Viva Las Vegas!
Updated: Mar 30
Mention Las Vegas and you can almost feel the excitement of the Strip, see the showgirls and hear the ka-ching of the slots. Its world-class resorts, bustling casinos and spectacular shows are legendary. But listen, do you want to know a secret? Its natural beauty is astounding. Ruby red cliffs, rolling greens and tranquil lakes hug the city and invite hiking, boating, fishing and golf. From the mountainside to the water's edge - to center stage - Vegas is a show-stopper indoors and out.
Fun at First Sight
One of the most exciting, and by the way, free things to do in this fascinating city is people watch. With the cross-section of visitors and celebrities that frequent Vegas, it's usually prime-time entertainment. And there's no better spot to partake than Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas resort. This French bistro is not only right on the Strip, but it’s also directly across the street from the Bellagio fountains, which present a choreographed water show like none other. Another great spot to just grab a bite and observe your surroundings is PBR Rock Bar & Grill at Planet Hollywood, where you can at once scan the Bellagio, the Strip and CityCenter – a spectacular collection of hotels and residences, world-class spas, fine dining and upscale shopping.
Puttin’ on the Glitz
There's always something to see in Vegas: music concerts, variety shows, plays, musicals and more. From the magic of David Copperfield and the comedy of Whoopi Goldberg to Celine Dion’s lilting tunes, you’ll find your favorite entertainers headlining here. Search for shows during your stay, or plan ahead to catch that can't-miss event. In addition to seasonal spectacles, there are seven permanent shows on the Strip, including the heralded "O" at the Bellagio, "Ka" at MGM Grand, Viva Elvis at Aria and Mystere at Treasure Island, all by Cirque du Soleil. After the show, sample a little gaming. Even if gambling is not normally in the cards for you, if this is your first time in town, you almost have to give it a whirl. Many hotels offer free lessons for novices.
From championship fights to celebrity golf, Las Vegas is home to some of the world’s most notable sporting events. The city has showcased some of our most recognizable boxing heroes, including Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Marciano. Fans of golf won’t want to miss The Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament, which makes its debut this year in Vegas at the prestigious Shadow Creek Golf Course. The four-day tournament and celebration, which boasts incredible parties, A-list entertainment and competitive golf, is recognized as one of the best events of its kind, having attracted sports legends including Wayne Gretzky, Charles Barkley and Julius “Dr. J” Erving and entertainment personalities such as Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell and Don Cheadle.
All You Can Eat
Used to be Vegas was famous for buffets. Nowadays it's more about celebrity chefs, but if you’re a first time visitor, a buffet is definitely in order. The Buffet at the Bellagio will please your palate with international selections, while Cravings Buffet at The Mirage offers 11 live cooking stations. But don't eat too much! Part of any first trip to Vegas should include staying out all night and eating breakfast before you head back to the room. Speaking of the room, a first-timer should consider staying at Caesars Palace, the birthplace of many a Las Vegas legend: Evel Kneivel, Muhammad Ali and Rain Man to name a few. Caesars is classic Las Vegas.
The Great Outdoors
There's more to Vegas than downtown’s glitz and glamour. If you like hiking, camping, canoeing or just being in the great outdoors, you’ll discover few places as untouched as some of the canyons, desert and mountains that surround the city. There’s nothing quite like gliding over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter. You’ll get a thrilling bird’s eye view of the Colorado River flowing restlessly between the canyon’s dramatic rocks and verdant forests. Some tours land at the bottom in rustic Havasupai Village, where you can hike to another of nature’s magnificent displays… the powerful gushes of Havasu Falls. From seeing the marvel that is Hoover Dam to hiking Red Rock Canyon to swimming and boating in Lake Mead, the area is a naturalist’s wonderland and a breath of fresh air.
Travel surveys consistently reveal that Las Vegas is the number one vacation spot in the United States, with more than 37 million visitors a year. Not only is it one of the world’s most beloved destinations, it’s an icon of American culture; a Dream Vacation that everyone should experience. Because when it comes to having fun in Vegas, you’re always in luck.
· There are an average of 315 weddings A DAY in Las Vegas.
· There are 15,000 miles of lighted neon tubing on the Strip and downtown.
· Howard Hughes stayed at the Desert Inn for so long that he was asked to leave. He bought the hotel.
Written by Lisa Codianne Fowler for Grand Getaways