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9 Things to Do in Las Vegas

Published 03 June 2016

Alexandra Gregg

There are few places that embody ‘bright lights, big city’ quite like Vegas. With its 24-hour casinos, high-octane entertainment and abundant luxury resorts, this Sin City is buzzing with a plethora of new and exciting experiences to be had. But where do you begin? We recommend start with this list of things to do in Las Vegas:

Roulette wheel, Vegas

Try your luck on the roulette tables

Even if gambling really isn’t your thing, visiting Vegas and not having a little flutter would be like going to Italy and not eating pasta. It’s a rite of passage. To ease you in, try the slot machines or, if you’re feeling a bit braver, have a go on the roulette tables – it’s one of the most straightforward games and your chances of making a few bucks are fairly high, provided you know when to call it a day.

Catch a show

If you thought Broadway was big, think again: Vegas has over 100 shows to choose from at any one time – from long-standing productions from the Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil, to one-off musical performances, authentic burlesque and confounding magic acts. Whatever you opt for, you can guarantee the most flamboyant, energetic display you’ll ever see on a stage.

Red Rock Canyon

Drive through Red Rock Canyon

Vegas isn’t all bright lights and gambling. In fact, just 13 miles west of the buzz of the casinos is Red Rock Canyon, a jumbled yet scenic network of jagged rock formations and tie-dyed valley walls. Its 13-mile scenic loop is open year-round and showcases the best of this russet-hued landscape. If you prefer to get out of the car, there are 19 hiking trails to choose from too, giving you the chance to spot wildlife like the gray fox and admire an array of flora fauna – our favourite is the springtime indigo bush.

The Strip, Las Vegas

Walk the Strip

The best way to get to know Vegas is to walk it. The Strip is the epicentre of the city and, at just 4.2 miles in length, it’ll only take two or three hours to stroll up and down. Spare a day to do this though, as you’ll want to stop off at the different casinos and hotels to see what attractions they have on offer.

Vegas sign

Pose in front of that sign

No trip here is complete without grabbing a snap in front of the world-famous ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign. It’s one of the city’s most historic icons, not to mention one of its most expensive: it cost US$4,000 to build and install, and that was over half a century ago! This iconic emblem –located on the central reservation along the Strip, just south of Russell Road – is accessible 24 hours a day and is free to visit. If you’ve got a car, it’s easier to drive there and park in the neighbouring parking lot, that way you won’t have to negotiate the busy roads of Vegas on foot.

Roller coaster, Las Vegas

Ride the roller coaster atop New York New York

What’s scarier, more thrilling than a loop-the-loop roller coaster you ask? How about a loop-the-loop roller coaster that’s on top of a hotel? Open 11am-11pm Sunday to Thursday and 10:30am-midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, the a ride on the heart-stopping Big Apple Coaster requires all the bravery you can muster, plus US$14pp for the ticket. Completely worth it though.

Venetian gondolas

Laze in a Venetian gondola

It’s not quite Venice, but taking a gondola ride through The Venetian hotel – inside or outside – is essentially the next best thing. Rides aren’t cheap (US$21pp for 10-13 minutes), but worth the outlay for the novelty of floating beneath decorative bridges and balconies, alongside shops, and through an elaborate Italian streetscape. If that’s not enough, you’ll be serenaded by your gondolier too, adding to the authenticity of this unique experience.

Volcano and fountain at Mirage, Las Vegas

See a volcano erupt

Not a real one of course: Vegas is perfectly safe in that respect. But head to the Mirage’s Las Vegas Boulevard main entrance and you can watch an artificial caldera as it spews, splutters and booms – burping ‘lava’ and flame for mesmerised spectators. The eruptions happen at 8pm and 9pm Sunday-Thursday, and 8pm, 9pm and 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Bellagio fountains, Las Vegas

Watch the dazzling Bellagio fountain display

If you’re going to observe just one hotel attraction, let it be this. The Bellagio’s fountains are renowned for their drama and romance, and nothing beats seeing them in person. Water, music and light join forces to create a complexly choreographed performance unlike any other aquatic display. And with Broadway hits, classical music and chart tunes to accompany the elaborate dance, there’s something to delight every ear.

Show times are: Monday-Friday, every half-hour between 3pm and 8pm, or every 15 minutes between 8pm and 12am; Saturdays and public holidays, every half-hour between 12pm and 8pm, or every 15 minutes between 8pm and 12am; Sundays, every half-hour between 11am and 7pm, or every 15 minutes between 7pm and 12am.

Discover the best of 'Sin City' on our California & Canyons holiday, part of our vast of collection of tailor-made Journeys to the USA.

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