Las Vegas in brief
Springing up from the Mojave desert like an oasis is the city of Las Vegas, situated in the western state of Nevada. This famous city, renowned for its vibrant lifestyle has its residents and visitors enjoy 300 days of sunshine a year.
Las Vegas, widely known as “Sin City” is famous for its gambling and neo-lights but there is so much more than casinos (slot machines and poker tables), luxury hotels, comedy acts, musical productions and extravagant shows. This is the city that continuously beats the odds. Over the decades, Las Vegas screwed into kind of neon lights, casinos and rat-pegs style became almost legendary. Las Vegas today is not just a city and you will be blown away and I mean really blown away. Las Vegas, in the 21st century is like visiting another planet – a pleasure planet, like a fantasy land. Everyone come here, for a good time.
I last visited Las Vegas on my Great American Road Trip in 2005. I decided, it was time to re-visit Las Vegas again as I found this city has jaw-dropping beauty, vibrant lifestyle and world-renowned attractions. I wanted to explore and discover more of its major sites and attractions as I had more time to do it on my own rather than a quick tour of the highlights of the city in my last road trip. Las Vegas has it all and is a very popular choice for many tourists and travellers around the world. I have fallen in love with this majestic city and I think everyone should visit once in their lifetime.
When it came to choosing my ideal spot holiday destination, of course, I want great scenery, plenty of major sites and attractions to visit and plenty of activities to do, a good social life and great restaurants. You can find these almost anywhere but there are unbelievable things that you only experience in Las Vegas. With all that, I found, Las Vegas was my top priority and a clear winner. It absolutely nailed every criteria of my travel itinerary and will make my soul feel happy, clean and lucky.
Getting into Las Vegas was tiring, after a long flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles. We landed early hours of the morning just before 8am. I then I took a short domestic flight out of LA to Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a clear blue sky with no turbulence and the view from above was breathtaking as we flew over Los Angeles with houses lined below looked like a tight-packed sardines from above. We flew over the desert lands before landing in Las Vegas. Though, it was a short flight but it seems like eternity as I was tired and ready for a good sleep.
Where to stay?
With my pre-booked accommodation arrangement, I went direct to my hotel from the airport without diverting to various location in search for accommodation. There are various types of accommodations in the area to suit all budget but I stayed in Caesar Palace, with a touch of luxury that came with being guaranteed to be looked after. Staying in the heart of Las Vegas major hub filled with activities and attractions is something that I came to experience.
This hotel was absolutely amazing, with fountains, pools and employees in their Roman-themed uniforms gave me a sense that I was in a different place, yet I was in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was an immediate hit as I enter the hotel and it certainly set the standard for the theme-hotels which are so common in this Sin City today.
My Las Vegas Highlights
My day in Las Vegas began with the recovery from jet-lag. I spent the day lazing by the poolside sipping on recovery cocktails. This was a great recipe for recovery and in time to venture out to explore more of the city.
I found Las Vegas had lot to offer and is endless. I wasn’t visiting the area for a quick wedding nor family holiday but I returned to explore and discover more of the city. There are thousands of activities that I can take part in. From gambling, nightclubs, world-class shows to incredible food and I am sure, I won’t leave Vegas disappointed. It is true that, Las Vegas has full of so many attractions and activities that likely, I was not be able to fit in everything on my list.
Below are some of the top spots I had visited with a touch of fun along the way.
1. The Strip
Interestingly, Las Vegas main attractions are all concentrated within the area commonly referred to as the fabulous “Strip”. It is the epicentre of any Vegas getaway. Here I found Las Vegas’ most iconic landmarks, including the Bellagio Fountains, the Eiffel tower at Paris, Las Vegas, the Pyramid and Sphinx belonging to The Luxor and The Venetian’s Grand Canal. It is filled with over-the-top casinos that allow tourists to visit different countries and see world landmarks without setting foot off The Strip, officially aka Las Vegas Boulevard.
Taking a tour of the strip and hopping on one of the city’s double-decker bus took me through the Strip, downtown and back again. Known as the Deuce, these buses are cheap and best way to get introduced to Vegas life. Travellers say it is best to visit the Strip at night to see all the casinos and attractions light up in the desert. The whole area completely transforms into arrays of neon lights flashing and blinking. I wandered the Strip at night but I was mindful of my surroundings (and my wallet) after dark – the last thing I wanted was to lose my winnings to a pickpocket.
2. Water Show
One of the “must-see” sights in the city which I found very amusing, amazing and awesome is the Fountains of the Bellagio. It is one of the most popular attractions in Vegas with its signature dancing fountains. It has the dazzling displays of dancing water, light and music. They explode in a fusion of light and music, ranging from opera to Broadway tunes. It is definitely hard to argue with the Bellagio when it refers to this show as the most “ambitious, choreographically complex water feature ever conceived”. It is hard to believe that every moves are perfectly synchronised. I loved the fountains and couldn’t get enough of them. I went and watched a couple times a day.
3. Fremont Street – Downtown
Don’t be fooled by the active attractions of the Strip., there is more to this than the Strip alone. After an early dinner, I made my way down to downtown Fremont Street by public transport which is easily accessible. Fremont Street, once dominated by classic but less-frequented casinos that seemed past their prime. Today, this section of downtown Las Vegas is once again competing with the Strip for visitor’s attention.
Located on a 5-block section of Fremont Street near the Mob Museum, known as Glitter Gulch in the city’s early years is a top-notch sound and the immense Viva Vision light show that will WOW the senses. This stunning and incredible colourful display of lights, sound and loud music takes places several times a night under a 90-foot high canopy. With more than 12 million Led lights streak through the pedestrian mall located in the historic section of Las Vegas makes the show can only be described as “totally awesome and surreal”.
What an experience! In my view, this is much better than the Strip and the whole Fremont Street experience was absolutely amusing. It is an attraction on its own. No visitors to Vegas should miss out on. I was totally very impressed but the overall atmosphere was unnerving, especially at night.
It is hard to go to Vegas without visiting a gambling casino. The slot machines are everywhere, including in the airport. Since, I was staying at Caesars Palace, it is perhaps one of the best places to visit for gambling pleasure. For those who aren’t a pro at gambling and don’t want to lose all your money, I would recommend to visit the Gamblers General Store in Downtown Vegas, which has a library of books on how to gamble.
Bellagio is one of the best places to go if you like poker but it is one of the places to some of the world’s top players in action. If slots are your thing, you may want to head to the Palms, where the payouts are above average.
I tried my luck at MGM casino and was lucky enough to get away with US$500 which was sufficient enough to feed myself for a week. Whilst I was there. I found casinos to be great place for people watching and entertainment. I almost went every night.
5. Mob Museum
I am great fan of visiting historical museums. I find them fascinating how things have changed and progressed, some good and others bad or worse. In Vegas, there are several museums you can visit but according to the local tourist guides, the best ones include The Atomic Testing Museum and the Mob Museum. To learn more about the Sin City’s darker side, The Mob Museum details the mafia’s involvement in Vegas. and sheds light on the city’s pervasiveness in the 20th century gangster era. Las Vegas’ former federal courthouse now houses distinct interactive exhibits devoted to exposing America’s mob history.
My visit to the museum gave me profound understanding about such notorious gangsters such as Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel and john Gotti and the dedicated G-men and FBI agents, like J, Edgar Hoover, Eliot Ness and Harry Anslinger, who worked to quell crime across America. This museum walks travellers through a detailed history of mob activity in the US and around the world, from the rise of organised crime families to the intricate gambling scams still perpetrated today.
I found the staff to be extremely friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable. The exhibits are in-depth and well curated for easier understanding of the past history.
6. World Tour in Vegas
One of the “must-do” in the city which I found very amusing is the Tour the World in Vegas. When visiting this place, I felt like I was travelling the world when only I was in Vegas. Many of the hotels built here were to pay homage to popular destinations around the world. The Paris Las Vegas made me feel like I was in Paris visiting the Eiffel Tower and taking a gondola ride at the Venetian, gave me a taste of Venice. In Bellagio, the replica of Italy’s Lake Como was surreal and the Big Apple, the New York New York gave me a sense of reality that I was in New York visiting the Statute of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park. I was totally blown away with all the creativity.
On my last day, I went on an early shopping spree before retiring at the hotel around mid-night as I didn’t have to get to the airport until mid-afternoon the next day. I have seen that, there is more to do in Las Vegas than just gambling and neon lights. There were so many activities I choose from and it was difficult for me to narrow down what was worth doing and what I should have skipped. From the great outdoors, thrill rides, shopping, great meals and just spending quiet moments in a poolside with great cocktails, I felt that I have done it all but it wasn’t. However, the activities I have done, kept me occupied in and around the city for several days. It is true, this party capital of the world does actually offers an amazing variety of activities for every type of traveller.