Vegas, Baby, Vegas
I’d never been much of a Las Vegas fan, but a winter getaway after being around home for the holidays sounded like a terrific break. What do you do when you don’t gamble?
Hiking in the Red Rocks
A half hour drive from Vegas and you’re in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Lots of hiking trails, we chose Keystone Thrust and trekked up a trail up a ravine looking for some sign indicating we were at or close to our destination. Funny thing, none of the few locals we met on the trail had ever heard of the Keystone Thrust, and the trail map described this as the “most significant geological formation in the Red Rock Canyon!”
The last person we met said the trail turn off to Keystone Thrust was close to the parking lot and, although we’d been out a couple of hours, of course we had to press on to see this… whatever it was. Found it, maybe. We still aren’t sure just which of the rock formations was this “most significant one”. Maybe another trip to the visitor center will clear that up.
Tip: With the National Park pass you get in free, otherwise pay at the station at the entrance. The road is a one way loop drive, you don’t just drive up to one trail and back out the same way so plan for the extra time to drive the distance.
We’d been hiking in stunning Sedona just a couple of months before so were less than impressed with the scenery on this hike. Nonetheless it was out in nature and getting some exercise. Tip: It’s WINDY up there! Dress accordingly, we were glad for jeans and the extra layers.
Another day, another hike – a “hike” around lots of Casinos that is.
Up one side of The Strip and down the other, a fun way to see a LOT of casinos. Many are connected but you have to look sharp for the exit joining them – casinos don’t want to make it easy for you to leave.
This was an ambitious day – starting at the Mandalay Bay, all the way up to Circus Circus, and back down to get to the Twin Peaks sports bar in time to get a seat for the football playoffs. We don’t gamble but just seeing these monuments to vice was a lot of fun. Some are just gorgeous, my two favorites: Encore and Wynn.
Tip: Need a coffee break? The Starbucks at the Fashion Show Mall on the strip has the best prices.
The Neon Museum
North of old Las Vegas is an outdoor “museum” featuring the signs of Las Vegas in days gone by.
Behind every sign is a story… there are a lot of signs in the Neon Museum boneyard and interesting histories and stories behind many of them. We went for a day tour, although a night time tour sounds fun only a handful of the signs are lit up, the rest are shown with spotlights. Great tour, well worth the effort to get to.
Tip: Tours are every half hour – we didn’t make a reservation but checked the book-a-tour page on their website to see what time to shoot for in a daytime tour as some time slots were sold out.
The Shelby Museum
Who doesn’t love fabulous cars? See the Shelby’s and learn about the man and the cars in this really interesting tour given by a company historian.
Tour is about 1.5 hours, most of the tour is spent in the showroom/museum – hey what’s a Shelby GLHS? How Carroll Shelby named some of these cars is really funny. Learn about it on the tour! The original Cobra #1 is there, and another great story. Check their website for tour times, tours were twice a day when we were there 10:30 and 1:30 midweek. And guess what? The tour is free! Great tour, beautiful cars, lots of cool stories about them. OK, and what’s that “GLHS” mean? Goes Like Hell Some More. No kidding.
Of course Las Vegas has terrific entertainment, we didn’t catch any shows this time around but last visit we were up for something a little burlesque, a little caberet – hey it’s Vegas! The show was Zumanity and a lot of fun, another Cirque du Soleil production so of course it has some amazing acrobatics in addition to the provocative subject matter.
Happy Hour with an Awesome View
Before you leave Las Vegas you have to have a drink and appetizer at 107 Lounge at the top of the Stratosphere. 2 for 1 drinks during Happy Hour – nice because each drink is $15 – and half price appetizers. Sun sets about 5 when we were there mid-January, so Happy Hour timing is perfect for seeing the Las Vegas Strip come to life in all its glittery glory.
Easy to spend some relaxation time, great service, DELICIOUS drinks – try the Scottish Mule and if you love chocolate – the Chocolate Masterpiece. Sliders were very good, we also tried the Calamari, also very good and a little easier to share. A bonus is being able to go up to both the inside and outside observation levels for free when you are done.
Las Vegas can be a lot of fun, even without the gambling!