We all learned that beauty is a very subjective thing from watching The Twilight Zone. With this in mind, it means that our ideas are typically subjective when it comes to what makes a pretty skyline. We decided to list twenty of the most recognizable skylines around the world and ranked them based on their overall design. Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but this list contains eye-catching and impressive engineering skylines that are generally beautiful.
20. Shenzhen, China
China has cities with 10 million residents that most of us haven’t even heard of. Shenzhen used to a be a sleepy riverside town but was later turned into a major economic player, which now boasts millions of occupants and twenty-three buildings that are over 650 ft. tall.
19. Seoul, South Korea
Korea is the only cityscape on this list to boast its own dance craze, despite not having record-breaking broadcast towers or landmark or space-aged LED orbs. Remember the song “Gangnam Style”? It’s not about horses. Gangnam is actually Seoul’s central business district.
18. Frankfurt, Germany
Frankfurt is the only skyline on the European continent that made it on this list. Excessive displays of civic wealth isn’t actually the forte of Europeans. Aside from being the birthplace of the hot dog, it’s also the largest financial center in Europe and more or less the only European city with an intimidating glass tower skyline.
17. Macau, SAR, China
Macau is a tiny Vegas-like island city consumed by big, bright buildings with names like MGM, Sands, and Wynn. They even have the forty-seven-story Grand Lisboa hotel that towers like a giant fan over the Pearl River. Due to their own version of Las Vegas, the former communist country of China has certainly kissed the hammer-and-sickle thing good-bye.
16. Vancouver, BC, Canada
The landmark Lookout Tower and their location at the base of a mountain range makes this one of the prettiest skylines in the world. Vancouver’s dense, vertical downtown is also often used in movies to mimic New York City, due to the fact that it’s hard to tell the difference between the two through an untrained eye.
15. New York City, New York
The Big Apple has gone a little too much with development, despite being one of the world’s most recognizable skylines. It looks like a giant blob of bland-colored towers with many of them looking old and outdated, due to a couple of landmark buildings’ failure to withstand the test of time. What keeps NYC from dropping further down the list are the bridges over the Hudson and East Rivers.
14. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, which sits atop Corcovado Mountain overlooking this city of 6.4 million on Guanabara Bay, is the center of attraction in Rio de Janeiro. Combined with views of the mountain and water, this skyline is still one of the world’s most beautiful. With that being said, Rio is more or the less the Michael Jordan of skylines.
13. Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegas looks like it took all of the best skylines in the world and placed them together on a giant, neon-lit street, which makes it the most creative and unique cityscape on this list. One of the most amazing landmarks they have is the pyramid, and they also have a giant hot air balloon too.
12. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles probably has the most underrated and oft-overlooked skyline in the country. This tightly-clustered collection of interesting buildings, anchored by the 1,018 ft. US Bank Tower, has the San Gabriel Mountains as the perfect backdrop. The city is also considered as the American birthplace of suburban sprawl, which is another fun fact.
11. San Francisco, California
Nowadays, it’s pretty rare to see this amazing skyline that pokes up between the Bay Bridges and Golden Gate. The overall setting, combined with the Transamerica pyramid, makes San Francisco one of the best and most impressive urban landscapes in America.
10. Ontario, Toronto, Canada
Nobody does it better than Toronto, the largest city in Canada, when it comes to classic skyline setting. Towers, skycrapers, and sports domes are additional ingredients that make up its wonderful skylines. Aside from that, the seventy-two-story First Canadian Place and the 1,815 ft. CN Tower also add to the distinct look of Toronto’s skyline.
9. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai added the tallest building in the world, the 163-floor Burj Khalifa, as an exclamation point to its already exhilarating skyline. The building is half a mile tall and towers over the largest collection of buildings, which are over 820 ft. tall.
8. Chicago, Illinois
In Chicago, the 108-story Willis Tower tops a pleasant collection of tall structures that haven’t gone overboard like Miami or New York, all set against the deep blue waters of Lake Michigan. Chicago’s skyline has absolutely managed to maintain a humble beauty while remaining to be one of the world’s most impressive.
7. Seattle, Washington
The first thing that would probably catch your eyes when you see a photo of Seattle’s skyline is the Space Needle. However, don’t focus on it and take some notice on the collection of architecturally distinct structures set on next to Puget Sound with Mount Rainier looming in the background.
With skyline that completely illuminates a Ferris wheel, along with the world’s most expensive building (the $5.7 billion Marina Bay Sands), you can’t really ask for more from the Lion City, Singapore.
5. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The architect of Kuala Lumpur’s landmark, the Petronas Twin Towers, transformed the unremarkable collection into one of the most recognizable views on the planet. He did so by making the structures look entirely different. He made them stand out by making them look like rockets. You heard it right, rockets.
4. Shanghai, China
With the LED-studded China Pearl building offsetting the futuristic office towers and the 101-story Shanghai World Financial Center, the skyline of China’s largest city looks a lot like Tomorrowland. The skyline even looks more amazing with having a sunrise as a backdrop.
3. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo built the 2,080 ft. Tokyo Skytree despite being extremely susceptible to earthquakes. The structure is listed as the second-tallest building in the world, and they’ve also constructed some of the most architecturally intriguing structures.
2. Hong Kong, SAR, China
This one-time British territory is one of the most densely populated large cities on the planet on a territory that spans for only 50,000 acres. It also has the world’s largest collection of buildings over 500 ft., and the whole place is situated on Victoria Harbour, at the base of a mountain.
1. Sydney, Australia
With its buildings and clear waters, this is probably the most photogenic skyline in the world. Take a look at how the water reflects the lights from the city like a giant mirror. Their landmark, the Sydney Opera House, contrasts perfectly with the blue waters of Sydney Harbour, along with the numerous skyscrapers behind it. It’s completely mesmerizing and captivating. So those are the most beautiful skylines we have listed and ranked. All of them are equally stunning and beautiful, but since beauty is subjective, you can always choose what is the most beautiful for you.