Is the High Roller Worth the High Ticket Price?


The wheel is turning. Are you riding? My guess is you’re wondering about it more than anything else, so here are some quick answers to the common questions about the Linq’s High Roller observation wheel.

• Tickets are $26.95 starting at noon and $36.95 from 6 p.m. till close. The advertised prices are $24.95 and $34.95, but there’s a $2 “service charge” that’s unavoidable.

• There are almost no discounts. Locals get one small concession: a free ticket for kids 12 and under when an adult ticket is purchased.

• Don’t worry about lines. I haven’t seen a long line yet, and there’s never a wait of any kind on weekdays.

• There are no restrictive rules with regard to weight or height, and wheelchairs and strollers are allowed.

• You can carry drinks in from the outside as long as they’re in plastic cups, or you can buy them from a bar just before you board. Prices inside are $8-$9. Save a few bucks by getting your drinks from the outside bar at the Yardhouse, located across the alley from the entrance, where prices are $5-$7.25.

So much for the basic considerations. Should you ride?

I hear complaints about the price and lack of discounts, but it’s the world’s tallest wheel, after all. The pods are impressive—big, well-ventilated, and not claustrophobic in any way. It’s not a thrill ride. That is, unless you count boarding. When you look at the wheel from a distance, it appears to tick along, stopping frequently. But in reality, it almost never stops, which means you have to embark and debark while the wheel is moving. It’s not that tricky, and there’s enough time to be comfortable. It is, however, possible to miss your target when boarding: Note the big net stretched below the loading area.

The wheel moves slowly at a pace of one foot per second. To put that in perspective, it’s like a crawling a 1:28 mile. It’s barely perceptible that you’re moving, but when you look down it’s obvious. Or better yet, pay attention to the orientation of the buildings around you throughout the trip to get a real sense of the distance you’re covering. Amazingly, you make a full revolution in 30 minutes. As expected, the views are awesome—the Bellagio fountains are the big payoff during the nighttime ride. Up-tempo music plays in the pods, and there’s a party atmosphere, with a countdown when you reach the apex.

In other words, it’s a good experience—one of those things that you probably ought to do to remain a Las Vegan in good standing. Just make sure you can go without a restroom break for 35 to 40 minutes. There are no bathrooms in the pods.

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and