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How High Can You Go?

Smart women on the rise often set their sights high … and so they should! We can see much further from the top and the view is so exciting. And I’m not talking about the board room!

No, some of the highest places in the world are open to tourists! In the United States if you want to go up, New York City offers you the most options with more than 216 skyscrapers over 497 ft. (150 m) tall. Since September 11, 2001, the Empire State Building is once again the tallest building. Originally completed in 1931 at 1,250 ft., it usurped the Chrysler Building completed the year before at 1,046 ft.

Currently the Willis Tower in Chicago (formerly the Sears Tower) is the tallest in the US at 1, 451 ft. The observation deck gives you a spectacular view of Chicago and the Lake Michigan shoreline. When I lived in Chicago, I worked on the 81st floor of the Sears Tower (it’ll forever be the Sears Tower to me) and loved looking down at the great skyline of Chicago.

Chicago - View from Sears Tower - Photo by Mike Ortiz

But the new One World Trade Center will once again top the Empire State Building and the Willis Tower when it is completed in 2013. Called the “Freedom Tower,” it’s on the site of Ground Zero and will soar 1,776 ft., once again punching into the clouds and defining the Manhattan skyline with a patriotic spirit: “You might knock me down but I can pull myself up by my new high heeled leather boot straps!”

This rivalry of who’s going higher seems never ending. In Houston the JP Morgan Chase Tower is the tallest building in Texas (where their motto is “Everything’s bigger in Texas.”). At 1,002 ft. completed in 1982, it rises 75 stories to the 12th largest in the US. Its observation deck is open to the public during the working hours of 8:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m. Monday–Friday, free of charge. In 1989 Los Angles U.S. Bank Tower (formerly the Library Tower) rose to 1,018 ft. but only 73 stories.

If you want to go even higher, several of the tallest buildings in the world are in China. So when you are in Shenzhen you’ll want to see the Kingkey 100, or the Nanjing Greenland Financial Centre in Nanjing, or the World Financial Centre in Shanghai. These scrape the skies at heights at or above the height of the Willis Tower in Chicago. From 2004 until 2010, the Taipei 101 was the highest you could go without boarding a plane. It’s 1,670 ft. tall.

Today going up, up, and away, means going to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In 2010, the Burj Khalifa became the tallest building in the world: two thousand, seven hundred and seventeen feet high. The Observation Deck is on the 124th floor! Here are my photos of Burj Khalifa as I looked up from the ground and down from the top. Now that’s really going on an ear-popping ride!

If you want to go higher than that, I hear you can actually pay to go on a rocket into outer-space at the Spaceport America in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Now wouldn’t that be some great air miles? Keep your sights high and share your photos from skydecks around the world at the Smart Women Travelers Facebook Page.

To receive a free copy of our ebook, 70 Secrets to Safe Travel — Because Your Life Can Change in a Heartbeat, and for more travel savvy info to help you travel smarter, safer and with more enjoyment, visit and Watch for my new book, Business Travel Success – How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive and Travel with Confidence, being published by Morgan James in early 2012.

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