On my most recent trip to Las Vegas, I finally got a chance to experience the High Roller, an observation wheel built at the end of the Linq redevelopment project that allows riders to view the entire Vegas Strip from hundreds of feet in the air from their own private cabin. Although I am not one to partake in too many tourist activities in Las Vegas anymore (since I have been there so much over the past ten years), this was one of the few remaining things on my “to do ” list in the city.
For those who can remember this far back in time, the Linq hotel and casino was formerly known as Imperial Palace (and was also briefly called “The Quad” while being renovated and rebranded a few years ago). Owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment (who also owns Caesars Palace, Harrahs, Flamingo, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, and Ballys in Las Vegas along with many other properties around the United States and the world), this property now sits as what Caesars hopes is a revitalized center of the Strip.
I must admit that the location of the Linq Promenade is perfect. Sandwiched between the Flamingo and the Linq hotel on the east side of Las Vegas Blvd., the open mall offers a walkway of great shops, bars, restaurants, a bowling alley, and much more that all lead to the High Roller itself. Of course, my friends and I decided to take a ride on the High Roller during the late evening hours on a weekday so that we could get a great view of the city lights while avoiding the large crowds and lines that can form on the weekends. Foot traffic was still steady throughout the entire mall area. However, the lines at the High Roller box office and entrance moved fairly quickly and we were not waiting for very long to receive our tickets.
For those who are thinking about taking a ride on the High Roller, you should know that there are two types of experiences/tickets:
- The High Roller “Happy Hour” ticket allows riders to enjoy an open bar experience throughout the duration of their ride. Riders who purchase these tickets will enter special cabins with open bars and bartenders available to make whatever drinks you wish to enjoy on the ride.
- The High Roller general admission ticket allows riders to enjoy the view from cabins which do not come with any additional amenities or staff members.
Obviously, if you are taking a ride with your family or kids, you should probably just purchase the general admission tickets since anyone under the age of 21 will not be able to drink in the cabin. Also, keep in mind that the cabins with open bars have less open space (due to the bar and liquor on board) and may be much more full depending on how many people wish to drink and enjoy the ride on a given day. This may decrease your ability to move around in the cabin and take photographs of the city and also increase the amount of time you have to wait on the ground to board the High Roller itself.
On the evening my friends and I took our High Roller ride, we had already had a few drinks at the Flamingo. So instead of asking for “Happy Hour” tickets, I only requested the general admission tickets. After walking from the ticketing office to the entrance of the High Roller building, we passed through a brief security screening (they check your bags and run a metal detector wand over you) and went up several escalators until we were in the official queue for the ride. Along the way, you do have the option of stopping at a bar while waiting to queue in line in addition to having your photograph taken by staff members (you can later buy these photographs when you exit the ride).
Queuing for the line and boarding the cabin was a breeze, and the cabins move so slowly that even people who have difficult walking at a brisk pace can step into the cabins with ease. The only time that the ride fully stopped was to allow people in wheelchairs to board. However, even this process took mere seconds and did not interrupt the flow of traffic or the experience.
Once in the cabin, we were greeted by an automated message from the many televisions located at the top of the cabin. After that, the cabin doors closed and we were on our way.
The ride itself is very tame and those who are afraid of roller coasters and other such rides should not be afraid to try the High Roller. Although the cabins are enclosed by glass walls and windows, none of us ever felt as though we were stepping over the edge of a cliff or unsafe in any way. The cabins themselves were very clean and the windows looked as though they had been cleaned multiple times that day (there were not many handprints or smudges on the windows and the floors did not have any stains, spills or footprints).
Most importantly, the views of the Strip and the surrounding areas are spectacular. Unless you are riding in a helicopter, there is no better way of seeing all the hotels in the center of the action than taking a ride on the High Roller. We lucked out the evening that we went and had a very clear sky with no rain or fog interfering with the cityscape. The movement of the giant observation wheel is slow enough that you certainly have time to take photographs from all angles of the cabin and we were fortunate enough to only have two other riders with us that night so space and seating was ample in our cabin.
The ride itself takes around thirty minutes, although time passes very fast given how active a person can be the entire time soaking in the views, snapping photographs and selfies, and enjoying the experience. You are also afforded views from each side of the observation wheel as well, since the observation wheel runs counterclockwise and makes a complete rotation every ride. Each cabin is also climate-controlled so it is never too hot or cold during the ride either. It is quite a comfortable way to spend half an hour.
Upon departing the High Roller, you walk past a few stairwells and back into the main building before entering the photograph store and gift shop. You also have the option of riding again or stopping by the bar, depending on how busy the ride is on a particular day or evening. Of course, there are cupcake shops, bars, restaurants, and other activities within walking distance too in case you worked up an appetite during the trip.
Overall, I was very pleased with the High Roller and would definitely recommend it to people who have never tried it before. The views are spectacular, the cabins are clean and comfortable, and it is something new and different to try in life.
- $26.95 per person during the day
- $36.95 per person during the evening
- $37.00+ per person “Happy Hour” tickets (open bar with beer and alcoholic beverages included)
- $79.00 annual pass – adult
- $49.00 annual pass – youth (13-17)
- $75.00+ (High Roller and a show package)
- Kids 12 and under always ride free
Atmosphere: Friendly and relaxed.
Reservations: Not required (You can rent entire cabins for parties and events though!)
Location: The Linq Promenade
Phone: (702) 322-0591