Overview: For many of us when we think “Las Vegas,” our minds drift toward old-school Elvis impersonators, the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas, drive-up wedding venues, and even scenes from “The Hangover.” In reality, Sin City offers so much more than just a trip along the Strip these days. While Vegas’ nightclubs and glitzy casinos continue to draw weekend party seekers, the city’s more recent influx of gourmet restaurants, art venues, and Cirque du Soleil and headliner shows also attract music lovers, foodies, and culture hounds. Sitting alongside the likes of the MGM Grand, the Bellagio, Wynn, the Stratosphere, and the Venetian, some newer hotels on the Strip have taken the focus away from gambling and put it on stylish design. And downtown Las Vegas has come back to life with innovative development, hip spots such as the Downtown Container Park, a treasure trove of antique shops, and the resurgence of Fremont Street with attractions like the Fremont Experience. The city also pleases art enthusiasts with the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, and the Neon Museum. Plus adventurers looking to visit other Nevada attractions can take advantage of Vegas’ proximity to Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead, and the Grand Canyon for day trips into nature.
Currency: USD $
Time Zone: UTC (-08:00)
Country Code: +1
Best Time to Visit: Spring, Fall
When to Visit: With temperatures reaching more than 100 degrees in the summertime, spring allows Las Vegas travelers to enjoy the warmer weather while dodging the unbearable heat. Fall’s weather averages highs of about 67 degrees, which is perfect for outdoor activities such as golf or going to a minor league baseball game in Downtown Vegas.
Getting Around: Las Vegas’ can be easily covered by the city’s RTC bus routes, but if you’re sticking to the main drag, the Las Vegas Monorail runs adjacent to the Strip, and the inexpensive Las Vegas Deuce runs from the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas all the way to Mandalay Bay. Taxis and Uber are both efficient if you don’t mind the Vegas traffic, although Vegas taxi drivers, like those in other big cities, tend to drive a longer route to raise fare. If you hop in a cab, say you’re from the area and not to long haul you.
Tipping: If you’re gambling, give the dealer a toke (aka tip) of $5 for every $30 you've won from them, or if you’re at the slots, make sure to tip your cocktail server $1 per drink. Other than that, it’s recommended to tip 15–20% at restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
You Might Not Know...If you’re looking for something more family oriented or unexpected, hit up the Pinball Hall of Fame on East Tropicana Avenue, and then grab pizza and an old-fashioned milkshake at Metro Pizza.
Sure—the items in the showroom are for sale, but Rick’s Restorations is much more intriguing than your regular shopping experience. This Las Vegas gallery is the site of the TV show, “American Restoration,” where aging items are masterfully restored into vintage pieces of art. Run by Rick Dale—who also appears on “Pawn Stars”—Rick’s Restorations is serviced by a crew of colorful Vegas characters, some of whom you might recognize from the show as you tour the warehouse. While many places solely restore cars, Rick’s finds pieces of classic Americana and loving brings them back to life, whether it’s gumball machines, jukeboxes, soda fountains, or stoplights. When visiting the shop, you can simply tour the gallery floor and shop for pieces you like, or take a tour to hear the process that goes into the restoration. There are metal workers, polishers, woodworkers, and letterers who all work together to take a clunker and infuse it with shiny new life.
At the Mirage Hotel and Casino, where Siegfried & Roy started their famous animal show in 1990, the pair also opened the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in the same year. As the name suggests, there are two parts of the exhibit–one devoted to dolphins and the other to Seigfried's and Roy's beloved big cats.
Neither portion involves elaborate shows but they instead give visitors a chance to see the animals in a tropical environment. They sometimes play, but there are no tricks.not make them do tricks. In the Secret Garden, see white lions, panthers, leopards and tigers–both solid white tigers and white tigers with black stripes.
For an even more involved experience, you can sign up to be a “Trainer for a Day” and work with the staff and its dolphins. There are also VIP behind-the-scenes tours available.
Inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino is the Shark Reef Aquarium, showcasing more than 2,000 animals displayed in 14 different exhibits and almost 1.6 million gallons of water.
The Shark Reef Aquarium was designed to be a “total sensory experience,” and part of that is achieved by leading visitors through an acrylic tunnel with water nearly surrounding them. This exhibit alone includes 15 different species of sharks along with all the other sea life in the tank.
Other species in the aquarium include golden crocodiles, sea turtles and piranhas, none of which are included in the touching pools where visitors can find out what some of the other sea creatures feel like.
Ooking at the key stats that define Monte Carlo, it appears in many ways to be an average property in a sea of over-the-top, award-winning resorts, but its low-key vibe draws many people who prefer not to be swept up in the stereotypical Las Vegas madness.
Monte Carlo’s casino floor includes more than 100,000 square feet of gaming space, which includes more than 1,600 slot and video poker machines. The resort offers all the popular table games including blackjack, roulette, craps, several variations of poker and three kinds of baccarat. In the poker room, players can try their luck at Texas hold ‘em, limit hold ‘em, Omaha and no limit hold ‘em, and a variety of daily tournaments up the ante.
The resort’s high limit slots lounge is located off the casino floor and is fully catered. The maximum bet is $100. The high limit table game room offers mini baccarat with bets ranging from $100 to $10,000, blackjack running from $25 to $5,000 and single-zero roulette.
The Grand Canyon's West Rim, just outside Grand Canyon National Park, is home to the Havasupai and Hualapai tribes. The Hualapai Indian Reservation, created in 1883, covers nearly 1 million acres and includes 108 miles (173 km) of Colorado River and Grand Canyon frontage.
The West Rim area didn't really exist before 1988; that's when the 2,100 members of the Hualapai tribe decided to open their tribal lands to visitors. Since then the tribe has built some amazing features for visitors (notable the Grand Canyon Skywalk) and developed areas such as Guano Point and Eagle Point for their stunning canyon views.
The Grand Canyon West Rim is also home to Havasu Canyon. This mazelike canyon – filled with tall rock walls, cacti, cottonwood trees, and turquoise blue waterfalls – is a mecca for hikers. One of the highlights is the 8-mile (12 km) trek to the Supai Village, a must stop.
Of the two major rims of the Grand Canyon, many visitors choose the South Rim, which boasts easy access, the bulk of services, and the panoramic vistas for which the park is famous. Every summer, visitors throng the park's most popular rim, mainly to ogle its easily accessible dramatic, sweeping canyon views.
But the Grand Canyon South Rim is more then those spectacular canyon views. The first stop for many is Grand Canyon Village, which is filled with many historic buildings. Other historic highlights in the South Rim is Desert View Watchtower, which has one of the few views of the bottom of the Canyon and the Colorado River; Grand Canyon Railway Depot, built in 1909; and Bright Angel Lodge, a rustic lodge built of logs and stones.
For hikers, the Grand Canyon South Rim is where you'll find Bright Angel Trail, Rim Trail, and South Kaibab Trail - all of which offer the most dazzling views of the Grand Canyon.
The mighty Colorado River runs from northwestern Mexico through California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. The river is a spectacular sight to see, meandering for 1,447 miles (2,330 km) with red rocks and canyons framing it on both sides, leading up to the Hoover Dam. The Colorado River is one of the major water sources for California and Nevada, and not surprisingly it's a major recreational destination: activities on the river include hiking, biking, rafting and boating.
One of the ways that travelers most often come to see the Colorado River is by visiting the Black Canyon, so-called because of the black volcanic rocks found in the area. The canyons are majestic, red land formations that lead from Colorado towards the Hoover Dam in Nevada. Boating and canoeing down the Colorado River are popular activities in the Black Canyon.
There's more to do in Las Vegas than hit the slots. Take a short trip to Jean, Nevada, and escape the bright lights and take a ride through the desert in an ATV!
Once you're in Jean, you can cruise through the surrealist scape of the sand dunes of Jean Dry Lake. Set out on an adventure through rugged desert and mountain terrain. Travel through historic Hidden Valley, extinct lava beds, Roach dry lake and then enter the rugged McCullough Mountain Range. With the astonishing views of mountains and canyons around you, you'll feel like you're one with the desert on your ATV exploration. Then, make your way to the Hidden Valley National Monument Overlook for unprecedented vistas of the surrounding desert.
With its sharp craggy mountains, deep canyons and desert basins, you won't believe that Sin City is only a few hours away from the deserted, dramatic and often surreal scenery of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
There are many activities to do around and on Lake Mead; it's a peaceful and beautiful place to bike, kayak, water ski, camp, fish and hike. You can also scuba dive or go for a swim in one of the surrounding lakes.
Lake Mead and Lake Mojave are the two main destinations in the Lake Mead Recreation Area. Lake Mead is 110 miles (177 km) long and Lake Mojave is 67 miles (107 km) long. Because of their size, both are major destinations for boaters. The surrounding beaches, marinas, and campgrounds make the surrounding area popular for boater and non-boaters.
Bryce Canyon is the culmination of a series of steplike uplifted rock layers known as the Grand Staircase, stretching north from the Grand Canyon. The park's Pink Cliffs formations are crammed full of wonderful pinnacles, steeples and spires, and weird geological creations called 'hoodoos' sculpted by wind, water and ice.
It may be called a canyon, but Bryce is actually more a series of natural amphitheaters formed by erosion over the millennia. The wind and rain have peeled back the sedimentary layers to reveal stripes of red, orange and white, at heights of around 9,000 feet (2,700 m).
Being more remote than the Grand Canyon or Zion National Park, a visit to this far-flung natural gem rewards you with a true sense of wilderness in its pristine glory.
The Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest state park. Covering over 34,880 acres with red-rock sandstone formations is the ultimate hiking destination.
Highlights of the Valley of Fire include Atlatl Rock and Fir Canyon. At Atlatl Rock, examine ancient petroglyphs, dating back thousands of years and created by the Moapa tribe. Then, take a 3-mile (4.8 km) hike through Fir Canyon, starting at Rainbow Vista, where you’ll see the lighting against the sandstone and understand why the park got its name, Valley of Fire.
Picnicking, hiking, and camping are all popular activities in the Valley of Fire. Not only is the landscape impressive and attract visitors world-wide, but the Valley of Fire houses some of the rarest vegetation and wildlife in the country.
One of the best ways to experience the Black Canyon and the Colorado River is to take a guided rafting tour led by experienced professionals versed in the local geology, flora, fauna, and folklore.
Many tours offer a full day of sightseeing along the calm waters of Lake Mead and the Colorado River, complete with complimentary box lunches and transportation to and from the area.
Another popular way to take in the area is via helicopter tours operating out of Las Vegas. Select tours ferry you to the canyon in helicopters, where you'll embark on a mellow rafting trip from the base of the damn downriver to vans or buses waiting to return you to your hotel. The trip includes beautiful views of the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, and its surroundings.
Travelers can also opt for a helicopter tour that involves a touchdown in the Grand Canyon, where you'll indulge in a champagne breakfast before flying to historic Boulder City and proceeding with the rafting trip.
For a wedding experience that is anything but prim and proper, the Graceland Wedding Chapel is just the thing. It's one of the oldest wedding chapels in Las Vegas (55 years and counting).
It's also the home of the 'original' Elvis impersonator wedding. Nowadays the Graceland Wedding Chapel hosts celebrity weddings and plenty of Elvis-themed nuptials.
You don’t have to travel to Africa to get up close and personal with the King of the Jungle. Lion Habitat Ranch, located just outside Sin City, offers up the unique opportunity for travelers to experience the wonder of one of the world’s biggest cats.
Take a behind the scenes tour of this family-oriented, outdoor destination to learn more about conservation efforts to protect these and other wild animals. For an additional fee, hand-feed giraffes or lions a pound of their favorite foods, or enjoy a picnic lunch in a protected enclosure while these giant cats wander around you. While lions are the big draw of this popular attraction, travelers will also find emus, ostriches, parrots, giraffes and other animals in this protected habitat.
State Route 375 is an actual state highway in Nevada, but because of its proximity to Area 51, it's been officially designated by Nevada as the Extraterrestrial Highway. The strip is 98 miles long, connecting State Route 318 to U.S. Route 6, and running through what is basically empty desert. The area became a tourist destination because it's close to Area 51, the highly secret military base about which there are innumerable stories about aliens and UFOs, so in 1996 the state renamed the highway.
To learn more about the area's history, head for the tiny town of Rachel, roughly in the middle of the 98-mile stretch of highway, where everything is about aliens. There are Area 51 tours that include the Extraterrestrial Highway and Rachel.
Las Vegas has more than just a Hard Rock Cafe – there's also the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the first one to bore the Hard Rock name, which has its own cafe. The hotel's cafe opened in 1990, and the entire property features a huge casino, a sandy beach and swimming pool, a nightclub, a spa, a few bars, several restaurants, and a music venue. The memorabilia on display includes some items from Las Vegas legends The Rat Pack and Elvis.
A second Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas opened in 2009 right on The Strip. This one is significantly larger – 42,000 square feet – and spans three floors of restaurant seating. It's also home to the biggest Rock Shop in the Hard Rock Cafe universe.
Filled with craters, abstract land formations, canyons, mountains and desert, Death Valley isn't considered 'A Land of the Extremes' for nothing. With activities like hiking, biking, camping, or bird watching, you can reconnect with nature like you never have before.
The Furnace Creek Area is one of the highlights of Death Valley National Park. The Furnace Creek Area features the Golden Canyon, the Natural Bridge, a massive rock formation spanning across a desert canyon, and the infamous Bad Water, a series of salt flats making up the lowest point in North America at 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. Ironically, Bad Water is only 76 miles (122 km) east of Mt Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States at 14,505 feet (4,421 m).
Other highlights include the Stovepipe Wells Area, Scotty's Castle Area and the Panamint Spring Area.