Las Vegas: 7 absolute must-dos to ROCK your trip

Las Vegas

Las Vegas. Ostentatious. Tacky. Glamorous. Seedy. Sleazy. The adult playground embraces all these things but there is no denying it’s a fun place to be, full of exhilarating experiences. It lived up to its reputation and provided the ultimate blow-out backdrop to celebrate my 40th birthday.

Las Vegas

We crammed in so much that our four days felt much longer. I discovered the infamous sin city had so much more to offer than the iconic sights we all know so well. Here are my seven experiences you must put on your hit list if visiting this 24/7 action packed city.

1. Go back to the beginning

Las Vegas

Jam packed with extravagant casinos on the strip. You’d be hard pressed to avoid one and Vegas without gambling is like a chip butty sans chips! Nearly every hotel on the strip has a ground floor bursting with roulette, card tables and pinging slot machines. No clocks, pumped full of oxygen and an endless supply of free alcohol (as long as you’re over 21 and tip the waitress $1 or $2) is how they help part you with your piggy bank.

Las Vegas - The Venetian

Preposterously themed casinos are all the rage on the strip where you can actually ‘see’ the world without Leaving Las Vegas. Try Italy at The Venetian, a Polynesian island at The Mirage, Egypt at The Luxor or indulge in the luxe and swanky surroundings of the Wynn Las Vegas. You can read about my stay here.

However, I probably had my best gambling experience in downtown Vegas at The Golden Nugget. Fremont Street in old Vegas is where it’s at if you want to roll with the locals. It opened its doors in 1946 and at the time was the largest casino in the world. Well worth a visit. I loved the fact that once you enter you feel like you’ve entered a time warp and stepped onto a 70’s American movie set.

2. The secret drink

Las Vegas - Chandelier Bar

Head to the Chandelier Bar Level 1.5 at the Cosmopolitan and order a cocktail that you won’t actually find on the menu. The crystal ensconced bar is cocooned by thousands of shimmering ropes of crystals, casting soothing pinky, purple hue.

The Verbena, a rather unassuming cocktail, will take your mouth on a rollercoaster of a ride. The actual drink is made up of a medley of exotic citrus components – yuzu, kaffir leaves, and calamansi (similar to kumquat), blanco tequila, and ginger. The star of course is the ‘Szechuan button’, which also goes by the names ‘buzz button’ or ‘toothache plant’. It’s an edible plant filled with a natural alkaloid.

Chew on it, and within a couple of seconds your salivary glands go into overdrive. It tingles. It numbs. It’s an explosive sensation that awakens every one of your 10,000 tastebuds. When you take a sip of the margarita-like cocktail again your palate will be prepped to taste all the unusual flavours. The chemical reaction actually had me speechless for a few minutes, which was a sight in itself.

Definitely a Las Vegas taste sensation you don’t want to miss.

3. More to Vegas than Vegas

Las Vegas - Papillon Grand Canyon

I believe you can’t travel all the way to Vegas and not experience the Grand Canyon, USA’s best known natural attraction.

Measuring more than 275 miles long and more than a mile deep, it’s an awe-inspiring sight. Time constraints meant the road trip and walk around the rim were not an option. Instead I flew over it with Papillon Helicopters, landing at the bottom for a champagne lunch. Extravagant? Yes, but seeing the canyon should be something that’s on everyone’s bucket list. You can read about the full experience here.

I managed to tick two things off my bucket list. Seeing one of the world’s seven natural wonders whilst pretending I was Airwolf. Dream come true!

4. A dessert like no other

Las Vegas - Serendipity 3

I was told about this taste sensation by a fellow blogger Raj Popat – A frrrozen hot chocolate. An oxymoron dessert and I was there! To top it off I discovered it featured in one of my favourite romantic comedies ‘Serendipity’. In the film Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack after their accidental meeting enjoy one in the famous New York branch. You will find Serendipity 3 in Vegas right outside Caesars Palace.

Las Vegas - Serendipity 3

The comforting taste of winter warmth in frozen form was strange but tasty with a blend of 20 different kinds of chocolate. It’s a dreamy hit of decadent chocolate, like a cross between a milkshake and slushy.

Apparently Serendipity 3 sell 10,000 of these chocolate beauties a month and I can see why.

5. When in Vegas – Roll like a boss

We couldn’t help but be swept away with the Vegas lifestyle. Combined with the fact that distances are not what they seem, moving along the strip can be a pain with the horrendous evening traffic.

Las Vegas - Presidential Limousine

Hiring a limo or even a Monster H2 Hummer in our case can solve all those problems. With a few of you it can also be more economical than catching taxi’s. Plus with champagne to boot what’s not to like!

Our Hummer came via Presidential Limousine. You can read more on our amazing experience here.

6. There’s no business like show business

Entertainment is big business on the strip and catching a Vegas production is highly recommended. You’re completely spoilt for choice from mainstream pop acts, comedy, magic acts to musical productions.  The most popular tickets are the numerous Cirque du Soleil shows and Broadway productions.

Las Vegas - Michael Jackson One Cirque Du Soleil

The Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil totally blew me away. For 90 minutes I was at the edge of my seat bopping away. A complete nostalgia fest the show works its way through MJ’s incredible catalogue. It’s not your typical Cirque, but the actors, lighting and effects made for an emotional and unforgettable experience.

My top tip – Be organised and book well in advance!

7. Sin City culture

La Vegas - Neon Museum

One of the best cultural highlights (Yes, there are some believe it or not!), is the Neon Musuem which also includes the Neon Boneyard in downtown Vegas. Founded in 1996 it is a non-profit organisation dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs. It totally satisfied my need for a quality museum whilst on holiday.

The visitors centre is located in the historic La Concha Motel lobby. It was saved from demolition in 2005 and moved to its current location. The distinctive shell shaped building was designed by acclaimed architect Paul Revere Williams.

Strolling in and out of the gigantic signs you take a step back into Vegas history. Walking tours are by appointment only. I’m glad I managed to squeeze in viewing these vintage neon signs hours before catching my flight home.

And finally…

I know I said there were seven tips but this final one is a personal one from me to you. Take Vegas for what it is. When you’re there, Vegas ‘happens to you.’ Go with it. If you do, you’ll undoubtedly have a blast. I sure did and came back with birthday memories to last a lifetime.

www.lasvegastourism.com

Have you been to Las Vegas? I’d love to know your best experiences. If not, would you like to go? Let me know in the comments box below.

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25 Comments

  1. 11th December 2016 / 8:47 pm

    I am so jealous right now! The wife and I got married there on Christmas Day in 2004 and I have been hankering after going back for so so long!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      11th December 2016 / 9:13 pm

      Wow! Now that’s a special trip Stephen. You’ll have to plan an anniversary trip!

  2. 11th December 2016 / 8:59 pm

    I’ve never been to Las Vegas, but I’d love to visit the neon museum!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      11th December 2016 / 9:14 pm

      The Neon museum was amazing! It was such an insight into the city that truly never sleeps. Well worth a visit if you ever go.

  3. 11th December 2016 / 9:06 pm

    I have always wanted to go to Vegas, hopefully one day I will get to go. A frozen hot chocolate sounds divine, looks like you had an amazing time when you were there.

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      11th December 2016 / 9:15 pm

      I really did Denise! It’s an insane place, but well worth a visit.

  4. Angie Mason
    11th December 2016 / 9:12 pm

    Going there over Christmas and New Yearband will follow up some of your suggestions! Really useful overview. Thanks.

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      11th December 2016 / 9:18 pm

      Oh wow Angie! You’re going to have such ball. Are you staying on the strip? I have more posts coming over the following weeks, which you may find useful. Have a fantastically festive time out there x

  5. 11th December 2016 / 10:28 pm

    I might be going to Vegas in January with work, so I’m saving these tips for then 🙂

  6. Monisha
    12th December 2016 / 12:23 am

    Wow saving these tips for when I go- great post!

  7. 12th December 2016 / 2:00 am

    Amazing travel post! Now I would love to visit Las Vegas one day! 🙂

  8. 12th December 2016 / 7:13 am

    wow that was a really big dessert don’t think i’d finish it but i’d give it a big try lol Las Vegas looks so fun, hopefully I get to visit one day 🙂

  9. 12th December 2016 / 11:52 am

    Ah snap – we did so many similar things in Vegas. I loved the Grand Canyon heli tour and the Neon Graveyard too. And we stayed at the Wynn, and saw MJ One (brilliant). Sadly I didn’t try that Serendipity dessert – I’ll have to go back immediately. 🙂

  10. 12th December 2016 / 4:17 pm

    I always wanted to go to Vegas but I actually knew very little about the place as I see now… now I want to go even more O:)

  11. 13th December 2016 / 3:10 am

    Ok, so it looks like you will remember this birthday for a long time! I haven’t been to Vegas in two years, so, I looking forward to a visit next year. I have to devour one of those desserts from Serendipity (a lot of people rave about them). #MondayEscapes

  12. 13th December 2016 / 7:53 am

    I want to visit Vegas so badly, but its so expensive to go there from Holland. Really Nice pictures, looks so good there!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      13th December 2016 / 9:02 am

      Thank you. It’s always good to have a bucket list. One day you will start ticking things off it.

  13. 13th December 2016 / 8:18 am

    This is a great list! I practically grew up visiting Las Vegas as a child. We were always there because my grandma didn’t live very far from it. I really want to take my husband there one day, and I’m definitely all over a Chandelier Bar! Pinned for later!! #MondayEscapes

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      13th December 2016 / 9:01 am

      Thanks Lola. Means A lot when it passes the standards of a once regular. It’s a hood one for the wanderlust lust. And, yes the Chandelier Bar is a must! X

  14. 7th January 2017 / 11:14 am

    I’ve been to Las Vegas once and have to admit that I am not a fan of Vegas at all. I guess you either love it or… not so much :). But your post showed me that it might be more to it after all. I’d definitely love to see one of their famous shows!

  15. 2nd February 2017 / 9:42 pm

    I need to see that neon museum Sima! Casinos are not really my thing but I love anything that is a little bit retro kitsch cool. Plus the restaurants in Vegas are amazing. Thanks for sharing with us on #FarawayFiles

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      2nd February 2017 / 10:37 pm

      You know I’m not that big on casinos either, but when in Vegas! There is so much more to Vegas though and the Neon Museum should be a must on everyone’s list!

  16. 3rd February 2017 / 3:50 pm

    I love that you presented a balanced perspective of Sin City! Cocktails, casinos and the Grand Canyon… not many people go there for the nature – but such epic beauty is so close! We actually took our kids to Vegas on a road trip from Denver to Oregon. We had just been through Arches National Park, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park – Vegas was a perfect opposite. We stayed at the Golden Nugget, not for the gambling, but for the pool with a water slide through a SHARK TANK. Only in Vegas. We also tried the frozen hot chocolate, but didn’t make it to any shows. I think Vegas can be anything you want to make it. I like it in limited doses. Thanks for joining us for #FarawayFiles – cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      3rd February 2017 / 5:22 pm

      Thank you, I totally agree with you there are so many great things that surround Vegas you are spoilt for choice. Next time I want to do a walking tour of the Grand Canyon with my girls. I’d never thought of taking kids, but I saw that there is so many fun things you can do with them in the city. A water slide through a shark tank sounds bloody amazing! Great to discover #FarawayFiles, you and the rest of your team x

  17. 3rd February 2017 / 9:59 pm

    What an incredible 40th birthday, Sima! I went in my 20s and did it all wrong – apart from the road trip to the Grand Canyon which really was amazing. I was so disappointed with Vegas because I went expecting the glamour of the films and was gutted about all the tackiness and slot machines. To be fair, I only had about ten dollars to bet which clearly wasn’t going to get me into any of the more swanky establishments but I could at least have tried that incredible iced hot chocolate! Thanks so much for sharing this on #FarawayFiles

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