World’s Top 10 Largest Observation Wheels

Did you know that the main inspiration of the inventor of the Ferris wheel was to surpass the beauty and elegance of the Eiffel tower which was the main attraction of the Exposition in Paris in 1889?

The Ferris wheel was an engineering breakthrough in 1893 named after its inventor George Washington Gale Ferris. It was built for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois as commemoration of America’s four hundredth year since its discovery.

Today, the Ferris wheel / Observation Wheel is a famous theme park ride loved by children and adults alike. The taller the wheel, the more exciting the ride is. Did you also know that the world’s first ever Ferris wheel is currently rank tenth as one of the tallest wheels around the globe?

Jump in and enjoy the ride as we take a look at the top ten tallest Ferris wheels in the world.

10 – The Chicago Wheel (The Original Ferris Wheel)

The one that started it all: the Original Ferris wheel was the tallest attraction in the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. It was 80.4 meters tall and takes about 20 minutes to complete one revolution. It has 36 cars and has a total passenger capacity of 2,160.

Unfortunately, the Chicago wheel did not reign for too long when the Technocosmos was built in Japan 2 years later. It was relocated twice before it was finally destroyed in May 1906 using dynamite.

9 – Technocosmos (Technostar)

World’s Top 10 Largest Observation Wheels
By ころぞう (Self-photographed) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
The culprit that took the Chicago wheel’s prestige in 1895 is Japan’s Technocosmos, which was later on renamed as Technostar. It has a height of 85 meters and a diameter of 82.5. With 48 passenger cars which can carry up to 8 persons each, the Technocosmos carried close to 3 million people during the Expo ’85 World Fair in Tsukuba.

8 – The Great Wheel

Dubbed as the world’s tallest from 1895 to 1900, The Great Wheel surpassed the Technostar with a height of 94 meters. It has 40 cars with a capacity of up to 40 persons each and has carried about two and a half million passengers in its lifetime. This gigantic wheel stood right next to the railway track in Earls Court, London until it was demolished in 1907.

7 – Grande Roue de Paris

Next stop? Paris! Ranking as seventh tallest Ferris wheel in the world is France’s Grande Roue de Paris. With a height of 100 meters, it was the showstopper at the Exposition Universelle World Exhibition in Paris in the year 1900. One of its greatest features is the size of its passenger cars.

The cars were so big that they were used as houses for the French families due to the destruction caused by World War 1 in the region.

6 – Cosmo Clock 21

World’s Top 10 Largest Observation Wheels
By: Dick JohnsonCC BY 2.0

Claimed the spot as the world’s tallest Ferris wheel from 1989 to 1997 and as the world’s largest clock  from 1989 up to present is another of Japan’s pride, the Cosmo Clock 21. You will find this giant wheel/clock at Yokohama, Japan’s Cosmo World.

During its first installation, it has a recorded a height of 107.5 meters. Then, its overall height was increased to 112.5 meters in 1999 after it was relocated to taller base platform. Each of its 60 passenger cars can carry up to eight persons and can complete a full revolution in 15 minutes, making its total hourly capacity up to 1,920 persons.

5 – Tempozan Ferris Wheel

World’s Top 10 Largest Observation Wheels
By: Jennifer Murawski – CC BY 2.0

Still in Japan, the fifth tallest observation wheel in the world is the Tempozan Ferris Wheel. This enormous wheel is found at the bay of Osaka, offering a 17 minute ride of pure pleasure and entertainment, as it gives you a bird’s eye view of the city, as well as its beautiful seas and mountains.

This 112.5 meter tall wheel is also illuminated by magnificent coloured lights that give you a forecast of tomorrow’s weather.

4 – Daikanransha

World’s Top 10 Largest Observation Wheels
Ryoma35988 [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Japanese sure loves tall rides because the fourth tallest Ferris wheel in the world is also found in the land of the rising sun! Standing at 115 meters tall and 100 meters wide, this huge wheel is the pride of Palette Town in Odaiba, Tokyo, stealing the spotlight from the Tempozan Ferris Wheel in 1999.

This gigantic wheel gives you a breathtaking view of the Tokyo Tower, and the Haneda Airport. You can see the Mount Fuji as well on clear days. During the night, the wheel turns into an amazing attraction as it displays various patterns with its 120,000 neon tubes in over a hundred colours.

3 – London Eye

World’s Top 10 Largest Observation Wheels
By: Kevin GibbonsCC BY 2.0

We are now down to the big 3. Presently the 3rd tallest in the world and the tallest in all of Europe, the London Eye is 135 meters tall and the fourth tallest structure all throughout London. It has 32- capsules that weigh about 10 tons each and has a maximum capacity of 800 persons per revolution.

A complete rotation of this magnificent wheel takes about 30 minutes. It takes approximately 0.9km (or 0.6 miles) per hour for each capsule to travel a complete revolution, making it possible for passengers to embark and disembark without having the wheel to stop.

2 – Star of Nanchang

World’s Top 10 Largest Observation Wheels

From Europe, we are back in Asia! Our second to the last stop is China, where a behemoth observation wheel stands. The Star of Nanchang was the tallest observation wheel in the world (from 2006 – 2008). It boasts a height of 160 meters and has 60 air-conditioned gondolas. Each gondola has a maximum capacity of 8 people, giving the Star of Nanchang a total capacity of up to 480 people per revolution.

Like its predecessor, the London Eye, one complete rotation of the Star of Nanchang takes about 30 minutes also allowing passengers to step on and off without needing to stop the wheel.

1 – The Singapore Flyer

World’s Top 10 Largest Observation Wheels
By: Vibin JKCC BY 2.0

Taking the top stop is the Singapore Flyer. This Ferris wheel is 165 meters tall and took the spotlight as the world’s tallest Ferris wheel in 2008. This majestic ride is composed of 28 capsules (all of them air-conditioned), which can accommodate up to 28 people each.

This elegant observation wheel offers variety of services; from a one of a kind wedding in the sky to an awesome birthday party experience! You can also enjoy a relaxing tea party, fine dining and even a sip of your most favourite cocktail while savouring the panoramic view of Marina Bay and the Singapore skyline.

Have you had the chance to ride any of these before or plan to in the near future? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author

Michael Jones

Created and runs the Holiday Point travel brand, incorporating a network of 9 location based travel information and attraction websites around Australia. With 15 years of online experience, Michael not only writes content for the website and is the face of social media, he also tinkers behind the scenes with the website functionality & design.

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