Riding the Big Wheel

Las Vegas ferris Wheel

Finally took the leap and jumped on the World’s Tallest Observation wheel (at least for now).  Also known as “The High Roller at Linq” as well as The “Don’t Call it a Ferris wheel”  Ferris Wheel.

With the help of a 50% locals discount and a free ticket, I grabbed Miss Debbie and headed down to the Linq just before sunset.  This place is getting better by the week, I swear.  The crowds, the people and the vibe is of Vegas long ago…

They have public parking in a big lot out back.  Park in the Flamingo parking garage or do the locals thing and valet right under the wheel.  It was 105 outside…I chose valet.  Of course there was no line at the ticket booth so we were able to get an immediate “reservation”.

The Disney-esque feel to the wandering indoor line of chain feeds you through several rooms with video walls telling you of the adventure awaiting (apparently they are expecting some large crowds to come).  Plus one last chance to grab a drink at the bar and use of the bathroom before you enter the final line to enter the pod.  Got all that?  Apparently we hit it right because we were it.  We had the line, the queue and the pod to ourselves.  Not that I ever saw a line waiting for the Wheel… but they are ready for that eventual crowd.

Vegas Ferris Wheel

Call me strange, but I have always loved the view of the Vegas strip against the Spring Mountains as the sun sets.  The bright shadows are wonderful to witness.  And if nothing else, the High Roller gives you a pretty cool view of the Wynn golf course, the mountains and that choo-choo to nowhere, the monorail…

It takes 32 minutes for the Observation Wheel to make a complete circle.  Its an amazing feat of engineering to marvel at while you are watching it work as you go around.  The techno-geek side of me was having a ball watching it all work as we went around… Your pod stays pretty level as you go up and over the top of the wheel.  No fears or anything from the all glass cube. You do get to see the tops of the Quad, the Flamingo and their pools as well as the other ghetto trash Caesars is trying to eliminate behind their properties.  The Imperial Palace/Quad looks like a ghost town ready for implosion as they gut most of the rooms in a much needed remodel.

Like the stratosphere, they have a never-ending talking man trapped in a monitor telling you all about the wheel, how far up you are and what you can do in Linq after the ride ends… Some pretty useful stuff, some nerdy trivia and plenty of company propaganda.  But after a while, you really want it to end…

Vegas Big Wheel

So now that I did it, would I make it a “must Do” for tourists?  No.  It’s a “should do”.  Its a unique view of part of the Strip and the airport… It’s different and fun experience, however, not a life/tour changing event.  We got a locals discount plus a free ticket and felt it was worth the money and effort.  The full retail price is questionable except for a tourist that is not pinching pennies…  The $35 5×7 photo they try to sell afterwards is a joke… But, all-in-all, it did make for a nice part of a night out.

Afterward we waded thru the crowds to have a Detroit Coney Classics at the The Haute Dogge and watch the lines of people waiting for a cupcake at the 24 hour cupcake ATM before wandering over to our favorite book store, Bauman Rare Books, inside the Venetian.

Editors Note: As we were getting ready to get on our pod, we noticed that about half the pods were empty.  When we were on it, most pods were empty or with only 1 or 2 couples in them.  As we were leaving the area, and it was dark, so the Wheel was lit us as well as the rest of the strip, we could see there was a large line waiting to enter the pods from the platform.  So it may get busy at night and they will try to fill each pod up.  Otherwise, I have never encountered a line waiting for the ride.

Mark Anthony

Mark Anthony is The Vegas Tourist! Popular Tourism Ambassador, a frequent contributor to Las Vegas forums as well as travel media and bloggers. Loves to help people discover new things to see, do and experience while visiting Las Vegas and Beyond!

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