The Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower sits at the north end of the Strip with the tallest observation tower in the U.S. and four insanely scary thrill rides on top. It also has low-priced rooms along with restaurants, bars and shops.
Vegas from on high, easy on the pocket, last stop on the Strip before downtown
You can't miss the Stratosphere Tower. At 1,149 feet tall, it dominates the skyline standing out like a giant...er, we'll leave it to you to pick the body part. We locals use it for navigational purposes. As you can imagine, the views of the city are extraordinary -- and hotel guests can swipe their room key cards for free admission to the observation decks.
If the views aren't enough for you to get your kicks (we're talking to adrenaline junkies now), then check out the not one, not two, not three...but four different thrill rides. All of them are awesome in their own way. Dangle off the tower on the fast spinning Insanity or teeter-tottery X-Scream. Be shot straight up into the sky on Big Shot. Or walk right off the edge on the vertical zip line SkyJump.
Not to keep harping on the tower, but also located up there is a gourmet restaurant suitably named Top of the World. It revolves 360 degrees every 80 minutes. Romance might as well be an item on the menu. If your wallet's starting to feel that vacation squeeze, check out the Level 107 Lounge instead. Situated a floor above Top of the World, it offers similar jaw-dropping views and fantastic cocktails (get two for the price of one during twice daily happy hours).
We love, love, love the low room rates at the Stratosphere -- but be prepared because the location (see below) isn't the best.
You should know that the Stratosphere is positioned in something of a no man's land between the end of the Strip and downtown. It's not within walking distance to downtown and it's a long way from the heart of the action on the Strip. You'd have to hoof it a half mile to get to SLS Las Vegas and then another 1.5 miles just to reach Wynn Las Vegas and Encore.
After mentioning all the great things you can do on the tower, we sadly have to tell you there are no rooms up there. All the rooms are located in two traditional hotel buildings. The base-level rooms are small at 350 square feet and come with the bare necessities while the Stratosphere Select rooms (which are still small at between 350 and 365 square feet) were renovated in 2011 and have MP3 alarm clocks, 42-inch flat-screen TVs and safes.
If views are important to you, we recommend you upgrade to a room that's located on a higher floor or has a Strip view -- otherwise you could end up looking out at a brick wall or the parking garage.
You'll need transportation to the heart of the Strip or downtown if you don't have access to a car. Taxis are available beneath the porte cochere, but the cheapest and often easiest way to get around is by bus. The Deuce (with 24-hour service) and SDX routes both have stops near the Stratosphere.
Looking for cheap drinks? At the Stratosphere you'll find some great deals in C Bar, the round bar in the center of the casino. Take advantage of the $3 Jäger shots offered all day every day. Or drink unlimited draft beer, margaritas and martinis for just $19.99 during "The Bottomless Happy Hour," which runs nightly from 6 - 10 p.m.
Although the neighborhood isn't great, a beloved Vegas landmark is within walking distance of the Stratosphere. Luv-It Frozen Custard, a little stand that opened in 1973, is on the northeast corner of Las Vegas and Oakey boulevards. This custard here is so rich and velvety you'll spurn ice cream.
Also if you're sucking it up and walking to SLS, pop into Bonanza Gifts on the northeast corner of the Strip and Sahara Avenue. You'll be blown away by all the stuff -- some classy but most of it bizarre (like Polly, a potty-mouthed parrot) -- you can buy at the self-proclaimed "world's largest gift shop."