The 10 Tallest Buildings In The United States

The history of the United States' architecture is grand, consistently evolving the skyline of its cities. Open to visitors for the iconic views, these ten tallest buildings in the nation reaching into space want to be seen on one's next visit to these locales.

  1. One World Trade Center, New York - 541 m
  2. Central Park Tower, New York - 472 m
  3. Willis Tower, Chicago - 442 m
  4. 111 West 57th Street, New York -  435 m
  5. One Vanderbilt Place, New York - 427 m
  6. 432 Park Avenue, New York - 426 m
  7. Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago - 423 m
  8. 30 Hudson Yards, New York - 387 m
  9. Empire State Building, New York - 381 m
  10. Bank of America Tower, New York - 366 m

1. One World Trade Center, New York

one world trade center
New York City skyline with the One World Trade Center Tower.

Located in Lower Manhattan, One World Trade Center holds the record as the tallest building in the United States and the sixth-tallest in the world. The skyscraper was completed in 2014, following the 9/11 deadliest terrorist attack in American history, as the main structure of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex that included the famous Twin Towers that are no longer there. Becoming the nation's tallest in May 2013 upon the installment of its spire, the building's total height measures 1,776 feet (541 meters). The significant number stands for the year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in the United States. The skyscraper, comprising 94 floors used almost exclusively as office space, was in part designed by David Childs and developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, while the WSP Cantor Seinuk was its structural engineer.

2. Central Park Tower, New York 

central park tower
Central Park Tower and other skyscrapers at Manhattan as viewed from the Central Park. Editorial credit: JaysonPhotography / Shutterstock.com

Also known as Nordstrom Tower, Central Park Tower is the tallest residential building globally, set at 225 West 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan. The supertall building comprises 179 residential units from the 32nd floor and up, with the largest of the apartments holding eight bedrooms and occupying over 1,626 meters squared. Topped out in September 2019 and opened in 2021, the skyscraper reaches 1550 feet (472 meters) into the air, a project that cost $3 billion to complete. The tower was designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, developed jointly by Extell and Shanghai Municipal Investment Group, and with WSP Global as its structural engineer.

3. Willis Tower, Chicago    

Willis tower, chicago
Willis Tower in the skyline of Chicago. Editorial credit: Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

The Willis Tower was completed in 1974 with 108 floors reaching 1451 feet (442 meters) into the air. It was formerly known as the Sears Tower. Over-stepping the World Trade Centre in New York, it became the world's tallest building until 1998, when the Petronas Towers surpassed it in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was also the tallest building in the United States for 41 years until the spot was overtaken by the new One World Trade Center in 2013. Its Skydeck Ledge is one of the city's top attractions, offering the best way to get a gorgeous view over Chicago. While on the way to the observation deck, one can get in touch with Chicago's architectural history and advances via the elevators that come with interactive touchscreens and a short movie. With a clear glass ledge, one can see as far as four different states from the deck, with Indiana to the south, Michigan to the east, Wisconsin to the west, and Chicago, Illinois underneath. Visited by millions on an annual basis for the Skydeck, the tower is located at 233 South Wacker Drive, with the deck on the 103rd floor at a height of 1,353 feet (412.4 m). 

4. 111 West 57th Street, New York 

Steinway Tower 111 West 57th Street
Steinway Tower 111 West 57th Street on Billionaires' Row in Midtown Manhattan.

The supertall residential building towers over Manhattan's Billionaires' Row on the northern side of 57th Street near Sixth Avenue is a colorful addition to the iconic New York City skyline. Also known as the Steinway Tower, the skyscraper topped the list of the world's skinniest buildings when it was completed in 2021. Its 60 feet-wide base is a designated city landmark, with the building's height-to-width ratio of 24:1, managing to house 60 luxury condominiums in the slender frame. Topped-off in April 2019, the super-figure was designed by SHoP Architects and built by JDS Development, Property Markets Group, and Spruce Capital, with the project costs estimated at $2 billion.

5. One Vanderbilt Place, New York 

Construction of the One Vanderbilt Place skyscraper on the western side of Grand Central Terminal in New York
Construction of the One Vanderbilt Place skyscraper on the western side of Grand Central Terminal in New York. Editorial credit: rblfmr / Shutterstock.com

Officially opened in 2020, One Vanderbilt Place towers over the adjacent Grand Central Terminal from its 1401 feet (427 meters) stance containing 67 floors. Used for offices and observation, the skyscraper was proposed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as part of the project to rezone the Midtown East. It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox with Severud Associates as the structural engineer, beginning the construction on February 14, 2017. It was topped-off two months ahead of schedule on September 17, 2019, as the tallest office building in Midtown, New York, with an observation deck that opened to the public in October 2021 for some spectacular viewing. It is also the second biggest office building in Manhattan, with a gross area covering 1.7 million square feet. Owned by SL Green Realty Corp., the skyscraper is located at the turn of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

6. 432 Park Avenue, New York 

432 park avenue
432 Park Avenue in New York City.

Judged by roof height, this supertall skyscraper located at 57th Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan is the second tallest building in New York City, completed in 2015. At 1,396 feet (426 meters) and with 96 floors, it also holds the spot as the world's third tallest residential and the second thinnest skyscraper building. Coming with 125 condominiums, the lucky residents get their own restaurants within and views of the Central Park around. It was designed by Rafael Viñoly and developed by CIM Group and Harry B. Macklowe, with WSP Cantor Seinuk as its structural engineer. The interiors were designed by Deborah Berke and the firm Bentel & Bentel, while the whole project cost $1.25 billion to complete.

7. Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago

trump international hotel
Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.

At the time of development, this supertall 98-story condo-hotel in downtown Chicago, Illinois, was initially planned to become the tallest building in the world. Following the 9/11 attacks, Donald Trump, the owner, scaled back the project with the skyscraper's final reach of 1,388 feet into the air, including its sphere. At its completion in 2009, it became the second tallest building in the United States after the Willis Tower. There is an intriguing rumor that its design galvanized by three architects, Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, inspired the construction of Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which is the world's tallest building.

8. 30 Hudson Yards, New York 

hudson yards new york
The Hudson Yards skyscrapers 30 and 10 with observation deck, The Edge, and other tall buildings. Editorial credit: CarlosDavid / Shutterstock.com

Also known as the North Tower of Hudson Yards, the 1268 feet (387 meters) supertall skyscraper comprised of 73 floors in use was originally planned to reach 480 meters into the air. Completed in March 2019, it is set at the intersection of 33rd Street and 10th Avenue, with the Hell's Kitchen, Chelsea, and the Penn Station around. Overlooking much further, it comes with a cantilevered viewing platform near the top, opened to the public in March 2020. The deck known as "The Edge" is set on the 100th floor at 1,131 feet as the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere for visits. It was designed by LEED Gold, along with renowned architect Bill Pedersen and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, with Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group as its co-developers, as the tallest building of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project. 

9. Empire State Building, New York    

empire state building
The Empire State Building standing out in the New York city skyline.

A grandfather of skyscrapers, the Empire State Building, was the tallest building in the world from 1931 to 1972, standing at 1250 feet (381 meters) with 103 floors. Holding the record of being the tallest for the longest time, it was also the tallest building in New York following the 9/11 attacks, from 2001 to 2013. Visited by over 3.5 million a year for its observation deck on the 86th floor, offering a panoramic view of the grand city, the building soars at 1,250 feet over the Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. Given the namesake of New York State's nickname, it still holds a crown as a supertall, famous skyscraper that is instantly picked out of the line-up on New York City's skyline for its iconic shape. The completed cost of the project was $40.9 million, or $564 million in today's money; renovated in 2010, it became more energy efficient and the tallest LEED-certified building in America the following year. 

10. Bank of America Tower, New York 

Bank of America tower
Bank of America Tower as part of the skyline in Bryant Park, New York.

Reaching 1200 feet (366 meters) into the air with 55 floors, Bank of America Tower was completed in 2009 to house mostly offices built exclusively for Bank of America. It is also known as 1 Bryant Park for its location at One Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. Designed by Cookfox and Adamson Associates and completed out of concrete manufactured with slag, a by-product of blast furnaces, it is regarded as one of the world's most efficient and ecological buildings. Since using slag reduces the amount needed for concrete, it subsequently lowers the volume of carbon emissions released during cement production. Winning many green awards, it is also Platinum LEED-certified for being one of the planet's most environmentally responsible high-rise office buildings that cost $1 billion to build. Despite comprising offices for work, it is open to visitors for the top view of the city. 

Some of these tallest buildings in the United States have seen and absorbed it all, while the newer ones reach into the space, and the future. It is an honor to stand by one of them and feel the whole city and beyond in the palm of one's hand from the top. Despite being currently reserved to two cities of two different states, and with the tragic 9/11 to mourn forever, these tallest buildings of the nation do not lose their intrigue, and the skylines, their sparkle.

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