While Las Vegas is known for its glitz, glamour and amazing casinos, the city has so much more to offer. The thing about spending time on the strip is that you have to have the money to spend in the extravagant casinos and indulge in some mouth watering delicacies at one of the famous buffets. Here is a quick guide to the real Las Vegas experience!
The hotels and casinos in vegas are massive and staying on your feet all day with uncomfortable shoes will only lead to misery. No, I’m not asking you to wear sneakers but wear something that you are comfortable spending long hours in. All of the major hotels and casinos are situated along “the strip” and the rest of vegas is pretty much a standard small town. Also, dress in layers. Las Vegas has warm days and chilly nights. You don’t want to miss out on walking along the strip just because you aren’t dressed warm!
A few weeks before your trip, look up for hotel deals online. Most casinos have a package deal that offer great value for money. If you don’t want a hotel and need something basic, look up airbnb.com for some great deals! I found a place close to the strip which cost me around 50$ a night and came with all amenities.
I spent my first day being a traditional tourist. I started my day off watching the fountains at the Bellagio – there is a show once every hour during the day and once every 15 minutes in the night. I obviously wanted to catch some of the famous shows that Vegas is known for. Some research revealed that the best deals for shows is offered by Tix4Tonight. There are kiosks at regular intervals along the strip where you can buy show tickets at a discounted price. You have to get there as soon as possible because all tickets are for same day shows and they get sold out really fast. I got tickets to watch the Blue Man Group and Ka by Cirque Du Soleil.
I then strolled along the strip for most part of the day, visiting all the casinos. I started with Caesar’s palace and made way to the extremely popular Bacchanal Buffet. It was a huge spread of mouth watering dishes. Not one to pass up any deal, I got the Total Las Vegas Buffet Pass which allows open entry to 5 different buffets within a span of 24 hours all for just around $55. After eating to my hearts content, I strolled into the Forum to do some quick shopping. My next stop was the Venetian which is just a short walk up the road from Caesars. I took a gondola ride through the canal, which gave me beautiful views of the hotel that is modelled after Venice and a big bonus was that the gondola rider sang some Italian songs while navigating through the canal.
It was almost evening and I made way to the Paris -Hotel and Casino and took an elevator ride up the miniature eiffel tower. I went at a time when the sun was about to set and hence got day and night views. I then made my way to the buffet in Paris and had an early dinner of sorts. It was almost time for the first show and I was tired so I decided to take the bus to the Monte Carlo which is where the Blue Man Group was performing. I got there on time and the pre-show messages were hilarious! From mocking the cirque to shaming people who walked in late, the Blue Man Group are excellent and innovative performers and they engage with the audience a lot more than any other show I have ever been too – a definite must-see. The next show was Ka by Cirque Du Soleil and it was a treat to watch, spectacular acrobatics and an incredible production.
After the first day of doing all things Vegas is known for, I decided to see what else the city has to offer. I took a bus to the Hoover Dam and made way into Arizona to see the Grand Canyon. The experience is surreal and the canyons are a majestic sight. It does get really cold in that region so be sure to dress really warm, I spent most part of the day there and on my way back I visited Lake Mead and camped there for the night. Lake Mead -National Recreational Area as it is known, offers all basic amenities and the cost to camp there is only about 10$. The following morning, I did a raft tour of the Black Canyon water trail which takes you a certain distance along the Colorado river and the tour lasts about 5 hours. After this, I made my way back to Las Vegas. I wanted to let my hair down and have some fun! I hit up a couple of clubs and called it a night.
On my third and last day at Las Vegas, I visited The National Atomic Testing Museum. It has a lot of interesting and some terrifying (blowing up islands for nuclear testing) bits of information. If you have an affinity towards science or history – this is one place in Vegas you should not miss. I didn’t think Vegas would be educational but this was a pleasant surprise.
My next stop was Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden. The factory tour was brief and self-guided and ends in the gift shop. Of course I bought a lot of chocolate and it was delicious. A little bit of history – Ethel M was founded by Forrest Mars Sr. back in 1910 in honor of his mother using her recipes. He is also the same person who gave the world M&M’s and the Mars bar. After satisfying my sweet cravings, I made way to the Clark County Museum for a relaxed afternoon. The admission price was a mere $2 and you get to step back in time and walk around an avenue that has a line up of homes, each from a different era. You can also see locomotive displays and the entire history of Las Vegas right from the birth of casinos to what you see today is beautifully explained. Also, if you are a train geek, you have to go here!
My last stop in Las Vegas was Fremont street. Before I headed there, I made a quick stop at the Little White Chapel for some pictures. Fremont Street has so much charm – street performers, old pull down slot machines and a nice light show. You can also take a zip wire from one end of the street to the other! It definitely isn’t a family friendly place, but if you want to experience Vegas like it was during its glory days – this is where you should go.
Vegas isn’t only for those looking to party and gamble, it has something for everybody. While most of the city is commercialised, I really hope people get to see the real charm that the city still has and experience more than just the strip. I left Vegas with a ton of wonderful memories and unforgettable experiences.
What would you do in Las Vegas?
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