Some of us want to feel thrills, but don’t want to go too far from home to get them. For the Canadians who want to feel the rush of gambling from the comfort of their own bedrooms, Gamdom casino has them covered. For everyone else in North America, Las Vegas can feel like a trip overseas without crossing the ocean at all!
Las Vegas is one of America’s most famous, and notorious, cities. Known for gambling, sex, drinks, indulgent food, and anything else your mother said was bad for you, this oasis in the Mojave Desert is a place that every adult should visit at least once. There are so many things to do, and so many ways to do them, that it can be hard to know where to start.
But before we begin, we should note that this article will not cover road trips outside of Vegas. When people go to Vegas, they are often tempted to visit places like the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, or Area 51. Visitors from Canada will have to explore these tours beforehand if they want to make the most of their trip to the States. This piece will stick to the Vegas Strip.
Las Vegas is full of innovative, creative hotels: Excalibur, Caesar’s Palace, and Circus Circus, to name a few. Each hotel has a unique array of restaurants, shops, and other activities that makes it stand out. It has been described as an “adult Disneyland” by TripAdvisor for a reason. Bar crawls abound!
One of the most elaborate hotels on the strip is the Venetian. Featuring the art and architecture of Venice, the hotel sports its own canal system. Get a gondola ride and watch live performances in a plaza modeled after St. Mark’s Square. The hotel/mall is also linked to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. If you want to see how over the top Vegas can get, the Venetian is an excellent starting point. Even the rooms are flamboyant!
While we’re on the topic of hotels, the Flamingo hotel is an attraction by itself. It’s been in Vegas since 1945, and was always planned to have a spa, a showroom, a nightclub, and fancy food and drink. That places it shortly before Las Vegas became “Glitter Gulch” in 1946, according to Lasvegasnevada.gov.
Over time, the hotel has really leaned into the flamingo angle, with an aviary, a giant flamingo that’s perfect for photo ops, more photo ops with live parrots, and, of course, flamingo merchandise to prove you were there. If the Venetian was too elegant for you, the Flamingo has more of a sense of humor—and a lot more history.
The Minus 5 Ice Bar
If you know anything about Las Vegas and Canada, you know these two things: Las Vegas is hot, and Canada is cold. But what if there was a bar that was cold, albeit mild by Canadian standards, in the middle of hot, dry Las Vegas?
The Minus 5 Ice Experience is a lounge made entirely out of ice. The sculptures, the chandeliers, and even the cups your drinks are served in are frozen solid! As the title might indicate, things are kept at a brisk -5 degrees Celsius. The lounge provides gloves, hats, and coats, just in case you forgot to pack them.
If you travel to Vegas, tell people back home that you had a drink served in a mug made of ice. Watch their confused expressions. “Why not put an ice bar in the middle of the Mojave Desert?” indeed. There are three locations in Vegas (Mandalay Bay, Venetian, and LINQ), so no matter where you’re staying, there’s a cool bar nearby.
The Forum (and Colosseum) at Caesar’s Palace
If the mall at the Venetian wasn’t enough, the Forum at Caesar’s Palace feels like being transported to ancient Rome—with modern accommodations, of course. Designer shops, art studios, and souvenirs from Caesar’s Palace can all be found somewhere in this indoor mall. There are several gelato sellers. Replicas of classical art decorate every turn. If you want to cool down from the Vegas heat, this is a fine place to do it!
Also, the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace is where a lot of the shows take place. (There is a kiosk for reserving tickets in the Forum.) It has been a top venue since 2005 and has hosted stars like Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Adele, and Sting. Other shows also take place on the grounds of Caesar’s Palace in the Roman Plaza. It’s worth your time and money to see at least one show while you’re in Vegas—choose wisely!
The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
Like many hotels, Mandalay Bay is an experience. No sooner does one enter when they feel like they’re in some ancient, darkened underwater city. But that experience becomes more realistic when you find the aquarium attached to the hotel. There are setups styled after ancient temples with various tropical fish, but the main highlight is, of course, the sharks. Head down into a (fabricated) shipwreck to get up close and personal with the ocean’s most misunderstood predators.
Of course, if you want to dine under the sea (and happen to have a lot of cash!), you could try this restaurant themed after Jules Verne’s famous novel. It features an extensive 16-course meal in a dining room modeled after a submarine.
The Paris Hotel
If romance is in the air for you, or you’re in the mood for fine dining, the Paris hotel might be on your l list of places to visit. The Eiffel Tower viewing deck captures the general vibe of the City of Lights, complete with a lightshow at night, and the Mon Ami Gabi restaurant has French cuisine to match. C’est magnifique!
The High Roller
Las Vegas is a city of neon, and the best way to see it all is from up high! The High Roller, a Ferris wheel from the future, goes 167.64 meters above the Vegas Strip, giving riders a spectacular panorama of the setting at night. You will not get a better view than this.
If you miss your turn on the High Roller itself, be sure to walk by it at night. There’s a free light show that happens every night and is visible from the ground.
Casinos aside, there plenty of things to see and do in America’s favorite Sin City. Have you been to Las Vegas before? Do you have a favorite attraction that didn’t make the list? Let us know, and we’ll give it a look.