Unique Elevators

Posted on Feb 4, 2013 in Places | Comments Off

For most circus performers, sight-seeing can often become dull (especially when hitting those pesky “tourist traps”). We end up wanting more out of sight-seeing by sometimes going out of our way to find unique places to check out on our days off or, in some cases, in between shows. The next time you’re in one of these major cities around the world, be sure to focus your attention not only to the national monuments they may hold dear but to other unique man-made wonders… we’re talking about elevators. That’s right, elevators. But they’re not just any elevators… they are the most unique and intricately designed elevators that will make you wonder, “How in the heck did they do this”? CGM’s got a list of some of the most unique elevators in the world! Be sure to hitch a ride in one of these amazing lifts and see the wonder for yourself!

Sky Tower

Located in Auckland, New Zealand, the Sky Tower‘s observation level is impressive to say the least. The 40-second ride up is even more magical because the glass-fronted elevators have gorgeous views of the harbor, city, and the green countryside. Look down and you can see through the glass floor and watch as the ground flies away from you as you speed up to the observation deck 610 feet off the ground!


The Gateway Arch

The Gateway Arch is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri. This monument is considered to be one of the tallest in the world. Designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, the addition of glass doors reveals the mechanical complexity of the structure’s interior as the cars chug up to the observation deck which is 630 feet high. The ride lasts four minutes, at which point visitors can make their way out to marvel at how tiny the mighty Mississippi River and all of those cars below appear.

Luxor Inclinator

Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, The Luxor‘s “inclinators” transport guests up the side of the hotel’s iconic pyramid at a sharp 39-degree angle. Unlike others on this list, the cars lack observation windows and they can’t compete with other elevators in height since they only span 30 floors. However, like so much of Las Vegas, the inclinators are all about standing apart from the crowd. There are great views from the top floors of the Egyptian scenery below. Access to the inclinators is restricted to guests only, so the best way to take a ride is to spend the night at one of the 4,400 rooms in the hotel.

Bailong Elevator

Bailong Elevator is located in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Zhangjiajie, China. It is claimed to be the highest and heaviest outdoor elevator in the world and proves that extraordinary lifts aren’t just for cities. In a feat of engineering, glass elevator cars rise nearly 1,070 feet up a sheer cliff transporting guests to a scenic area overlooking the green valley below. In just two minutes guests are treated to some of the park’s best scenery, including scenic lakes and the distinct sandstone pillars the region is known for.


Long Island City Business Center

For most of the elevators on our list, the thrill comes from the view outside the walls but for this particular elevator, which is located in Queens, New York, it’s all about the view from the inside! Don’t be fooled by the building’s businesslike appearance, a psychedelic scene awaits behind the deceptively unadorned doors of the elevator near a small entrance on 31st Street. The one-of-a-kind interior is painted with a massive visage of a grinning dragon with grotesque beasts bursting from its walls. Anyone who works in the building should be able to point the way to this unique elevator for a truly unforgettable experience!


Hammetschwand Lift

Located in Switzerland, the Hammetschwand Lift opened in 1905 as an addition to the Bürgenstock Resort and its birds-eye views of the rugged Alps and the blue waters of Lake Lucern have been wowing visitors ever since. A whopping 499 feet high, the elevator takes about 48-seconds to ride all the way up and is considered the tallest outdoor lift in Europe. While the structure’s spiderweb latticework might seem precarious, the engineers behind the project clearly knew what they were doing because the lift has stood the test of time. Today, modern cars traverse the distance at a brisk speed of 10 feet per second, making this hotel elevator a legitimate thrill ride.


The last one on our list is located in Berlin, Germany, and resides in the lobby of Berlin’s Radisson Blu Hotel. An elevator rises through the hollow center of a cylindrical 82-foot tall aquarium that transports guests through a full panorama of tropical sea life. Housing 1,500 tropical fish and almost a hundred different species, the AquaDom holds over a million liters of water and is the largest cylindrical tank aquarium in the world! If you find yourself performing in Berlin, be sure to check out this elevator for a ride that is perfect for reveling in the sensation of floating in a tropical underwater wonderland. ■

The elevator at the AquaDom in Berlin travels up the middle of the 82-foot tall aquarium. (Caro/Alamy)