The tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi River towers 73 stories over downtown Los Angeles. And the only thing better than the view from the top is the view from the glass slide on the side.

Thrill-seekers can step out of the 70th floor onto the Skyslide, suspended 1,000 feet above West Fifth Street. It stretches 45 feet to the floor below, though at that height, it surely seems much longer than that. Then riders step out of the enclosed slide onto the OUE Skyspace, the highest open-air observation deck in California.

It isn’t enough these days to have just another observation deck. It must be a destination. From rooftop rollercoasters to glass-bottomed walkways over the Grand Canyon, architects and engineers are dreaming up increasingly exciting ways to take in the view. These are just some of the stomach-churning attractions that push the bounds of engineering—and your ability to not freak out.

Tilt at Chicago’s John Hancock Building

The 360 Chicago Observation Deck atop the John Hancock Building features eight windows that let those with strong stomachs peer over the city at “an adventurous angle.” The glass-and-steel platform, designed by the New York firm Thornton Tomasetti, slowly tilts forward. Just hold onto the handlebars, look at the Miracle Mile 1,000 feet below, and try not to get vertigo.

360 Chicago

The 360 Chicago Observation Deck atop the John Hancock Building features eight windows that let those with strong stomachs peer over the city at “an adventurous angle.” The glass-and-steel platform, designed by the New York firm Thornton Tomasetti, slowly tilts forward. Just hold onto the handlebars, look at the Miracle Mile 1,000 feet below, and try not to get vertigo.

Ledge at Willis Tower’s Skydeck Chicago

After checking out the Tilt, head over to Willis Tower and step into Skydeck. The glass box, designed by the London firm Halcrow Group, offer a dizzying view from the 103rd floor. The glass panels extend 4.3 feet from the building, and offer plenty of room to stand, kneel, and even lie down. They’re 3.5 inches thick and weigh 1,500 pounds apiece—plenty strong enough to take the weight, even if your brain is screaming, “There’s no way!”

Skydeck Chicago

After checking out the Tilt, head over to Willis Tower and step into Skydeck. The glass box, designed by the London firm Halcrow Group, offer a dizzying view from the 103rd floor. The glass panels extend 4.3 feet from the building, and offer plenty of room to stand, kneel, and even lie down. They’re 3.5 inches thick and weigh 1,500 pounds apiece—plenty strong enough to take the weight, even if your brain is screaming, “There’s no way!”

CN Tower Edge Walk

What do you do when you’ve already installed a glass floor and a “Sky Pod” where people can lean out over the city? You eliminate the walls entirely. That’s exactly what CN Tower in Toronto did with the EdgeWalk, a hands-free 30-minute stroll around a 5-foot-wide steel ledge 116 stories up. Six visitors make the trip at a time, secured by harnesses attached to an overhead rail. These folks look like they’re ready to jump, but skydiving isn’t part of the experience. But the way CN Tower is going, that may well be next.

Roberto Machado Noa/Getty Images

What do you do when you’ve already installed a glass floor and a “Sky Pod” where people can lean out over the city? You eliminate the walls entirely. That’s exactly what CN Tower in Toronto did with the EdgeWalk, a hands-free 30-minute stroll around a 5-foot-wide steel ledge 116 stories up. Six visitors make the trip at a time, secured by harnesses attached to an overhead rail. These folks look like they’re ready to jump, but skydiving isn’t part of the experience. But the way CN Tower is going, that may well be next.

The Edge at Eureka Tower Skydeck 88

The elevator that carries you to the Skydeck at Eureka Tower rockets to the 88th floor in just 38 seconds, making it the fastest elevator in the southern hemisphere. Then the fun really starts. A glass cube called The Edge slowly extends 4 feet from the side of the building, its reinforced 1.75-inch panels transitioning from opaque to clear to a soundtrack of creaking steel and breaking glass. It’s advertised as “a great place to face your fear of heights or drop to one knee and propose.” Heck, why not do both at once?

Kit Haselden Photography

The elevator that carries you to the Skydeck at Eureka Tower rockets to the 88th floor in just 38 seconds, making it the fastest elevator in the southern hemisphere. Then the fun really starts. A glass cube called The Edge slowly extends 4 feet from the side of the building, its reinforced 1.75-inch panels transitioning from opaque to clear to a soundtrack of creaking steel and breaking glass. It’s advertised as “a great place to face your fear of heights or drop to one knee and propose.” Heck, why not do both at once?

Grand Canyon Skywalk

The Grand Canyon is no slouch when it comes to offering amazing views, but there’s always room for improvement. In this case, a glass and steel observation platform that lets you peer 4,000 feet straight down. Two large box beams comprised of 21 welded pieces create a 70-foot horseshoe that juts from Eagle Point. The glass panels above are almost 3 inches thick, and the entire structure weighs more than 1 million pounds. If the engineering doesn’t impress you, the view surely will.

5 Star Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours

The Grand Canyon is no slouch when it comes to offering amazing views, but there’s always room for improvement. In this case, a glass and steel observation platform that lets you peer 4,000 feet straight down. Two large box beams comprised of 21 welded pieces create a 70-foot horseshoe that juts from Eagle Point. The glass panels above are almost 3 inches thick, and the entire structure weighs more than 1 million pounds. If the engineering doesn’t impress you, the view surely will.

Skyslide at OUE Skyspace

The coolest thing about the Skyslide is the glass used to make it. The 1.25-inch panels a composite of chemically tempered twisted glass from Italy and flat tempered glass from China, a combination that offers the strength of steel alloy. Ball joints between panels ensure flexibility. “The technology for this kind of thing didn’t exist 10 years ago,” said Michael Ludvik, who led the engineering behind Skyslide. “It’s enabling bold developers to all kinds of new things try new things.” And enabling people to find new ways of scaring themselves silly.

OUE Skyspace LA

The coolest thing about the Skyslide is the glass used to make it. The 1.25-inch panels a composite of chemically tempered twisted glass from Italy and flat tempered glass from China, a combination that offers the strength of steel alloy. Ball joints between panels ensure flexibility. “The technology for this kind of thing didn’t exist 10 years ago,” said Michael Ludvik, who led the engineering behind Skyslide. “It’s enabling bold developers to all kinds of new things try new things.” And enabling people to find new ways of scaring themselves silly.

Original source: 

LA’s New Skyslide Is in Good, Heart-Attack-Inducing Company