North America is full of beautiful landscapes and stunning city skylines. Often the best way to take in these sights is by getting high above for bird’s eye views. While this is by no means a definitive list of the best views on the continent, here are four of our favourites (because multiples-of-five lists get old).
The Grand Canyon
Cutting over 1800 metres deep into the surrounding Arizona mesas, the Grand Canyon is a sight to behold. Floating along the Colorado River, which runs through and created the canyon, is an incredible experience in itself, but seeing the Grand Canyon from above is ideal. Walk your eyes down through the different stone layers, from the Kaibab Limestone of the rim through shales, gypsum, sandstones, and more limestones, all the way down to the Vishnu Schist bedrock. Each layer represents unfathomable time in the history of the formation of this geological wonder. Take in the view from a helicopter, the Skywalk that juts over the edge, or by simply walking along the rim.
The tallest structure in North America (and tallest in the world until 2010) rises high above the streets of Toronto. Take in the view while dining at the revolving 360 restaurant, 351 metres above the city. Edge Walk, a new attraction for thrill seekers, involves walking around a platform on the roof of the restaurant, which has no railing. Visitors are tethered to an overhead cable, allowing them to lean out and get one of the best fully unobstructed bird’s eye views imaginable.
The Bellagio Hotel Fountains
Rumour has it that a young author once snuck onto the roof of the Flamingo Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. His goal was unclear, but the result was an astounding view of the fountains of the Bellagio Hotel. Every 15 minutes in the evening, the fountains erupt into an incredible light and water show choreographed to various music, including “Viva Las Vegas” and “Luck Be a Lady.” The bird’s eye view can be obtained easily from many more conventional vantage points, including a strip-side room in the Bellagio or one of the nearby hotels.
Banff National Park
No mountain vista is quite like the top of Sulphur Mountain, accessed by the Banff Gondola or a rugged mountain climb. Alberta’s Banff National Park offers some of the most beautiful alpine scenery in the world, with views of six mountain ranges and incredible features like the brilliant turquoise shade of Lake Louise. Jagged granite ridges soar to snow-capped peaks, surrounded by a hint of clouds—not enough to obstruct the view, just enough to give the mountains an even more serious and majestic air. If you are lucky, you just might be there for the Northern Lights.
What would you add to the list? Leave a comment to tell us about your favorite bird’s eye views!
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