Topping the ranking is Canton Tower, at 618 meters the world's third-tallest structure, which is home, at 488 meters, to the world's highest publicly-accessible observation deck. The tower not only provides a magnificent view of Guangzhou, but also offers a further attraction to visitors with a particularly good head for heights – the chance to circle the top of tower in glass pods 460 meters above the ground.
The Shanghai World Financial Center ranks at similarly dizzying heights. Its Skywalk 100, a 55-meter long glass bridge 474 meters up the tower, puts it in second place in the ranking. It will have to give up its current spot, though, when its neighbor Shanghai Tower is completed next year. At the spectacular height of 557 meters, Shanghai Tower's observation deck will then far outstrip even the current record-holder.
Also not for the faint-hearted is Willis Tower, the tallest skyscraper in the United States. Originally opened as far back as 1974, more recently installed glass balconies with transparent floors on the west side of the building invite visitors to take an unobstructed look down. Here one can experience the unique feeling of hovering 413 meters above the city.
The battle for the world's highest observation deck is set to remain exciting into the future. Last month saw the start of construction work on Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The megaproject, due to have an overall height of over a kilometer, will put even Burj Khalifa in the shade. With an observation deck planned at a height of around 800 meters, it will bring the desert state not only the title of the world's tallest building, but also that of the world's highest observation deck. It will be a few years yet, however, before one can enjoy the view from the king of towers, with opening planned for 2018.