Many travelers enjoy great views from high vantage points such as a hill nearby a city (e.g. Mount Monserrate in Bogota, Colombia), or the (less popular than the Space Needle, but taller) Columbia Center in Seattle. How can these places be found?

For geographical features such as hills or mountains near a city, a topographical map could be consulted, yet there's no guarantee that points at high altitude are accessible at all, thus making the process painful. For tall buildings, top attractions on TripAdvisor, LonelyPlanet or the like can be helpful, yet one still needs to manually figure out if the attraction is likely to have a high vantage point.

What are some better ways of figuring out places from which a traveler can take in sweeping views of an entire city? Observation decks, restaurants, cafes, anything that's perched high up.

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  • 1
    Nice idea. Would be a nifty travel app (or part thereof).
    – OJFord
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 1:57
  • Whoever voted to close, please explain your reasoning, or else may you experience vertigo in any building you'll ever set foot on. Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 3:21

1 Answer 1


First, do a search for "view of [cityname]" and look for blogs or articles in the links. Read those and see if the person says "we ate dinner at X and had this great view of [cityname]" or "after climbing all those steps, our reward was this great view of [cityname]" in the text.

Second, consult the usual guidebooks, tourist sites on the web etc as part of planning your trip anyway, with an eye out for "scenic lookout" or "great view" in the descriptions. You can try searching online for similar phrases but are likely to drown in results.

Third, do an image search for the city, but also for the beach, mountain, river or what not, to find images like the one in your question. Armed with a top map, try to figure out where the picture was taken from. Some pictures are taken from planes, so you can't recreate them, but if dozens of similar shots are on tumblr, flickr, and whatnot chances are it's easy to get up high and take that picture or just plain see that view for yourself.

Fourth, come here and ask for your specific city. Include the background - you want a view over the river or the length of the beach, or you've seen [this picture] and want to see that view for real - and you may get tips for achieving it. But don't start here, do some research first.

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