Las Vegas is many things to many people, which makes it a great travel destination. With a culture all of its own, the city of sin has just about everything to offer the traveller who’s willing to pay for it. While the top three reasons to visit are gambling, food and shows, there’s plenty more to do out in this desert oasis. Here are our top ten things to do in Vegas.
You won’t find anywhere else in the world that offers more opportunity to gamble than Las Vegas. From one-armed bandits (a.k.a. slot machines) to the World Series of poker, and everything in between, Vegas gives you the opportunity to bet on machines, cards, dice and every sport imaginable, in real time.
As a traveller looking to gamble, you’ll find yourself somewhere on “the strip” — seven miles of street containing the biggest casinos in the world. As a general rule, the fancier the casino, the higher the minimum bets at the tables. If you want to gamble but don’t want to put as much money at risk, consider one of the “off-strip” casinos or even head downtown to where Vegas got started, and play at one of the older Vegas casinos like Binion’s Horseshoe.
You would be hard-pressed to find a city with more culinary options than Las Vegas. Each major hotel/casino offers a different buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and also has multiple restaurants ranging from burger joints to Michelin-rated restaurants.
Some of my favourites include Lotus of Siam, an outstanding Thai restaurant if you’re willing to get off the strip; and Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, located in Ceasar’s Palace, which is a bit pricy but great if you’re willing to splurge. If you want to try a buffet (and you should do so at least once while you’re there), I’d suggest the dinner buffet at the Paris Casino, which serves food from five different regions of France.
3. See a show
You simply can’t leave Vegas without having gone to a show. Whether you’re into musical acts, magicians, circus troupes or want a variety of everything, there will be something on offer that will interest you. Although the tickets aren’t necessarily cheap, the show will be amazing. I’d recommend the Penn & Teller show, or anything by Cirque de Soleil.
An important holiday activity for many travellers is shopping, and this could be considered a shopper’s paradise if ever there was one. Most of the major casinos have the equivalent of a small shopping mall under their roof, or you could visit the actual Vegas strip mall. Even if you don’t have money to spend on extravagant souvenirs, window-shopping here is like walking down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
Who doesn’t like a little pampering? Most of the hotels along the strip offer some form of spa package. The beauty of having options is if you don’t like what your hotel offers, or they’re full, you can usually just go next door or across the street. There are also dozens of spas off the strip as well, so don’t wait to book that massage!
The pools at some of the hotels are another major draw for some people. If you’ll be in Vegas while it’s hot, make sure you look at the pool options when booking your hotel. The Mandalay Bay hotel pool has a wave machine while the Hard Rock hosts a pool party on Sundays that is infamous.
Speaking of parties, one thing on many a to-do list is to hit the clubs. There are far too many clubs available to list, with each usually offering something a little different on different nights of the week. The best bet is to do a little research into what’s available in accordance with the kind of music and scene you’re into. Don’t forget to dress the part.
8. Play golf
Vegas is really an adult playground with many options available outside of the casinos as well. One item on your list might be to spend the day at a local golf course and enjoy the Las Vegas golf scene. Some of the golf courses are so popular, they’ve hosted some big-money golf tournaments (and you’d expect nothing less from Vegas!). If the weather is nice, why not spend the day soaking up the sun before a night out on the town?
One option some friends of mine did during a bachelor party was to head to The Gun Store and fire off some guns. One of the few stores in the country that will let you “shoot a real machine gun”, this store is just one example of some of the crazy options available to you if you step outside the gambling mindset.
Another option for play off the strip isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’ve got the money to spend, you can rent a high-end car from Dream Car Rentals for half a day and drive the desert roads around Vegas. A Ferrari F-348 Spider will set you back $550/day, and a Lamborghini Gallardo is only $1159. Just watch out for the cops, and drive safe.
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