17 Tallest Observation Wheels in the World

Icon orlando observation wheel

Icon Orlando

When George W. Ferris constructed the world's first Ferris wheel for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, he started a trend (and in a sense, he also helped usher in the modern amusement park). At a height of 264 feet, it was an imposing sight at the world's fair and attracted lots of attention and passengers. It was also a celebration of and a testament to the Industrial Revolution. The original Ferris wheel was destroyed in 1906, but thousands of similar wheels have been erected through the years.

One of the most iconic, durable, and unique examples of the ride is the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island. Introduced in 1920 at a height of 150 feet, it is still taking passengers for a wild ride in its swinging cars (as well as stationary ones) along Brooklyn's famous boardwalk. The Pixar Pal-A-Round at Disney California Adventure is nearly identical to the Coney Island landmark.

Wheels come in various sizes and can be found at many locations, including traveling carnivals, amusement parks, and tourist destinations such as the 175-foot Niagara SkyWheel at Niagara Falls. When the London Eye broke the 400-foot threshold in 2000, it kicked off a race to build ever taller models. The enormous rides, which include enclosed cabins and rotate slowly, are now generally referred to as "observation wheels," whereas smaller versions, including portable models, are still called "Ferris wheels." The following are the 17 tallest observation wheels now operating.

01 of 11

Ain Dubai (Dubai Eye) - 820 ft. (250 m)

Ain Dubai observation wheel

Dubai Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing

The United Arab Emirates city already has the world's tallest building (the Burj Khalifa at 828 m or 2,717 ft). And it now boasts the world's tallest observation wheel (until the next big one comes along). It opened in October 2021 to help mark the Expo 2020 world’s fair that was postponed to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The wheel is located on a man-made island. It includes 48 cabins and can accommodate 1,750 passengers. A single revolution takes 38 minutes.

02 of 11

High Roller - 550 ft. (168 m)

The City of Las Vegas,Nevada,USA
Peter Unger / Getty Images

The featured attraction in the promenade at the LINQ Hotel and Casino along Las Vegas' famed Strip, the High Roller opened in 2014. Each cabin holds up to 40 passengers. Because this is Vegas, drinks are sold at the base of the wheel and can be brought along for the ride. Also, the wheel offers a happy hour each day with cabins that feature bars and a bartender. (There are no slot machines in the capsules, however—at least not yet.) The High Roller laid claim to the title of the world's largest observation wheel for many years until it was overshadowed by the Ain Dubai.

03 of 11

Singapore Flyer - 541 ft. (165 m)

Singapore Sunset
abilityriddle / Getty Images

Opened in 2008 along Marina Bay in Singapore, the enormous wheel provides views of nearby Malaysia and Indonesia. Each of the 28 ​capsules is about the size of a mini-bus and can hold 28 riders.

04 of 11

Star of Nanchang - 525 ft. (160 m)

Low Angle View Of Illuminated Ferris Wheel At Night
Syed Shabab / EyeEm / Getty Images

Located at the Nanchang Star Amusement Park in Nanchang, China, the Star wheel opened in 2006. Each of its 60 climate-controlled cabins can accommodate up to eight passengers. The wheel has a number of lighting displays and puts on an amazing show at night.

Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11

Bailang River Bridge Ferris Wheel - 476 ft. (145 m)

Bailang River Bridge Ferris Wheel

Shukai Hong/flickr

Opened in 2017, the Bailang River Bridge Ferris Wheel in Weifang, Shandong, China has the distinction of being the world’s largest spokeless observation wheel. The wheel itself does not rotate; rather, the outer rim and the wheel’s capsules slowly spin around the wheel.

06 of 11

London Eye - 443 ft. (135 m)

London Eye and Big Ben at dusk, Westminster, London, England
Scott E Barbour / Getty Images

Opened in 2000 along the River Thames in London, the attraction was originally known as the Millennium Wheel. Each of its 32 capsules can carry 25 passengers, and the single-rotation experience lasts about 30 minutes. Operated by Merlin Entertainments, combo tickets are available to visit other London attractions, including Madame Tussauds, the SeaLife Aquarium, and The London Dungeon.

07 of 11

Bay Glory - 420 ft. (128 m)

Bay Glory observation wheel

Edo-biscuit/Wikimedia Commons

Located in Qianhai Bay, Shenzhen, China, Bay Glory opened in 2021. It offers 28 gondolas, each of which can accommodate 25 passengers.

08 of 11

Sky Dream - 413 ft. (126 m)

Lihpao Sky Dream observation wheel
Wikimedia Commons

The Sky Dream opened in 2017 at the Lihpao Land theme park in Taichung, Taiwan. 

Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11

Redhorse Osaka Wheel - 404 ft. (123 m)

Osaka port in the night time with a beautiful Big wheel
Korawee Ratchapakdee / Getty Images

Opened in 2016, a year after the Orlando Eye (now known as The Wheel at Icon Park) made its debut, the Redhorse Osaka Wheel beats its Florida counterpart by a single meter (or three feet) in height. It is located at Expocity in Osaka, Japan on the site of Expo '70, the first world's fair ever held in Asia.

10 of 11

The Wheel at Icon Park- 400 ft. (122 m)

Orlando Eye lit up purple at dusk
Jeff Turner/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

The Wheel at Icon Park (originally know as the Orlando Eye), which opened in 2015, provides spectacular views of the area's theme parks, including nearby SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando. It is one of the ​tallest rides in Florida (although, remarkably, not the tallest). The Wheel is among a number of cool rides and attractions along the city's International Drive.

11 of 11

Melbourne Star and 6 Others - 394 ft. (120 m)

Melbourne star at night
Nigel Killeen / Getty Images

There are a number of wheels that stand 394 feet tall:

  • Zhengzhou Ferris Wheel opened in 2003 at Century Amusement Park in Henan, China
  • Changsha Ferris Wheel opened in 2004 in Changsha, China
  • Tianjin Eye opened in 2008 at Yongle Bridge in Tianjin, China
  • Melbourne Star opened in 2008 at Docklands in Melbourne, Australia
  • Suzhou Ferris Wheel opened in 2009 in Suzhou, China
  • Vinpearl Sky Wheel opened in 2017 in Nha Trang, Vietnam
  • Sky Dream Fukuoka opened in 2002 at Evergreen Marinoa in Fukuoka, Kyūshū, Japan.
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