Skyscrapers as amusement parks

More skyscrapers around the world are offering thrills to visitors:

Photo by Kaique Rocha on

Base Flying is one of an increasing number of urban tourist experiences combining tall buildings and safe-but-still-scary thrills, satiating adventure-seekers like Escalante while earning their operators significant profits. It’s a growing niche in the tall-building industry as skyscrapers continue to rise in ever more parts of the world…

But just giving people a place to view the city is no longer enough. Vettier says Magnicity is putting more of its efforts into operating—and in some cases inventing—thrill-based skyscraper experiences.

In Chicago, it operates Tilt, a platform on the 94th floor of the former John Hancock Center tower that tilts 30 degrees outward from the building, offering its eight occupants the experience of being suspended, face down, 1,030 feet over the streets of Chicago. Vettier says roughly 1.6 million people have experienced Tilt since it was added to the building in 2014, 45 years after its original construction…

New towers rising all around the world are creating more spaces for observation decks, and more opportunities to thrill. In Bangkok, the glass-floored observation deck of the MahaNakhon Tower sits 1,030 feet above the ground. In Dubai, the Sky Views Dubai tower features a glass slide attached to the outside of the building, starting more than 700 feet up. In Shanghai, the Jin Mao Tower features a rail-less exterior walkway around its 88th floor. Skyscraper thrills abound, and more are likely to develop.

A few thoughts that emerge in reading about what skyscrapers can offer:

  1. How far are we from a skyscraper just devoted to thrills? I could imagine it billed as an amusement park right in the middle of a major city.
  2. I would be interested in hearing more about how the extra money from thrills interacts with the more common stream of money for these tall buildings that comes through commercial and residential space. Are the thrill options extra money or are they replacing residential and commercial space?
  3. When exactly did the views from skyscrapers and aerial perspectives become blase? And what is the next perspective that thrills people, at least for a while? An x-ray view? A view that allows for also seeing the underground portion of structures? A view with interesting data and facts overlaid on the image?

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