Have you ever walked around a metropolitan area and just marveled at all of the insanely tall buildings surrounding you? There is something just so magnificent about a skyscraper, the way they seem to defy all laws of gravity and logic as they tower over a city.
Once upon a time, the Empire State Building in New York City was the tallest building in the world. Including the antenna at the very top, the skyscraper stands 1,454 feet tall. But the Empire State Building was knocked out of the top spot in 1972 when the construction of the original World Trade Center twin towers was completed. Sadly, those towers collapsed on September 11, 2001—but in the last four decades, there have been so many mega-tall buildings that have popped up all over the globe that the Empire State Building no longer even makes the list of the tallest 50 buildings in the world!
So, what is the tallest building in the world? And what skyscrapers are on the list of the 25 tallest buildings around the globe? To answer those questions for you, we took a deep dive into the world of these super-tall buildings according to The Skyscraper Center, a database compiled by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. File these away in the back of your mind for the next trivia night!
What’s the tallest building in the world?
Since its completion in 2010, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has held the title of the tallest building in the world. Clocking in at 2,717 feet, this skyscraper is over half a mile high and overlooks downtown Dubai. That’s pretty tall!
Is the tallest building in the world a residential or commercial skyscraper?
Burj Khalifa was constructed as a mixed-use building, blending residential, commercial and hospitality spaces. In addition to 900 luxury residences—ranging from studios to four-bedroom apartments—the skyscraper also has retail stores, restaurants, office space and breathtaking observation decks overlooking downtown Dubai and the Arabian Gulf.
The iconic building is also the home of the Armani Hotel Dubai, designed by iconic fashion designer Giorgio Armani.
How long did it take to build the Burj Khalifa?
Construction on the world’s tallest skyscraper began in 2004 by the same architectural firm that designed Chicago’s famed Sears Tower, itself once the world’s tallest building. It took five years to complete the structure, and the Burj Khalifa officially opened in 2010.
How many stories does the Burj Khalifa have?
The impressive building has a whopping 160 stories, making it the tallest building in the world.
What other records does the Burj Khalifa hold?
In addition to being the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa holds several other world records. It is the tallest free-standing building in the world, is the building with the highest number of stories in the world, has the highest occupied floor in the world, has the highest outdoor observation deck in the world, has the elevator with the longest travel distance in the world and the tallest elevator service in the world.
What are the top 25 tallest buildings in the world?
According to SkyScraperCenter.com, the following is a list of the 25 tallest buildings in the world.
25. Guangzhou International Finance Center, Guangzhou, China
The unique triangular shape of Guangzhou’s landmark International Finance Center is three curved facades that reach up to 1,493 feet. At the highest point of the 101-floor building is a helicopter landing pad above a breathtaking atrium.
24. KK100, Shenzen, China
Measuring 1,449 feet high, office space, the luxurious St. Regis hotel, sky top gardens, and several restaurants fill the 98 floors of the KK100 tower in Shenzen’s financial district.
23. Willis Tower, Chicago, Illinois
Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower held the title of the tallest building in the world for almost 25 years, setting the bar for super-tall skyscrapers across the globe. At 1,451 feet tall, the footprint of the first 50 floors of this 108-story office building takes up an entire Chicago city block!
22. Wuhan Center Tower, Wuhan, China
Inspired by a sailing vessel, the Wuhan Center Tower soars 1,454 feet above Mengze Lake and blends together retail stores, office space, residential apartments and a hotel in its 88 stories. It’s worth noting that once the Wuhan Green
20. Zifeng Tower, Nanjing, China
Zifeng Tower in Nanjing is an 89-story skyscraper that is home to retail and office space, a hotel, several restaurants and a public observatory.
20. Suzhou IFS (International Financial Square), Suzhou, China
Equal in height to Zifeng Tower, Suzhou IFS (International Financial Square) is a skyscraper standing 1,476 feet high overlooking Jinji Lake, the 95 mixed-use floors of the Suzhou IFS tower include offices, high-end residences and a luxury hotel.
Related: Skyscrapers to Visit With Your Kids
18 & 18. Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
At 1,483 feet high, the identical Petronas buildings are the tallest twin towers in the world. An iconic Malaysian landmark, the 88-story twin skyscrapers are connected by the Skybridge on the 41st and 42nd floors, the world’s highest two-level skywalk.
17. Changsha IFS (International Finance Square) Tower 1, Changsha, China
The taller of the twin buildings at Changsha's International Finance Square, Tower 1 rises 1,483 feet high, with the luxurious Niccolo Changsha hotel taking over the sky-high views of the skyscraper’s top floors. The rest of the tower’s 94 stories are home to corporate offices and luxury residences, and high-end retail stores.
16. The Exchange 106, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Reaching 1,488 feet high, the 98 floors of The Exchange are topped by an 11-story high crown, making the über-tall skyscraper a total of 109 stories tall.
15. Vincom Landmark 81, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Nestled on the western banks of the Saigon River, Landmark 81 rises 1,513 feet over the city, just north of Ho Chi Minh’s historic center and at the heart of the urban area called Vinhomes Central Park. Landmark 81 combines luxury residences, a hotel and conference facilities, high-end retail stores, restaurants, bars, a clubhouse and an observation deck in its 81 stories.
14. Lakhta Center, St. Petersburg, Russia
At 1,516 feet tall, the Lakhta Center is not only the tallest building in Russia, but the tallest skyscraper in Europe, the second-tallest twisted building in the world and the northernmost skyscraper across the globe.
13. Central Park Tower, New York, New York
Located one block south of Central Park in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood known as Billionaires’ Row, Central Park Tower is the tallest residential skyscraper in the world. At 1,550 feet high, it is also the second-tallest building in New York City—and houses Manhattan’s flagship Nordstrom department store in its seven base levels.
12. International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong, China
The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong and office space take up the 108 floors of the International Commerce Centre, the city’s tallest building. Reaching a height of 1,588 feet tall, The ICC faces Hong Kong’s second-tallest skyscraper, the 2 International Finance Centre, across Victoria Harbour.
11. Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai, China
The world’s highest hotel—the Park Hyatt Shanghai—takes up 15 of the uppermost floors of the Shanghai World Financial Center (pictured in the middle of the image). At 1,614 feet tall, this skyscraper also includes offices, retail and dining spaces, and conference facilities, with a visitor’s square and observation deck occupying the top seven floors.
Related: The Best Road Trip Snacks
10. TAIPEI 101, Taipei, Taiwan
Before the completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, TAIPEI 101 was the world’s tallest skyscraper, measuring 1,667 feet tall. But while the iconic Taipei office building is no longer the world’s tallest building, it is designated as the world’s tallest and largest green building.
9. CITIC Tower, Beijing, China
The flagship building of Beijing’s business district, the CITIC Tower measures 1,731 feet tall, making it the tallest in the city. Nicknamed China Zun, the skyscraper’s curving form was inspired by the “zun,” a wine vessel used in ancient Chinese ceremonies.
7. Tianjin CTF Finance Centre, Tianjin, China
The third tallest skyscraper in China, the Tianjin CTF Finance Centre clocks in at 1,739 feet tall, providing office space, luxury residences, and a hotel to the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area.
7. Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, Guangzhou, China
Located in Guangzhou’s central business district, the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is actually the same height as the Tianjin CTF Finance Centre—1,739 feet tall. Also called the East Tower, the skyscraper’s 111 floors house a shopping mall, office space, apartments and a hotel.
6. One World Trade Center, New York, New York
The main building at the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, One World Trade Center stands tall and proud at 1,776 feet. Also known as the Freedom Tower, the skyscraper offers 94 stories of office space at the site of one of America’s most devastating terror attacks.
5. Lotte World Tower, Seoul, South Korea
Rising 1,819 feet over Seoul’s mountainous backdrop, the Lotte World Tower mixes residential, office, retail, and hotel space on its 123 floors. Its top ten levels are primarily entertainment venues, including a rooftop café with sweeping views of the city below.
4. Ping An Finance Center, Shenzen, China
At 1,965 feet, this skyscraper can be seen from some places in Hong Kong, over 30 miles away! Located in the city’s Futian District, this office tower is owned by the Ping An Insurance Group, which takes up much of the building’s 115 floors.
3. Makkah Royal Clock Tower, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Located in the heart of the holiest and most historic Islamic city, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower is part of the Abraj Al-Bait complex, seven government-owned skyscrapers adjacent to Mecca’s Grand Mosque. Standing at 1,972 feet, the clock tower is the tallest of the bunch, with its 120 floors housing residential apartments, the five-star Fairmont hotel and a shopping mall.
2. Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China
A mix of hotels and office space that make up its 128 floors, the unique appearance of the Shanghai Tower twists and turns as it rises 2,073 feet over the Shanghai skyline.
1. Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Since its completion in 2009, Burj Khalifa has held the top spot as the tallest building and the tallest self-supported structure in the world, standing 2,717 feet tall.
Next, before you plan your next vacation to visit one of these skyscrapers, find out how much it costs to get a passport.