There's always something going on at the Stratosphere, which is conveniently situated between downtown Las Vegas and the Strip. The resort, which boasts the tallest freestanding tower in the United States, is also home to several great restaurants, two enjoyable shows, plenty of shops and four heart-stopping thrill rides.At 1,149 feet, the Stratosphere Tower dwarfs everything else in the city. Since it extends to such a great height, it's visible from nearly every vantage point in Las Vegas. So you can just imagine the extraordinary perspective you'll have when looking down upon the entire valley from the top. In less than 40 seconds, high-speed elevators will take you to the 109th floor, where there's an indoor and outdoor observation deck.It's hard to believe four thrill rides and the Air Bar -- as you may find you need a drink! -- are also located here. Screams of terror as well as delight can be heard coming from X-Scream (something of a giant teeter totter), Insanity (a chaotic spinning ride) and SkyJump (a cable-controlled freefall). The Big Shot, a fearsome ride that shoots straight up into the air and then drops back down to the launch pad, somehow temporarily eliminates the feeling of gravity.A safer and saner way to enjoy the tower is with a fine meal in the Top of the World restaurant. One of Las Vegas' premier gourmet rooms, it serves sophisticated cuisine impeccably paired with wine and complemented by a 360-degree view of the city -- because the floor makes a complete rotation every 80 minutes. If you just want to sip on a cocktail while taking in the extraordinary views, head up a floor to the Level 107 Lounge.Preparing eccellènte pasta and other Italian delights is the pride and joy of Fellini's Ristorante Italiano. Singing for your supper is all the rage at Roxy's Diner. The cool waitstaff in this nostalgic restaurant, known for its old-fashioned home cooking, often put on a show. Stop by McCall's Heartland Grill for a hearty mix of steak and seafood in a Midwestern-style restaurant. The Buffet -- with its array of cuisines, carving stations, a deli area and fresh-baked pastries -- is simply delicious at any time of the day. Or the Tower Pizzeria & Creamery is a great place to grab a quick slice and a scoop of ice cream.Through Dec. 20, 2014, Frankie Moreno and his 10-piece band create a party atmosphere each evening in the resort's main showroom with their undeniable musical talent, swagger and shots of Crown Royal whiskey. They play a captivating collection of classic covers and original hits. Moreno has also produced a show called "Pin Up." The swingin' production stars Claire Sinclair, a Playboy Playmate, and was choreographed by Lacey Schwimmer of "Dancing with the Stars."Open seasonally, summers at the Stratosphere are best spent at the Level 8 Pool, located on the eighth floor. In addition to a hot tub, poolside café and bar, you'll always find a game of water volleyball in session.For a more serious workout, check out the resort's 24-hour fitness center. Or do something wonderful for both your body and spirit by getting treatment, massage or facial at the Roni Josef International Salon & Spa. It's guaranteed to melt all your stresses away!For those who dream of shopping around the world, there's the Tower Shops with 32 stores and an eclectic mix of retail carts. Explore the avenues of Paris, the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and the ritzy neighborhoods of New York City at this unique retail complex that features replicated street scenes from those iconic shopping cities.About a mile from both the heart of the Strip and downtown, the Stratosphere offers visitors a convenient connection to all the action via The Deuce and the Strip and Downtown Express bus systems.No visit to Las Vegas would be complete without exploring the Stratosphere and its famous tower -- and staying here is even better. The resort is affordably priced and perfectly placed for a fantastic vacation!