5 Totally Awesome Observation Decks All Across North America to Fuel Your Acrophobia

Posted by Rachel S on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Top observation deck

I’ll admit it. I’m scared of heights or, more accurately, falling from those heights. If you share this phobia, today’s featured attractions may set your heart a-trembling – I know they did mine. We’ll check out three stratospheric views already open and two that are coming soon – all in the US and Canada including Chicago’s new highly anticipated TILT at the John Hancock building. Enjoy a look at these five awesome observation decks and attractions.

Insanity at Stratosphere

#1 Stratosphere Tower

The Stratosphere is the tallest freestanding observation tower in America at 1,149 feet above the glitz of the Las Vegas strip. What rocks (and terrifies) about Stratosphere Tower, in addition to the stunning indoor and outdoor 360 degree views, are the thrill rides up top on the deck. Insanity is a spinning ride that dangles you face down more than 60 feet out to the side of the building while you experience speeds of up to 3 Gs. X-Scream is a giant teeter totter that puts you almost 30 feet of the side then tilts you face down above the heights. Tickets up the tower are $18 for adults and $10 for the kids. The rides are $15 each, but you can bundle with tower admission to get a better deal.

Grand Canyon Skywalk

#2 Grand Canyon Skywalk

The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a cantilever bridge that extends 70 feet out over the edge of the canyon near the Colorado River. Walk out on the Skywalk, 65 feet in width and walk the U that takes you over stunning views of the canyon. Peer down through the glass under you and, depending on which part of the bridge you’re on, you’ll be looking 500 to 800 feet straight down below your feet. The bridge is an engineering marvel owned by the Hualapai tribe and opened back in 2007. The Skywalk is an incredible 1.6 million pounds of custom made glass, steel and hardware. Tickets are $35 for children, $40 for adults and increase with add-ons like horseback and helicopter rides.

The Ledge at Willis Tower

#3 Willis Tower Ledge

Formerly known as the Sears Tower, this 1,451 foot Chicago skyscraper was once the tallest in the world. The Skydeck reinvented itself with the addition of Ledge in 2009. The project was inspired by forehead prints on the glass of the observation area from people trying to look down. The Ledge is a series of four solid glass boxes that protrude more than four feet from the side of the building. These are especially jitter-inducing because there’s not an inch of reassuring steel or obvious supports to be seen. The sensation is of being suspended 1,353 feet above street level Matrix-style. Tickets are $19 for adults, $12 for kids and an extra $40 if you want to skip the long lines at the elevators.

#4 Glacier Skywalk

This incredible new observation deck/bridge is in the Canadian Rockies in Alberta’s Jasper National Park. Similar to the Grand Canyon attraction, this u-shaped bridge is glass underfoot with steel supports and glass edges. Glacier Skywalk opens Thursday, May 1st and allows visitors a view from 918 feet above the spectacular vista of the Sunwapta Valley. You’ll be higher than the Eiffel Tower as you appreciate the icy glaciers and spires of the nearby mountains. What makes the visitor experience unique is the interpretive education areas that explore the glaciers, flora and fauna of the region. Entry prices are $24.95 for adults and kids are half that price.

TILT at 360 Chicago

#5 TILT!

This new attraction sits atop the John Hancock Center in what was known as the observatory but is now rebranded 360 CHICAGO. Once the Ledge opened, traffic here slowed, but once TILT! opens this Spring, I imagine the crowds will come pouring back. TILT! is a steel and glass platform and an engineering marvel. You step in, get secured and then, as the name indicates, you and eight other guests get tilted. Thirty degrees forward and you find yourself face down 1,000 feet above Miracle Mile. The experience takes about a minute and there’s literally nothing like it in the world. $18 for adults and $12 for kids gets you into the observatory and another $5 gets you tilted.

Image sources: Telegraph.co.uk, CNTraveler.com, Panoramio.com, BigTattooPlanet.com, News.com.au

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