Las Vegas

By Nora Heston Tarte

Looking to take your vacation to new heights?

Head to Vegas where buildings tower over the infamous Las Vegas strip, the attractions take you soaring above city lights, the liquor is top shelf, and even the poker is high-stakes.

Dinner with a View

Vegas is known for its indulgent dining, and there’s plenty of restaurants on the ground to enjoy. But those looking to elevate dinner in sin city should head up a few floors—or 106 to be exact. At the top of the Stratosphere, Top of the World (2000 Las Vegas Blvd. S) serves New American cuisine in a rotating dining room with panoramic views of Las Vegas below. The restaurant is 800-feet above the action, and every 80 minutes it completes a full 360 degree rotation.

A little bit lower—at 56 floors—sits Alize in the Palms Casino Resort (4321 W. Flamingo Rd.) It’s not nearly as high at the Stratosphere’s peak, but it does offer delicate French cuisine and gorgeous views for diners to drool over, frequently topping lists of best dinner views in the city. Or, grub on Italian fare at Nove Italiano five floors down.

If you choose the 100-foot high destination inside Vegas’ faux Eiffel Tower, Paris Las Vegas (3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd.), you’ll be greeted by views of the strip, but it’s also the perfect seat for the Bellagio Fountain shows. It’s not the only place to watch the infamous water show from though, Lago by Julian Serrano at the Bellagio (3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd., serving up high-end pastas, pizzas, and more) sits diners close enough to practically reach out and touch the water.

Top-Shelf Drinking

If you came to Vegas to indulge, head to the Foundation Room (3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd.), where cocktails are served 63 stories above the strip, atop the towers of the Mandalay Bay in a luxurious den-like atmosphere. You’ll have to take a separate elevator up to the top, where the best cocktails are specialties served on the balcony overlooking the city. Grab a glass of champagne and cheers to the view. The best times to head up are for sunset or a nightcap, where the only thing illuminating the desert sky are the glowing lights of the city, but don’t miss your chance—priority is given to VIP members.

Just off the strip, insider the Palms sits the Ghostbar, perhaps one of the most talked-about bars in the city. There is an entrance fee for this 55th floor spot, but in addition to the awesome views, you get a one-of-a-kind look at the strip through the glass-bottomed floor.

Happy Hour in a Ferris Wheel

There’s no Ferris wheel quite like the High Roller (3545 S. Las Vegas Blvd.) Located in the LINQ promenade outside the LINQ Hotel & Casino, it is the most unique place to spend happy hour in Las Vegas. Speaking of taking your vacation to new heights, those who ride the High Roller will be able to tell friends they’ve soared above the city in the world’s tallest observation wheel.

Reaching a whopping 550-feet in the air, the High Roller leaves the London Eye in its dust. And those gorgeous views are 360 the whole way around, made even better by the roller’s location in the middle of the Las Vegas strip. Rides are 30 minutes each and that’s just how long it takes to complete one rotation on the observation ride meaning it’s a slow, but enjoyable trip. And don’t expect a dinky fair-like experience, these cabins are high-end, and select vessels feature open bars for the duration (offered 12 PM – 1 AM).

Sin City Roller Coasters

If the High Roller felt a bit slow for you, perhaps one of Las Vegas’ other amusement park-like attractions will appease your adrenaline-seeking spirit. In Vegas, several hotels feature their own set of roller coasters, often cascading off the side of the super-tall buildings. These Las Vegas thrill rides are not few or far between.

Start with a traditional ride at the New York, New York Hotel & Casino (3790 S. Las Vegas Blvd.) On the Big Apple Coaster, riders soar up to 203 feet and enjoy several drops, the largest of which is 144 feet. It takes just under 3 minutes from start to finish, moving at 67 mph. It also allows for great views of the strip and some faux Manhattan monuments—if you can keep your eyes open.

Next up for thrill seekers is Chaos, a tricked-out tilt-a-whirl at Circus, Circus (2880 S. Las Vegas Blvd.) For two minutes riders tilt, twirl, and flip as high as 36 feet in the air. It’s located inside the hotel’s Adventuredome, where several other rides are available for guests, including the 55 mph Canyon Blaster, which features a steep drop, double-loop, and double-corkscrew.

For the ultimate psychos—you know the kind, the ones who aren’t afraid of anything—head to the Stratosphere where a collection of rides run at the top of the building. Insanity rises 68 feet OVER the 1,149-foot Stratosphere before spinning passengers at speeds of up to 3 Gs, the X Scream thrusts riders from the side of the building 866-feet in the air on a 69-foot pivoting track, and the Big Shot sends true adrenaline junkies soaring 1,049-feet above the ground before free-falling while riders experience weightlessness. Does it sound like a little too much to handle? Grab a drink at the Air Bar, and watch people braver than you take the plunge.

Zip Line over Fremont Street

Zip lining is often associated with tree canopies in forested areas, but in Las Vegas, experts bring the thrill of soaring through the air on a string to the city streets. Ever noticed that 12-story slot machine in the middle of Vegas’ original strip on Fremont Street? Well, that’s where riders are invited to zip line under the infamous canopy at speeds up to 35 mph. The zip and zoom lines are offered in two levels. One ride, Slotzilla, takes flyers 77 feet up and 850 feet across. Dare devils will love the Superman ride, launching zippers horizontally 114 feet above the ground for 1,700 thrilling feet. Imagine buzzing past neon lights, over the heads of pedestrians below. Little tip? If you appear to be moving faster than the cars below you—well, that’s because you are. We don’t know what’s more terrifying, the ride across the sky, or the trip up to the platform in the open-air, cage-like elevator (425 Fremont St. #160).

Fremont Street is no longer the only zip line experience in Vegas. There are two other options for those who love to zip and zoom—one horizontal and one vertical. For those who want to visit both the of the Rio’s towers, there’s a more creative way to travel in between (3700 W. Flamingo Rd.) Voodoo Zipline is a 490-foot zip ride that allows two riders to go together. It’s a littler different than the Fremont experience—but still worth the trip! To hit up the third and final zip line experience, you’ll need to head back to the Stratosphere where, let’s face it, a good portion of these high stakes activities exist. Skyjump advertises itself as a “controlled free fall,” where riders rush down 108-stories at speeds up to 40 mph.

Want to go skydiving?

Inside the Las Vegas Convention Center (3150 Paradise Rd.), just off of the Las Vegas strip, visitors can try out indoor skydiving. The experience forgoes airplanes and parachutes, but a 100-horsepower motor simulates winds of up to 120 mph for flyers.

Vegas Observation Decks

The Eiffel Tower Experience in Las Vegas lets guests tour the hotel, even if they aren’t staying there. Head up 46-stories in glass elevators to enjoy the excitement and beauty of The Eiffel Tower—well, sort of. This half-size replica proffers 360-degree views of the city while tour guides point out notable attractions during the tour.

The Stratosphere Observation Deck offers a similar experience with a much higher end-point. It’s the tallest freestanding observation tower in the U.S. at 1,149-feet tall and the outdoor observation deck draws visitors from all over the world, boasting 360-degree views.

High Stakes Poker

It’s hard to find a hotel on the Las Vegas strip that doesn’t offer high-stakes poker in the casino. Every hotel has its own vibe and spattering of table games and slot machines for guests. For those who call poker their game of choice, there are three poker rooms ranked highest for rolling in the big bucks in style. In no particular order:

The Bellagio is known for its famous Bobby’s Room, a private high-stakes poker area where high rollers play together.

At the Aria (3730 S. Las Vegas Blvd.), modern amenities draw in big-money players. For those with a lot of cash to spare, free dinner is served while gamblers do their thing in the Ivey room. One of the biggest perks of playing poker at the Aria, however, is that low stake tables aren’t far away, so low-limit players can bask in the glory of the high rollers nearby.

As host of the world’s largest poker tournament, The Rio gets a mention. Everyday action isn’t over the top, but many stop in for a hand just to say they played there.

Where to Stay

Are you one of those people who requests a high-floor every time you check into a hotel? How does staying in one of the highest hotel rooms in the city sound? Well, there’s a large selection of high-rise hotel rooms in Vegas but these are just a few of the highest, and best.

The Skylofts at MGM Grand (3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd.)
Luxurious high-rise lofts

The Palazzo (3325 S. Las Vegas Blvd.)
The tallest hotel in Las Vegas

Trump International Hotel (2000 Fashion Show Dr.)
Most habitable floors in a Las Vegas hotel at 64

The Palms Two-Story Sky Villa (4321 W. Flamingo Rd.)
If you can afford to drop $35,000 a night

New York-New York Hotel (3790 S. Las Vegas Blvd.)
Honorable mention for being the first tallest building in Las Vegas

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