By James Drakeford
Posted: 24th July 2012 14:22
With spontaneous weddings, free-flowing alcohol and mega-casino resorts it is little wonder Las Vegas has gained the nickname Sin City. Decorated in dazzling neon lights this fantasy-land is truly an adult’s playground. Relax your morals (slightly) and enter the Entertainment Capital of the World.
Whether you are a staying guest at the hotel or an intrigued visitor, the Bellagio offers an action packed adventure. Splendour at the Gallery of Fine Art collection ranging from Claude Monet to Andy Warhol, marvel at Bellagio’s fascinating lake as it throws up entrancing fountain displays choreographed to music from Pavarotti to Sinatra and continue along a romantic theme with a stroll around the enchanting botanical gardens. Round your evening off by catching the ‘O’ Cirque du Soleil show. Performed twice nightly Wednesday – Sunday, this breathtaking experience is packed with an aquatic tapestry of artistry, surrealism and theatrical romance.
There are more than 100 casinos vying for your attention in Las Vegas, enticing you with their bright lights and promises of big windfalls. The grandest of them all is the majestic Caesars Palace casino spanning 129,000 square foot offering table games, slots, poker and keno. If the chips are down and Lady Luck is out, why not try your hand elsewhere with a visit to the Golden Nugget Hotel. Visitors can see the world’s largest gold nugget on display at the back of the casino while residents of this legendary venue can enjoy the thrill of embarking on a waterslide that runs through a central shark tank. Scary.
Catch a Show
From Elvis Pressley and Tom Jones in the 1960s through to the current crop of superstars – everyone who’s anyone has had a residency in Las Vegas. Whatever music takes your fancy there will be something that grabs you. Catch Purple Rain hit-maker Prince every Friday and Saturday night at the Rio Grand Hotel, or if you want to hear the ‘Great American Songbook’ Rod Stewart is your man. Other household names on offer include Donny & Marie Osmond, Cee Lo Green, Elton John, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Deadmau5 and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Red Rock Canyon
Leave the hubbub of the Las Vegas Boulevard and take a 15 minute drive out west where you will find a vast arid desert featuring the Red Rock Canyon. A haven for adventure seekers and nature lovers, visitors can combine more than 30 miles of hiking trails with rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking or nature observing at Nevada’s first designated National Conservation Area. You will be sure to spot many fascinating creatures along your way as thousands of different plant and animal life make up the character of this unique destination with our favourites including the desert turtle, gila monster, tarantula wasp and the colourful Anna’s Hummingbird.
Although it is roughly 250 miles away, the Grand Canyon makes the perfect day trip. Often referred to as the ‘grandest canyon of them all’ this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a geologists dream. The gorge is a massive 277 miles long and 18 miles wide, with a depth of over 1.14 miles. Rock layers that are more than a billion years old are exposed through weathering and erosion, while the canyon is almost perfectly preserved showing little sign of wear and tear.
The journey here alone is one of fascinating beauty as you drive directly over the Hoover Dam and pass through the scenic desert. While nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming experience ahead, this route sets the mood nicely.
The contrast between the bustling commercial strip on the Las Vegas Boulevard and the nearby vacuous desert landscape is simply mesmerising. Combine the two experiences for a unique vacation and enjoy two distinctly different interpretations of the word ‘adventure’.
WHERE TO STAY: New York New York
Stay in the Big Apple itself. Well, not quite New York but it is as close as they come. This resort contains a scaled-down version of a dozen famous landmarks including a mini-New York Harbour, complete with tugboats, the Brooklyn Bridge, a giant Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Built at a cost of $460 million, it’s been called the largest piece of pop art in the world.
WHERE TO EAT: The Peppermill Restaurant and Lounge
Even though the menu is blandly American with its array of burgers and steaks, we would still recommend a visit to The Peppermill Restaurant and Lounge. Known for the seats around the combination firepit-fountain and for the luxuriant dresses worn by the waitresses come here to enjoy a classic and cool atmosphere or perhaps to sink a trademark cocktail or two.
WHAT TO DO: National Finals Rodeo
Forget basketball, baseball and even American football, the most prominent sporting event in this city is the finals of the annual Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit. The event is held over 10 days in December, just off the Strip at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus.