The Highest Observation Decks in the World

The observation deck of the Shanghai Tower is the tallest in the world. Editorial credit: askarim /

An observation deck is an elevated viewing platform located on a tall architectural structure such as a skyscraper or observation tower. Observation decks, which can be either enclosed or open, are often popular tourist attractions that offer visitors the chance to experience scenic and unique views. Until 2008, most of the world's highest observatories were located in North America. However, many high observation decks now exist in Asia and the Middle East. Some of the world's highest observation decks are highlighted below.

The Five Highest Observation Decks in the World

Shanghai Tower

With a height of 632 m, the Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, China is the world’s second-tallest building, after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. However, the upper floors of the Shanghai Tower are better suited than the Burj Khalifa for observation decks. In fact, the building has a series of observation decks on its upper floor named the "Top of Shanghai." Located on the 118th floor, the uppermost observatory is situated at a height of 562 m, ranking as the highest observation deck in the world, although it shares the title with the Ping An Finance Center observatory.

Ping An Finance Centre

Ping An International Finance Center, also known simply as Ping An IFC, is a skyscraper in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. Completed in 2017, the building has a height of 599 m, ranking as the second tallest in China and the fourth tallest in the world. Ping An INF's observation deck on the 116th floor, named "Free Sky," is situated at a height of 562, and shares the record with the Shanghai Tower for the highest observation deck in the world. The observation deck was opened to the public on February 10, 2018.

Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the tallest skyscraper in the world, with a height of 828 m. The building features three observatories on the 124th, 125th, and 148th floors. The observation deck on the 124th floor, named "At the Top," is outdoor and was the highest outdoor observation deck in the world when it opened, but has since been surpassed by an outdoor observation deck in the Canton Tower. The observation deck on the 148th floor opened in 2014 as the highest observation deck in the world, but now ranks as the third highest, with a height of 555 m.

Canton Tower

Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China is a multi-purpose observation tower with a height of 604 m, including its antenna. Officially named the Guangzhou TV Astronomical and Sightseeing Tower, the tower was completed in 2009 and opened in 2010. The tower opened as the tallest tower in the world, replacing the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, but has since been surpassed by the Tokyo Skytree in Tokyo, Japan. The open observatory in Canton Tower is located at a height of 488 m, at the base of the antenna. Canton Tower also has an enclosed observatory on its uppermost floor, just below the antenna.

Lotte World Tower

Lotte World Tower is a skyscraper in Seoul, South Korea that has a height of 555 m. The building was completed in 2017 and is now considered one of South Korea’s most prominent landmarks. The uppermost floors of Lotte World Tower are used as observatories, with the highest observation deck situated at a height of 486 m. The observatory, which features a glass floor, is the highest observation deck in the world with a glass floor.

Highest Observation Deck Under Construction

Jeddah Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is expected to become the world’s tallest building once completed in 2021. Additionally, it will be the world's first building to reach a height of 1 km. Jeddah Tower will also feature the world's highest observation deck, with a height of 644 m. The observatory will offer visitors a view of the Red Sea.

List of the 10 Highest Observation Decks in the World

RankTowerLocationHeight (m)Height (ft)
1Shanghai TowerShanghai, China562632
2Ping An Finance CentreShenzhen, China562599
3Burj KhalifaDubai, United Arab Emirates555829.8
4Canton TowerGuangzhou, China488604
5Lotte World TowerSeoul, South Korea486555
6Abraj Al BaitMecca, Saudi Arabia484.4601
7Shanghai World Financial CenterShanghai, China474492.3
8Tokyo SkytreeTokyo, Japan451.2634
9CN TowerToronto, Canada446.7553.3
10Willis TowerChicago, United States 412.7527.3

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