Written by Emily Butcher
With the slew of recent architectural masterpieces cropping up around the world, how does today’s busy traveler narrow down their bucket list?
Invoking the “Wonders of the World,” Travel + Leisure has just released a comprehensive list of the top 60 must-see landmarks in the modern world. The winners include skyscrapers, bridges, museums, arenas and parks -- all constructed within the last 15 years – and readers took the opportunity to voice their favorites in an online poll.
Ranging from the Statue of Liberty, the most often-visited landmark, to the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City, the list does not disappoint in its diversity and scope.
Here, we break down the top five:
1) A breathtaking winner respectfully commemorates an important day in U.S. history – the National September 11 Memorial, built directly over the Twin Towers site, invokes a feeling of peace and serenity amidst the everyday chaos of the Big Apple with 400 white oaks and two illuminated reflecting pools.
2) New York also boasts the second most popular landmark, 8 Spruce Street. Architect Frank Gehry designed the curvy exterior of the Western world’s tallest residential structure, towering an awesome 870 feet or 76 stories, to reflect the sun’s rays as they shift throughout the day.
3) The picturesque National Stadium in Beijing, unveiled for the 2008 Olympics, ranks third on the list. Though the arena is the world’s largest steel structure, designed by Swiss architects de Meuron and Herzog, it maintains a delicate balance which has earned it the nickname the “Bird’s Nest.”
4) Coming in at number four, The Grand Canyon Skywalk is not for the faint of heart: little over 12-inches of glass separate viewers from a 4,000-foot drop to the raging waters of the Colorado River below. For travelers unfazed by the heights, the view promises to be adrenaline-spiking and spectacular.
5) The kid in all of us never really loses a love for Disneyland, yet the Walt Disney Concert Hall in L.A. speaks to visitors’ grown-up tastes with sweeping lines designed by Frank Gehry, and a reputation for one of the world’s top acoustics in the spacious performance area makes for more than just a pretty face.
The top five on the list offer just a tantalizing sample of the range in favorites. If you’re itching to expand your appreciation of landmarks at home and abroad, make sure to check out the entire list. Happy traveling!