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17 sensational observation towers that aren't in Paris

By: Matt Hickman on Aug. 5, 2016, 10:39 a.m.
Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas

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Stratosphere Tower

Although not the most architecturally interesting entrant on this list, we'd be remiss to leave out an observation tower located in a town that basically functions as a living, breathing superlative; a town where you'll find the biggest, baddest, fastest, flashiest, ridiculous-est and, yes, tallest everything in the United States.

At 1,149 feet, Las Vegas's casino-topping Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the U.S. and the second tallest in the Western Hemisphere, just behind Toronto's CN Tower. And in addition to a few observation tower standards (indoor and outdoor observation decks, a rotating restaurant, etc.), the Stratosphere Tower offers a handful of singular experiences, including thrill rides like Insanity ("a massive mechanical arm extending out 64 feet over the edge of the Stratosphere Tower at a height of over 900 feet") and X-Scream ("a giant teeter-totter, 866 feet above the ground").

And yes, the Stratosphere Tower is home to Las Vegas's highest altitude drinking establishment and wedding chapel (actually two wedding chapels), both of which can be experienced in conjunction with the thrill rides. Picture it: dangling from a harness with a belly full of frozen margaritas 829 feet from the ground in a controlled freefall immediately after saying "I do." How perfectly romantic.