The Stratosphere tower is one of Las Vegas’s most iconic Landmarks, It’s the tallest structure in the Las Vegas Valley and one of the tallest observation towers in the world. The tower rises 1149ft in the air and is situated away from most other buildings making the tower an incredibly recognizable part of the Las Vegas Skyline. Sitting atop this tower is the Stratosphere’s SkyPod.
The SkyPod is a large rotating structure that houses several of the STRAT’s best attractions. Including the Observation Deck, Thrill Rides the SkyJump, 108 Drinks and Eats, and the Top Of The World Restaurant. It’s a natural draw for tourists but it’s a fair way off the strip and we often hear the question “Is The Stratosphere Observation Deck Worth It?” In The STRAT SkyPod Review, we take a look at the SkyPod, The Observation Deck, and all its various attractions to see if it’s worth your time heading down the strip
- Location – The Strat (Stratsphere Tower)– Las Vegas
- Height: 108th- 109th floor – 855 feet (260m) – Tower 1149ft (350m)
- Cost – $20 (access only)
- Prominent Landmarks: Las Vegas Strip, Downtown Las Vegas, Las Vegas Airport (Harry Reid), Spring Mountain, Mount Charleston, Las Vegas Valley
- Indoor or out: BOTH
- Additional Facilities: Bar, Snacks, Restaurant, Thrill Rides, and SkyJump
The STRAT Hotel and Casino
Until 2019 the STRAT Hotel and Casino was known as the Stratosphere. However, it has been known in Local slang as “the Strat” as a shorthand Abbreviation. The Hotel Chain has now actually run with this and the Hotel, Casino, and Tower are now all officially known as The STRAT. Still, people still use them interchangeably as we find ourselves doing in this article.
It’s hard to think of Vegas without the Tower and it’s even more surprising that it was actually only opened in 1996. The whole Hotel, Casino, Tower, and SkyPod have just undergone a full renovation (2020) and have a fresher and more modern look and feel. This has had some big effects on the Observation Deck Experience, but not all for the better.
SkyPod and Observation Deck
The main feature of the SkyPod is the Observation Deck. This is situated partway up the tower on floors 108-109 some 855 Feet (260m) above the ground. The Main Deck is the Outdoor Viewing Deck that offers wrap-around views of the City. It does not offer 360° Views as the Thrill Rides occupy the back side of the deck so views out over Downtown are restricted.
You do get some really nice views of the Valley and of course stunning views looking directly down Las Vegas Boulevard. However, due to the Kink in the Bulevard, you do only get to see around half the strip, with some of the further hotels a little distant and obscured. It’s a great view though and the height is very noticeable as you are literally the tallest thing around!
The 108 Level is enclosed inside the Newly Renovated SkyPod. This deck offers a more relaxed view of the City and does offer the FULL 360° walkaround views. There are a host of tables and sofas dotted around the deck where you can sit back and relax taking in the view. There are information boards showing what you can see and of course, a Bar and Snack Bar to help you take a step back and relax.
Take a look below at the Full Google Maps Walkaround of the Deck, Explore the Levels, and use the arrows to explore the Decks.
How Much Does the SkyPod Cost?
The Price for entry varies depending on exactly what you want to do when visiting the Deck. Basic entry is $30
- Sky Pod Admission Only – $20
- SkyPod + 1 Thrill Ride – $29
- SkyPod + 2 Thrill Ride – $34
- SkyPod + 3 Thrill Ride – $39
- SkyPod + Unlimited Thrill Rides – $49
- SkyPod + SkyJump – $129
- Individual Rides $15 on the Deck
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Go City Las Vegas Pass
The Sky Pod is also included on both The Go Las Vegas Pass and the Go Las Vegas Explorer Pass. These clever little passes can help save you considerable sums of money if you are planning on visiting several PAid attractions in the City
One of the most unique features of the SkyPod is the Fairground Rides which are situated on the top of the Tower. These are not the most epic or unique rides, in fact on a base level they are mostly really tame, but their location, XXXX feet above the ground makes them terrifying thrill rides!
Insanity is a simple spinning ride. The seats are attached to arms that spin around an axis and slowly tilt backward so the riders are looking down toward the floor. Not exactly exciting, however, the whole ride moves out over the edge of the Deck meaning the drop below then is 900ft above the ground, making this a stomach-churning anxiety-spiking horror ride.
Big Shot is probably the best basic ride and is a simple Drop Tower. It’s a 160ft catapulted tower that fires riders up before dropping back down and these kinds of rides are always pretty thrilling, however, Big Shot is situated 921 feet above the ground at its beginning, making the highest point rather exhilarating!
The scariest ride of them all is X-Scream. Again it is pretty tame and would be dull as dishwater on the ground, Essentially it’s just a short section of roller coaster track that sits on a see-saw. When the See Saw tips up the roller coaster rolls to the end f the track and stops at the last second. It then tips back and returns to the other end. It completes this a couple of times.
Pretty boring, but yep you guessed it the end of the track is situated 877 feet above the ground! While you know the ride will stop and the car will not plunge to your doom below, your brain can have a hard time processing that!
The front row of this one is particularly scary and those sudden stops at the end have you questioning the security of the safety bars as much as the ride itself.
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We hate to say this but in reality, it’s petty rare for all 3 rides to be open at the same time! Sometimes it’s the weather, high winds restrict when the rides can operate, sometimes it’s a breakdown, sometimes planned or required maintenance. Whatever the reason, it’s disappointingly common that one or more rides are inoperable at any one time.
There is normally something open, and only really poor weather closes all rides, but it’s a cause of a lot of disappointment when you arrive having paid for three rides to only have access to one or two, sure you can use your ride allotment riding the same ride three times but who wants to do that!
What can you do about this? Not a lot really, the STRAT try’s its best to keep everything open and only closes rides if there is no choice. If the weather is forecast to be really bad on the day you are planning give them a call and try to rearrange if possible. Or wait until quite close to your visit to even book your ride tickets. Tiqets.com offer instant delivery and you can buy your tickets on the same day!
It is annoying how frequent an occurrence this is but these rides are aging slightly and they are pretty susceptible to wind being so high up in the air!
- Type – Controlled Free Fall
- Duration – 18 Secs
- Restrictions – >52in Tall, 14+ Years Old, <265lb in weight
- Average Queue Time – None
- Cost – $129.99 Jump Only – $164.99 Video Package
- Additional Info – Worlds Highest Commercial Decelerator Descent Facility
As well as the 3 Ride there s also the Skyjump attraction. This involves you throwing yourself off the top connected to a wire that arrests your fall moments before hitting the concrete below. This is not really a ride and operates as a separate attraction so we have done a full review of the SkyJump here
Since the Refurb, the Strat seems to have closed one of Las Vegas’s Hidden secrets. You used to be able to sneak up to the observation deck, legitimately, by heading to the SkyBar and ordering drinks, then after sipping cocktails in the sky you had full access to the Deck. They also had a cracking Happy Hour with 2-for-1 cocktails, meaning you really got a bargain and free entry!
With the Refurb, With the 107 SkyLounge being replaced by 108 Drinks, this loophole has been closed and access to the Bar is now only via entry to the SkyPod Observation Deck. This means you now have to pay to get up to the Observation Deck and then pay to have drinks. This is quite normal and is the same for just about every other observation deck in the world, it’s just a bit annoying as it used to be different.
The good news is that Happy Hour is still available and is still 2-For-1 on Cocktails and other drinks as well as 2-For-1 entry to the SkyPod Observation Deck! 3-7 pm, Monday through Thursday.
The Cocktail Menu is nice too, although it’s lost a few of its best cocktails since the Re-fit. They are certainly Pricey but not when bought in the Happy Hour 2-for-1.
The 108 Eats is a simple Snack bar and on the whole not the most exciting offering. Essentially just Sandwiches and snacks. There are much better places to grab a bite on the ground and we tend to think you might have a bit of a problem if you just can’t wait till you get back down for something to eat. You are paying over the odds for the privilege of dining up here and you really don’t have to. We much prefer PT’s Wings on the lower levels!
There are select nibbles available at Happy Hour at special reduced rates which can help soak up those 2-for-1 cocktails! The current theme seems to be a Mezze Style Menu, but this can change.
107 Sky Lounge – Closed
This used to be our favorite Bars in Vegas and offered such a great Loop-Hole to get up to the Tower for Free. At Happy Hour you could bag 2 Cocktails, which were really nice, for $15 and free entry to the Observation Deck in the Process.
The Lounge is part of the Top Of The World Restaurant and overlooks the rotating floor. The Lounge is still there but it’s not in use as a Lounge and offers non of the perks it used to.
It’s a terrible shame and we hope this is revisited at some point!
Best Rooftop Bars In Las Vegas
TOP OF THE WORLD Restaurants
The Top Of The World is a High-End dining experience that rotates slowly offering unparalleled views of the City while you dine. Unlike 108 Easts and Drinks, you do not need to purchase entry to the SkyPod to dine here, and you can still access the Deck after your meal.
The downside is you are required to actually purchase something here and it’s not exactly a cheap restaurant. This is considered high-end dining with Entrees’ starting at $42 and ranging right up to $175, and expect to pay $15 for fries and $19-20 for a cocktail. While this is all on the very high end it’s not that outrageous by Vega’s Standards and the food is actually really good.
It is definitely an experience restaurant, where you can expect to pay over the odds for the privilege, and does smack a little of the 90s’ when rotating restaurants were all the rage, but it’s still an experience that is worth your time and money. The Views as you gradually rotate around the Spire are truly breathtaking.
Anything from the Grill is incredible, and the whole Lobster Mac ad Cheese is a real indulgence. Save room for dessert as there are some excellent options here such as the Warm Butter Cake and the Layered Chocolate Hazelnut Cake.
Really this is a separate attraction from the SkyPod, but we have to mention it here.
Overall – Is the STRAT SkyPod Observation Deck Worth It?
There really are very few experiences like the STRAT’s SkyPod and Observation Deck. For Thrill seekers, the Rides and SkyJump are a big draw and well worth a visit. For those looking for a less exhilarating experience, the deck really does offer stunning views.
Happy Hour at 108 Drinks is a backward step from the 107 SkyLounge but it’s still a great experience, relaxing on a sofa sipping cocktails while taking in the stunning views over the city.
The Deck has a lot of competition now, far more than when the Tower was first erected. The High Roller is nearly as tall and offers more central views, The Eifell Tower has far superior Views if slightly obstructed, and is much easier to get to, and the Foundation Room and Voodoo Lounge are better options for those wanting a drink with a view. But the SkyPod still cuts it as a fantastic Vegas Experience and sits pretty high on our must-do list of Las Vegas Attractions.
Visiting the Strat
The STRAT is not the most convenient of Casinos in Las Vegas to visit. It’s a long way up towards the South End of the strip, Way past the Wynn, Circus Circus, and even the Sahara, it’s practically at Downtown Las Vegas, except it’s not, so you can’t even pop in when visiting Fremont Street.
In fact, there is very little to see in the area apart from the STRAT so it takes a special visit, especially for the STRAT. We have heard tales of people walking to the STRAT, but they must be insane!
We tend to incorporate it into our trips to Downtown, You can use the Duece and hop off at the Strat, then Hop back n and carry into Downtown. This works great when hitting Happy Hour at the Strat 3-7 pm and then carrying on to enjoy the evening at the Fremont Street Experience.
Alternatively, you can just hop into an Uber or Taxi, and there is Ample free parking at the Strat if you have a car, and it’s pretty close to the North Premium Outlets so you can combine it with a trip to those!
Have Your Say
Have you visited the STRAT? What were your thoughts on the Observation Deck? Did you ride any of the Thrill Rides? Maybe you braved the SkyJump? Did you sample the 108 Drinks? Or indulge in the Top Of The World Restaurant? What every you have to say about the STRAT SkyPod just fire away in the comments below and if you have any questions just fire away.