Los Angeles is a city known world-wide for movies, music, culture and its vibrant history. It is also known world-wide as a tourist destination, with iconic locations such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Getty Museum, Griffith Park, the Hollywood Sign, Venice Beach, Universal Studios, Disneyland, along with a plethora of other spots too numerous to mention. And, as of June 2016, Los Angeles has a new and “extreme” tourist attraction located in the heart of the city in the U.S. Bank Tower, the OUE Skyspace and OUE Skyslide. Since 1989, the U.S. Bank Tower has been one of the signature skyscrapers of the Los Angeles skyline, and at 1,018 feet in height, has been the tallest building in California – and West of the Mississippi since its completion. Movie buffs will also remember that the building was the main target of the aliens in Independence Day on the west coast.
In 2013, the building was acquired by OUE, which sought to address the slumping occupancy rate of the building by designing an attraction that would encourage visitors. After considering a number of ideas, the company settled on a glass slide that would connect observation decks on the 70th and 69th floors of the building. In part designed by NASA, the Skyslide is made of glass that is 1.25 inches thick, and is forty-five feet (45) long, which provides views of the Los Angeles basin and the streets of Los Angeles some 1,000 feet below.
Along with the Skyslide, which opened on June 25, 2016, OUE also opened two external platforms on the 69th Floor of the building that provide a three hundred and sixty degree view of the city, with binoculars, and an internal viewing platform on the 70th Floor. Additionally, part of the 54th Floor is occupied by various items, including a large curved movie screen featuring footage of the Los Angeles basin. The viewing platforms on the 69th and 70th floors and the items on the 54th Floor comprise the “Skyspace”. Over Fourth of July weekend, I had the opportunity to check out both the Skyspace and the Skyslide, and my thoughts are as follows:
Skyslide: Without a doubt, the slide is the signature attraction of the space. It has been touted by OUE as being the only one in the world, which is indisputable. However, after viewing it – and experiencing it, I can’t help but think it is the only one in the world for now. In order to get to it, one has to get through the 54th Floor and 70th Floor Skyspace attractions, which I’ll discuss below. Upon arriving at the 70th Floor for the slide itself, one is greeted with a standard Los Angeles attraction: a long line.
Snarky comments aside, the line moves at a decent clip especially when one considers that there is only one slide that takes a single rider at a time. Upon arriving at the end of the line, one gets a good look at the slide, which in many respects looks more like a tube, and riders descending it – or descending it with some encouragement. To head on down the slide, one has to ride on a carpet, which I’m sure has some sort of special term, but is really just a carpet, and is similar to other slide-type rides which grace the Los Angeles County and San Diego County Fairs.
The view from the slide is really the selling point, and one which apparently gave some riders in front of me pause. Having been on many high-glass-floor type attractions in the past, and having no fear of heights, I was nonplussed at the “drop”, but did appreciate the extremely girly scream that the man in front of me provided when pushed down. When it was my turn, I took a moment to take in the view before heading down, which was good, because while forty-five feet sounds like an impressive distance, in slide time it amounts to approximately 3-5 seconds. Before I knew it, I was on the safety pads on the 69th Floor. Given how short the slide is, I now see why OUE sells multiple ride packages, but for me, waiting in line, and descending the slide once was enough. Along with the rest of my group, I spent a great deal of time admiring the views from the exterior platforms on the 69th Floor. Was it unique? Yes. Was it fun? Most definitely. Would I do it again? Unsure, but I wouldn’t rule it out if I was going to be in Los Angeles and had some time to kill. Is it worth doing? Definitely!
Skyspace: As I talked about above, the 54th Floor, the 69th Floor platforms, and the 70th floor areas all have a number of attractions, including the aforementioned views. While fun, in my opinion, there is no reason to visit the Skyspace without going on the Skyslide, unless one is afraid of heights, tight spaces, or glass slides. It’s my understanding that OUE plans to expand the items in these spaces, but as of July 2016 has not done so yet.
Tips: Although the website doesn’t mention it, children under five can ride the slide with an adult. While I was given a number of disclaimers, there was no waiver, and no cost for my son to ride with me. During the slide, I felt he and I were perfectly safe and nothing bad happened to him, but obviously, every parent should make this determination on their own depending on their comfort level, their child’s comfort level, and the age of the child. Also, while it should be obvious, I’ll say it anyways: if you don’t like slides, heights, tight spaces, lines, people, or fast elevators to the top of a building, this attraction is not for you.
Cost: The sad truth about Los Angeles is that almost nothing is free, and in a city where Disneyland raises its prices yearly, almost everything has some sort of perceived excessive cost. To ride the Skyslide requires paying two fees: a Skyspace entrance fee (which allows one access to the 54th, 69th, and 70th floors); and a Skyslide ticket. While there are various ticket packages with increasing costs, to ride the slide and go through Skyspace costs $33.00 for adults, $30.00 for seniors, and $27.00 for children ages 5-12. I don’t generally breakdown attractions based on cost(s), because in my opinion, if it’s something one wants to do, the cost is somewhat immaterial. In this case, in 2016, you get to slide down the outside of a building, which is a one-of-a-kind experience. For me, that makes it worthwhile, and fun, but as always, may not be for everyone. If you do go, be sure to enjoy the Death Star-reactor-room-esqe glass floor on the 54th floor, and have a good time overall. For a video of the experience, check out this here from my good friend California Through My Lens.