The Stratosphere is located on the far north end of the Las Vegas Strip. The gaming industry does not consider it to be a part of the Strip due to its remote location compared to other resorts. It is also the only casino on Las Vegas Blvd that is in the City of Las Vegas. For statistical purposes, Stratosphere is considered to be a part of the downtown gaming market.
Stratosphere started out as Vegas World, a small casino owned by Las Vegas legend Bob Stupak. He envisioned building the tallest building in the world. The FAA objected to his plan due to the property’s proximity to the airport. The project was scaled down and now the highest point sits 1,149 feet above Las Vegas Blvd. The tallest thrill ride rises 160 feet above the structure.
The casino floor at Stratosphere is about 80,000 square feet. There are few quality games in the table games pit. The blackjack pits are covered in 6-5 payout games. It is not just the handful of single deck ones either. There are 14 six-deck blackjack games that pay 6-5 on a natural. The $5 blackjack games all short-pay blackjacks. Moving up to $10 gets some 3-2 blackjack options. There is a $25 double deck game that does not allow doubling after the split that also pays 3-2 on an ace and a face.
There are three $10-$2,000 craps tables with 10 times odds. This is the best game in the house. There are two $5-$100 double zero roulette tables. Roulette players may want to play the $.25 video roulette games that have just one zero and pay comps comparable to slot machines.
There are several house poker games with $5 minimum bets. Let it Ride and Ultimate Texas Hold’em have a $50 max bet, while Three Card Poker has a $100 max bet.
There is a video Big Wheel game located next to the poker room with a $1 minimum bet. This machine rates as a slot for comps purposes.
The video poker selection is atrocious, even in the high limit section. There are no games that return 99 percent or more. Most of the casino floor consists of penny slots that likely pay not more than 90 percent.
There is a 16-table poker room. The main game is 1/2 No Limit Texas Hold’em. A small fixed limit game may also be found during the day. There are three No Limit Texas Hold’em poker tournaments each day. These start at 11am, 7pm, and 11pm. Las Vegas locals call these “Sahara tournaments”. That is because the tournaments moved to Stratosphere after Sahara closed in 2011. Many of the old Sahara dealers moved to the Stratosphere as well. The buy-in is $50 with one $20 add-on. The 7pm tournament provides free pizza. This is a $5 change from the Sahara days where the initial buy-in was $45. The extra $5 is juice.
The Stratosphere offers a small sports book. It is not outsourced and offers an additional book for sharp bettors to line shop.
The Stratosphere hotel tower hosts 2,427 rooms. Rates start at $34 during the week and $85 on weekends. Friday and Saturday nights with high demand can see rates approach $200 per night.
There are four basic rooms that all fall within a few dollars of the lowest price points; Deluxe, Premier View, Strip View, and Stratosphere Select. The Grand Suite and Oasis Suite rooms start at $90 on weeknights and $169 on weekends. There is a $17.99 per night resort fee. This is waived on complimentary rooms.
Top of the World – Located in the observation tower, Top of the World is open for lunch and dinner. The limited lunch menu offers most items for around $30. The dinner menu spreads a wider variety of steaks and seafood with price points of $50-$75. There is an extensive wine list. Reservations are recommended for small parties and required for six or more guests.
McCall’s Heartland Grill – McCall’s is a Midwestern steakhouse that is open for dinner only. There is also a fish and seafood menu. Entrees start at around $30.
Fellini’s Italian Restaurant – Fellini’s is an Italian steakhouse that only serves dinner. It is managed by the same company that operates Salvatore’s at Suncoast and the Italian-American Club on East Sahara Ave. Prices are very reasonable, especially for an Italian steakhouse located at a Las Vegas resort. Steaks are offered for about $30. Pasta dishes start at $15.
There are several casual dining options. Ruby’s is a 50’s café that is the only 24-hour dining option at Stratosphere. It is located by the poker room. Tower Pizzeria is located across from the tower elevators on the second floor. A sandwich shop is located on the 108th floor of the observation tower. There is also a buffet that serves brunch and dinner.
There are three bars located on the casino floor. All offer video poker pay tables that fall within expected Las Vegas bar payouts.
AirBar and Level 107 are located in the observation tower that offer live music or DJ’s on weekends. Images Lounge is a laid back area located in the middle of the casino floor.
Stratosphere is located on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. It is just north Sahara Avenue on Las Vegas Blvd.
The main attraction at the Stratosphere is the observation tower. It is 1,149 feet in the sky. Admission is $18. Nevada residents receive a $6 discount.
The tower consists of three thrill rides; Insanity, X-Scream, and Big Shot. All rides are $15. An unlimited pass is $34 that includes tower admission. If you plan on riding even one ride go ahead and purchase the unlimited pass. You will want to try more than one ride. Locals receive a $6 discount.
Insanity takes riders in a claw-like contraption that dangles its thrill seekers over the edge of the tower. The claw opens and riders face down directly towards Las Vegas Blvd. The ride spins at about 40 miles per hour over 800 feet above The Strip. This ride is our top choice for tourists, especially those too young to enjoy the other aspects of Las Vegas.
X-Scream can only be described as a car that acts like it is going to throw you off the building. There are four rows, each with two seats. The front car is the scariest thrill ride in the world. Those weak-at-heart may want to sit in the last row. That is what this author did. Even then, it was still a ride to remember.
The Big Shot is a needle type-ride where the seats go straight up over 1,200 feet above the Las Vegas Strip. The track is 160-feet high above the top of the building. The initial fear makes riders feel that they are going on a lift off the Stratosphere into space. Those unsure about trying this ride might want to try a similar attraction at Circus Circus first that is much closer to the ground.
If the thrill rides do not get your blood pumping then there is one crazy alternative. SkyJump Las Vegas is a zip line that runs from the 108th floor down to the second floor. Tickets start at $110. More expensive packages include video of the jump other souvenirs. Nevada residents receive a $20 discount.
There is also a wedding chapel on top of the tower. This is the perfect place to tie the knot or renew vows. Stratosphere even has a “Fool Your Friends” package where you can have a fake wedding.