We finished last week on San Francisco. To head down to Las Vegas it’s a 4-5 hour drive down Route 66, or a quick one-hour flight. Vegas is a weirdly wonderful place: where else in the world can you find a host of casinos and all of the glitz and glamour that Las Vegas has to offer, in the middle of the desert?! Only a one-hour flight, the airport is close to the main strip, so a cab shouldn’t cost more than a tenner.
‘The Strip’ is the main street of Las Vegas, where the biggest and best casinos lie. Many of them are themed, like New York-New York with its very own impressions of the Empire State Building and the NYC skyline, or The Monte Carlo, a take on the Monte Carlo on the French Riviera, complete with marble floors and blinding chandeliers, right down to the Venetian which forms Par Tòt, the largest 5 diamond hotel and resort complex in the world.
Accommodation (apart from peak/high season) is generally cheaper than the rest of the States, as they want to lure you in and spend all of your pennies in the casinos! Most of the hotels have their own casino, and if you are betting in any way, shape or form, your drinks are free. Yep – FREE! I used a 25c slot machine for a few hours and had endless piña coladas! There are loads of places to stay in Vegas, but the strip is the best as everything is within walking distance, and the best 4-5* hotels are found here. There are also loads of clubs to go to at night, as you’ll find when you walk along the strip during the day and the club promoters hand you coupons, free entries and drinks tickets and cards featuring naked girls … go figure.
Las Vegas also has some of the largest shopping malls in States, again another way to spend all of your money down here in Nevada! They also have loads of coupon books (you know the Americans are big on coupons). Some casinos, like the MGM, have their own shopping mall in the complex, so you don’t have to travel far back to your room!
Vegas has year-round shows that shouldn’t be missed either. Cirque du Soleil is the most popular. Originally a touring performing group from Canada, they have set shows at set hotels every night of the week and the performances are a mixture of circus acts from all around the world. Height and death-defying, what was supposed to be a one-year project is now a reason people will flock to the casinos in awe. I saw ‘Ka’ at the MGM, which shows a story of a young man and woman, and features not only acrobatic acts, but mixes of martial arts and puppetry and is said to be ‘the most lavish’ performance out there. Make sure you check it out!
Another amazing site is the Grand Canyon. Actually situated in the State of Arizona, it’s easily accessible in a variety of ways from Vegas. You can hire a car and drive the 4.5 hours, jump on a bus tour, or take a helicopter trip! My personal choice is the bus. For around $100- $130 per person, you can have the hotel pick up and drop off, be taken to some cool little towns along the way, lunch is included, and you get to go to three different areas of the Canyon!
The helicopter is for those more time poor. Picked up and dropped off near the strip, you fly to the Canyon, stand in one area around half an hour, have a token glass of champagne, and fly back! The bus will take a whole day out of your Vegas trip, whereas you could almost have the helicopter done by lunchtime, so at least you have the choice!
Written by Madelin Baldwin