large U.S. city, and the fifth most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is the 12th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States with 4.7 million residents, and the fourth-largest by economic output, with a GDP of $592 billion in 2019.
Even with the plumes of fog cover, it’s hard to find a more spectacular manmade sight in the US than the Golden Gate bridge sprawling out from north of the Transamerica Pyramid. And unlike New York and Miami, SF hasn’t built up out of control. Which makes for some nasty rents, but this article is about skylines, not your bottom lines.
|Photo: Conde Nast Traveller|
Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The Seattle metropolitan area's population is 4.02 million, making it the 15th-largest in the United States. Its growth rate of 21.1% between 2010 and 2020 makes it one of the nation's fastest-growing large cities.
Set a bunch of architecturally distinct high-rises on a steep hill, front it with a space-age national landmark, put snow-capped Mount Rainier in the background, and set it all on the shores of Puget Sound, and you have the most breathtaking skyline in America. And not just on Seattle's six sunny days a year.
|Photo: FOX 2|
St. Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri, United States. It sits near the confluence of the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers, on the western bank of the latter. As of 2020, the city proper had a population of around 301,500, while the bi-state metropolitan area, which extends into Illinois, had an estimated population of over 2.8 million, making it the largest metropolitan area in Missouri, the second-largest in Illinois, the seventh-largest in the Great Lakes Megalopolis, and the 20th-largest in the United States.
With the Mississippi River in the foreground, identifying this skyline is the iconic Golden Arch, a truly marvellous spectacle when set against the dramatic sky during bad weather, or a peace-inducing pastel sunset. The city has a very interesting and unique history, with many events shaping to what it is today. Founded by the French in the 19th century, St. Louis hosted the first-ever Olympics outside of Europe in 1904, while the Forest Park, built in 1876, is twice the size of New York's Central Park, and is considered the heart, hosting institutions and cultural gatherings year-round.
|Photo: Getty Images|
Washington, D.C., D.C. in full District of Columbia, city and capital of the United States of America. It is coextensive with the District of Columbia (the city is often referred to as simply D.C.) and is located on the northern shore of the Potomac River at the river’s navigation head—that is, the transshipment point between waterway and land transport. The state of Maryland borders the District of Columbia to the north, east, and west, and the state of Virginia borders the District on the southern shore of the Potomac River.
The best place to take this grandeur in all direction is from an architectural marvel in itself, topped by an ornamental pyramid, the Washington's Monument observation deck. Driving along the Potomac River in the evening gives one the feeling of driving within the heart of the country, which, as a capital, it really is. The aura of all the significant architecture illuminated around offers an experience one will never forget, feeling the power of being within the incredible machine that oils well the veins and the arteries of the rest of the incredible country.
It is evident that no one criterion identifies the skyline as the most beautiful. Even the most unique structures, such as a conglomeration one will find in Vegas, would mar the effect, if it didn't have the appreciation of its people. Similarly, the grand arch of St. Louis would equal to nothing without its symbolism linked to the city's history.
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