5 things to do in Las Vegas (aside from clubbing and gambling)

The consequence of any long haul flight is not knowing what time of day it is, but luckily we arrived in a city where time simply doesn't matter. Las Vegas, ladies and gentlemen. Its reputation precedes itself; whether through first hand experience, stories you've heard or watching a bit of Bradley Cooper and co., I was certainly not prepared for how bonkers this place is - and I love it!  

Don't be fooled that Sin City is all betting, partying and the little white chapel. It is if you want it to be. As a Vegas Virgin travelling with a Vegas Veteran (well Mr A has been once before but V is a difficult word with which to achieve alliteration!!), I was so excited to 'pop my Vegas cherry' and experience all the cliche moments you see and hear on film, as well as giving the other half new memories. So, after four days in this adult Disneyland, here are my top 5 tips to maximise your time! 

1. The Welcome Sign
The one advantage of jet-lag is waking up early to explore and beat the heat. Or so we thought. It's August after all and we're in the middle of the friggin' desert. Leaving our hotel at the North end of the Las Vegas Boulevard and walking South past the iconic hotels is a ''must' in itself - The Venetian with its canals and gondolas, The Bellagio with its fountain show, Paris and the scaled Eiffel Tower and beyond to Lady Liberty at the New York New York, the MGM Grand, and the Luxor pyramid - it is the most incredible walk to take in the sights and sounds. You feel like you've walked through at least three countries and as we found out, it's well over 10,000 steps!
Only at 7am will you find The Venetian this quiet

Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge

New York New York

The Luxor: Walk like the Egyptians

In hindsight, probably should have taken a cab to the designated parking opposite the sign to avoid the flip flop burn (and heatstroke!). Quite a queue to wait out but us Brits are used to that(!) and had a lovely photographer who had pitched up to take everyone's pictures in exchange for tips. A welcome find to avoid the curse of the selfie double-chin! Time to strike a pose! 

2. Hit the shopping malls
If there's one thing (aside from gambling) Vegas does well, it's shopping. Countless number of malls line the strip and feature in the big hotels acting like a warp of both time and money. Ranging from your Chanel, Tom Ford and Pradas to your Kate Spade, Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria's Secret, there is everything you could possibly need or want. With our mindset being geared up to a daily budget and restricted to a backpack, it wasn't quite the environment for a luxury shopping sesh but that didn't stop us from looking and already planning a trip back with more disposable income (and hopefully a more favourable exchange rate!). A new brand I discovered, which has a Lulu Lemon or Sweaty Betty vibe, based out in California and Nevada called Lorna Jane Active Living. Seriously cool brand and lovely feminine sportswear. Check them out. Going to be stocking up when I'm back home!

3. Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour
Total bucket list material here. A pre-planned trip with Papillon Tours spanning 7 hours; a 4.45am pick-up, three helicopter flights, one riverboat cruise and a breath-taking skywalk tour. We booked the first flight of the day (6.30am) which given temperatures reaching in excess of 40 degrees was wise as it's totally uncovered and BOILING!!! Had an awesome female pilot (girl power) and we decided to pay an extra $100 to sit up front with her to get the most of the experience (although it sounds steep, particularly after forking out for the tour, I'd certainly say its value for money!). It was incredible having my first helicopter experience hovering over the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead before reaching the great expanse of the truly wonderful Grand Canyon. After soaring up to 5,000ft to enter the Canyon, there we descended below the rim to the Canyon floor to journey along the Colorado River by boat. From air and by sea, from above and beneath, the landscape is so breathtaking it's hard for the brain to compute. And if that's not enough to blow your mind, add into the equation the Skywalk - a U-shaped suspended bridge 4,000ft above the base - where you can stride out and feel your stomach drop as you peer through the glass floor!

As for this place and experience, the photos do better justice than I could with words...although I'll try with one: INCREDIBLE!! 

4. Pool Party
In mid-August temperatures, cooling down in the pool is much needed. But a quiet dip in the pool is not the Vegas way. Add a litre of frozen margarita, a DJ blaring out old school anthems and waitresses in (tiny) red bikinis and this, my friends, is the 'Vegas way' of chilling by the pool! Our hotel pool had a great atmosphere every day, although I hear some hotels have specific days for extra big and splashy parties, we were happy enough not to pay extra when we had all the entertainment on our doorstep. Even if you aren't in the party spirit (which is difficult when visiting Vegas), it's an amazing opportunity for people-watching and laughing at their drunken antics... Bikini clad slut drops at 2pm in the afternoon should come with parental advisory!!!

5. Take in a show
Forget Broadway, the sheer volume of shows available would probably require a stay longer than your 90 day ESTA allows. From Britney, J-Lo and Rod Stewart who were all headlining their own shows to five variations of Cirque de Soleil, the choice is endless. Had my companion not have been a twenty-something male I reckon 'Menopause The Musical' would have been hilarious. Also there's a host of magic acts (Penn & Teller etc) which offer something a bit different. However, I managed to twist Mr A's arm into seeing the 'original' Cirque de Soleil 'Mystere' which was conveniently showing at our hotel. A hypnotic beat of the drums combined with light humour and amazing acrobatics made for very entertaining viewing. 

And whilst I've missed the two most notorious pastimes of Vegas - gambling and clubbing - don't be fooled that's all there is to do. This is an adult's version of Disneyland with so many experiences on every corner (or every hotel in one long row). For me, the Vegas Virgin, I had always been keen to play the slots (Sex And The City game of course) and hit the roulette and blackjack tables. Once each that was. And that wasn't without Mr A having to explain the rules of the game first (and subsequently telling me when to hit and stick) but the 10 seconds it took for me to lose my money was really fun... Luckily I know my limit!

1 comment

  1. We absolutely loved Vegas too... it was not as tacky as we thought it might be .. although slot machines at the airport; huge bottoms on tiny stools at the slot machines; and deep fried and free food in the casinos were something to behold .. we loved, loved, loved wandering around all the hotels .. but unlike you we did not spend a penny on any gambling machine .. we just didn't have time!!!! Awesome Rose, loved reading it!


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