Can we get real with each other for a sec? You’re coming to Vegas for the nights you’ll never remember with the friends you’ll never forget, yeah-yeah that’s a given. But we both know it’s equally important that you post the most jealousy-inducing photos as possible, because how else will people know you should be worshiped for your jet-set ways? No pic – no proof. We’ve scouted the big three observation attractions on the Strip to show you where to get the best shots of Sin City’s glittering lights.
Now, here’s what you need to know about how to get the most drool-worthy pictures you’ll be reposting for years.
Eiffel Tower Experience
It’s pretty safe to say the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas is one of the most iconic attractions on the Strip, and definitely one of the most photographed. It may be half the size of the one in France but it packs one helluva punch when it comes to the 360-degree city views. They’ve recently added a complimentary audio iPad tour that gives you the fun facts and a 360-degree virtual view of what you can see from the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Which is cool, but it would be even cooler if they did one for the Strip corridor too. At nearly 500 feet tall, you can pretty much capture all the pretty casino facades your heart desires.
Good: Crazy great views of the Strip both to the north and the south. The top is caged in so you don’t have to worry about the pesky reflection you’d get if you were behind glass. If you’re a little claustrophobic or scared of heights, the caging gives you the right amount of air on your face that will help you go from “raving lunatic” to “mildly nervous but super pumped you did it anyway.” If you’re a mean camera-phone-ographer, they’ve got little square cut outs for unobstructed photos of the Strip. Just hold onto your camera – no extreme phone-pinchers please (go ahead and Google it, we’ll wait).
Bad: You’ve seen the cartoons with tumbleweeds blowing around, right? Well that’s real life for us. Vegas wind is no joke and because the top of the Eiffel Tower is open, you’re pretty much at the mercy of the weather. If it’s cold and windy on the sidewalk, you’ll be shivering like crazy at the top. If you’re a serious photographer, that fancy schmancy DSLR lens you spent a few months rent on will probably not fit in the little squares provided. There’s also not enough room for a tripod unless you want to be “that guy.” Even then, you’ll probably get an unfriendly tap on the shoulder.
Insider Tip: During Daylight Savings time, the sun goes down somewhere around 5 p.m., but the more expensive evening ticket prices don’t start until 7:30 p.m. (insert fist pump here). If you go between those times, you can catch the sunset first and then all the glittering lights of the Strip without paying the extra money. If you follow this advice, make sure you’re up there on the half hours to catch a Bellagio Fountain show because let’s be honest, nearly all the classic shots of Vegas include them. There’s no time limit once you’re up there so if you didn’t get the shots you wanted during the first fountain show, just wait for the next one.
Vegas’ answer to the London Eye, the High Roller at the Linq is the Strip’s newest observation attraction standing 550-feet-tall. It’s the biggest observation wheel on the planet. More of an experience than a ride, a virtual tour guide/DJ pipes in a little unz unz unz to get the party started and tells you about what you’re seeing. He’ll include a couple of fun facts while you’re catching flies with your mouth and you’ll even see some of the neighborhoods the locals live in. Can you believe we don’t live in casinos?
Good: Sip, stand, sit, whatever tickles your fancy in this temperature controlled pod. For $20 more than the standard Night Ride ticket (each), you can have an open bar. Happy Half Hour on the High Roller lasts until 1 a.m. and all you’ve got to do is chug two drinks before this is worth the extra money. These cabins are usually less crowded but while it’s not posted, keg stands are probably frowned upon. You’ll probably have better luck with body shots…not that we tried that or anything.
Bad: Technically, this ride would be better if it were actually on the Strip instead of behind it. There are some not-so-photogenic buildings and parking garages in the way at times. Plus there’s really only one side that’s newsfeed photo-worthy. The glass glare is also one tough son of a shut-yo-mouth so please, in the name of the Instagram Gods, don’t use your flash. If you’re claustrophobic, this is going to send your spidey senses into overdrive so go on ahead and admire it from the street.
Insider Tip: When you walk into the pod, make an immediate right. This is the most photogenic side of the Strip when you get around to the top, which will take about 15 minutes. If you time it just right, you’ll be up there in time to get the beautiful Bellagio Fountain show photobombing in the background.
The original granddaddy of the bunch, the Observation Deck at the Stratosphere is a whopping 855 feet above Las Vegas Boulevard, the tallest in town. For the lunatics – I mean – daredevils among us, you can ride three roller coasters at the top that dangle your puny body 909 feet over the Strip or 1149 feet above it. You can even do the SkyJump, a controlled free fall that sends you plunging from the 108th floor at about 40 miles per hour. Right about now, you’re either giggling or experiencing a mean case of bubble guts.
Good: You can really spend some time here without elbowing a fellow tourist for the prime picture-taking spot. There are a few places to eat (if you can stomach that), a bar if you need a little liquid courage, a large gift shop and even an artist that draws caricatures on some nights. It’s also got a great indoor outdoor feature so if it’s freezing or hotter than Hades, they’ve got your covered. This is also the only observation attraction with a bird’s eye view of downtown Las Vegas and Fremont Street.
Bad: Unless you have a telephoto lens, you’re not really going to be able to get great shots (P.S. there’s no tripods allowed). Some gap-toothed looking buildings stands between you and the mega resorts and at night they look like a black blob in your photos, especially the deserted Fontainebleau. To add a little more salt in the wound, somebody thought it was a good idea to put the SkyJump rigging in front of the Strip corridor. Pretty awesome for the jumper, but pretty tough to maneuver for the photographer because you’re going to have to zoom in with your phone unless you want cranes in your shot. We both know that’s probably going to increase the graininess if you’re using a camera phone, so you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it.
Insider Tip: If you want an unobstructed view of the Strip from the Stratosphere, buy a ticket to the Big Shot thrill ride on the 112th floor. You can always “chicken out” once you get up there but there should be enough time to take a couple photos before you’re escorted out. Be a sport and don’t tell them we told you to do this, OK?
If you loved reading about these, peruse more Las Vegas attractions.