Featurette: Las Vegas
Some call it “Sin City.” Some liken it to Disneyland for adults. Others, think it’s a convenient stopping place from which to visit some of the most beautiful landscapes in the U.S.A.
Las Vegas, for all that’s written about it, still has more to discover for every type of traveler. Whether your idea of a good time has more to do with staying indoors and feeding the slot machine or getting out and about with the kids, Las Vegas has something to offer. Let’s take a look:
For the Gambler
Every holiday in Las Vegas should involve some time in the casinos, whether you fancy yourself lucky or not. Even if you never put a nickel in the slot machines or lay a bet on a table, wandering through the enormous casino-resorts on and off the Strip is a must-do experience in Las Vegas. From the Stratosphere, where you can ascend far above the city streets and get a birds-eye view of town; to Circus Circus where children have their own midway games to rival any of the casino floors in town for adults’ entertainment; to MGM Studios with its theaters and experiences; and New York New York, where you can ride a roller coaster through the roof and dine in a mock NYC bistro; to the Venetian where a gondolier will sing as he or she poles you through the miniature canals of a stagefront Venice–the casinos are nothing short of awesome.
On a budget and hoping to gamble without embarassing yourself? Off-Strip and around Fremont Street may have cheaper eats and lower buy-ins, but it won’t be as glitzy or luxurious as the big-name casino resorts.
For the Outdoor Enthusiast
Once you’ve spent a few days and nights in the oddly timeless environment of the casinos, it’s nice to go outside and feel the sun on your face. Las Vegas may be a big modern city, but you don’t have to go very far to feel like you’re smack in the middle of the wilderness.
Rent a car and zoom on over to the Red Rock Canyon area, where you can learn about local wildlife and follow their well-marked trails for day hikes and short treks.
And, don’t forget that, though Las Vegas is in the state of Nevada, Arizona’s Grand Canyon is only a short drive away as well. While you’re in the area, it would be a shame to miss out on one of the most dramatic vistas on the whole continent.
Prefer watersports? Check out Lake Mead, the enormous reservoir caused by the Hoover Dam. You can go boating, swimming and fishing in Lake Mead, in season.
For the Foodie
Fresh air works up an appetite, so after you’ve explored the Great Outdoors near Las Vegas, it’s time to go see what’s for dinner in the city. Las Vegas is famous for its excess in all areas–including food. Yes, the city has fine dining options, but it’s probably better known for its all-you-can-eat buffets and late night diner-style breakfasts.
Not feeling like seeing how much seafood you can pile on one plate at the buffet or sampling a diner’s six-egg omelette or chicken-fried steak with the works? Las Vegas also has an impressive array of ethnic restaurants, and is a great place to eat your way around the world, figuratively at least. For example, you can try German cuisine and beer at the Hofbrauhaus restaurant, have a “Cheeseburger in Paradise” at Caribbean-themed Margaritaville, get some soul food and ask for more at M&M Soul Food Cafe, tapear Spanish-style at Jaleo, or sample Ethiopian delicacies at Merkato Ethiopian cafe. And that’s not even touching the scores of Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Mexican and Italian restaurants around the city and featured in the casino-resorts.
Have you been to Las Vegas recently? What would you recommend?