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Short Breaks in Las Vegas

Ask any seasoned traveller – where’s the best place to let loose, leave the world behind and immerse oneself in endless entertainment, world-famous restaurants, beautiful resorts, and more shopping than you could do in a day?


Penny Written by: Penelope Phillips / 24 May 2017

There’s a strong chance you’ll hear an impassioned plea for a Las Vegas holiday. That’s because you’d be hard pressed to find a more energetic and (at times frenetic) holiday destination – there is just so much to see and do in this desert metropolis. In fact, there are many locals who claim not to have seen and experienced much of what their home city has to offer – so what chance do we hardy UK travellers have, particularly those of us visiting in a short timeframe?

Having been there and done it, and quite literally got the t-shirt, I’m well placed to guide you through the sights, delights, tastes and ‘only in Las Vegas’ moments to treasure.

Of course, everyone’s different, so what I recommend below may not suit every traveller. Just as the locals can’t do it all, nor should I include everything here. But therein lies the beauty of this shimmering oasis of colour and energy. Las Vegas has something for just about everyone.

Why?

Arriving in Vegas

Las Vegas is an epic four-hour drive from Los Angeles International Airport, which takes in some stunning Californian vistas. It’s served by most of the major UK airlines so you’ll find no shortage of flight options to suit your schedule. However, if you’re short on time, consider seeking out a connecting or direct flight into McCarren International Airport, which is just 5 miles South of Downtown Las Vegas.

You can get around Las Vegas perfectly well on foot, and there is no shortage of taxis should your feet grow tiresome. The city’s bus and monorail network runs like clockwork, so there’s really no need to hire a car – unless of course you fancy the 5-hour drive to the Grand Canyon – a bucket-list must, provided you have a full day to spare.

Yellowstone spring

Where to Stay

There is one certainty when spending any more than 24 hours in Las Vegas – sleep will not feature highly on your agenda. For the ‘city that never sleeps’ has a habit of keeping you blissfully awake for longer than you can ever remember, well not since your teenage days. That said, it’s best to have somewhere to rest your weary legs (and head).

The Las Vegas Strip is a nucleus of grand hotels, casinos, amusement parks, shops and entertainment, that stretches for over four miles. Fortunately, with over 60,000 hotel rooms available, there’s something for everyone, whether you prefer high concept, luxury or boutique hotels, and there’s also a room for every budget. Many Las Vegas hotels are on such a massive scale that they not only have their own pools, but also their own casinos, shopping malls and restaurants.

Each hotel offers something a little different, yet equally amazing, whether it’s the replica of Lake Como at the world famous Bellagio, the statue of liberty at New York-New York, the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, or the impressive 45 foot lion statue at the iconic, 5,000 room MGM Grand.

Las Vegas hotels go to unprecedented lengths to impress, even if that includes bringing world famous landmarks to town. My favourite is the luxurious Venetian hotel, complete with an awe-inspiring take on Venice’s Grand Canal. A romantic gondola ride is an absolute must, even if you are not a guest of the hotel itself.

Bellagio at Christmas

Off the Beaten Track

Should the city lights and hedonism become too much, I recommend stepping away for a desert retreat. From Rancho Drive, which details the best of old Vegas to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, which contains a botanical gardens and nature trail, there is plenty to do to embrace nature. Just outside Vegas, the Fly Geyser in Gerlach, Nevada is a ‘beautiful nightmare’ - a combination of human error and mother nature, the rainbow-coloured geologic attraction makes for a magical photo.

New England spring

Rest & Relaxation

Las Vegas is an oasis of indulgence, and this is no more evident than in its numerous thermal spa’s. The good news is you won’t need to look far, or even leave the Strip to be thoroughly pampered. Most of the main resort hotels feature opulent spas, the best of which you will find at the Aria, The Venetian, and MGM Grand. My personal favourite is the gigantic Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace. The Arctic Ice Room is the perfect (if not cold) way to refresh and rejuvenate, ready to do it all over again.

Rockies in spring

Eating Out

Start relatively modestly, as Vegas can quickly deplete your budget. Enjoy a healthy breakfast at Protein House on South Eastern Ave, a great little spot for salads, smoothies, juices, and nutritious breakfasts.

When the need for a hearty lunch comes rumbling on the horizon, enjoy a satisfying meal and a quick table at the Burger Bar in Mandalay Place. Don’t be fooled, it’s a fairly upscale spot, where you can (if you choose to) pay $50-60 for a luxury burger composed of Kobe beef, sautéed foie-gras, and Madeira sauce. Just be sure to leave room for the delectable Creamy Cheesecake Burger for dessert.

Most Las Vegas hotels offer afternoon tea, but I’d recommend experiencing a quintessentially Vegas take on afternoon tea at the Petrossian Bar at the Bellagio. Finger sandwiches and cakes this is not. Here you’ll be treated to Maine lobster, pico de gallo, and caviar served open-faced on a brioche – delicious!

As evening arrives, you are sure to have worked up an appetite, so splash out at one of Las Vegas’ more upmarket restaurants like Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, or Alex at The Wynn. My personal favourite is Bootlegger Bistro, an old fashioned Italian restaurant that dates back to 1949. It sits beyond The Strip, on Las Vegas Boulevard South, so it’s the perfect excuse to step away from the hurly-burly.

Rockies in spring

Shopping

There’s always time for shopping, right? Take a trip out to Paradise (calm down, it’s a merely a district) to Crystals at CityCenter, a visually stunning shopping centre designed by David Libeskind. Within the gigantic crystal cluster building, you’ll find Tiffany’s, Prada, Cartier, Fendi, Versace and more. You don’t have to buy to appreciate the spectacle, but when in Rome/Vegas…

Rockies in spring

Entertainment

Let��s be clear – this is where Las Vegas truly comes into its own. The Vegas entertainment scene is unlike any other, so take a deep breath and see which of my personal favourites takes your fancy:

  • Visit the magnificent fountains at the Bellagio. Inside you’ll also find the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the world’s largest chocolate fountain (at the Jean Phillippe Patisserie) and Dale Chihuly’s glass flowers in the lobby – all completely free.
  • Provided you have a head for heights, ride the Voodoo Zipline at the Rio Hotel, 500ft above Las Vegas.
  • Play the iconic slot machines at Binions in Downtown Las Vegas and get a picture with $1,000,000 cash in the lobby.
  • View the spectacular Vegas sunset from the High Roller Observation Wheel, the world’s biggest Ferris Wheel, then explore the nearby Linq promenade.
  • Catch the Cirque du Soleil show, ‘O’, at the Bellagio – a must see!
  • Experience the awe-inspiring views atop the Stratosphere, at the 107 SkyLounge.
  • Cool off with a visit to the Arctic Ice Room at the Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace – chilling!
  • Feel the thrill of the elbow-to-elbow poker room at the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel. If poker isn’t your thing, settle for watching the interesting characters that turn up to play – it’s entertainment enough.
  • Catch some live jazz in the Rocks Lounge of the Red Rock Casino, then head next door to go bowling at Red Rock Lanes, a self-titled luxury bowling centre.
  • Sip cocktails at the laid-back Sayers Club and enjoy their nightly live music spectaculars.

I could go on…

Final Thoughts

Shimmering and dazzling in the Nevada desert, it’s easy to see why Las Vegas features on many a bucket list. With its 4-mile-long stretch of neon lights and world-class hotels and casinos, Las Vegas takes great pride in being a 24-hour playground that offers something for everyone.

No matter how short your stay, Vegas will stay with you. As will the memories, the photos, and the sense of awe.

Do not miss the chance to roll the dice in the city of sin. You lucky devil.


Gemma Walsh

Blogger Profile - Penelope Phillips

Penny joined the My America Holiday team after realising her love for writing and travel could be merged into one satisfying talent. A lover of foreign cultures, heavy metal and food, you can usually find her with her nose in a good book or at a music event. Her American dream would be hiking Yellowstone Park and experiencing authentic Cajun cuisine in New Orleans, though she can also be found roaming across Eastern-Europe on the hunt for good beer and goulash!
 
 
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