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Archives for April 2014

Get High on New Las Vegas Ride

Now anyone can be a high roller in Las Vegas. Just hop aboard Sin City’s newest tourist attraction, the High Roller.  The High Roller is the world’s tallest observation wheel (550 feet tall). It  opened this Spring (2014) near the Flamingo Hilton, just off the famous Las Vegas Strip.

High Roller - Las Vegas

Get High on Las Vegas' newest attraction, The High Roller. It's the largest observation wheel in the world!

The High Roller offers the highest views in the city and is taller than similar sky rides including the London Eye and Singapore Flyer.  Riders are treated to a party like atmosphere starting with the friendly staff members who welcome you on board.   Trance-like party music is pumped into the pod, with a friendly announcer pointing out points of interest along the 30 minute experience. A computer screen shows your progress as you circle the wheel.

An in-pod monitor shows your progress as you circle the High Roller's giant wheel (Photo George Bundy/Traffic411)

An in-pod monitor shows your progress as you circle the High Roller’s giant wheel (Photo George Bundy/Traffic411)

I rode the High Roller the week it opened with a group of friends in town for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention.  Not everyone in my group was sold on riding the giant wheel but, when we got to The LINQ (perhaps it was seeing the foot of the ginormous post holding the High Roller in the ground), a sense of excitement prevailed. We were ready to ride! The pod is fully enclosed and very sturdy, so it felt very safe. Someone with a fear of heights might feel queasy, but there is little chance that a rider will tumble out of the wheel since there are no open windows.

Looks are deceiving. Each ‘pod’ holds up to 40 riders who mostly stand up during the 30 minute experience, taking pictures or taking in the stunning views (thankfully, there were only 15 passengers when I rode during its debut week, making it very comfortable to move around the cabin). I heard that Caesar’s Entertainment, who owns the High Roller, plans to rent out pods privately for weddings, parties and special events.

TheHigh Roller in Las Vegas is the world's tallest observation wheel, located on The LINQ, a new entertainment & dining arcade. (Photo Peggy Miles/Traffic411)

The High Roller in Las Vegas is the world’s tallest observation wheel, located on The LINQ, a new entertainment & dining arcade. (Photo Peggy Miles/Traffic411)

The High Roller is located at The LINQ, a new outdoor dining & entertainment arcade that features restaurants including the Yard House and Sprinkles Cupcakes, so even if you don’t think you want to ride The High Roller, there is still plenty to see and do at this new Las Vegas attraction.

Traffic411 Insider Tip:  Ticket prices vary (day vs night, wait in line vs express pass). There may not be a line, so you won’t have to pay extra for an express pass to bypass the line if no one is waiting.

Distance from LAX: 281 miles

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Tours: Wild Ways to See Santa Barbara

Spending spring break or summer vacation in Santa Barbara? There are some adventurous city tours you wouldn’t expect to find in this upscale stretch of Pacific coastline nicknamed the ‘American Riviera.’

Guests on the Santa Barbara Land Shark tour get to see the city by land and by sea without leaving the amphibious bus. Here's a shot of Stearn's Wharf.

Guests on the Santa Barbara Land Shark tour get to see the city by land and by sea without leaving the amphibious bus. Here’s a shot of Stearn’s Wharf.

Santa Barbara Land Shark

You’ll see Santa Barbara by land and sea without leaving your seat when you hop on the Santa Barbara Land Shark.

Your friendly tour guide will keep you entertained with fascinating facts about Santa Barbara as you glide through city streets from the beach, to the historic courthouse, the zoo and other points of interest.

Then, you’ll zoom right into the water, as your amphibious tour bus becomes a boat.  I’m not a big fan of bus tours, but the seats are comfy on this tour and Holly,the tour guide, held my attention throughout the 90 minute tour. The Land Shark is a fun tour for both Santa Barbara locals and visitors.

hot rod limo

(Photo Santa Barbara Hot Rod Limo)

Santa Barbara Hot Rod Limo

If you are looking for a more intimate adventure and enjoy feeling the wind whipping through your hair, take ride on Santa Barbara’s Hot Rod Limo.

Jennifer and Phil who visited Santa Barbara enjoyed their wild ride aboard the bright yellow hot rod.

“We had a tour of SB on a “Hot Rod” this 8 seater open top east long yellow bar with red painted flames up the side with a big open engine..the woman driving was playing very loud music..was absolutely nuts!”

The driver’s personality adds to the attraction. “The driver, India, really made the trip what it was.  What a character…. she just keeps laughing. God, I thought, how fabulous is that and can I have what she’s on please.”

Now narrated, Hot Rod tour was not when Jennifer & Phil took the tour last year. But Jennifer said their tour guide offered interesting facts and tidbits as she zoomed around town. “We couldn’t even hear a word of the commentary she was giving, the couple in front of us passed the commentary back to us and we’d tell the couple behind us and so on.  It was (like a game of operator)…Mad! It all added to the fun…and..you got to know the other passengers quickly.”

(Photo Traffic411/Ken Pfeiffer)

(Photo Traffic411/Ken Pfeiffer)

Santa Barbara Trolley Tour

If you’ re looking for something more mainstream, try the Santa Barbara Trolley Tour. You can see the city on board a classic trolley car.

All of these tours depart from the Stearns Wharf area. Check their websites for tour times.

Santa Barbara Tours

Spending spring break or summer vacation in Santa Barbara? There are some adventurous city tours you wouldn’t expect to find in this upscale seaside town dubbed the ‘American Riviera.’

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Tour guide Holly points out sights around Santa Barbara on the Land Shark tour. (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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The colorful Chromatic Arch is one of the sights you'll see when you take a Santa Barbara tour (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).
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Santa Barbara's Stearns Wharf and East Beach (popular with volley ball enthusiasts) are very close to the 101 Freeway (Photo Traffic411)
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You might see a kite surfer or a cruise ship moored off the coast when you tour Santa Barbara (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).
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Guests on board the Land Shark enjoy a bus and boat tour in one! (Photo Traffic411)
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Sunbathing seals are one sight you might see on the Santa Barbara Land Shark tour (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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Santa Barbara Trolley Tour (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).
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Zoom through the streets of Santa Barbara and see the hisoric Mission on a Hot Rod Limo tour (photo: Santa Barbara Hot Rod Limo)

Traffic411 Insider Tip: Bring along a light sweater.  Although it’s likely to be sunny, the air can feel cool, even in the summer.

Distance from LAX: 96 miles

 


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