Las Vegas! The land that never sleeps. The place where (almost) anything goes. The absolute opposite of slow travel, but one I wanted to share with you anyway. It was the destination that my husband picked for his 40th birthday! We had set off for our five night jaunt in the October following his birthday in June. Now, I need to share with you in the interest of full disclosure, I really didn’t fancy Las Vegas at all. It just didn’t appeal to me. Nik was excited and constantly shouted “Vegas Baby” at me really annoyingly, whenever I had a little moan about it. He wasn’t helping with my mood about going! After chatting about a rough itinerary, that we really couldn’t agree on, we reached a compromise. I knew I didn’t want to do lots of gambling. Nik knew he wanted to jump right in to the full colour of Sin City, so we looked at things to do in Vegas that suited us both!
I had always seen Vegas as a boys playground, not really for me. I was wrong! It was so much more than what I thought! My preconceptions were off! Of course you have the famous casinos, the eye wateringly amazing shopping, the showgirls wandering around the streets, but we also found some different things to do in Sin City. There are genuinely, about a million things to do in Las Vegas and we can’t possibly chat about them all! It is also ever changing, so what I thought I would do, is tell you about some of the tried and tested activities that we enjoyed. Having now visited, my mind has changed a little. I think everyone should visit Vegas once in their lives. Just to experience it. So, let me share with you twelve things to do in Vegas (that don’t involve gambling).
Nik, my husband, had set his sights set on staying in The Belagio in Las Vegas since he saw the Oceans 11 film. Im not sure if he saw himself as a Brad Pitt or a George Clooney type character, but never fear, I set him right on that little nugget…… I have to say, I am so glad that we stayed in this iconic hotel. It was the epitome of old school glamour, and we loved it. It felt very special to stay here, and it will remain one of my most favourite hotels. This landmark Hotel is where we are going to start off with these twelve things to do in Vegas;
Vegas Baby! – Things to do in Vegas
Watch the Bellagio Fountains – I know that may sound strange. They are just water fountains after all. But, I promise you, you have to see them. The fountains are perfectly timed to “dance” to the music accompanying them. We stood and watched as they swayed and moved to an old Rat Pack compilation. It was so beautiful I found it really emotional! It transported me back to being in my Nan and Grandad’s kitchen, Sunday roast being cooked and my Grandad leading my Nan in a dance. Beautiful memories and a wonderful back drop to induce them.
Go to See O in the Bellagio Theatre – Seriously. This show just blew us away. It is a Cirque Du Soleil show, and is just spectacular. I do not think Nik and I said a word to each other the entire show, we were so enraptured. It can only be shown at The Bellagio as the stage has been adapted for the water scenes. It is not cheap, prices start at around £130 a ticket, but Cirque Du Soleil O will leave you mesmerised.
Foodie Tour of Downtown Las Vegas – If you want to be taken to the best farm-to-table type restaurants, with a whole lot of vibrancy, you will love this. Downtown Las Vegas has seen a huge regeneration over the last few years. Some of the best celebrity chefs of the area will be creating the dishes on this tour. A great treat for foodies. You can also upgrade your tour to have bespoke cocktails included…..just sayin……
Fire Guns at The Vegas Gun Store – Nik was desperate to do this. Nik and our boys are the member of a gun club, and go clay pigeon shooting often (never anything live, you know I would never allow that). The famous Vegas gun store in Vegas allows people to shoot guns that are illegal to shoot anywhere else. We took a bus from the strip, (about a 40 minute bus ride) and Nik went and played guns for a morning. Boys!
Rollercoaster off the side of the Stratosphere – I have to admit, I was never going to be getting in that rollercoaster. It was enough that I went up to the top viewing deck of the Stratosphere tower. I am terrified of heights! It was totally worth going up for the views, but rollercoaster? No way! Nik was alone on that one. I was happy watching all the lunatics, sipping my bottle of Bud. Taking the trip up to the top of the Stratosphere is a must if you visit Vegas though and is pretty reasonable to do, around £15-£20 .
High Roller at The LINQ – This was not an option when we were in Vegas, but looks amazing! The worlds largest observation wheel, the views of downtown vegas from The Linq High Roller are unmatched anywhere else. Your 30 minute ride in your pod also gives you access to the bar! Happy hour in your pod. So Vegas!
Do a Helicopter Ride To the Grand Canyon – Ohhh this is a must do. There are lots of options when it comes to taking this trip. Some are just a couple of hours and some are a full day. We opted for the trip that included a champagne picnic at the bottom of the canyon. It was amazing to fly down into the belly of the canyon. I had seen photos of it, but they do not ever do its sheer size justice. On our trip, as you flew over to the canyon, you flew over the Hoover Dam which I thought was an amazing sight.
When we left the canyon to travel back to the strip, we left just before sunset. This again was a great move on our part as you got to see the stunning sight of the sun setting out over the desert, from the air. The timing was so perfect! It also meant that when you reached the strip, the sun had set fully and you were treated to the strip lit up in true Vegas style. The inky black of the sky allowed the lights and neon of Vegas to shine like a multi coloured beacon guiding you back. Vegas by night, and from the air, is so worth paying the extra for on a Grand Canyon trip.
Downtown Vegas Murals – If you are a fan of Street Art, you must head to view the talented displays in downtown Vegas. Walking alongside the brilliant art, is like wandering through an art gallery on a huge scale! The programme, Life is Beautiful Festival, has been going since 2013, and is constantly being updated and refreshed. A vibrant, colourful spectacular that will blow you away.
Take a Gondola in The Venetian – One of my favourite hotels in Vegas. The Venetian is one of the icons of the “themed hotels” era of Vegas. Nik and I used to go there every morning for tea and toast. Sitting beside the indoor lake, you could be forgiven for thinking you had hopped over to Venice for the day! It is expensive to ride a gondola, just as it is in Italy, but it’s a wonderful way to slow down and take a breath in this crazy town.
The Mob Museum – A look back over the truest sins of Sin City! This museum is aptly housed in an old courthouse that was home to many a famous hearing. It is now the holder of secrets from the mobster history, telling tales of bygone years. Taking you on a journey from when the City was under mob rule, and the battles law enforcement had to combat it. On view are a vintage electric chair, a piece of the St Valentines Day massacre wall, and you can even venture into a crime lab.
The Rio Wine Cellar – Said to be one of The Strip’s best kept secrets. If you are a fan of wine, you will be in heaven here! Situated below the Rio Hotel, the cellars are home to a $3,000,000 treasure trove of wine! With over 100 wines to try, you may or may not ever leave…..
Hotel Voyarism – Honestly, Nik and I spent much of each day just going into all the hotels! They have to be seen to be believed! The size of small cities themselves, each hotel has something spectacular to be awed by. It seems that there are bigger and better cropping up all the time, so there will be many that I have yet to venture into. As the Vegas skyline is said to be the fastest and ever changing, from one year to the next there will be a new hotel to wow you.
Thats my whistle stop tour of Las Vegas, and just some of the things you can do. Have you been to Sin City? Is it somewhere that appeals to you? Do you have a preconceived idea of what it would be like?It is a crazy, mad place, but as I say, somewhere that everyone should visit once! It is one of those places that seeing is believing!