Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the plans to build the Seoul Ring, the world’s largest spokeless Ferris wheel. The current record-holder among the centerless wheels, the Bailang River Bridge Ferris Wheel in Weifang, China, should lose its title, falling 35 meters short. But with a 180-meter diameter, the South Korean attraction will still not be the biggest Ferris wheel in the world.
Conventional Ferris wheels, which have been around since the 19th century, have cables running through the center of the construction, just like bicycles. Spokeless Ferris wheels have a fixed ring structure, and only the cars are rotating. While becoming poster children of advancement in engineering and technology, spokeless Ferris wheels still cannot top the world’s largest. Ferris wheel in Dubai towers above them all at a dizzying height of 250 meters.
Seoul Ring, the construction of which should start in the Sang-dam neighborhood in 2025, with a Ferris wheel debut expected in 2027, is nevertheless promising a dazzling addition to Seoul’s skyline.
Located at Haneul Park, a former landfill turned ecological park, the Ferris wheel will extend the sustainable approach. It will be powered by solar energy and, to accommodate the influx of visitors (the wheel should carry up to 12 thousand people a day), the public transport will be expanded with environment-friendly autonomous buses, gondola lifts, and inclined elevators. The entire area could become a global frontrunner in climate action and circular economy.
Seoul Ring thus has a mission to give more than just breathtaking views over the Han River. It plans to enter the top 10 biggest Ferris wheels in the world as a pioneer of sustainable urban development.
In this article, you’ll find the most gigantic among the giant wheels. But before we reveal the top ten Ferris wheels by size, read a quick history of the Ferris wheel! Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Ferris wheel history
Who invented the Ferris wheel?
As the name suggests, the Ferris wheel was invented by a guy called Ferris. George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., to be exact.
He was a civil engineer born on Valentine’s Day 1859 (February 14th is now designated National Ferris Wheel Day in the US), in a family involved in farming and landscaping. He pursued a career in railroad and bridge construction, as a metal inspector.
Ferris invented the observation wheel in 1893, but passed away three years later, of typhoid fever, never fully realizing the scale of global admiration his invention would inspire.
Truth be told, there was also the Somers wheel, named after William Somers who invented a wooden roundabout in 1892, installed on the Eastern coast, at Atlantic City, Asbury Park, and Coney Island. He sued Ferris for patent infringement, but the court rejected his claims since their wheels used different technologies.
1893 – the world’s first Ferris wheel
The world’s first Ferris wheel was constructed in 1893, on the occasion of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.
The organizers were looking for a monument that would surpass the fame of the Eiffel Tower, unveiled at the world fair in Paris in 1889.
Ferris proposed a giant rotating wheel made of steel and glass, and powered by steam. The idea was to take passengers for a breathtaking ride that offered a bird’s-eye view of the exposition grounds.
The planning committee was concerned about the safety of the operation, but Ferris was convincing, and the Chicago wheel was born. Well, technically, before it became known as the Ferris wheel, George Ferris’ invention was first called – the pleasure wheel.
How tall was the first Ferris wheel?
The original Ferris wheel had a height of 80,4 meters.
The tallest attraction of the Chicago Fair had 36 gondolas, each able to take up to 60 people on a giant wheel ride. It took them 20 minutes for two revolutions.
The first Ferris wheel was carrying 38 thousand passengers per day, a total of 2,5 million people during its lifetime.
Does the first Ferris wheel still exist?
The original Ferris wheel operated for additional six months after the exposition closed before being dismantled.
The following year, it was rebuilt as a part of an amusement park and operated in the Lincoln Park neighborhood for eight years.
The final appearance of the first Ferris wheel was at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.
As there were no interested investors that would finance the relocation of the giant wheel, it was eventually demolished and sold for scrap. But its legacy lived on.
What country has the oldest Ferris wheel in the world still operating?
The oldest Ferris wheel in the world still operating is located in Vienna, Austria. The Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel at Prater amusement park has been spinning since 1897 when it marked the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
The Viennese giant Ferris wheel is sometimes referred to as the Third Man Ferris wheel because it made a cameo in this movie classic.
How many Ferris wheels are there in the world?
It’s difficult to pin down an exact number of Ferris wheels in the world as new ones are popping up all the time, while some are taken down or decommissioned.
However, we can safely estimate that there are hundreds of Ferris wheels operating around the globe, from teeny tiny portable ones to massive permanent structures that change city skylines, making skyscrapers blush.
How did the Ferris wheel change the world?
The invention of the Ferris wheel demonstrated the superiority of American technological achievements but also changed the world’s ways of having fun. It inspired many amusement parks, usually serving as the eye-catching centerpiece attraction.
With the increase in workers’ wages and their free time in the new century, the Ferris wheel would become a cornerstone of affordable leisure activities and entertainment outside of people’s homes. It provided a unique escape from the drudgery of everyday life.
Ferris wheels found their place even outside of carnivals, becoming the vehicles of sightseeing – the eyes of the cities
The Ferris wheel was profitable for the operators, and thrilling for the riders, securing itself an iconic spot in the history of fairs and carnivals. The advancement in technologies would continue this amusement concept through roller coasters and other rides.
Ferris wheel’s impact on society became so strong that it found its place even outside of the carnival context, anchoring itself at tourist destinations, as the “eyes” of the cities. These pupil-shaped attractions, such as London Eye, offer unique perspectives and panoramic views of the area, becoming popular vehicles for sightseeing.
The 19th-century invention intertwined with many world cultures and contexts, establishing itself as a recognizable visual symbol. From Chernobyl to Hello Kitty Ferris wheel, from Edinburgh Christmas Market Ferris wheel to Cosmo Clock 21 in Yokohama, Japan, from Disneyland’s Mickey’s Fun Wheel to the largest transportable Ferris wheel in the world at Coachella, from Ferris wheel towering over Niagara Falls to the one powered by humans in Myanmar, the list of Ferris wheels that shaped our perception of entertainment is truly a long one.
Top 10 biggest Ferris wheels in the world
1. Ain Dubai
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Height: 250 m
Ain Dubai (also known as Dubai Eye or Dubai-I) is the biggest Ferris wheel in the world. Located in the heart of Bluewaters, Dubai‘s famous lifestyle island, it reaches a height of 250 meters.
It took two of the world’s biggest cranes a year only to erect the main support structure of this super-sized spectacle. Almost two times bigger than London Eye, Ain Dubai was made from whopping 11.200 tons of steel, which is 33 percent more than the Eiffel Tower. The weight of the world’s tallest observation wheel equals four A380 aircrafts!
The capacity of Ain Dubai is 1.750 people, fitting into 48 fancy air-conditioned cabins. You can even rent them out privately and tweak them according to your needs. Whether you are organizing a high-altitude team meeting, unique birthday party, or yoga session with a view, Ain Dubai promises to elevate your event to “new heights”.
Once you’re up there, you’ll be treated to a panoramic, 360-degree view of Dubai. Your gaze will stretch over the waters of the Arabian Gulf and, on clear days, reach the most recognizable landmarks of the Dubai skyline, such as the Jumeirah palm archipelago, the luxurious hotel Burj Al Arab, and the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa.
Ain Dubai’s one full rotation takes a leisurely 38 minutes, and the standard Feris wheel ticket costs AED 130 (32 euros). For VIP experiences that could include a glass-bottomed capsule or a private cocktail master, you will have to pay extra.
And that would all be true if the Ferris wheel of Dubai would actually work. Since its grand opening in October 2021, it spent more time closed than open. The official reasons for March 2022 shutdown were maintenance and enhancement.
The reopening was first scheduled for the end of Ramadan, then for the end of summer, and lastly for the first quarter of 2023. The newest update is the most correct one: Ain Dubai is closed until further notice.
So, if you’re itching for a ride on the biggest Ferris wheel in the world, you might have to wait until Dubai figures out how to keep the wheel turning.
If you want to have a relaxing sightseeing cruise around Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence, come aboard this budget-friendly boat tour. You will sail along the waterways and admire the Ain Ferris wheel with a tropical drink in your hand!
2. High Roller
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Height: 168 m
High Roller is the second biggest Ferris wheel in the world. Before Ain Dubai snatched the crown, the Las Vegas Ferris wheel was holding the world champion title, but today, it is at least the biggest Ferris wheel in the US.
Caesars Entertainment opened the High Roller observation wheel in March 2014, beating the previous world record holder, the Singapore Flyer, for less than 3 meters.
Named after the most wanted Las Vegas visitors, the high-stake gamblers, the High Roller wheel at the Linq casino hotel promenade gets you 168 meters (or 550 feet) above the bustling Las Vegas Boulevard.
Linq Ferris wheel has 28 spacious glass-enclosed cabins that can accommodate 1.120 passengers at a time. One revolution of the big wheel lasts 30 minutes and it offers sweeping 360-degree views over Las Vegas Strip.
High Roller Las Vegas ticket costs adults $27 (33,50, if you count in the Ticketmaster‘s fees) or 31 euros in total. There is also a High Roller Happy Half Hour, which doesn’t make you happier because of the price, but because of the open bar. If you need help forgetting about all the money you lost at the blackjack table, this giant sky wheel arrangement with free-flowing drinks costs $65 (73,50 when you add junk fees ;)).
The Ferris wheel in Vegas draws millions of visitors every year, solidifying itself as one of the most popular attractions in the Entertainment Capital of the World. If you want to make a break from gambling at the Sin City, come take a spin at Linq High Roller! The giant Ferris wheel of Las Vegas will reward you with the stunning sights of the Vegas skyline, the desert landscape, and the majestic mountains beyond.
3. Singapore Flyer
Location: Marina Central, Singapore
Height: 165 m
Singapore Flyer, the largest Ferris wheel in Asia, was also the tallest Ferris wheel in the world when it was launched in 2008, with the first public rides on George Ferris’ birthday. It was Las Vegas High Roller that kicked it off the throne in 2014.
Nestled in the heart of Marina Bay, the Ferris wheel of Singapore, standing tall and proud at an impressive height of 165 meters, offers an unparalleled panorama that can make even the most jaded tourist’s jaw drop. And if the weather gods smile upon you, you can even wave to the neighboring countries of Malaysia and Indonesia.
Fun fact: the Singapore Flyer originally rotated in a counter-clockwise direction. But Feng shui masters looking at it from Marina Center advised switching it up for good luck. And in August of 2008, the Ferris wheel reversed.
The 28 air-conditioned glass capsules can transport 784 passengers at any given time. It takes around 32 minutes to complete one full rotation on the Flyer, which gives you plenty of time to soak up the sights, snap photos, and even try to spot your hotel from way up high.
The adult ticket for Singapore Flyer and included Time Capsule (an immersive journey through Singapore’s past, present and future) costs SGD 40 (28 euros).
For those who need to add liquid courage to their experience, Singapore Flyer offers a drink-sipping alternative to the city’s famous rooftop bar scene. If you want even more indulgence than Singapore Sling and Champagne premium packages offer, the Singapore Ferris wheel will serve you a full four-course menu during two rotations. An hour-long Singapore Flyer Sky Dining experience comes with a personal butler.
For a full immersion in what Singapore has to offer, book this private guided tour that includes the Singapore Flyer ride, but also the scenic river cruise, and private vehicle transfers between attractions such as Gardens by the Bay, China Town, Little India, etc!
4. Star of Nanchang
Location: Nanchang, China
Height: 160 m
If your question was ‘Does China have a Ferris wheel?’, the answer is a resounding yes. Three out of the top 10 biggest Ferris wheels in the world are based in the land of the dragon!
By now, you already know how it works. Someone builds the world’s biggest observation wheel, only to be dethroned in a couple of years by an even more ambitious project. It reminds of a giant wheel version of “Game of Thrones”.
Star of Nanchang was also constructed as the largest Ferris wheel in the world in May 2006, shadowing over the then-recorder London Eye. But Nanchang Star shone unconcerned for two years when newer and bigger wheels knocked it a few pegs down on the global leaderboard.
The biggest Chinese observation wheel was erected in the eastern Chinese city of Nanchang, where communists staged their first rebellion in 1927.
The capital of the political revolution is now the capital of the Ferris wheel revolution, each taking 30 minutes. The panoramic wheel rotates so slowly that it never needs to come to a full stop, as passengers can hop on or off with ease.
The giant wheel standing at a lofty height of 160 meters, can carry 480 passengers in its 60 enclosed small gondolas.
According to the latest intel, the ticket for Star of Nanchang costs 50 yuan or approximately 7 euros. That’s a small price to pay for the chance to ride on one of the biggest Ferris wheels in the world.
Extend your Taihu Eye ride to a private night tour of Wuxi Taihu Lake! Besides the Ferris wheel ticket, this guided tour also includes a local dinner.
5. Bailang River Bridge Ferris wheel
Location: Weifang, China
Height: 145 m
While it never held the title of the world’s largest and tallest observation wheel, the Bailang River Bridge Ferris wheel or Weifang Ferris wheel led by size in the category of centerless Ferris wheels.
Since it first appeared in 2017, it became known as the largest spokeless wheel in the world. But, as we know it now, the South Koreans plan to steal that spotlight in a few years’ time.
This special Chinese wheel was built on a bridge crossing the Bailang River in Weifang, in East China, and it’s often referred to as the Eye of Bohai Sea.
The fixed structure reaches a respectable height of 145 meters, while movable carriages, 36 of them, travel around the perimeter. Each cabin can fit up to 10 people who have to stay in good relations with each other for at least 30 minutes.
6. Sun of Moscow
Location: VDNKh, Moscow, Russia
Height: 140 m
Sun of Moscow, or Solntse Moskvy, is the biggest Ferris wheel in Europe. The title was taken from London Eye in 2022, on September 11, and Russian politicians were bursting with pride.
Before the grand opening of Moscow‘s newest attraction at VDNKh park (Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy), President Vladimir Putin took a break from his war playground in Ukraine and welcomed the project with the words: “It is unique, 140 meters high. There is nothing like that in Europe!”
Thankful for those five extra meters in height (even if the British rival still beats the Russian wheel in diameter), the president’s counselors couldn’t predict that already the next day the Sun would stop shining. Riders were stranded in mid-air, and others demanded refunds faster than you can say “Ferris wheel malfunction”.
The Sun of Moscow, which has 30 cabins designed for a maximum of 450 passengers, now operates in a limited capacity. But if you are interested in an adventure, it could be the most thrilling 18 minutes and 40 seconds of your life! Just hold on tight!
To those brave enough to take the ride, the Moscow sky wheel promises views heading 50 kilometers in every direction, including skyscrapers of Moscow City District, the White House, and the Bolshoi Theater.
The single ticket at the Sun of Moscow starts at 1.150 rubles (13 euros), but the price will rise if you want to rent an entire cabin for a bachelor party, photo shooting, or any other type of event. If you really want to test your nerves, there are five cabins with transparent floors.
Winning any war, including the war for the largest European Ferris wheel, is not an easy task. The glove has been thrown, now the new champion is sought.
7. London Eye
Location: South Bank, London, UK
Height: 135 m
London Eye was Europe’s tallest wheel before it was eclipsed by the Moscow Sun. From March 2000, when it was launched as the Millenium Wheel, until 2006, when the Star of Nanchang upstaged it in China, the Southbank Ferris wheel held the title of the biggest Ferris wheel in the world.
Well, it is still the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, which means that it is anchored by an A-frame on only one side.
The original idea behind this project was to build a landmark that would mark the beginning of the new millennium. It was planned that it would be a temporary installation, but as it became the UK‘s most popular tourist attraction, with 3 million annual visitors, the 135-meter high Ferris wheel on the Thames continued spinning merrily until today.
The colossal Eye Ferris wheel has 32 glass capsules, representing the 32 boroughs of Greater London. At any given moment, up to 800 people can enjoy the ride, which takes 30 minutes.
The London Eye wheel offers views of the city’s iconic institutions, such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the Parliament. On a clear day, one can even spot things up to 40 kilometers away. Only the observation deck on the 72nd floor of the Shard can compete with that.
When booked in advance, the standard adult ticket for England‘s favorite Ferris wheel costs £32.50 (37 euros). To cut the queues, choose fast-track access. But if you really need to impress your date, you can upgrade your experience with some fancy binoculars or a glass of bubbly.
Unlike some overambitious projects, the Ferris wheel in London has stood the test of time, enjoying the longest tenure of any of the world’s 20 largest observation wheels. London Eye may no longer hold the title of Europe’s tallest wheel, but it still reigns supreme as one of the most iconic Ferris wheels in the world.
If you want to have a total London experience, check out this full-day guided tour! It includes a ride on the London Eye, but also admission to the Tower of London and St. Paul's Cathedral, a panoramic tour of London, and a Thames River boat ride.
8. Bay Glory
Location: Qianhai Bay, China
Height: 128 m
Coming in hot at number eight on the list of the biggest giant wheels in the world, Bay Glory is a cantilevered observation wheel located at Qianhai Bay in Shenzhen, China.
This Ferris wheel was officially opened to the public in April 2021. At a modest height of 128 meters, it offers a panorama of the bustling Bao’an central district on one side, and a romantic coastline and Lingdingyang channel of the Pearl River estuary on the other.
The eighth wonder of the Ferris wheel world comes with 28 gondolas that can accommodate up to 700 passengers at the same time.
Bay Glory might not be the highest Ferris wheel in the world, but it is the third biggest giant wheel in China. In a country with over one billion people, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
9. Sky Dream
Location: Lihpao Land, Taiwan
Height: 126 m
If you’re in Taiwan, and looking for a ride that’s both dreamy and sky-high, look no further than the giant Ferris wheel in Taichung City. Named the Sky Dream, this great wheel is located at Lihpao Land theme park.
Even if it started operating in the second most populous city in Taiwan in May 2017, Sky Dream is no newcomer to the game. From 2001 to 2009, the Ferris wheel was operated in Fukuoka, Japan, but then Taiwan shipped it over like a massive, joyful import.
This Ferris wheel ride lasts 25 minutes and takes you to a height of 126 meters. There are 60 capsules that can fit up to 8 people each.
Perched atop a hill, at an elevation of 384 meters above sea level, it secures spectacular views of the city, mountains, and coastline. On a clear day, you can even catch a glimpse of neighboring counties.
On Taiwan’s representative of the world’s largest giant wheels, you don’t need to worry about your phone dying mid-selfie. Each cabin is equipped with USB-charging ports to keep you powered up and ready to capture every moment.
The standard ticket prices at Sky Dream start at 300 TWD (that’s a steal at 9 euros). This amusement park wheel is a perfect excuse to unleash your inner photographer and capture moments that will last a lifetime.
10. Redhorse Osaka Wheel
Location: Suita, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Height: 123 m
If you’re looking to get high in Japan, but not in the way you’re thinking, then the Redhorse Osaka Wheel is the way to go. Installed at Expocity, in the city of Suita, in 2016, it is the third wheel to grace the site. The Wonder Wheel and the Technocosmos marked previous international exhibitions, but each Ferris wheel was bigger and better than the last.
Redhorse stands at 123 meters, making it now the largest Japanese Ferris wheel. It boasts 72 gondolas, each carrying up to six people. The great thing about it is the strict one-party use policy. So even if you come alone, you won’t have to share your 18-minute ride with anyone. Unless you want to, of course.
All capsules have transparent glass floors, offering unobstructed views in any direction. From the Tower of the Sun, the symbol of Expo 70, via Osaka cityscape, to Rokko and Ikoma mountains in the distance, you’ll be zooming in and out from a number of sights.
If you want to ride the Redhorse, you’ll get into a saddle for just 1.000 yen (7 euros). The VIP treatment (which also costs 8 times more) comes with LED floor lighting, a premium leather sofa, and Champagne. If you’re not ready for the see-through concept, the luxury cabin allows you to prevent vertigo by making the floor opaque.
The Redhorse might be the most high-tech among the world’s largest Ferris wheels. Offering to its visitors anything from cup holders to karaoke and air purification systems (because who wants to smell the previous passengers?), it’s the ultimate Japanese experience.
If you happen to visit during summer, be sure to check out the Zombie Ferris Wheel from Hell event, complete with ZomBeer, vibrating seats, and projection-mapped zombies attacking you in haunted Ferris wheel gondolas.
While in most countries Ferris wheels get closed for any sign of stronger wind, Japan reassures your safety even in the scariest scenarios. The first of its kind, the Redhorse Osaka Wheel has a base with seismic isolation, protecting riders in the event of an earthquake.
Build Your Own Thrill: Five Cool Ferris Wheel Kits for Young Engineers
Get ready to unleash your inner engineer and construct your very own mini (and not-so-mini) Ferris wheels at home! These collectible building sets are perfect for kids and adults alike who love a good challenge
1. Wooden Ferris wheel building kit by WOODEN.CITY: This 3-D puzzle miniature is perfect for those who love to tinker with their hands. And if you get bored, you can always use it as a toothpick holder. 2. Classic Ferris wheel construction set by Eitech: This steel set with a gear motor not only provides a fun building experience but also introduces STEM learning. Who knew engineering could be so educational? 3. Thrill Rides 6-foot Ferris wheel by K’NEX: If you’re feeling extra ambitious, why not build a model the size of an adult person? This K’NEX set will definitely make a statement in your living room. 4. Ferris wheel Jupiter HO scale building kit by Faller: For those who are all about the details, this highly-detailed plastic model is sure to impress. And when you’re finished, it will look great on your bookshelf. 5. Creator Expert Ferris wheel construction set by LEGO: With 2,000 LEGO elements, this set is not for the faint of heart. But if you have the patience and determination, you’ll be rewarded with a miniature world of pretzels, balloons, ice cream cones, people, and of course, a Ferris wheel. With these sets, you’ll be spinning with excitement in no time!
Biggest Ferris wheels in the world – Conclusion
Ferris wheels are not just carnival rides anymore. They are supermodels of architecture and engineering that made their way into the cultural fabric of cities around the world.
Combining the thrill of heights with the nostalgia of carnival games, the world’s largest observation wheels are gravity-defying wonders that take us to staggering heights to see our world from a different perspective.
The biggest Ferris wheels in the world are monuments to the human spirit, our insatiable curiosity, and ambition
As we’ve seen, there are some truly awe-inspiring Ferris wheels around the world, each offering its own unique experience and views of the surrounding landscape. From the towering heights of the High Roller in Las Vegas to the glittering lights of the Singapore Flyer, these wheels have become icons of their respective cities, attracting millions of visitors each year.
From the humble beginnings of the first Ferris wheel in Chicago in 1893 to the futuristic Ain Dubai in Dubai, it’s been a hell of a ride. We hopped on romantic sunset rides, but also adrenaline-pumping zombie adventures. Something that started as a pleasure wheel now transforms into a proof of commitment to a greener future, as we can see in the example of the Seoul Ring, leading the way in eco-tourism.
The true appeal of all these Ferris wheels is not just in their size or spectacle. Rather, they offer a chance to slow down and appreciate the world around us, to take a moment to breathe and reflect. Each ride brings unforgettable aerial thrills and moments of wonder.
As we continue to build ever-bigger and more ambitious Ferris wheels, it’s worth remembering that these structures are not just feats of engineering, but symbols of human creativity and imagination.
The biggest Ferris wheels in the world are monuments to the human spirit, our insatiable curiosity, and ambition. They represent our desire to explore and experience the world in new and exciting ways. Enjoy the view!
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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on them and make a purchase, Pipeaway may make a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting our work! The authors of other photographs are typically mentioned in image titles and Alt Text descriptions. In order of appearance, these are: Ain Dubai - Alexandr Lipov on Unsplash High Roller - Tim Trad on Unsplash Singapore Flyer (also the cover image of the article) - Chuttersnap on Unsplash Star of Nanchang - Saganaga Sun of Moscow - Mos.ru, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license London Eye - Chengdong Deng on Unsplash Bay of Glory - Iswzo, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license Sky Dream - Lihpao Land, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 Redhorse Osaka Wheel - nuisancerider51, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Seattle Great Wheel (the pin image) - Thomas Le on Unsplash