Prudential Tower

No other building serves up finer views than this controversial and prominent landmark.

One of the city’s top attractions, the Prudential Tower is by no means the most elegant building in Boston. Its boxy but bold 1960s design is conspicuous in this city laced with historic architecture, and has been the subject of many debates. There’s no arguing, though, that “The Pru” offers excellent views from the city’s highest public observation point. The Skywalk Observatory on the 50th floor has far-reaching views of greater Boston and beyond.

At the time of completion, The Pru was the tallest building in Boston. Although hard to believe now, it was the tallest building in the world outside of New York City. Today, it’s not even among the tallest fifty buildings in the U.S. In fact, it lost its title as Boston’s highest after a rival insurance company built the John Hancock Tower in the 1970s.

Ride the elevator to the Skywalk Observatory for a 360-degree panorama of the city. A state-of-the-art audio tour brings the views to life. It details Boston’s many historic and cultural attractions. Watch day turn to night as the sun drops and the lights of the city begin to twinkle. The observatory is open daily. Although, be sure to call ahead as it’s occasionally closed for private functions.

For an unforgettable dining experience, ride to the 52nd floor to the Top of the Hub Restaurant and Lounge. Order an expertly made martini at the bar before you are ushered to your window-side table. Closer to earth, explore the many eateries and stores on the lower floors and in the adjoining mall.

The Prudential Building is located in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, and there’s a major subway stop there. Parking can be hard to find, so it’s best to come by subway or bus. The Pru is open daily.