I thought I would share a few tips and things to do with anyone who may be planning a trip to Las Vegas. The first tip I have to give you is that I believe you should rent a car. Even if you do not use it every day, renting a car will save you both time and money (unless you enjoy waiting around in a cab or Uber line). The casinos let you park for free as long as you have a player card. If you do not have a player card, they are easy to get for free when signing up at the players’ card services booth.
Here are my top recommendations:
The Las Vegas Mob Museum –I admit it; when I heard plans for a mob museum I was skeptical, thinking it was going to be a gaudy tourist trap. However, it was absolutely not!! There is no place in this world where you can learn more about the mafia’s history than inside this building. It is done so well, with the visitor in mind. You get both an audio and visual tour with step-by-step walking and guided instructions taking you from the old country up to the current time. They actually have on display, the brick wall where the St. Valentine’s massacre took place.
The Pinball Hall Of Fame –Growing up on the Jersey Shore in a boardwalk town, this place will always remain one of my top favorite things to do in Vegas. They have the old-school pinball machines from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, right up to some of the newer ones on the market. They also have arcade games such as Pac-man, Asteroids and Frogger, as well as air hockey and many other arcade games of chance.
The Bellagio Fountains – One of my favorite scenes is at the end of the movie Ocean’s 11, where George Clooney and the boys depart one-by-one from the fountains, with ’Clair De Lune’ playing in the background. The current music choices range from classic Sinatra and Tony Bennett, Vegas style, to Lady Gaga.
The Bellagio Conservatory –This is a must see, in-person attraction. I almost cannot even write words explaining its beauty. Each season, the enormously talented horticulturalists and designers who make up the Bellagio Conservatory team transform this 14,000-square-foot floral playground into a showcase of the distinctive sights and colors of spring, summer, fall and winter—along with a special display for Chinese New Year.
Cirque Du Soleil –Cirque’s performances are inspired by a variety of natural and cultural elements. For example, the “LOVE” show at The Mirage pays tribute to the legendary rock band, the Beatles; meanwhile “O” at the Bellagio has water playing a crucial role in the performance. Other performances around town include “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay, “Mystère” at Treasure Island, “Zumanity” at New York-New York, and “KÀ” at the MGM Grand.
The Local Casinos –Yes, people actually do live and work in Las Vegas. We like to visit and play in casinos, just like the tourists who flock to the Strip casinos. Only we try to avoid the tourist and Strip traffic if we can. Favorite local casinos are Red Rock Casino and Green Valley Ranch. Both are owned by Stations Casinos (which dominates the local market) and offer better odds on certain games like video poker to the very demanding local crowd. Sams Town is like walking into an old west gambling joint. While walking around the place, you can almost feel what Vegas used to be like when the casinos had sawdust on the floor 75 years ago. The artifacts on the walls throughout the display items from the Old West. The highlight of Sams is Mystic Falls Park. Take a leisurely stroll in the park day or night and you will relax to the sound of a rolling waterfall complemented by the soft chirping of birds and live trees reaching upward towards the skylight 10 stories above. Starting at 2pm, and continuing every two hours till 10pm, the sunset stampede laser light show is an experience you will not soon forget.
Red Rock Canyon – A one-way 13-mile scenic drive, hiking and trails, plants and wildlife, geology, camping, cultural resources and much more. The Visitor Center offers information and interpretation about recreation opportunities.
Slotzilla Zip Line (Downtown) –Imagine soaring quickly through the air past neon signs and classic hotels under the world’s largest canopy and light show on the Fremont Street Experience while giving air-fives to the pedestrians below. That’s Slotzilla. It is a 12-story slot machine in the middle of the street. You can’t exactly miss it. Starting at the east side of the Fremont Street Experience, the Slotzilla zip line is 77 feet high and 850 feet long. A zoom line that’s 114 feet high and launches riders in a horizontal position, as if they are Superman, flying 1,700 feet — the entire length of the Fremont Street canopy – at speeds faster than 35 miles per hour.
High Roller –Located at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, The High Roller is the world’s largest observation wheel with 28 transparent pods holding 40 passengers each.
Mount Charleston –Las Vegas sizzles with excitement, but let’s face it — the summer heat can get out of control. Temperatures reaching 115 degrees. The 160th straight day of sun. Even the most ardent of sun worshippers are looking for a break – and hotel swimming pools and air-conditioned malls just aren’t enough. Luckily, just 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas, visitors can find all the cool mountain breezes, fresh air and all-around scenic beauty of Mount Charleston. Part of the Spring Mountain Range and Toiyabe National Forest, Mount Charleston ranges from 3,000 to 12,000 feet in elevation. It is Nevada’s eighth-highest mountain peak and one of the Top 10 most topographically prominent peaks in the United States. Featuring trees like juniper, mountain mahogany, Aspen and Ponderosa pine and animals such as wild burros, songbirds, deer and desert tortoises, Mount Charleston feels a million miles away from the city. Get your hiking stick, bottled water and Timberland boots ready.
Stratosphere Tower –View the city in 360-degree panorama at Las Vegas’ Stratosphere Tower, the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States. How about going on some of the most outrageous rides you could ever imagine. 1149 feet above the ground overlooking the Vegas skyline. Sky jump, x-scream, insanity and big shot offer thrills you won’t find anywhere else.