The 21 Best Skylines in the US That You Shouldn’t Miss

The skyline of a city is like its fingerprint; no two skylines are identical.

It is shaped by the manmade structures, such as buildings, bridges, skyscrapers, and other feats of engineering, as well as the natural features of the city.

Whether appreciated during the day as a sprawling urban jungle or at night as a galaxy of lights, here are the best skylines in the US based on aesthetics, recognizable buildings, and the beauty of the surrounding environment.

My Picks for the Best Skylines in the US

Obviously this list of best skylines in the US has been calculated using only the most rigorous and scientific standards known to man.

It is definitely not a list picked in a completely arbitrary and random order with my own home city at number 1.

Absolutely not.

So, the best skyline in the US is…

1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh Skyline

My home city?! At number one!? How could this have happened!

Located where the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers meet, Pittsburgh was historically known for its steel but is now transformed into a hub for health care, education, and technology.

Notable buildings downtown include US Steel Tower, BNY Mellon Center, One PPG Place, Fifth Avenue Place, and the Gulf Tower.

The Allegheny County Courthouse isn’t as tall as the others but its classic architecture is a good landmark.

Best viewed from: Grandview Overlook, and basically various outlooks on the Mount Washington neighborhood or from within PNC Park

2. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Skyline

Chicago is widely recognized as having one of the best skylines in the world, especially when viewed from across Lake Michigan.

The Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) with its two antennas was once the tallest skyscraper in the world and now the eighth tallest structure in the world.

Meanwhile, the Trump Tower, the Aon Center, and the John Hancock Center tower over the other buildings, forming a well-balanced view that’s distinctly Chicago.

Exploring Chicago? Here are the best things to do in the city.

Best viewed from: Lake Michigan from the East, either from Adler Planetarium or Navy Pier

3. St. Louis, Missouri

St Louis, Missouri Skyline

The Gateway Arch is a dead giveaway that you’re looking at the St. Louis skyline. Standing at 630 feet above the ground, it’s the world’s tallest arch and the tallest building in Missouri.

Gaze at the One Metropolitan Square off to the right as well, standing out amongst a cluster of buildings and playing off the Mississippi River in the foreground.

Best viewed from: Malcolm W Martin Memorial Park, East Saint Louis, Illinois

4. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu Skyline

Honolulu’s skyline is often overlooked by the ones in the mainland because it doesn’t have super-tall skyscrapers or even buildings with unique architecture.

But the hotels, vacation condos, office buildings, and low-rise apartments against the backdrop of the Diamond Head crater and the deep blue Pacific Ocean in the foreground make up one spectacular view.

If you’re going to Honolulu anyway, here are the best places to visit in Hawaii, including the best ones in Honolulu.

Best viewed from: Almost anywhere along Waikiki Beach; also on Magic Island Lagoon, Kaka’ako Waterfront Park, Tantalus Lookout

5. Anchorage, Alaska


Another often overlooked skyline is the Anchorage skyline.

The Robert B. Atwood Building, Conoco-Phillips Building, and the Anchorage Marriott are just some of the buildings that stand out among the other low-rise buildings in Anchorage, with the snowcapped Chugach Mountains in the background.

Best viewed from: Earthquake Park

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Skyline

The largest city in Pennsylvania boasts of a beautiful skyline, with seven buildings taller than 700 feet against the backdrop of both classic and modern buildings.

Skyscrapers that stand out include the Comcast Technology Center and Comcast Center, One and Two Liberty Center, BNY Mellon Center, Three Logan Square, FMC Tower.

The Philadelphia City Hall is not as tall as the others, but it’s still an imposing presence in the city.

Best viewed from: One Liberty Observation Deck, City Hall Tower Observation Deck, Philadelphia Museum of Art (you’ll know this from the movie Rocky), Benjamin Franklin Bridge, South Street Bridge

7. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Skyline

Boston is one of America’s oldest cities and is easily recognizable by its 19th-century brick houses, cobbled streets, and traditional street lamps.

But its Financial District and Back Bay neighborhoods feature plenty of skyscrapers and high-rises that make up an impressive skyline.

Notable buildings include the John Hancock Tower, the Prudential Tower, the Millennium Tower, and the Four Seasons Hotel.

Best viewed from: Boston Harbor, Piers Park, Skywalk Observatory, Longfellow Bridge

8. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California Skyline

Known around the world as the home of Hollywood, Los Angeles is the second-most populous city in the US.

Downtown Los Angeles is home to a cluster of skyscrapers that isn’t very high or architecturally unique but superimposed on the background of San Gabriel Mountains, particularly Mount Baldy, and you get an exceptionally majestic skyline.

Notable structures include the Wilshire Grand Center (the tallest building in California), US Bank Tower, Aon Center, and Two California Plaza.

Want to get away from downtown LA? Why not visit Venice Beach and Santa Monica?

Best viewed from: Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

9. San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California Skyline

San Francisco, California is a cultural melting pot, one of the world’s most liveable cities, and has one of the best skylines in the US.

The Salesforce Tower, Transamerica Pyramid, as well as other skyscrapers such as 181 Fremont, 555 California Street, 345 California Center, and the Millennium Tower all stand out amongst the various other buildings in the financial district.

All this is set in a beautiful natural environment. If LA has the mountains as a backdrop, San Francisco has the hills in its background and San Francisco Bay in its foreground.

Best viewed from: Twin Peaks Summit, Treasure Island, Alcatraz Island

10. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas Skyline

Gambling, good food, and world-class entertainment are all hallmarks of Las Vegas, known as Sin City.

The lights and skyline of South Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as the Las Vegas strip, are some of the most recognizable in the world.

The most recognizable landmarks on the Strip include the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, the Bellagio, the Palazzo, the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Caesar’s Palace, the pyramid at the Luxor, the High Roller Observation Wheel, and the Eiffel Tower replica at Paris Las Vegas.

Best viewed from: The Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay, Top of the World Restaurant at The STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod, Skybar at Waldorf Astoria, High Roller Observation Wheel at the LINQ Hotel + Experience

11. Seattle, Washington

Seattle Skyline

Seattle is the most populous city in the Pacific Northwest, known as the birthplace of grunge and the home of Amazon and Boeing.

The Seattle skyline is one of the most recognized skylines in the US because of the distinctive Space Needle.

Aside from the Space Needle, the distinctive buildings include the Columbia Center, 1201 Third Avenue, Two Union Square, Seattle Municipal Tower, and the F5 Tower.

View the skyline from Kerry Park, and you’ll see the skyscrapers and the Space Needle with Mount Rainier in the background.

When you view the skyline from the water, through the Bainbridge Island Ferry, the skyline has Puget Sound in the foreground.

Best viewed from: Kerry Park, Bainbridge Island Ferry

12. Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas Skyline

Houston is the largest city in Texas and home to various industries, such as oil, aerospace, and entertainment.

No wonder they have more than 50 skyscrapers higher than 150 meters.

Notable skyscrapers include the JPMorgan Chase Tower, Wells Fargo Bank Plaza, Williams Tower, TC Energy Center, and Heritage Plaza.

Best viewed from: Downtown Aquarium, Eleanor Tinsley Park, Glenwood Cemetery, Houston Police Officers’ Memorial at Buffalo Bayou Park, Market Square Tower

13. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia Skyline

Arts, culture, nature, history, and commerce all converge in Atlanta, Georgia, a so-called “city in a forest.”

Of the 20 tallest buildings in Georgia, 18 of them are in Atlanta, and most of these skyscrapers are concentrated in the Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead neighborhoods.

Some of the skyscrapers that stand out on the Atlanta skyline include the Bank of America Plaza, SunTrust Plaza, One Atlantic Center, and the twin towers of 191 Peachtree.

If you want to experience Atlanta and not just its skyline, check out our list of the best things to do in Atlanta.

Best viewed from: Jackson Street Bridge, SkyView Atlanta, Piedmont Park, Skyline Park, SkyLounge

14. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota Skyline

Minneapolis is known as the City of Lakes (and home of the Juicy Lucy) that’s an arts and music hub with one of the best skylines in the country.

The tallest skyscrapers that you can see on this skyline include IDS Center, Capella Tower, Wells Fargo Center, and Two22.

Best viewed from: Stone Arch Bridge, Prospect Park, Boom Island Park

15. New York City, New York

New York City Skyline

Come on, did you really think I’d leave NYC off of this list? I already told you this list was in no particular order!

As one of the most recognizable, iconic, and gorgeous ones, New York City has one of the best skylines in the US.

More specifically, the Manhattan skyline features plenty of iconic buildings. The Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, the Chrysler building, the Bank of America Tower, One57, and 40 Wall Street are among the most recognizable buildings in the Manhattan skyline.

Best viewed from: Liberty State Park in Jersey City, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Staten Island Ferry

16. Miami, Florida

Photo Credit: iamNigelMorris

Miami showcases modern luxury with its glassy high-rises and waterfront views. Both morning and nighttime views give a totally different story to Miami, but iconic structures like the 625-feet-tall Miami Tower, Cape Florida Lighthouse (Florida’s oldest lighthouse) give the city its own personality.

Party at Moxy Miami South Beach’s al fresco rooftop, dine at The Rusty Pelican in Key Biscayne, or join the Rooftop Cinema Club at Miami Beach for experiences only Miami can provide.

Best viewed from: There are several spectacular options for viewing the Miami skyline, but my favorite hands-down are those that show Biscayne Bay. If you have extra funds, check out the Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel at 401 Biscayne Blvd and experience downtown Miami coming alive right in front of your eyes.

17. Denver, Colorado

City Park, Denver, Colorado
Photo Credit: Han Zheng

Denver, Colorado has a unique landscape that merges a thriving cityscapes complete with modern skyscrapers and historic buildings, then offer views of the Rocky Mountains and plenty of green spaces.

The Mile-High City’s skyline is made up by a mix of structures, including famous ones like the Republic Plaza and 1801 California.

Best viewed from: Ask anyone who lives in Denver or is obsessed with panoramic photography and they’ll answer that the City Park has unbeatable views of Denver’s skyline. Head to the back of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for an easy shot of the city. If you’re indoors, go to the 2nd or 3rd floor of the Wildlife Exhibits and take a picture of Denver from there instead.

18. Cleveland, Ohio

Photo Credit: EDrost88

Situated on the southern shore of Lake Erie, Cleveland offers a beautiful waterfront skyline with parks like Wendy Park and Edgewater Park adding green elements to the cityscape.

Cleveland also has a balanced mix of historic buildings and modern architecture, such as the Terminal Tower, Key Tower, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Best viewed from: If you’re exploring the city by foot, visit North Coast Harbor for some awesome city views by Lake Erie. For an elevated view of Cleveland, you can either visit The Flats, Superior Viaduct, or Abbey Ave (where the famous Cleveland script sign is found).

19. Phoenix, Arizona

Photo Credit: michaeljosh

Phoenix Arizona’s skyline has over 20 buildings as high as 320 feet and beyond. Leading this skyscrapers are Chase Tower and the Wells Fargo Plaza.

And what makes the views more special is the Camelback Mountain and North Mountain Peak right behind these modern structures.

Sunsets and sunrises here are to die for.

Best viewed from: Dobbins Lookout is by far the best viewpoint of Phoenix skyline. What I like about this place is you have options to get here – you’re not forced to hike. You can drive by car (40 minutes from downtown Phoenix) to reach the peak.

20. Tampa, Florida

View from Platt Street Bridge (Photo Credit: Michel Curi)

Like half of Florida, Tampa’s skyline is set along the waterfront. Prepare to see views of the Tampa Bay, the Hillsborough River, and the Gulf of Mexico, against the city’s skyscrapers like 100 North Tampa, Rivergate Tower, Bank of America Plaza and SunTrust Financial Centre.

Of course, there are also scenic views from Port Tampa Bay and Tampa Riverwalk that you can visit by foot.

Best viewed from: For a budget-friendly shot of the Tampa skyline, visit the fishing pier at Ballast Point Park near sunset and wait for magic to happen as golden hour hits.

21. Charlotte, North Carolina

Photo Credit: Chris Hunkeler

Sure, Charlotte, North Carolina wouldn’t probably be anyone’s top pick when it comes to the best skylines in the US, but if you’re from here, you know that uptown Charlotte can somehow compete.

Aside from modern structures like the The Bank of America stadium, Mint Museum, Duke Energy Center, and Hearst Tower, Charlotte also blends in plenty of green spaces and charming historic neighborhoods to balance it out.

Best viewed from:  The Queen City’s skyline is best viewed from the Romare Bearden Park (it’s free and romantic, too!). If you want to dine with city views, check out Fahrenheit restaurant in Uptown Charlotte or The Peculiar Rabbit in Charlotte’s downtown.

Do you agree with this list of the best skylines in the US?

Of course, like everything I rank on this site, the “best” is subjective.

What I deem as the most jaw-dropping skylines in the country may not even be in your top 3 best skylines in the US… and that’s okay.

What this list proves though is that you don’t need to go to camping in the wilderness, or hike up a mountain to be wowed by unique skylines and panoramas. These cityscapes are just around us – waiting to be appreciated.

Go Out and Explore