I love driving into Chicago. As a kid, there were few things more exciting than when the Sears Tower finally came into view fifteen miles out of the city (which, of course, made the last fifteen miles the longest, most grueling of the 60 it took to get to the Windy City from my old hometown).
Since then, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for that particular skyline, but I know that there are many more gorgeous ones in these grand States which are United and named America. Here’s a top-five list of my favorites:
#5 – San Francisco – Flanked by the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Frisco has loads of gorgeous tall buildings to fill up the spaces surrounded by water. The Transamerica Pyramid stands out more than any other building in the skyline, but the twin spires of the California Center are pretty lovely to look at, too. Overall, it creates a pretty overwhelming, gorgeous experience.
#4 – St. Louis – Compared to the other big cities on this list, St. Louis is one of the smaller ones, but the Gateway Arch creates a perfect work of art right along the banks of the Mississippi River. While it’s true that there’s not a whole lot going on behind that Arch, just that one structure is enough to put San Louis in the top five. It really is a beautiful city. East St. Louis, however, is an entirely different story.
#3 – Seattle – Without the Space Needle, we’re looking at a whole lot of blasé buildings somewhere in the top left-hand corner of the country. With the Space Needle, you’ve got the third-most recognizable (and awesome) skyline in the country. From the right angle, Mount Rainier off in the distance adds a whole new level of local color to the composition, and that helps Seattle a great deal as well.
#2 – New York City – There are tons of great buildings in NYC, the most notable of which is obviously the Empire State Building. But with other behemoths like the Bank of America Tower, the Chrysler Building, and the New York Times building (all of which rank in the top 35 tallest buildings in the world), you’ve still got yourself a gigantic and lovely skyline. With twin towers, we’re probably looking at #1 here. Without, they fall just shy, although the effect of the spotlights replacing the towers is hauntingly effective.
#1 – Chicago – You could argue that there’s something to do with local bias here, but with two of the most iconic skyscrapers in the world, the John Hancock Building and what will forever be known to me as the Sears Tower, there’s no doubting the City of Big Shoulders is the most imposing cityscape in the country. If it weren’t for stupid Hong Kong and Dubai, it would probably be the most imposing in the world.
Pittsburgh – All the rivers and bridges rock, but the buildings themselves leave a little to be desired.
Dallas – The Bank of America Plaza and Renaissance Tower both are among the top 25 buildings in the world, and certain shots of the skyline that include the fun yet sort of pointless Reunion Tower make it all the better.
Philadelphia – What I like about Philly is that the tallest buildings don’t just square off at the top. There’s tiered pyramids and spires that make things look very interesting, especially from afar when the Ben Franklin Bridge can also be seen in the picture.
Las Vegas – While the Strip isn’t big and scary like the others on this list, it is just about the brightest damn group of buildings on the planet earth, with tons of out-of-place landmarks like a gigantic pyramid (the Luxor Casino), replicas of the Statue of Liberty and Eifel Tower, and the emerald-colored MGM Casino.