Las Vegas: Visiting Sin City and the Nevada Desert
The images that immediately spring to mind when you think of Las Vegas are bright neon lights; spinning roulette wheels and the green baize of poker tables; smiling dancers; and the hustle and bustle of the Strip. All of these things are what make Vegas, Vegas, but there’s so much more to this desert dwelling city than that.
Las Vegas is a hot bed of alternative culture, ranging from vintage clothing to the arts to the city’s many gay bars. With such a rich history of deviating from the social norm in this town, different counter cultures have had the breathing space to develop without the restraints of other areas. Everywhere you look, there’s something new to see and investigate. There is also the fact that, when in Vegas, you are surrounded by breathtaking countryside; whether you feel the need to visit mountains, the desert or soaring canyons, Nevada has got you covered.
If you’re thinking of taking a trip to the one and only Sin City then you’re in for the experience of a lifetime. Read on to find out more about the must-visit locations and attractions in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
Hit the Strip
It’s big, it’s bright, it’s bold and it’s completely unavoidable; the Las Vegas Strip is almost 7 kilometres of flash, brash hotels, casinos and mindboggling replica architecture of some of the most famous sights in the world. You really can’t visit Vegas without visiting the Strip.
If you’re there for the party atmosphere, then you’ll be in your element. Just a wander along Las Vegas Boulevard gives you a chance to soak in the ambience, marvel at the spectacle and feel your feet start tapping to the city’s own beat. You can get down to some serious shopping at Container Park, see a show at the world famous Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace, or even hop on a rollercoaster at the Adventuredome to witness the view in a way like no other.
If you’re more the shy and retiring type then never fear, we have you covered. Head back to your plush hotel room, order room service and enjoy that Vegas experience all in your own private space. When I need a break from the busy-ness, I like to relax at ‘home’ by curating a themed playlist on Last.fm, trying my luck at a roulette game and looking for a new Las Vegas stage show, all whilst in my pyjamas. Sometimes you just need a quieter moment, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy the city.
Get Out and Into Nature
Las Vegas resides in the Nevada desert so you can guarantee that it’s going to be hot, hot, hot for your visit. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to forego enjoying the sights and sounds of the surrounding country; if you’ve ever wanted to truly experience the desert heat, then you’ve come to the right place.
The area surrounding Las Vegas has every type of natural setting you could want, all within an accessible distance from the city. Mount Charleston is less than an hour’s drive away, and, upon arrival, you’ll find yourself cooler, calmer and more collected in this tranquil area away from the hectic metropolis. Take a day’s hike and reconnect with the natural you before you head back down into the hubbub below. If you’re lucky, you could encounter jackrabbits, foxes, elk, chipmunks or even a cougar!
The complete opposite to Mount Charleston would be the Nevada desert itself; you’re spoilt for choice with heart-stoppingly beautiful destinations here. Just two hours away from Las Vegas is Death Valley itself, where some of the hottest temperatures on Earth have been recorded. Not for the faint hearted, this exquisite desert setting boasts fantastic views and an almost alien atmosphere. Alternatively, you could head a little further out to Joshua Tree. This National Park is over in California, but it’s well worth the drive. Pack some accommodation and take yourself off for a few days’ hiking in one of the most awe inspiring places in the world. You won’t regret it.
Soak Up Some Culture
As well as the partying nightlife and the magnificent natural settings, Las Vegas is also home to some pretty interesting museums and galleries. One of my personal favourites is the Neon Museum, where old neon signs from the city come to die. This not-for-profit organisation is creating a physical archive of some of Vegas’ most important and recognisable history; the good news is, you can take a guided tour amongst the retired signage which provides plenty of photo opportunities and ‘oh wow!’ moments.
Another favourite is the Burlesque Hall of Fame, which honours the history of burlesque performance and has a great collection of costumes on show. The non-profit also encourages guests to get involved by offering classes, workshops, lectures and all sorts, as well as having its own gift shop on site. There simply isn’t anything more ‘Las Vegas’ than a Hall of Fame dedicated to all things feathery, frilly and fun.