Urban Ferris Wheels

It seemed like not long ago the only Ferris wheel of note was the London Eye. Now, there are observation wheels all over the place, from London to Seattle to Montréal.

The Coca Cola London Eye might be the most famous, but, in recent years, the wheels continued to pop up in more and more cities. Observation wheels give guests the chance to see new cities from entirely new perspectives.

The first thing to keep in mind is the price. While observation wheels are not the most expensive attractions your family is likely to visit on any given trip, they aren’t quite throwaways, either. Take the London Eye for example. The Eye costs £27, or about $35 per adult.  This is a little inflated compared to prices of other notable observation wheels. Other notable Europe observation wheels include the Finnair SkyWheel, in Helsinki, the Giant Wheel in Vienna and the Budapest Eye.

Market and Finnair SkyWheel in Helsinki

Market and Finnair SkyWheel in Helsinki © Lerka555 | Dreamstime.com

Observation wheels are ubiquitous, appearing in Europe, North America, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific.

Beginning on the West Coast, Seattle is home to the Seattle Great Wheel. The wheel is located on the edge of the city, right next to the Puget Sound and provides visitors an excellent view at day or at night. From the wheel, you can see most of Seattle’s big landmarks, including the Space Needle and CenturyLink Field.

Toward the middle of the country, travelers come across the High Roller in Las Vegas. Though typically not thought of as especially family-friendly, this wheel is one attraction the entire family can appreciate. This is the world’s largest observation wheel, eclipsing even the London Eye.

Asia is home to a number of high-flying observation wheels. One of the region’s most well-known wheels, the Singapore Flyer gives riders a view of Singapore. On clear nights, guests can even see Malaysia. Keeping with the “eye” naming motif, The Tianjin Eye is located in Tianjin, China, and is the only observation wheel built over a bridge.

Each wheel has different operation procedures and facilities. It is my experience each ride gives riders at least three rotations to take in the view. Some wheels, like the La Grande Roue de Montréal, have climate-controlled cabins and VIP suites. No matter which wheel you visit, you can be sure these are perfect for the entire family to see a city from a new perspective.