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The High Roller at night, Las Vegas
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The most spectacular views in the US, according to TripAdvisor

Book a trip just for a photo-op.

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

If spectacular, Instagrammable views play a major role in choosing your vacation destination, we have some handy data for you. Financial services provider Remitly analyzed 1.4 million TripAdvisor reviews to come up with this list of the five best viewpoints in the US.

So what’s the number one best viewpoint — not just for the US but for the world? A few hints: it involves a building that was in a long-running Tina Fey show, and at certain times of year it has a skating rink at its base. Yes, you undoubtedly guessed correctly, it’s the Top of the Rock, which sits atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Rockefeller Center. This destination in the heart of Manhattan provides 360 degrees of one of the most beloved skylines in the world—you can see the Empire State building, Central Park and even the Statue of Liberty from its heights. The Top of the Rock was mentioned on TripAdvisor 42,555 times in association with the word ‘view.’

Second place honors go to the 'High Roller' Las Vegas Strip Observation Wheel which takes riders 550 feet into the air above the glittering lights of the Strip. You ride in an enclosed, air-conditioned cabin that holds 40 guests for this half hour ride on the largest observation wheel in North America (we Google so you don’t have to: a Ferris wheel only holds two people per car, so this is why this is an ‘observation wheel’). The High Roller was mentioned 15,535 times in association with the word ‘view,’ a significant bump down from the Top of the Rock’s rave numbers.

The third destination with the best viewpoint is the Golden Gate Bridge, with 14,462 mentions with ‘view.’ This San Francisco icon draws more than 10 million guests annually to walk, drive or bike over its beautiful expanse of the blue waters of San Francisco Bay. Its 746 foot towers with the elegantly sweeping cables, all painted ‘International Orange,’ provide a memorable photo, whether on a sunny day or when banked in fog.

Fourth is the Seattle Center and Observation Deck, more commonly called the Space Needle. Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the tower which looks like a residential dorm on Jupiter has a 605 foot spire. Test your heart rate with the world’s first and only revolving glass floor, and sit in the tilting glass benches that lean out over the city of Seattle. It’s dangerously fun so long as you trust the glass...and why wouldn’t you? This destination appeared in 12,745 view mentions.

In fifth place, you’ll find Los Angeles’s Griffith Observatory with 10,157 mentions. The multi-domed building is a beauty in and of itself, plus you get views of Los Angeles below you and the famous Hollywood sign above you. It’s set in the picturesque Griffith Park, the nation’s largest urban wilderness municipal park.

Here are the top ten: 

1. Top of the Rock, New York, NY 

2. High Roller, Las Vegas, NV 

3. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA 

4. Space Needle, Seattle, WA 

5. Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, CA 

6. Skydeck Chicago, Chicago, IL

7. Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

8. Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ

9. Sandia Park Tramway, Albuquerque, NM

10. Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, CA

For extra fun, three of the US views registered in the top 10 for worldwide destinations: The Top of the Rock at #1 (heavy clapping—in second place is the London Eye which had a paltry 34,975 compared to the Rock’s 42,552 mentions), the High Roller at #8 and Hawaii’s Diamond Head State Monument at #9. No other country had three mentions, so we are either super great or just really active on TripAdvisor. It also helps our case that the data crunching involved looking for the specific word ‘view’ in English.

So how was it all calculated? In May, Remitly looked at every country in the world, each US state and 253 cities worldwide to analyze TripAdvisor’s listings of ‘things to do’ in each place. If the word ‘view’ was used negatively, that result was disqualified. If you want to read the full report, click here

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