Sunset on The High Roller

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High Roller and LINQ

The High Roller and LINQ at night

Let’s not kid ourselves, the High Roller, one of the newest attractions in Vegas, won’t be for everyone. Some people are afraid of heights. Some people find the ticket prices too high. Lots of people go to Vegas with other priorities (gambling, drinking, shows, fine dining, clubbing, etc.) for their time and money.

Queue

I don’t remember Disney World ever being this empty

There’s really only one reason to ride the High Roller: for the views. Not everyone cares about the views around the valley and Strip, and if they do, they can get those views more cheaply by going up to the Stratosphere Tower, the Eiffel Tower, the Voodoo Lounge–well, you get the picture. But if you are at all inclined to go up, just once, just to see what it’s like, I recommend timing your ride for sunset to maximize your views: You get to enjoy the slanting, golden light of late day glinting off high rises, the pinks and oranges of sunset contrasting with the purple mountains on the horizon, and then the city lights as darkness falls around the valley.

Pod at Platform

The pod is moving when you walk aboard, but slowly, so you won’t fall (unless you’re drunk).

Being both a blogger and an amateur photographer, naturally, I had to check it out. At the very least, I figured I’d come away with some great photos (and I did). I looked up the time of sunset for that day on Weather.com and showed up at the LINQ around 7:35 pm.

Platform

Taking off from the platform

There are three ways to buy tickets–online, at a vending machine, or at the attraction itself. I used a vending machine located at the top of the LINQ (the street, not the soon-to-be renamed Quad hotel). There was a Total Rewards discount going on at the time, but I’d forgotten my Total Rewards card back in my hotel room, so couldn’t take advantage of it. Boo.

 

The LINQ

Hey, look–there’s the LINQ!

The vending machine is pretty straightforward. You pick the time you want to go up in the High Roller from the options given you and pay and it spits your ticket out. I gave myself 15 minutes to get there by 7:50 (the vending machine is at the top of the LINQ and the High Roller at the bottom; I didn’t know how long it would take me to walk down there, especially since I was taking pictures along the way). As it turned out, the timing was perfect–mainly because there was no line anyway.

View of the Valley

The valley at sunset

It’s obvious they expected Disney levels of crowds for this ride, because they have the queue set up so it wraps back and forth, like Spaceship Earth or something. But there were only a handful of people there besides me, so we zipped right through. They did a bag check of my leather mini-backpack, which is about the size of a purse.

Venetian at Sunset

The Venetian at Sunset

After the queue, I entered a waiting area with a bar. I could have bought a drink to take with me on the ride, but that wouldn’t have left my hands free for photography, so I opted not to. There were a couple of different doorways people were going through, and I wasn’t clear on which one I was supposed to use. It turns out there was a private party for one of the pods that night, so they were using a different doorway. I was pointed in the direction of the general admission entrance. (Everyone who worked there, by the way, was friendly and super helpful.)

Sunset

A tourist helicopter over the Strip at sunset

Stepping into the pod is like stepping onto a ride at Disney World when it’s still moving: It’s a little disorienting, but moves slow enough that you won’t fall. The ride itself is so smooth, you barely know you’re moving, except for the fact that the landscape out the window is changing. The air conditioning kept the five of us in my pod cool and comfortable for the duration of the ride.

Moon over the High Roller

Moon over the High Roller

The overhead display screens were interesting when they showed us the schematics of the pod and our location during the ride. But the talking head got really old, really fast.

Selfie

Ha–check out the people in the next pod taking a selfie!

I shared a pod with a young couple from the midwest on their honeymoon and an older couple who were celebrating their 30th anniversary. (And by “older” I mean not a whole lot older than me, which I found a little disconcerting, since they’d been married so long.) Both couples were very nice, though I didn’t have as much in common with them as they did with each other.

While they were all bonding over their respective marriages, I was taking photos. The younger of the two husbands was nice enough to take my photo for me when I asked. (It became evident that if you want pictures of yourself with the view, daytime is probably best.)

Posing in the pod

Thanks for the picture, honeymoon dude!

On the way back down, after I’d gotten all the photos I wanted to, I started chatting with the older couple. They were going to go on a helicopter tour of the Strip the following night. I told them about my experience doing the helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, and I think they were starting to consider that as well. I should get a kickback for this stuff.

 

Pod at Sunset

Awesome views from up here.

My biggest mistake during this ride was that I forgot to bring a backup memory card and suddenly ran out of room on the one in my DSLR. I completely panicked until I realized I’d already uploaded all of my Downtown Vegas photos to my tablet, so I had backups of those. I quickly started deleting the hell out of those photos on my memory card so I could continue taking photos. Whew. Crisis averted.

High Roller Pod

Once it gets dark out, the High Roller lights up and regularly changes color.

Thirty minutes for this ride is the perfect amount of time. Any longer and you might start getting antsy (or have to pee). Any shorter, and you might feel you got ripped off. I paid about $35 for my ticket, which is pretty steep, but I got some great photos out of it, so I was happy. The couples in the pod with me agreed it was worth it.

Strip at Night

The Strip at Dusk

Obviously, whether or not you’re happy with the experience depends on your priorities for your time and money when you’re in Las Vegas. I’d rather spend $35 dollars on a 30-minute ride and over a hundred great photos of the Las Vegas valley at sunset than helplessly watch a video poker machine eat that same $35 in 15 minutes flat with nothing to show for it. Your mileage may vary.

Bellagio Fountain Show

The Bellagio Fountain Show from the High Roller

Ticket information: You can find updated ticket information on the High Roller website. You can get $5 off if you book a room at the Quad/LINQ Hotel or Flamingo between now and August 30, 2014. Locals also get $5 off on certain days. If the prices still seem high to you, check around online for better discounts. I would not be surprised to see discount tickets at Tix 4 Tonight eventually, if they’re not there now.

Wheel at night

The wheel at night

The High Roller has also recently instituted a Happy Hour ticket, which sounds like a good deal: for just $5 more than a regular ticket you get to ride in the “Happy Hour pod” which has an open bar. Depending on how fast you can suck a drink down, you might be able to have 2 drinks during that time, though I’d say most people will probably just get one. Still, a $5 drink is pretty cheap for Vegas.

For another perspective of the High Roller, please check out my brother’s review from when he and his wife rode it when it first opened.

18 thoughts on “Sunset on The High Roller

  1. Cliff

    Nice report. I am in town for two weeks and just checked Linq out. Very cool. They have done a great job with the project IMHO.

  2. Stephanie

    I wish I wasn’t afraid of heights so much. This looks like something I wouldn’t mind doing, maybe one day. Maybe I will try one of the other places to see those great views. I love all the pics that you and your brother took.

    Stephanie

  3. Ellen

    I am afraid of heights as well and I felt safe. It was moving slow enough for me. I loved the views at night and took plenty of pictures . I would also do it again next time I go in Vegas. I don’t understand why it doesn’t have more people doing this. The one in London has lines a mile long and to avoid the long lines you have to get a VIP ticket. Maybe it is too new.

    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      Ellen – I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it too! I think the reason so few people are doing it is a combination of things, mainly the price point vs. perceived value and the tons of other activities competing for people’s time in Las Vegas. Going up in an observation wheel isn’t quite as “sexy” as playing craps or going to a club or eating at the latest-and-greatest celebrity chef restaurant, but it competes with tourists’ dollars for those things. And a lot of people just go to Vegas to indulge in their vices. It is what it is.

  4. DB

    Great post of the High Roller! I enjoyed riding it when I was in Vegas. Agree the views are amazing. Thought it was worth the $, especially riding it at night. Did notice the Roller did stop completely to allow an individual in a wheelchair to board, but got ‘quickly’ moving again. I’m glad that there were only 6 others (mostly young children) in my pod; can’t imagine being in a pod w/39 others at max. capacity! Esp. if they’re drunk too! That would be interesting….

    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      DB – It’s true, even though technically they can fit over 40 people in a pod, that would not be a lot of fun–and it would make it really difficult to get good photos. I’ve got to give you props for coming away with a positive experience after sharing a pod with mostly young children. I think that might have driven me crazy. 🙂

      1. DB

        LOL! Actually….I should’ve been more specific: ‘mostly, rowdy, obnoxious, out-of-control children w/Dad being the Instigator, and very pregnant Mom sitting and watching like this is their normal way of life.’ So no, I wasn’t too thrilled sharing the pod w/this group of guests, but that’s just what ended up to be. Basically tried to tune them out and enjoyed the views! 🙂

  5. ContactRida

    12 days til i’m in Vegas, so i def want to do this High Roller:) great review and great pics as always. do you ever do tailored must see attractions upon request? just askin:)

      1. ContactRida

        thank you thank you Gray:) as soon as i get a day off from work, i will. these back to back night shifts are the worse. the only thing i’ve gotten done so far for packing is buy a bunch of trial size items (and if we’re real, i love buying those things anyway:) oh, and i bought some earrings, sneakers, large fleece for the airplane ride (those seats have cooties:) and a clutch purse. all purchased online. i will have to go back and re-read a lot of your reviews to see what attractions i’m most interested in. thanks for being so informative and passionate about my home away from home, Vegas!!!

        1. Gray Cargill Post author

          Once you start picking up things for your trip, it feels real, doesn’t it, Rida? The positive thing about night shifts is it’ll prepare you for those late nights in Vegas! 🙂

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