January 1, 1970
by Paulina Galindo
Last month my husband and I took a flight to Las Vegas, NV (U.S.) I asked for the window seat so I wouldn’t miss the landscapes. When our flight was getting near to the city we got to see a magnificent view of the Strip, its resorts, casinos and neon lights. Afterwards, when we got off the plane, we were welcomed by a cool airport with slot machines, so we could start playing while waiting for our luggage.
We grabbed our bags and took a taxi to Treasure Island, a hotel and casino located on the Strip. After checking in, we went up to our room on the 17th floor and we fell in love with the view from our window. We left our bags, and in a few minutes we were ready to start our holiday.
Where to stay in Vegas?
If it’s your first trip to Vegas, I would recommend to book a hotel at the Strip, since it’s where the must-see hotels, casinos, shows, and attractions are concentrated. You can find great deals on Hotwire, a Website where you can choose the star rating of your hotel, the location, and amenities, but that will reveal the name of you hotel only after booking. If you wonder why it works this way, is because hotels do not want to advertise low prices. I have used it several times, and it’s totally worth it!
What to do in Vegas?
I have been three times in Vegas, but there’s always something new and entertaining, so you will never get bored! As I mentioned before, must of the attractions are located in the Strip, which runs from the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the South to the Stratosphere Hotel on the North. The best way to get to know this city is by walking, so make a list of the hotels, casinos, and attractions that you would like to visit and start your tour. You’re going to be walking for a while, so it’s important to wear comfortable shoes and stay hydrated. Below I have listed some of the attractions that in my opinion you cannot miss on your next trip to Vegas and that do not involve only gambling.
1. The Stratosphere
If you love heights, then you should definitely visit this hotel. You can visit the observation decks, or the amusement park on the top of the building where you can ride the Big Shot, SkyJump, Insanity, or X-Scream. I was only capable of riding the Big Shot, the other rides were a little too extreme for me, but it was definitely fun.
2. The Venetian
In this luxury hotel and casino you can watch gondoliers singing Italian songs, or if you’re up to it, you can even take a gondola ride down the Grand Canal.
After watching the gondoliers, make sure to take a tour inside the hotel where you will be able to appreciate the impressive artwork, which was designed in order to create a replica of some Venetian landmarks.
I’m passionate about photography, so for this reason The Venetian is a must on my trips to Vegas, you can get great shots from the gondoliers or from the hotel’s architecture.
3. The Mirage
On your trip to Vegas you cannot miss the following two attractions from Mirage’s hotel:
a) The Volcano: each day at night the artificial volcano erupts combining fire with music. The best spot to watch the show is in front of the hotel. This is one of the activities that you can do for free in Vegas, so make sure to include it on your list. To get more details about the hours of operation, visit the hotel’s Website here.
b) The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil: imagine your favorite Beatles songs combined with Cirque’s du Soleil choreography! This show will sure be among your favorites if you’re a Beatle fan like myself. Make sure to also visit the souvenir store after the show. If you’re looking forward to attend, then remember to buy the tickets before your trip to Vegas so you can be able to get good seats at an affordable price. For more details about the show and tickets, visit the hotel’s Website here.
Some other of my favorite attractions from Vegas are at Bellagio’s hotel, and the best part is that they are for free:
a) Fountains of Bellagio: I remember including this attraction to my bucket list after watching the movie Ocean’s 11. The first time that I got to visit the fountains, I watched a choreographed routine combining water and light to the music of the movie Chicago, and it was absolutely wonderful. The fountain show runs every 1/2 hour in the afternoons, and every 15 minutes at night. Make sure to get there on time and find a comfortable place to watch the show.
b) Conservatory & Botanical Garden: each season the Bellagio garden changes to showcase the Chinese colors of spring, summer, autumn and winter. So each time you visit Vegas you will be able to see a completely different exhibition.
5. The Linq Promenade
A dining, shopping and entertainment district between the Flamingo and Linq hotels; and also a magical little spot in Vegas. The main highlight of this district is the High Roller, where you can get a beautiful view of Las Vegas Strip. If you are a photography lover, you should also visit the store “Photo & Go”, where you can buy vintage Polaroid cameras or Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 8 cameras. While you’re there you can also have dinner at Flour & Barley where you can enjoy a slice of brick oven pizza.
If you have never been in New York City, at Vegas you can get a little glimpse of the “city that never sleeps”. You can find replicas of some of the most iconic NY landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, the skyline, and the Grand Central Terminal. However, my favorite attraction from this hotel is the Big Apple Coaster, so if you’re looking for something fun to do, don’t miss this ride and enjoy the view of the Strip while you’re upside down!
7. Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
The aquarium located at Mandalay Bay features several animals, including giant rays, sea turtles, jellyfish, sharks, among others. The reason why I decided to visit the Shark Reef is because of the tunnels that make you feel as if you were under the sea and that allow you to watch how sharks swim above your head.
8. Street Performers
Enjoy the street performers along the Strip!
9. Downtown Vegas
Now, if you want to get a glimpse of “old Vegas”, you should definitely visit Downtown. To get there you can buy an all access pass to Vegas bus service, which you can also use at the Strip. For more details about the fares, visit RTC’s Website here.
a) Fremont Street: mainly known for the old casinos, like the Golden Nugget and Four Queens, among others. There’s always something going on here, so you can get a drink while you enjoy the street performers and the live music.
b) The Mob Museum: at this museum you will get to know the impact of organized crime on Las Vegas history. One of the most interesting things about this museum is that it used to be Las Vegas Post Office and Courthouse, where trials against the organized crime took place on 1950!
10. The Grand Canyon
I have to admit that the Grand Canyon is still on my bucket list, but if you have time, you should definitely buy a tour from Vegas to the Grand Canyon and be amazed by its beauty.
I hope you find my tips helpful when planning your vacation to Vegas!