I've been to more than 10 high-rise viewing platforms around the world, and the SkyBridge in Riyadh is one of the best for price, crowd levels, and the quality of the view

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I've been to more than 10 high-rise viewing platforms around the world, and the SkyBridge in Riyadh is one of the best for price, crowd levels, and the quality of the view

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Getty Images/Bill Bostock/Business Insider

A composite image showing Riyadh's SkyBridge from outside and inside.

  • I visited the SkyBridge viewing platform in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in January.
  • I've been to lots of observation decks, and make a point of it when I go to a new city.
  • SkyBridge was an awesome experience. The views are and stunning, it rarely gets busy, and the $16 ticket price compares well with rivals.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

I visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in January. And as I do every time I get to a new city, I made to the highest point to get my bearings.

In Riyadh this is the SkyBridge, a 65-meter viewing platform atop the Kingdom Tower skyscraper.

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I've been to more than 10 viewing platforms across the world, including London's View from the Shard, New York's Empire State Building, Berlin's TV Tower, the Tokyo Tower, and the Shanghai Tower.

SkyBridge ranks very high on the list. It wasn't busy, nor too expensive, and the view was spectacular.

Here's what it was like.

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This is the Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

This is the Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

It's one of the tallest buildings in Saudi Arabia at 302 meters, and is has the city's highest viewing platform.

It's one of the tallest buildings in Saudi Arabia at 302 meters, and is has the city's highest viewing platform.
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To access it you have to go through the Center Point Mall, which is directly underneath the tower.

To access it you have to go through the Center Point Mall, which is directly underneath the tower.

The entrance is on the second level of the mall.

The entrance is on the second level of the mall.
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I bought a ticket at the desk. It was 60 Saudi riyals ($16) and was cash only.

I bought a ticket at the desk. It was 60 Saudi riyals ($16) and was cash only.

To compare, tickets to get up the Shard start at £25 ($32,) Tokyo Tower costs 2,800 yen ($25,) and Berlin's TV Tower costs €22.50 ($24.)

There are two lifts to take, one to the 77th floor, and then another to the 99th.

There are two lifts to take, one to the 77th floor, and then another to the 99th.
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As you exit the lift you're faced with the SkyBridge, a 65-meter arched walkway with huge windows on either side.

As you exit the lift you're faced with the SkyBridge, a 65-meter arched walkway with huge windows on either side.

Almost everyone I met inside was a tourist from inside Saudi Arabia, as foreign tourists are only slowly trickling in.

Almost everyone I met inside was a tourist from inside Saudi Arabia, as foreign tourists are only slowly trickling in.
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I planned to get there just before sunset, so I could compare both daytime and evening views. The area around Riyadh is extremely flat, so you can see for miles.

I planned to get there just before sunset, so I could compare both daytime and evening views. The area around Riyadh is extremely flat, so you can see for miles.

This was the pre-sunset view out to the north of Riyadh. The sunset over the desert with the city in the foreground was very striking.

This was the pre-sunset view out to the north of Riyadh. The sunset over the desert with the city in the foreground was very striking.
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This is the view south. The triangular building is the al-Faisaliyah Center, which was the tallest building in Riyadh until 2002, when the Kingdom Tower went up.

This is the view south. The triangular building is the al-Faisaliyah Center, which was the tallest building in Riyadh until 2002, when the Kingdom Tower went up.

Riyadh is situated in the midst of a desert, and I could make out the sprawling sand beyond the city limits.

Riyadh is situated in the midst of a desert, and I could make out the sprawling sand beyond the city limits.
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If you have the nerve, as you look out the windows you can lean over, and look directly down.

If you have the nerve, as you look out the windows you can lean over, and look directly down.

As night falls, the lights inside the bridge become more noticeable, creating a very peaceful atmosphere.

As night falls, the lights inside the bridge become more noticeable, creating a very peaceful atmosphere.
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The light inside the SkyBridge also matches the light on the outside of the Kingdom Tower.

The light inside the SkyBridge also matches the light on the outside of the Kingdom Tower.

It was fairly empty even at sunset, which is peak time. Tourism is a very new business in Saudi Arabia, so the attractions that do exist are rarely busy.

It was fairly empty even at sunset, which is peak time. Tourism is a very new business in Saudi Arabia, so the attractions that do exist are rarely busy.
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This is the view north after nightfall. Much of Riyadh is being developed, as I could see from looking straight down.

This is the view north after nightfall. Much of Riyadh is being developed, as I could see from looking straight down.

The SkyBridge is probably Riyadh's most popular attraction. And the Kingdom Tower even features on the cover of a Saudi animation movie, called Masameer, which premiered the week I was there.

The SkyBridge is probably Riyadh's most popular attraction. And the Kingdom Tower even features on the cover of a Saudi animation movie, called Masameer, which premiered the week I was there.
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