Today, we continue our look at out-of-the-box Sin City attractions with two unique ways to get high in Las Vegas: one mechanical and one botanical. The LINQ’s High Roller Observation Wheel and the Planet 13 Cannabis Superstore are two of the town’s top draws for tourists seeking elevation away from the casino floors, so we’re virtually pairing them through our exclusive first-person videos to give you a new perspective on the Strip.
High Roller Observation Wheel at The LINQ
Let’s start on the Strip at The LINQ, which has been home to the High Roller attraction since 2014. Ask anybody having something to do with the High Roller, and you’ll get, “It’s NOT a Ferris wheel! It’s an observation wheel!” OK, fine, it’s an observation wheel (that bears a very close resemblance to every Ferris wheel you’ve ever seen). We’ll go to our graves believing that the High Roller came from the same gene pool as the Ferris wheel, but here is the press-release difference: On a Ferris wheel you take a ride in the sense that you go around and around. On an observation wheel, you get on, slowly rotate one full circuit (which takes 30 minutes to an hour, giving you plenty of time to “observe”), and then get off. No going round and round. Also size counts—the average Ferris wheel would come up to an observation wheel’s ankle.
The 550-foot High Roller is situated on the eastern end of The LINQ entertainment district. Each of the statuesque wheel’s 28 transparent, spherical, climate-controlled globes can ferry 40 people aloft per rotation. Once aboard, you’ll inch your way up and then back down, never stopping. For about half the rotation you’ll be high enough to enjoy uncluttered views all around.
The boarding process is very Disneyesque. First, tickets are scanned before you’re dispatched up an escalator. Next, each person or group is photographed in front of a green screen. In the final version your photo is digitally enhanced with scenes of the High Roller.
Then, departing slightly from the Disney model, you’re ushered into the bar (!), where you can buy drinks to take on the ride (outside drinks are verboten, however).
From the bar there are more escalators to the next room, where a half dozen or so cartoons and quirky videos play on a 270-degree screen. This is like Disney’s pre-show rooms. Here, you’ll also get some instructions from your guide.
Finally, it’s on to the loading platform, where the wheel rotates continuously at about half normal walking speed. Getting on is no harder than stepping onto an escalator, except that if you screw it up you’ll fall several feet off the loading platform into a convenient net. Wheelchairs and strollers are welcome, and the ride actually stops to position a ramp for wheelchairs. Stroller jockeys are on their own, and must board while the wheel is in motion like everyone else. If you think you might have issues, speak to a boarding/disembarking supervisor.
Once you’re on board, there are benches for about 16 riders, but most people prefer to stand. The High Roller is built to withstand hurricane-force winds, plus it rotates so slowly that it’s hard to tell you’re moving. Motion sickness is not a factor here. There are views to the east and limited views to the west as soon as you board. Views north and south become visible approximately from clock positions 9 to 3.
There’s a recorded mix of witty and educational narration from your guide, plus some peppy tunes, but if the pod is more than half full, it will likely all be drowned out by conversation. The pods are temperature-controlled and are not the least claustrophobic. Sunsets are special, but with all the pre-boarding rigmarole, it’s hard to time it just right. After sunset, the High Roller is illuminated by 2,000 LED lights.
Take a spin above The LINQ from the comfort of your home with this video of highlights from our Las Vegas High Roller Observation Wheel experience:
If the High Roller isn’t extreme enough for you, consider a ride on the nearby Fly LINQ zipline.
Located at the opposite end of the LINQ promenade from the High Roller is the 122-foot-tall launch tower of Fly LINQ, featuring 10 side-by-side zip lines capable of simultaneously launching all riders. The flight lasts 35 seconds and approaches speeds of 35 miles per hour.
Queuing and gear-fitting take place on the launch deck, where you are bundled in a heavy-duty safety sling seemingly designed to make you feel like a bulletproof side of beef.
You can choose to ride forward or backwards, in either a prone “Superman” or seated position; forward Superman provides the most speed, so be sure to brace yourself against the hard stop at the end. After soaring 1,080 feet above LINQ Promenade, riders disembark near the base of the High Roller. The launch tower is accessible via elevator and offers magnificent views of the Strip before you suit up, but you can only see the LINQ complex during the slide itself.
Planet 13 Cannabis Superstore
Now that you’ve come down from the High Roller, let’s discuss the lowdown on legal marijuana in Las Vegas. In 2017, Nevada became the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana. Adults age 21 and over with valid ID may buy up to 1 ounce of marijuana to smoke or 0.125 ounce of edibles or concentrates from licensed cannabis dispensaries. The law covers both tourists and Nevada residents. Nevada is also 1 of 24 states where medical marijuana is legal, as well as 1 of 16 states (plus the District of Columbia) that honor out-of-state medical marijuana cards (a prescription and valid ID are also required).
Qualifying adults age 18 and older may buy up to 2.5 ounces of smokable marijuana or about 0.3 ounce of a non-smokable equivalent every two weeks; purchases are tracked but exempt from sales tax. Non-medical purchases aren’t tracked; again, though, recreational users may not buy or possess more than 1 ounce or the equivalent at any given time.
Here’s the catch: while you can easily buy marijuana in Las Vegas, you can’t easily use it unless you know someone who lives here. Current Nevada law permits cannabis use only in a private home at the owner’s or landlord’s discretion. You can’t smoke a joint, vape, or consume edibles in your hotel room—even a room where tobacco smoking is permitted—or in casinos, bars, and other public spaces. If you do it anyway, you risk a misdemeanor charge and a $600 fine.
Even if you’ve never inhaled, the Planet 13 Cannabis Superstore (2548 W Desert Inn Rd.; 702-815 1313) is an attraction in its own right, from the glowing flowers and giant globe fountain outside, to the interactive LED floor in the lobby and comic projections on the ceiling.
There’s an incredibly vast selection of cannabis products, tastefully arrayed in jeweler-style display cases, plus branded non-intoxicating souvenirs.
You’ll have to take a number and wait for your turn with a budtender, and prices are up to 50% higher than at other dispensaries in the neighborhood (like Acres Cannabis), so you may want to browse here but buy elsewhere.
Better yet, take a virtual tour of Planet 13 Las Vegas without leaving your couch via this video walkthrough of the facility:
For all there is to see and do in Las Vegas, check out The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas by Bob Sehlinger and Seth Kubersky. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.