The Sun is the ultimate source of space weather and the only star that can be observed at a high spatial resolution. With more than 10 advanced solar observatories on the ground and in space, solar physics is now at its golden age. I will introduce two recent advances in observational investigations of the solar atmosphere. (1) Spicules are rapidly evolving fine-scale jets of magnetized plasma between the chromosphere and corona. It remains unclear how these prevalent jets originate and what role they play in heating of the corona. Based on observations from the Goode Solar Telescope, we have provided strong evidence for spicule generation by magnetic reconnection and subsequent atmospheric heating to ~1 million degrees, revealing a direct link between magnetic activity in the lower atmosphere and coronal heating. (2) The magnetic field plays a dominant role in shaping the corona. However, measurements of the coronal magnetic field are still difficult to obtain. Based on observations from the Coronal Multi-channel Polarimeter, we have measured the global coronal magnetic field for the first time. With this technique, maps of the coronal magnetic field could in principle be routinely obtained.