The “Entertainment Capital of the World” is a great vacation spot if you're looking for glitz, glamour and nonstop activities, but that's not all Las Vegas has to offer. Here are 10 insider tips to make your trip a unique experience.
1. Get Up Close and Personal with Sharks
While Vegas may be known for the Strip and its nonstop nightlife, it is also home to one of the most extraordinary aquariums. The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay will take you on a breathtaking undersea journey featuring more than 2,000 aquatic animals and over 100 different species. If you’re feeling brave (and are a certified diver), you can experience the exhibit on another level and swim with over 30 exotic sharks.
2. Experience Beautiful Works of Art
If you want to get in touch with your artsy side, be sure to check out the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art located at Bellagio. The premier exhibition space has featured some of the world’s most compelling exhibitions including “Picasso: Creatures and Creativity,” “Fabergé Revealed,” “Painting Women: Works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,” and “Warhol Out West.”
3. Visit the Grand Canyon
If you're coming to Vegas from another part of the country, it's worth making the trip over to the Grand Canyon. There are helicopter tours available that will take you to the West Rim. On this side of the canyon, you’ll get to see naturally-carved rock formations like Eagle Point and experience the Skywalk Bridge, which is a glass walkway nestled in between the canyon walls. If you have more time, you can take a bus to the South Rim or drive for about 4 hours by car to the National Park.
4. Get the Full Spa Experience
If you want your vacation to be more about relaxing than site-seeing, look for a hotel with an in-house spa. The Vdara Hotel and Spa has two floors dedicated to its ESPA, which offers everything from full-body mud treatments to aromatherapy massages. ESPA is also a fully device-free zone, which means you can truly unplug and enjoy the indulgence.
5. Head to Lesser Known Venues For the VIP Treatment
Las Vegas has plenty of shows to go around, but if you're looking for a more intimate experience check out the smaller theaters. For example, the Park Theater at MGM Resorts — which has only approximately 5,200 seats – lets you feel up close and personal with artists.
6. Explore the Outdoors
Going to Las Vegas doesn't have to mean going to a show or partying in a club. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area has over a dozen hiking trails and several climbing paths to explore. You can also go zip lining with Flightlinez Zip Lines near Boulder City or visit the Hoover Dam.
7. Check Out the Night Life
Immerse yourself in the vibrant night life of Las Vegas any day of the week. See a resident show or visit some of the city's hottest nightclubs, such as LIGHT at Mandalay Bay or OMNIA at Caesars Palace.
8. Take Advantage of Happy Hour
Taking advantage of happy hour specials at local bars and restaurants can go a long way toward a happy vacation budget. Oscar's Steakhouse at The Plaza overlooking Fremont Street has half-price drinks and appetizers from 4-7pm (Sunday-Thursday), and Crush at MGM Grand has happy hour from 5-7pm.
9. Order Off the Secret Menu
Vegas is home to some of the best chefs in the world, and sometimes what's on the menu isn't all there is to be had. For example, Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel has a secret weekly menu you can only get if you specifically ask for it and Milos at the Cosmopolitan offers a $29 lunch.
10. Get the Bird's Eye View
Vegas has both hot air balloon rides and helicopter tours so you can see the city like you never have before. Adventure Helicopter Tours offers trips around The Strip or a flight over Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and Red Rock Canyon for nature enthusiasts.