Explore: Las Vegas

Date Posted: 11/04/2014

From extravagant Vegas shows to Grand Canyon excursions, we explore the themed hotels, casinos and the many things to do in the city that never sleeps.

Best for groups

At 550-feet (152-metres) the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, the High Roller, is the latest attraction in Las Vegas. Just off the Strip, it towers over The LINQ - a new $500-million outdoor shopping mall located between The Quad (formerly Imperial Palace) and the Flamingo. Groups can book cabins or even the whole wheel.

The Mob Museum - or the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, to give it its correct title - is located in a former federal courthouse and United States Post Office, and looks at how and why the mobs got their hold on the city, how the law fought back, and how that battle was finally won. Discounted rates for groups of 12 or more.

The Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon are two of the great sights in the world - and both can be accessed by coach. Alternatively, view them from the sky on one of the several helicopter sightseeing tours out of Vegas.

Essential Sights

Las Vegas Shows: Whether it’s Elton John, Celine Dion or Rod Stewart, a Vegas spectacular is like nothing you’ve seen before. Similarly, even if you’ve caught a Cirque du Soleil tour in the UK, its eight different Vegas shows are all streets ahead because they are based in theatres designed specifically for each show.

The city at night: The Las Vegas Strip is an attraction in its own right, with its glittering lights, dazzling Bellagio fountain display and exciting Treasure Island outdoor pirate show (both free). Alternatively, look down on the Strip from the top of the Stratosphere tower or on a night-time helicopter flight.

Themed hotels: No need to travel the world when you can cruise the canals of Venice (The Venetian), head up the Eiffel Tower (Paris Las Vegas) or join in the fun at a Manhattan piano bar (New York-New York).

Where to stay

With 16 restaurants to choose from (from ‘fine dining’ to pop-in cafes) and ten bars and lounges, the Aria Resort & Casino offers a choice of food and drink as well as guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and high-tech facilities, and upmarket shopping at Crystals next door.

The pyramid-shaped Luxor Las Vegas, at one end of the Las Vegas Strip, has lifts ascending diagonally up the pyramid wall, a five-acre pool area, and a ‘made-to-measure experience’ in the Savile Row nightclub.

The 1,149-foot-high (350-metres) Stratosphere is located at the other end of the Strip and its rotating Top of the World restaurant offers stunning night-time views over the lights of the city. If you’re feeling daring, you can also try its tower-top thrill rides or the SkyJump Las Vegas freefall.

Live like a local

The Peppermill Restaurant is a ‘classic’ Vegas restaurant/lounge that has featured in the films Casino and Showgirls and the TV show CSI Las Vegas. A regular award winner, its drinks menu includes Alabama Slammers and Golden Cadillacs.

Fremont East in Downtown Las Vegas is more bar-oriented than the Fremont Street Experience, with watering holes such as the retro-themed Beauty Bar, the video arcade Insert Coins and the Downtown Cocktail Room.

The Pinball Hall of Fame, less than two miles east of the Strip, features 10,000-square-feet of games from the 1950s to the 1990s. Entry is free but you do have to pay to play. Stoney’s Rockin’ Country is a favourite spot for locals on a Thursday night. There’s line dancing and it’s just a few minutes south of the Strip at the Town Square shopping centre.

Food and drink

Nora’s Cuisine is a big favourite with the locals and visitors alike. An off-the-Strip family Italian restaurant, it has been ‘serving great Italian food’ since 1991. The cocktails are pretty good too.

Dona Maria Tamales Mexican Restaurant is another favourite with locals. Set in Downtown Las Vegas, it has been receiving rave reviews for 30 years and is reckoned to offer some of the best Mexican food in the city.

The Steak House is hidden away amid the chaos of the Circus Circus Hotel. A long-standing, awarding-winning restaurant, it has the air of a gentlemen’s club, with prices to match.

Fact file

Journey time: Between ten and 11 hours from London to Las Vegas McCarron International Airport.

Currency: US dollar £1 = $1.63 (approx.)

Best time to go: It gets pretty hot in the summer months (up to 45.5 Celsius) and cool in the winter months, so aim for spring or autumn – unless you’re thinking of skiing at nearby Mt Charleston.

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