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Vegas Stratosphere Ride Review: Fancy a Rollercoaster on Top of a Skyscraper?

Here’s my Stratosphere Hotel Review. You know the one – the hotel with a rollercoaster on top of the building in Las Vegas…

I’d said a definite no, when my friends asked if I’d ride the Vegas Stratosphere rollercoaster. There was no way I wanted to be on a rollercoaster on top of a building.

We’d booked the Stratosphere Hotel in Vegas for our one night in Sin City.

rollercoaster skyscraper
– This is ON TOP of the rollercoaster

We were going to go all out and stay at the Bellagio but when I found a £20 per room deal at the Stratosphere, which included entry to the look out platform (usually $20), we decided to save our money for the gamblers.

Our rooms at the Stratosphere were ok. A great deal for the price, but not representative of the glitz and glamour of Vegas. It was the height of the Stratosphere Hotel building which was its main attraction, not the lobbies or facilities like many of the other hotels.

It’s a great choice for value, mainly because of the Stratosphere Big Shot ride on top of the skyscraper.

The Stratosphere Big Shot

I was in Vegas with friends who’d been before and as I had less than 24 hours in Vegas they denounced this was the best way to see the city, and I just had to do it. Especially as they all were.

I’m a sucker for peer pressure and so of course, somehow ended up in the queue.

roller coaster at stratosphere

We’d road tripped for the past 5 hours from Coachella Festival and arriving into Vegas we stank of 5 days of ridiculous fun from Coachella – we were a bit hazy for the same reason. So, after a quick shower and refresh we went straight up the Stratosphere to wake us up and get us in the Las Vegas spirit.

We really wanted to make the most of all the fun things to do in Vegas for our one day there.

roller coaster at the stratosphere

After getting totally bamboozled into paying for the special three-ride deal they were doing for ‘one day only’ on the Stratosphere Big Shot – which as soon as we saw said ‘three rides’ we realised we didn’t want them – we joined the confusing elevator system up to the top.

The rollercoaster on top of the building

We stepped out at over 1000ft above ground.

The Nevada sun was setting and up there the wind was blasting –  it seriously felt like we were going to be swept off the platform. I looked up to the top of the ride and any earlier bravado was blown away.

I couldn’t believe I was actually going up that thing.

At the top I’d be a further 81ft (25m) over Las Vegas, 1081ft (329m) in total.

Big shot rollercoaster
– My friend Matt at the top of the Vegas Stratosphere.

The only time I’ve ever wished for a queue.

Two minutes later I was strapped in that seat – having pointlessly done my hair and put a nice dress on to enjoy the Vegas nightlife – and there was no turning back.

“We’ve only had one death so far”

Cheers to that smiling worker as she signalled for the ride to start.

The Stratosphere roller coaster

It was that waiting that got me.

My stomach is flipping now remembering the feeling of being sat there helpless and just waiting to be shot into the air. Another few thousand $$$ had probably been gambled away in Vegas in the time it took for us to start. It felt like an age.

roller coaster at the stratosphere

I was in sheer panic mode.

This was it.

This was how I was going to die.

Not a bad view for a last one – on the plus side.


Suddenly we were shot up into the Nevada sky at 4Gs. I screamed and scream, and screamed, as I left my stomach at take off. We jolted and came back to earth again.

Too fast, waaay too fast.

Check out my top tips for making the most of Las Vegas here.

Las Vegas rides on top of the building

“Thank god you only do it once”

– Me, to Las Vegas

My friend had said it was just a one time thing, when you’re down, you’re down. Turns out he lied and up I was again, flailing my legs over 1000ft above the Las Vegas strip.

Bleugh. That Taco Bell I’d had earlier was on it’s way up.

No more than 30 seconds later and it was over.

Another 30 seconds later and I wanted to go again.

What a buzz!

roller coaster in las vegas on top of building

They wouldn’t let me take my camera on, but this jammy guy took it on. Here’s the ride in it’s full glory…

Rollercoasters on top of the Stratosphere

As I said, there were two other rides on top of the Stratosphere, both of which looked far too traumatic. I could barely hold my camera in place for a photo my hands were shaking too much, but these videos explain it all…

rollercoasters in vegas

Insanity ride in Las Vegas

On Insanity you get strapped into a ‘claw’ which then moves out over the edge of the 1000ft skyscraper and then slowly opens up and spins you around with no ground beneath.

I watched a repetition and the there was not one scream of joy, just sheer terror.

X Scream Ride in Las Vegas

The other one, the absolutely horrendous looking X Scream is like a car on a small strip. You sit in it and the strip tilts so you look like you’re about to faceplant into the ground, then tips you back again so you fall backwards.

Repeat until you barf and you pretty much have it.

I really didn’t feel like either of these two would make my life any better, so I chose to avoid riding them and get to seeing Las Vegas. I’d had enough of hanging about on top of skyscrapers.

The Stratosphere Hotel

The Stratosphere Hotel was perfectly fine for us and our needs. We weren’t in Vegas for the hotel stay anyway. To be honest, we were absolutely shattered after Coachella so after looking around at night, and enjoying a nice dinner, we had a relatively quiet night for Vegas!

For our £20 room, we had two big double beds, between my partner and I, and a decent bathroom. No frills, and a small window, but a bargain hotel for Vegas. This gave us more money to spend on fun.

Where are you going after? Fancy doing a road trip from Vegas to the Grand Canyon? How about driving from Vegas to Yosemite?


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