On Top of the World: 9 Penthouses to Die For

Sometimes the best home feature you'll find is a bird's-eye view -- the ability to survey your city from the sky while performing even the most mundane activities such as, say, washing dishes, trawling gossip sites, or reading (a book!) in bed. That's the key concept behind a penthouse.

With wraparound balconies, multiple levels, and open space, penthouses double as glam sanctuaries and perfect party pads.

From Manhattan to Los Angeles, to surprising spots such as Minneapolis and Milwaukee, here are some of the best penthouses currently on the market.

1288 Ala Moana Blvd., Ph 8, Honolulu, HI

Price: $35,888,000

High up in Honolulu: This 5,576-square-foot, two-story penthouse on the 40th floor of the Hokua tower is just north of Waikiki, which means a pu-pu platter and designer-label clothing are both nearby. You can gaze at the ocean from your very own rooftop Jacuzzi and never worry about tracking sand onto the marble and granite floors. A private terrace that runs the length of the living room and a chef's kitchen are sweet perks, but the most sparkling gem in the place is the stunning ocean backdrop.

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1 Huntington Ave., Apt. 1702, Boston, MA

Price: $9.25 million

Back bay bling: Entertaining is easy with the 455-square-foot outdoor terrace attached to this four-bedroom penthouse in the Trinity Place building. The living and dining rooms offer fabulous views of the Charles River. Fashionistas' jaws will drop at the dressing area and massive closet space, and the soaking tub grants a view of Boston few have ever seen.

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222 2nd St. SE, Apt. 1701, Minneapolis, MN

Price: $6.9 million

Midwestern marvel: Private elevator, check. Dog-washing station in the laundry room, you betcha. Seven terraces, sure! This two-story, 11,777-square-foot penthouse in downtown Minneapolis, formerly owned by the late Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher, is only 8 years old. It has walls of windows and an all-white kitchen and master bath (check out that deep soaking tub!) -- on the 17th and 18th floors of Phoenix on the River, boasting Mississippi River views. Bargain hunters, take note: The listing price was $8 million in June.

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1 W. Century Drive 40, Los Angeles, CA

Price: $28.95 million

Cali crown jewel: Designed by Robert A.M. Stern, the 42-story building known as The Century is home to celeb tenants such as Candy Spelling and chef Nobu Matsuhisa. After battling traffic, a penthouse dweller can retire to this four-bedroom, eight-bathroom, 9,318-square-foot condo and be greeted with a curved wall of windows (good chi, all you feng shui fans), two fireplaces, a wide terrace on which to sip cocktails, and an enormous walk-in shower.

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1 Central Park S., Apt. 1809, New York City, NY

Price: $85 million

Cushy Central Park: A half-block from the country's most famous swath of green? Not enough? How about throwing in unobstructed views of said swath -- otherwise known as Central Park -- without getting out of bed? Yes, please! The four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom Dome penthouse is within the storied Plaza Hotel, spans the 18th and 19th floors, and comes with a marble bathroom the size of many New Yorkers' apartments. As the former address of Tommy Hilfiger, this place also sports serious fashion cred.

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1000 1st Ave., Seattle, WA

Price: $9.9 million

Sleeping (well) in Seattle: This 6,758-square-foot pad is a perfect spot for entertaining, thanks to Port of Seattle views, a window seat that can house a cluster of friends, and a cozy ceiling-height fireplace to ward against the city's legendary gloomy weather. Hire a chef to whip up provisions in the kitchen, and you're all set. Need space for all your cars? No worries. Five parking spots come with this five-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom penthouse.

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1451 Brickell Ave., PH 1, Miami, FL

Price: $41.8 million

Mod Miami: Say hello to the Carlos Ott Penthouse, being built within the Echo Brickell tower in downtown Miami. A buyer gets to customize every nook and cranny -- in concert with Ott himself, who designed the Opra de la Bastille in Paris -- within the 10,100-square-foot space. Views of Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean are included, of course.

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601 E. Ogden Ave., Unit 906, Milwaukee, WI

Price: $2.8 million

As Milwaukee's most expensive listing, this brand-new penthouse in the 601 Lofts building is just a few blocks from Lake Michigan, but why walk to the shoreline when you've got a 5,000-square-foot terrace that overlooks it? The 6,500-square-foot, three-bedroom penthouse features a luxurious walk-in closet, a theater room, a bar that can comfortably seat seven, and all the pampering your heart desires thanks to a sauna, whirlpool, and shower with tanning lights (ideal for snowbirds).

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2990 E. 17th Ave., Apt. 2701, Denver, CO

Price: $4.9 million

Mile-high masterpiece: Live even higher up in the clouds! This 27th-floor penthouse in the Pinnacle building offers views of Pikes Peak, the city's skyline, and even Wyoming. The great room with a 20-foot ceiling offers a luxe living and entertaining space; you can also kick the night off in the alfresco dining area, which features a fire pit. We'll bring the marshmallows.