12 Terrifying Attractions With Spectacular Views

Face your fear of heights! Visit these glass structures and glass-bottom attractions — including the Grand Canyon Skywalk, Tokyo’s SkyTree and the Ledge in Chicago — that provide jaw-dropping views with a euphoric adrenaline rush.

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Meadow Brook Hall (Rochester Hills, MI)

Meadow Brook Hall (Rochester Hills, MI)

Explore the fourth-largest historic home in the United States. Spanning 110 rooms, the 88,000 square-foot mansion was built in a Tudor Revival style, between 1926 and 1929, by the widow of auto pioneer John Francis Dodge. The mansion and surrounding 1,400-acre grounds were donated to Michigan State University in 1957. 960 1280

Meadow Brook Hall  

Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)

Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)

This Mediterranean Revival-style mansion was designed for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst by Julia Morgan, the first woman architect licensed in California. Morgan’s vision, shaped over the course of a 28-year collaboration with Hearst, features 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens and so much more -- including the world’s largest private zoo. 960 1280

Alex Proimos, flickr  

Flagler Museum (Palm Beach, FL)

Flagler Museum (Palm Beach, FL)

Once hailed by a New York newspaper as "more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world," this 55-room mansion, built by oil tycoon Henry Flagler in 1901, later came close to demolition -- until one of Flagler’s granddaughters saved it in 1959. You’ll need a good 2 hours to tour the property -- must-see stops include the Louis XV-style Grand Ballroom and the atrium garden. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Hillwood Estate (Washington, DC)

Hillwood Estate (Washington, DC)

Post Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post had 3 estates, including Mar-a-Lago on Palm Beach Island. Donald Trump now owns that one, but the real star of Post’s collection is Hillwood Estate. Post loved this urban oasis in the heart of DC more than any of her other estates -- her ashes are interred in the estate’s Rose Garden. The biggest draw is the estate’s decorative arts collection, from Faberge eggs to 18th and 19th-century French art. 960 1280

Jennifer Boyer, flickr  

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron, OH)

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron, OH)

This swanky country estate ranks as the 12th largest house in the United States. The Tudor Revival-style home, which originally spanned 3,000 acres (it’s now on 70 acres), was built between 1912 and 1915 by the founder of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Above the manor’s front door is a stone inscription: “Non nobis solum,” meaning, “Not for us alone.” In keeping with that motto, the estate is open seasonally to the public. 960 1280

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens  

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI)

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI)

This 87-acre estate, just northeast of Detroit, was the home of Edsel Ford (Henry’s son) and his wife, Eleanor. Before her death in 1976, Eleanor stated that the property be used for the “benefit of the public.” Today, visitors can tour the 20,000-square-foot home to see the intimate family photos that take you back to 1927, when the home was built, and beyond, to the home’s heyday in the 1940s. On the grounds, be sure to check out Josephine Ford’s child-sized playhouse, built by her grandmother in 1930. 960 1280

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House  

Oheka Castle (Huntington, NY)

Oheka Castle (Huntington, NY)

Head to Long Island’s Gold Coast for a tour of this sprawling estate -- the second-largest private home in the US. The estate comprises 127 rooms and over 109,000 square feet. Oheka was built between 1914 and 1919 to serve as the country home of investment banker Otto Hermann Kahn (the name Oheka is an acronym for his name). Oheka also served as partial inspiration for Gatsby’s estate in Fitzgerald’s novel. 960 1280

Michael Fucci  

Moody Mansion (Galveston, TX)

Moody Mansion (Galveston, TX)

Step into turn-of-the-century splendor at this sprawling 28,000-square-foot, 4-story mansion. Completed in 1895, the estate was the home of American financier William Lewis Moody Jr. – once proclaimed by TIME magazine to be one of the 10 wealthiest men in America. Now a museum, the estate offers tours of 20 rooms. Among the beautiful touches is a gold leaf ceiling in the dining room. 960 1280

JR Gordon, flickr  

Virginia Robinson Estate (Beverly Hills)

Virginia Robinson Estate (Beverly Hills)

Beverly Hills is home to plenty of jaw-dropping homes, but only one is open to public tours. This 6-acre estate, once home to Harry and Virginia Robinson (of Robinson’s department store), was built in 1911. The estate’s architectural highlight is its playhouse/pool pavilion, which was added in 1924. Its memorable features include a reflecting swimming pool, as well as Tuscan columns and arches with sgraffiti, an Italian style of wall décor similar to fresco. 960 1280

Virginia Robinson Estate  

Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee)

Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee)

This Flemish Renaissance Revival-style beaut was home to German-American beer baron Frederick Pabst between 1892 and 1908. The property was later purchased by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and for the next 67 years, it served as home to 5 archbishops. Centrally located in downtown Milwaukee, the estate is open year-round to the public, offering visitors a chance to behold the estate’s signature feature: intricate woodwork. 960 1280

Pabst Mansion   

Glensheen (Duluth, MN)

Glensheen (Duluth, MN)

This 7.6-acre estate was built between 1905 and 1908 by lawyer and businessman Chester Adgate Congdon. The lakefront property features 38 rooms, and an exterior inspired by neoclassical French and English touches. Throughout the house are fine works of art by American and European masters of the day. But the mansion also has a dark side: In 1977, Congdon’s daughter and her nurse were murdered here. While tour guides at the mansion were once prohibited from speaking about the murders, today they’ll speak briefly about it ... upon request. 960 1280

Richard Ruan, flickr  

Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Dutchess County, NY)

Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Dutchess County, NY)

This gorgeous home in the tranquil hamlet of Staatsburg, NY, is regarded by architecture scholars as one of the finest examples of an estate built during America’s Gilded Age. Tour the grounds and see a massive portico, balustrades, floral swags and pilasters that all add up to one big impression: The owners sure had it good here. 960 1280

Rolf Müller, Wikimedia Commons   

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, NC)

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, NC)

In the mountains of Asheville, NC, this luxurious Châteauesque-styled mansion awaits. Built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895, Biltmore is the largest privately owned house in America – it spans an astonishing 178,926 square feet and 250 rooms. You’ll be fascinated to see how the era’s wealthy lived: Tour highlights include an indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, 2-story library and early 20th-century exercise equipment. 960 1280

Michael, flickr  

The Descendants -- Hawaii
Though Hawaii often serves as a beautiful background in movies, The Descendants offers us an insider’s view of the “real” Hawaii -- a paradise, yes, but also one that still has domestic dramas and real estate wars just like mainland US. But we still have plenty of reason to dream about the state’s warm blue waters and pristine beaches.
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Monica and Michael Sweet  

Midnight in Paris -- Paris
In Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, the City of Lights gets even more bewitching when the clock strikes midnight. For lucky Gil Bender, this is the magic hour when he can walk into 1920s Paris to muse with the day’s most famous writers and artists over aperitifs and jazz. But Paris will always be magical to us, no matter the era.
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TongRo Image Stock  

War Horse -- England
Steven Spielberg's War Horse is a World War I drama about a young man and his horse, with rural England as the stunning backdrop. Spielberg says the film's location, Dartmoor, is the third character: “There's no place like it in the world."
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Jupiterimages  

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -- Stockholm
With the success of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Stockholm has seen a rise in tourism. Droves of fans have been heading to Sweden’s capital to search out the locations used in Stieg Larsson’s dark crime thrillers, even if some places don’t exist at all.
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Andrej Kropotov  

Drive -- LA
“There are 100,000 streets in this city …” says Ryan Gosling’s getaway-car driver character about LA in Drive. And he shows us many that most tourists won’t see, inspiring us to take our own detour of LA, preferably in an equally cool ride.
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Pirates of the Caribbean -- Caribbean
Lest we were about to tire of the Pirates franchise, this past year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, made up for it with stunning shots of the Caribbean: all remote, wild and magical.
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Creatas Images  

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan -- Shanghai
In the film Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, we see contrasting scenes of both 19th-century and present-day Shanghai. With beautiful scenes of both periods, we’re equally inspired to see the temples and Chinese gardens of old Shanghai, as well as the designer hotels and metropolis cityscapes of the modern city.
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Cathryn Gallacher  

The Rum Diary-- Puerto Rico
The Rum Diary, staring Johnny Depp, shows Puerto Rico in 1960, with postcard-perfect scenes of colorful colonial buildings, pristine beaches and ever-flowing bottles of rum. What’s not travel-inspiring about that?
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David Madison  

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 -- Theme Park and England
What do Harry Potter fanatics do after all the movies are over? Hop on a broomstick, naturally, and fly to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort. Or visit locations such as the Alnwick Castle in England, a backdrop in the first 2 movies.
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Soul Surfer -- Hawaii
Soul Surfer is more than just another surf-and-travel movie; it’s not just about searching for the perfect wave. It tells the inspiring tale of 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. Whether or a not you surf, you’ll feel drawn to the waves and the film’s location in Kauai, HI.
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Goodshoot  

Hangover 2 -- Bangkok
Debauchery at its finest, Hangover 2 may not be on our list for its cinematic merits, but we know there’s a lot more to Bangkok than shady hotels and raucous nightlife. So this movie showed us what not to do when visiting.
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Medioimages/Photodisc  

Montreal is the second-largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. 960 1280

  

While French is the official language, over half of the population reports being able to speak both French and English, as seen on this exit sign. 960 1280

  

This striking sign is on the wall of an excellent pub: The Black Isle, in the Latin Quarter. 960 1280

Philippe Du Berger/flickr  

You get "3 minutes max" to idle in the well-to-do town of Westmount in Montreal. 960 1280

jbcurio/flickr  

Casa del popolo, a hip cafe, also sells offbeat art. 960 1280

Jonathan Chan/flickr  

Montreal's seasons are prone to drastic temperature changes. This sign warns of falling ice during the winter months. 960 1280

w00kie/flickr  

This environmentally-friendly sign leaves little to interpretation: "Pick up your papers and droppings." 960 1280

spcbrass/flickr  

In case you were wondering, Montreal is to the left. Feel free to bike or rollerblade there. 960 1280

  

A sign beside the foot bridge going over a frozen canal indicates "no cars, no motorcycles." 960 1280

Claire Desjardins  

You can squint and tilt your head to the left, but you probably still wouldn't guess that this sign represents, a double fire hydrant. 960 1280

bastique/flickr  

Each metro station in Montreal is unique and filled with public artwork by some of the biggest names in Quebec. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

This is a restaurant sign inside the Montreal Forum, called "the most storied building in hockey history" and arguably the most famous sporting venue. 960 1280

jbcurio/flickr  

People visiting Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal Basilica are greeted with this manicured lawn sign. 960 1280

  

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