What to wear to an Observation Deck


Observation decks offer a bird’s-eye view of city skylines, breathtaking landscapes, and monumental landmarks.

Whether you’re a first-timer or a regular visitor, knowing what to wear can elevate your experience.

In this detailed guide, we’ll unpack essential tips, ensuring you’re not just dressed appropriately but also comfortably and stylishly.

Weather Considerations

Some observatories have open-air platforms, while others have closed platforms.

Whichever kind of observation deck you plan to visit, it makes sense to dress up according to the weather.

Sunny Days and Clear Skies

On a clear sunny day, the views are particularly breathtaking.

However, the sun, combined with the altitude, can introduce specific considerations for your attire.

Opt for lightweight t-shirts or blouses made of breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. These materials wick away sweat, keeping you cool and comfortable.

Consider wearing comfortable shorts, capris, or light trousers. Avoid dark colors that can absorb heat; instead, go for lighter shades.

A wide-brimmed hat is a must. It not only provides style but also shields your face from direct sunlight, reducing the risk of sunburn.

Make sure you have a good pair of UV-protective sunglasses. They’ll guard your eyes against the sun’s rays and reduce glare, making the views even clearer.

If it is an open-air observatory, even on sunny days, the higher altitude can bring about cooler breezes.

A lightweight jacket or shawl can be useful if the wind picks up or if you feel chilly. It’s easy to remove and carry if not needed.

Cold days and wintery weather

Visiting an observation deck in winter offers a unique experience – the snowy landscapes or frosted city views can be utterly enchanting.

However, the chilly temperatures and biting winds at higher altitudes necessitate careful outfit choices.

Layering allows you to adjust your clothing as temperatures fluctuate, ensuring optimal


Start with moisture-wicking thermal underwear. This layer helps keep moisture away from your body, ensuring you stay warm and dry.

A fleece or wool sweater adds insulation. These materials are known for their warmth-retaining properties.

Choose a windproof and waterproof jacket. The higher altitude often brings strong winds, and the outer shell will protect against wind chill.

Thermal-lined trousers or jeans offer warmth. For extremely cold conditions, consider wearing thermal leggings underneath.

If you prefer skirts, a long wool skirt paired with thick tights or leggings can be both warm and stylish.

Woolen beanies or fur-lined trapper hats are ideal. They retain heat that escapes from the head and cover your ears, which are susceptible to the cold.

Wear insulated, waterproof boots with a non-slip sole.

Opt for thermal or wool socks. They provide added insulation and wick away moisture.

Dressing for the best snap: If you’re planning to capture that Instagram-worthy shot, consider the backdrop. Opt for colors that contrast against cityscapes or natural backgrounds.

Best shoes for Observation Decks

The right shoes can make or break your observation deck visit. Aim for supportive, non-slip walking shoes or sneakers.

While heels might look chic, they can be cumbersome and potentially risky, especially on decks with grated floors.

Consider fashionable flats or stylish yet sturdy boots instead.

The weather conditions and the deck’s altitude can influence your shoe choice.

During warm weather, go for breathable materials, like canvas or mesh, to keep your feet cool.

During winter, insulated boots or shoes with a warm lining are ideal. Waterproofing is a bonus if there’s a chance of snow or rain.

Dressing for unique deck features

Some viewing decks like Summit One Vanderbilt and Shanghai World Financial Center Observatory have clear or see-through floors, presenting a unique challenge.

Ensure you wear pants or opt for longer skirts to maintain modesty and confidence as you step onto the glass.

Dressing up for a nighttime visit

If your observation deck visit extends into the evening, prepare for temperature dips.

An added jacket or shawl is wise.

Some decks feature upscale eateries or bars – in such cases, leaning towards a

smart-casual ensemble fits right in with the nighttime ambiance.

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