The distinctive U.S. Bank Tower is the tallest building in town (at least until next year), and now new owner OUE has opened Skyspace, an attraction that includes Skyslide, a 45-foot-long, glass-and-steel tube that winds around the outside of the building and shooshes you from the 70th floor to the 69th.
But at a non-negotiable $25 for adult access to the Observation Deck and then an extra $8 for the Skyslide itself (that’s $33 in all, and of course there are other, more expensive packages available), it's a pricey proposition. Decks like this at One World Trade Center in New York, Willis Tower (aka Sears Tower) in Chicago and the Shard in London charge about the same. And the Skywalk over the Grand Canyon is even more expensive.
“But this has a slide! It’s 1,000 feet high!” says the eternal child in all of us. “Yes,” replies the sensible adult, “but is the ride worth it?”
There’s no question that the views from the Observation Deck on the 70th floor are stunning. It’s 360-degree-tastic and really shows you an L.A. you haven’t seen before — hospital helipads on the tall buildings, splashes of bright color from the rooftop swimming pools and eye-catching public art in the city's parks. It takes a moment to even recognize some famous buildings and, hell, it even makes Pershing Square look amazing!
You easily pick out MacArthur Park, Dodger Stadium, the Hollywood Sign, Glendale and everything else within a huge radius, too (and it makes LAPD helicopters look like toy drones), so it’s for sure worth a visit, as it runs rings around any of the more glamorous lookout points, such as the rotating lounge atop the Westin Bonaventure, which from this height looks even more like a landing point for the inevitable alien invasion.
As for the Skyslide, it’s definitely a journey — to get to, at least.
First visitors step into a Vegas-meets–Art Deco–styled elevator to get up to floor 54, a waiting/holding area where large screens show time-lapse shots of the view across L.A. Then there’s a neon-lit hole that looks as if it goes to the center of the Earth, and an interactive digi-display that turns your silhouette into color bubbles and then whirls you away to nothingness. It makes you feel high in more ways than one.
But that’s all pregame for the Skyslide, which, after another elevator trip up to the 70th floor, certainly looks worrisome when you step up and grab your gray mat. The glass is only an inch or so thick, and you can see the streets and the tiny bug people far, far below. More than that, the slide curves away soon after you launch, so you don’t know how far (or how long) this ride is going to take you.
In fact, the ride takes about four seconds or so, barely enough time to grab a look at what’s below, though there's plenty of time to scream. Before you know it, you're concentrating on not face-planting onto or rolling off of what looks like the high school gym mat that’s at the bottom. And then it’s over.
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Dollar for second, it probably costs the same as a ride in a Learjet. The only other thing like it downtown is the observation deck at City Hall; although that’s free to enter, it’s nowhere near as social media–friendly.
So is the Skyslide worth visiting more than once? OUE is betting big that it is. Angelenos who've already visited might return with out-of-towners to grab a cocktail and look out at the sunset — and then, of course, once you’ve had a couple of drinks, a second eight-buck trip down this Skyslide seems all the more appealing.