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Santa Monica's Ferris wheel ranked among world's coolest

March 21, 2013|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • The Pacific Wheel in Santa Monica is a solar-powered super star.
The Pacific Wheel in Santa Monica is a solar-powered super star. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles…)

Ferris wheels are totally old-school fun, but they're becoming the latest pop-up landmarks worldwide. Travel + Leisure magazine's March issue names Pacific Wheel on the Santa Monica Pier among the coolest in the world for the ride that debuted in the 19th century.

Here's why we should cherish our local spinner: It's the only solar-powered Ferris wheel on the planet, which makes it a pretty clean ride for those concerned about their carbon footprint, and at night it's illuminated with 160,000 energy-saving LED lights. For $5, you can ride and catch the views from 130 feet in the sky above Santa Monica Bay.

In the (totally subjective) ranking, the Pacific Wheel shares company with the high-profile London Eye and Singapore Flyer.

Wheels in the U.S. that also made the cut are the Wonder Wheel in Brooklyn's Coney Island (free rides on opening day this Sunday), the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel in Chicago, the Texas Star in Dallas and the upcoming Linq High Roller in Las Vegas, which hopes to be the world's tallest at 550 feet when it opens later this year.

The magazine points out that the first one debuted in 1893 at the Chicago World's Fair as a one-up to the Eiffel Tower. The creator: George Washington Gale Ferris. Check out Travel + Leisure's complete list.
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