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Top 10 Elevator Rides Around the World

Cities go to great lengths to design architectural landmarks that are distinctively eye-catching. In the case of these 10 cities, they’ve gone to great heights – literally – to make themselves stand out. Get ready to be wowed by these 10 unique elevator rides from around the globe.

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AquaDom - Berlin, Germany

AquaDom – Berlin, Germany

Here’s a way to feel a part of the marine life – ride the transparent elevator up through the middle of this 25-metre-high glass aquarium. An attraction of the Berlin Sea Life Centre, the AquaDom is the largest cylindrical tank in the world and has more than 1,500 fish of 97 different species swimming in over 1 million litres of water.

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Bailong Elevator - Zhangjiajie, China

Bailong Elevator – Zhangjiajie, China

If you’ve ever wanted to rock climb, but were too afraid to do so, this elevator ride is the next best thing. The Bailong Elevator, meaning “Hundred Dragons Elevator”, is one of the world’s highest outdoor elevators and is built onto the side of a cliff in the Wulingyuan area of Zhangjiajie, China. Passengers are sure to get a spectacular view as the glass elevator rises up against a steep cliff face to an altitude of 330 metres high.

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Maritime Museum Birdcage Elevator - Victoria, British Columbia

Maritime Museum Birdcage Elevator – Victoria, British Columbia

Built in 1899, the lift at this Victoria museum is North America’s oldest operating birdcage elevator. As the museum once housed the Provincial Law Courts, the elevator was originally designed for use by Theodore Davie, the second Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, who at the time was suffering from advanced heart disease. Davie unfortunately passed away before he could ever use it. Though it was constructed well over a century ago, the elevator’s gold exterior and blue grillwork has been meticulously maintained and the ride still a surprisingly smooth one.

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SkyView - Stockholm, Sweden

SkyView – Stockholm, Sweden

Aptly named, this elevator offers an incredible view of the sky. The two glass gondolas travel up two sets of rails on the exterior of the world’s largest spherical building, the Ericsson Globe, carrying passengers to the top of the structure at 130 metres above sea level.

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Hammetschwand Lift - Bürgenstock, Switzerland

Hammetschwand Lift – Bürgenstock, Switzerland

It’s the highest exterior elevator in Europe, whisking passengers along a vertical rock face 153 metres up to the summit of the Hammetschwand in less than one minute. No doubt, taking the lift guarantees stunning views of the Swiss Alps and Lake Lucerne. 

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Louvre Museum - Paris, France

Louvre Museum – Paris, France

The open-topped lift at this world-renown central Parisian landmark is hydraulically powered, so guests move in and out of the museum in smooth and quiet fashion. Once the circular platform comes to a rest, a slide-out walkway appears for guests to board and disembark. Now, which way to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting? 

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Lloyd's Building - London, UK

Lloyd’s Building – London, UK

Nicknamed the “Inside-Out Building”, the headquarters of insurance institution Lloyd’s of London is a bold architectural design that has been built specifically with staircases, electrical power conduits and water pipes on the exterior so as to maximize the interior space. Also located on the outside of the building are 12 glass elevators, which were the first of their kind in the United Kingdom. We suspect that employees of Lloyd’s are well-dressed, since they ride the lifts up and down throughout the day in plain view of everyone in the financial district.

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Gateway Arch - Missouri, USA

Gateway Arch – Missouri, USA

The 192-metre-high stainless steel arch is the tallest man-made monument in the United States and the world’s tallest arch. Enjoy a spectacular view of St. Louis by riding to the top of the arch in one of two trams. With one in each “leg” of the arch, the tram consists of a chain of eight egg-shaped compartments that swing like Ferris-wheel cars as they transport passengers, ascending to the top in four minutes and descending to the bottom in three minutes.

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Taipei 101 - Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei 101 – Taipei, Taiwan

Want to ride an elevator that feels like a racing car? The elevators at the Taipei 101 tower will do just that. The 508-metre, 101-storey building has 67 elevators, but it’s the two elevators to the observation deck that thrill-seekers will want to check out. The elevators were designed to take visitors from the fifth floor to the 89th-floor observatory in only 37 seconds, at a whopping speed of 1,010 metres per minute or 60.6 kilometres per hour.

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Westin St. Francis Hotel - San Francisco, California, USA

Westin St. Francis Hotel – San Francisco, California, USA

Located in downtown San Francisco, this hotel’s five glass exterior elevators take passengers up 32 floors at 305 metres per minute. If you can stomach the ride, you’ll be treated to a gorgeous, unparalleled view of the city in less than half a minute. However, do note that if you want to experience the thrill, you’ll have to book a stay at the hotel as the elevators can only be accessed by a guest room key card.