After my car accident, I wiped my travel bucket list clean. I’m a new man, given a second chance at life, and free to discover whatever strikes my fancy. But the path of exploration is different now – my power wheelchair has to come along for the ride. In fact, it is my ride! :p
Travel addicts set goals for themselves, and the same is true for wheelchair travelers. My list is long and typical of a lifelong traveler, with visiting every country and all 7 continents at the top. As a fan of architecture, though, I’ve decided to pursue the 25 tallest buildings, and also the 25 tallest towers in the world. In this blog post, I’d like to catalogue my pursuit of the top 25. I’ll be sure to update this post as I see more. Also, I’m only counting a tower as visited if I have been there in my wheelchair!
25 Tallest Buildings in the World
I’ve dropped a list of the 25 tallest buildings in the world. They hail from the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite:
Now, to the list… if they are bolded, that means I have visited. But keep in mind, not every one of these buildings is open to the public, and even fewer contain an observation deck. Some of the buildings, like 23 Marina in Dubai – I have only admired from the outside. If the building’s name is linked, that link will lead you to an article detailing my experience there.
- Burj Khalifa – Dubai, U.A.E.
- Shanghai Tower – Shanghai, China
- Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower – Mecca, Saudi Arabia
- Ping An Finance Center – Shenzhen, China
- Lotte World Tower – Seoul, South Korea
- One World Trade Center – New York City, USA
- CTF Finance Center – Guangzhou, China
- Taipei 101 – Taipei, Taiwan
- Shanghai World Financial Center – Shanghai, China
- International Commerce Centre – Hong Kong
- Petronas Twin Towers (Towers 1 & 2) – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Zifeng Tower – Nanjing, China
- Willis Tower (Sears Tower) – Chicago, USA
- KK100 – Shenzhen, China
- Guangzhou International Finance Center – Guangzhou, China
- Wuhan Center – Wuhan, China
- Marina 101 – Dubai, U.A.E.
- 437 Park Avenue – New York City, USA
- Trump International Hotel and Tower – Chicago, USA
- Jin Mao Tower – Shanghai, China
- Princess Tower – Dubai, U.A.E.
- Al Hamra Tower – Kuwait City, Kuwait
- Two International Finance Center – Hong Kong
- 23 Marina – Dubai, U.A.E.
The world’s coolest buildings aren’t limited to just the 25 tallest. Here are a select few skyscrapers I have also visited that deserve a mention in any architectural tourism post:
- Empire State Building – New York City, USA
- JW Marriott Marquis Dubai (Towers 1 & 2) – Dubai, U.A.E.
- Stratosphere – Las Vegas, USA
- John Hancock Center – Chicago, USA
- Chrysler Building – New York City, USA
- U.S. Bank Tower – Los Angeles, USA
- Baiyoke Tower II – Bangkok, Thailand
I’m more than halfway done with my pursuit of the 25 tallest buildings in the world, but many of the ones I’m missing are in faraway places. I hope to check off more of them soon!
25 Tallest Towers in the World
In addition to tall buildings, the world is filled with towering towers. 😉 Allow me to share a couple photos – here are two of my favorite towers:
Now, to the second list… Towers are interesting, as they are built primarily for the purpose of telecommunications. While many have interior areas that have been converted to observation decks, some are just towers… boring, with nothing to do inside.
- Tokyo Skytree – Tokyo, Japan
- Canton Tower – Guangzhou, China
- CN Tower – Toronto, Canada
- Ostankino Tower – Moscow, Russia
- Oriental Pearl Tower – Shanghai, China
- Milad Tower – Tehran, Iran
- KL Tower – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Tianjin Radio & Television Tower – Tianjin, China
- Central Radio & TV Tower – Beijing, China
- Zhongyuan Tower – Zhengzhou, China
- Kiev TV Tower – Kiev, Ukraine
- Tashkent Tower – Tashkent, Uzbekistan
- Liberation Tower – Kuwait City, Kuwait
- Almaty Tower – Almaty, Kazakhstan
- Riga Radio and TV Tower – Riga, Latvia
- Berlin Fernsehturm – Berlin, Germany
- Stratosphere Tower – Las Vegas, Nevada
- West Pearl Tower – Chengdu, China
- Macau Tower – Macau
- Europaturm – Frankfurt, Germany
- Dragon Tower – Harbin, China
- Tokyo Tower – Tokyo, Japan
- Emley Moor TV Tower – Huddersfield, United Kingdom
- WITI TV Tower – Shorewood, Wisconsin, United States
- Sky Tower – Auckland, New Zealand
Just like buildings, there are some iconic towers outside the 25 tallest. Here are some of my favorites (I’ve visited them all!):
- Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
- Olympiaturm – Munich, Germany
- Olympic Park Observation Tower – Beijing, China
- Rheinturm Düsseldorf – Düsseldorf, Germany
- Žižkov Television Tower – Prague, Czech Republic
- Cairo Tower – Cairo, Egypt
Many towers lack the accessibility of modern skyscrapers. One of my favorite towers, the Berlin Fernsehturm, is off-limits to wheelchair users. It’s accessible, but a German safety law prohibits me from visiting the top due to my mobility impairment. Others, like the Eiffel Tower, are only partially accessible.
I’ve seen only a handful of the top 25 tallest towers, but I’m hoping to see more of them soon – particularly the European ones, as they’ll be much easier to reach.
In 2015, I wrote an article in which I stated that chasing sights and destinations will leave you empty. But here I am, chasing tall structures. What gives, you may ask?
Whenever I travel, I am looking for an experience, not a destination. I’m not visiting these buildings and towers for a picture or a blog post – I’m going to uncover an experience. Most of the time, what I’m looking for is unknown to me. But travel yields surprises.
At the KL Tower in Kuala Lumpur, I had an opportunity to play with a kangaroo. At the Žižkov Television Tower in Prague, I marveled at an interesting art display. At the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, I met a beautiful family from India. And at One World Trade Center, I memorialized a lost friend. My love of travel and desire to explore the heights of architecture are what made each of these experiences (and many more) possible.
Don’t travel for an Instagram photo – travel to open your world.