If you’re not afraid of heights, then you may consider planning your next few vacations around the world’s most famous ferris wheels. Work up the courage to take a ride on the tallest ferris wheel out there (it’s right here in the United States), or opt for something with more history, like the oldest wheel in operation in the world. Some offer cabins and gondolas that are packed with extravagant experiences, while others are all about the location. One thing is for sure: Each of these observation wheels provide spectacular views that you won’t forget anytime soon.
The Singpore Flyer in Singapore
After over two years of construction, the Singapore Flyer was opened to the public in 2008, and stands as the tallest ferris wheel in Asia and one of the tallest in the world. A seat in the Flyer offers an incredible view of landmarks like the Singapore River, Merlion Park, South China Sea and even some of Malaysia. It’s a truly stunning ride and a must-see if you’re ever in Singapore.
Cosmo Clock 21 in Yokohama, Japan
The Cosmo Clock 21 doubles as two things: a giant ferris wheel, and the biggest clock in the world. The ferris wheel features a variety of gondolas, including one for handicapped passengers called the Happy Gondola, and one that is totally clear for some seriously impressive views of Yokohama.
Melbourne Star in Melbourne, Australia
The Melbourne Star took nearly a decade to come together, and is now the only giant observation wheel in the southern hemisphere. The Melbourne Star features 21 air-conditioned glass cabins that give riders a 360-degree view of all of Melbourne.
High Roller in Las Vegas, Nevada
The Las Vegas High Roller is currently the tallest ferris wheel in the world, extending skyward to a staggering 550 feet. It’s right on the Las Vegas Strip, as part of the LINQ project. The wheel features 28 high-tech, glass-enclosed cabins, each one giving riders a spectacular view of the city. Riders also get experiences like chocolate tastings and even personalized yoga sessions. And of course, it wouldn’t be Vegas without the option of an Open Bar Cabin.
Weiner Riesenrad in Vienna, Austria
The Weiner Riesenrad is the oldest still-operating ferris wheel in the world. It was originally constructed in 1897 to honor Emperor Franz Josef I’s 50th Jubilee, and remains one of Vienna’s most beloved attractions. It’s located in the city’s famous amusement park, Prater, and offers unique views. At 213-feet high, it may not be one of the tallest ferris wheels in the world, but it’s certainly one of the most historic.
The Wonder Wheel in Coney Island, New York
The Wonder Wheel has a long history: it was invented by Charles Hermann and was built from 1918-1920 by the Eccentric Ferris Wheel Company. It opened on Memorial Day in 1920. It’s one of the oldest and most cherished rides in Coney Island, and was named an official New York City landmark back in 1989. It’s another ferris wheel that isn’t the tallest or most extravagant, but its backstory makes it something special.
Centennial Wheel in Chicago, Illinois
The Centennial Wheel, opened to the public in 2016, took the place of Chicago’s previous Navy Pier Ferris Wheel. It was named the Centennial Wheel in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Lake Michigan landmark, and offers a higher and longer ride than its predecessor. It rises 200 feet above Navy Pier, offers temperature-controlled gondolas, and is built to withstand the strong gusts that “The Windy City” often deals with.
Bohai Eye in Weifang, China
The Bohai Eye is one of the world’s largest ferris wheels and the largest spoke-less ferris wheel, standing 475 feet tall at the center of a bridge over Bailang River in Weifang, China. It opened just recently, in 2018, and offers cabins that hold 10 passengers each. This unique ferris wheel has a body that doesn’t rotate — instead, cabins are pulled along a rail. The cabins are even equipped with built-in TV sets and wifi.
Niagara SkyWheel in Niagara Falls, Ontario
At just under 200 feet tall, the Niagara SkyWheel certainly isn’t one of the tallest ferris wheels in the world, but it’s still unique: It gives passengers a stunning view of Niagara Falls. Each gondola has heating and air-conditioning, so you can visit it year-round to take unique photos of the famed Canadian landmark.
The London Eye in London, England
No trip to London is complete without a ride on the London Eye, one of the city’s most famous landmarks and an incredible way to pinpoint all the major sites. The London Eye is the tallest ferris wheel in Europe, and offers views of everything from Buckingham Palace to Big Ben to St. Paul’s Cathedral, and beyond.
Pacific Park Wheel in Santa Monica, California
The Pacific Park Wheel is the world’s first solar-powered ferris wheel, and it’s located right on the Santa Monica Pier, offering incredible views of the ocean and the city. The 85-foot wide wheel has about 160,000 LED lights for colorful visual performances that make it exciting to see even if you aren’t going to go for a ride.
Big O in Tokyo, Japan
The Big O in Tokyo is a little overwhelming: It’s the world’s first hub-less Ferris wheel, and the largest, with a diameter of 200 feet. It’s also part of a roller coaster ride: The Thunder Dolphin, Tokyo’s largest roller coaster, which goes through the center of the ferris wheel. Glass-walled pods have touch-screen music playlists, and provide views of all of Tokyo below.
Eye of the Emirates in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
One of the biggest attractions near Dubai is the Eye of the Emirates, a huge ferris wheel located in the Al Qasba amusement park. The enclosed cabins are air-conditioned and treat passengers to beautiful views of the Persian Gulf coast, the skyscrapers, and all of sprawling Dubai.
Tianjin Eye in Tianjin, China
The Tianjin Eye in China is one of the only ferris wheels in the world built over a bridge. The compartments hold eight people at a time, and there are 50 of them, meaning that it can hold about 800 riders an hour, so it’s very efficient. The unique placement of the ferris wheel gives riders amazing views of Tianjin and the river below.
Seattle Great Wheel in Seattle, Washington
The Seattle Great Wheel is located at the end of Seattle’s Pier 57, jutting out into the Puget Sound. It’s covered in over 500,000 LED lights, meaning that it’s always offering a colorful light display, even custom light shows. It’s a beautiful sight to see, and offers gorgeous views of the pier, the Sound and the surrounding mountains on clear days.
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