Find a room with a view in one of these cities.
Every major city in the U.S. has a unique skyline. Whether they have the tallest buildings or the prettiest mountain backdrop, a skyline makes a city instantly recognizable from afar. Since the world’s first skyscraper in Chicago in 1885, architects have continued to race each other to touch the sky.
Here are 30 of the best skylines across the country, from the Big Apple to Motor City.
Which city has the best skyline in the U.S.?
From coast to coast, near the water or in the desert, each skyline has an element that makes them striking. And one of the best in the country.
30. Houston, TX
The oldest building in the Houston skyline is the El Paso Energy building, completed in 1963 at 33 stories. The tallest, the JPMorgan Chase Tower, is double that at 75 floors. The tower was supposed to be 80 stories, but a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) analysis said anything over 75 stories was considered hazardous to air navigation.
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29. Denver, CO
Denver’s skyline can be enjoyed from several spots around the city, including Washington Park. Denver is exactly one mile high, with more than 200 visible peaks sneaking around the skyline for their moment in the limelight. The tallest building in this skyline is the 56-story Republic Plaza.
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28. St. Louis, MO
You can’t think about the St. Louis skyline without the Gateway Arch, the tallest manmade monument in the country. The 630-feet-tall stainless steel monument is genuinely iconic and marks the moment the Louisiana Purchase was signed. Next to it, the Mississippi River flows by and joins the Missouri River north of the city.
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27. Orlando, FL
Fun fact about the Orlando skyline: Lake Eola, in downtown Orlando, is a giant sinkhole. It’s around 80 feet at its deepest point. You can see the most iconic city landmark, the Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain, right in the middle of it. In the background, at 441 feet, the Suntrust Center is the tallest building in Central Florida.
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26. Atlanta, GA
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Atlanta is the view of the skyline at the Jackson Street Bridge. It’s both used in “The Walking Dead,” and it’s a prime spot to capture a beautiful Instagram shot for your feed. While the skyscrapers themselves aren’t quite famous, the view is still worth the snapshot.
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25. San Diego, CA
America’s Finest City’s skyline has changed drastically in just a decade but buildings are usually capped at 500 feet due to concerns over planes crossing over the downtown on the flight path to San Diego International Airport. Petco Park offers the best sunset view of the San Diego skyline, a treat while watching the Padres hit a few home runs.
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24. Tampa, FL
The most identifiable buildings in the Tampa skyline are the University of Tampa’s stainless steel minarets, a stark contrast to the modern skyscrapers that surround it. Previously the luxurious Tampa Bay Hotel, the building was railroad tycoon Henry Plant’s legacy inspired by Moorish architecture.
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23. San Francisco, CA
As the fog rolls in, past the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s skyline looks ethereal. The Bay Area skyline is a good mix of skyscrapers like the Salesforce Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid and smaller buildings, due to the earthquake risk in California.
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22. Nashville, TN
Well, Bob Dylan in 1969 named a whole album after the stunning Nashville skyline, and we can’t disagree. The southern city’s first skyscraper was only 12 stories tall back in 1905 — that number has now grown to 162 high-rises. The most identifiable of them all? The AT&T Building, nicknamed the Batman building, for its resemblance to the superhero’s mask.
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21. Minneapolis, MN
Minnesota winters are infamous for being brutal, but Minneapolis has it figured it out. They stay mega cozy without going outdoors, thanks to the skyway system’s enclosed bridges that connect buildings throughout the city. It’s the most extensive pedestrian skywalk system in the world, connecting more than 20 of the tallest buildings in Minneapolis.
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20. Knoxville, TN
The Sunsphere, the tower with the disco ball-like at the top, makes the Knoxville skyline easy to spot. The unique structure was built for the 1982 World’s Fair. After sitting abandoned for years, the 4th-floor observation deck reopened in 2022. It offers a 360-degree view of downtown Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains.
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19. Indianapolis, IN
Today, Indianapolis’ skyline is marked by Monument Circle, a monument to the valor of the common soldier. Any building surrounding it cannot be taller than eight stories so the sunlight can reach the fountain.
Another fun fact: Circle City was home to one of the most remarkable feats in engineering in 1930 — the move of the 11,000-ton Indiana Bell building. For a little over a month, the building was rotated 90 degrees. Some 30 years later, it was demolished.
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18. Cincinnati, OH
Cincinnati is home to the world’s first reinforced concrete skyscraper, the 16-story Ingalls Building. Before 1903, no one had built a building taller than six floors. Today, it’s the Courtyard by Marriott Cincinnati Downtown. This is just one of many historic landmarks in the city’s skyline.
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17. Milwaukee, WI
With Lake Michigan as a backdrop, Milwaukee’s skyline held the title for tallest skyscraper for a brief moment in time. In 1895, the Milwaukee City Hall was the tallest building in the city, taller than anything in New York or Chicago at the time. The beautiful walkways surrounding the atrium (and the building) still stand today.
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16. Norfolk, VA
Lesser known than some of the skylines on the list, Norfolk’s has mostly mid-rise buildings, with the 26-story Dominion Tower taking the top spot for tallest in the skyline. What brings you is the reflection of the skyline on the Elizabeth River. The recently revitalized waterfront offers beautiful views of the city and a chance to see the restored shoreline.
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15. San Antonio, TX
The star of the San Antonio skyline is the Tower of the Americas, the 11th tallest skyscraper in the entire state. Right in downtown San Antonio, the 750-foot-tall observation tower offers some of the city’s best views. Initially built for the 1968 World’s Fair, the tower has a spot to grab a bite to eat at the top.
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14. Charlotte, NC
Here’s a fun fact: The majority of Charlotte’s current skyline was built in the 21st century starting in 2002 with the Hearst Tower. The city is a financial center in the Southeast with Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other institutions having a presence at each of the skyline’s buildings.
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13. Portland, OR
Downtown Portland’s skyline is composed of 31 high-rises, with the Wells Fargo Center taking the top spot for tallest building. Most of the city center is nestled in between the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Nearby, the historic Pittock Mansion offers incredible panoramic views of Portland and Mount Hood in the background.
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12. Phoenix, AZ
From the top of Camelback Mountain, about 30 minutes from downtown Phoenix, you can see the entire Phoenix metropolitan skyline. A striking view during sunset with the desert mountains in the background is not your usual skyline view.
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11. Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh has over 400 bridges, and it’s hard to miss them in the city skyline. Like the Smithfield Street Bridge, the oldest steel bridge in the U.S., which crosses the Monongahela River. Pittsburgh’s skyline also features One Oxford Centre, a complex of six buildings with many sides to offer as many corner offices as possible.
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10. Memphis, TN
The downtown Memphis skyline overlooks the Mississippi river as it was purposely built on the banks by the city’s founders. These days, the Memphis Riverfront offers a beautiful river walk that connects two state parks, Meeman-Shelby Forest and T.O. Fuller.
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9. Detroit, MI
Detroit has one of the most distinguishable skylines in the country. Motor City’s Sunset Point gives the most beautiful views of the skyline along the Detroit River. Or, if you want a bench to admire the skyline and the sunset, head over to Riverside Park with a small picnic. The Ambassador Bridge is the star of the show from this angle.
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8. Dallas, TX
The Dallas skyline is recognizable, thanks to the 1980s hit series “Dallas” and has won best skyline multiple times, including USA TODAY. The Reunion Tower, a 561-foot observation deck, is one of the skyline landmarks in Dallas. The locals often call it “The Ball.”
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7. Chicago, IL
Right by Lake Michigan, Chicago has built one of the most classic skylines, with height variation, no crowding or funky-looking buildings. It makes sense since the first skyscraper in the world was built in the Windy City. Get to know it during one of the city’s popular architecture-themed boat tours. But you’ll get the best full view of the skyline at the Adler Planetarium.
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6. Miami, FL
Welcome to Miami! The Florida city has the country’s third tallest skyline with more than 300 skyscrapers. The Panorama Tower, located in downtown Miami, stands tall at 85 stories, making it the tallest in the state. Nine out of the top 10 of the tallest buildings in Florida can be found in Miami.
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5. Los Angeles, CA
Did you know that until 2014 Los Angeles buildings were required to have a flat top to allow for a helicopter landing? That’s why the skyline looks almost homogenous aside from a few new additions. On a clear day without smog, the Los Angeles skyline can be seen from several vantage points, but Griffith Observatory and Echo Park Lake are the best ones.
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4. Honolulu, HI
Honolulu’s small, packed skyline isn’t just about buildings. A skyline shot from above shows the vibrant blue Pacific Ocean paired with lush Diamond Head. It just exudes paradise from every perspective. The First Hawaiian Center has remained the tallest building on the island since the mid-90s at 429 feet.
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3. Seattle, WA
The Space Needle and Mount Rainier, part of Seattle’s iconic skyline, take our No. 3 spot for best skyline in the U.S. The best place to see it all from above? Sunset Hill Park provides the best view of the skyline during a sunny day. The Columbia Center takes the prize for the tallest building in the city at 76 stories.
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2. Las Vegas, NV
And the No. 2 spot goes to Sin City — the one and only Las Vegas. With all of its neon lights, the Las Vegas skyline is the brightest place on Earth and can be seen from outer space. The Luxor’s Sphinx, a replica of the Great Sphinx of Giza, stands out among the many iconic buildings on the skyline. Fun fact: It’s bigger than the original.
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1. New York, NY
The New York City skyline takes the prize as the best skyline in the country. From above, the Big Apple shines with its landmark buildings like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Tower and the One World Trade Center. It has inspired architectural dreams, and it has become the background for many stories and movies.
And while it had a tragic change at the beginning of the 21st century, it remains one of the best city skylines in the United States.
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The best city skylines around the country
Whether buildings have a mountain as their background or a view of water, there are so many beautiful skylines to choose from across all 50 states.
These are just a small slice of the most beautiful city skylines around the U.S. With ongoing construction, each of these skylines will look a little different over time and one of them could be your next view from your apartment.