When the mercury reads -20, it's easy to start daydreaming about escaping this winter hell and heading somewhere warm. And there's nowhere warmer than VEGAS baby! Officially one of the most exciting destinations on the planet, Las Vegas boasts a near infinite amount of fun to suit all tastes, and while it's probably best known for its unparalleled casino game, you'll actually find a whole lot more than just gambling in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
So if you have got some vacation time coming up, or have been thinking about finally hitting up The Strip for a while now, read on for 10 things to do that will guarantee you have the adventure of a lifetime!
Head north along the Boulevard to the Stratosphere Tower, the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States, and the second tallest in the Western Hemisphere. If that's not exciting enough, it has an actual amusement park at its summit with a quartet of death-defying rides to choose from. Ride the Big Shot, X-Scream, Insanity, or SkyJump (a controlled free-fall from 108 floors up!), putting you some 1,000 ft. above the city. If you're brave enough to keep your eyes open, you're rewarded with a breathtaking view of Downtown Las Vegas.
Sky Combat Ace
Ever wanted to experience Top Gun first-hand? Well now you can thanks to Sky Combat Ace. This is your chance to feel what it's like to be a fighter pilot by getting behind the wheel of a real “fighter jet”. With a variety of mission profiles to choose from, this is no simulation. Under the supervision of highly-trained SCA fighter pilots, feel the G forces of flipping, tumbling and dogfighting over some of the most stunning scenery in the world.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
It would be hard to visit Las Vegas without checking out the world-famous Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. After you've taken a tour through the history of music with memorabilia including a drum set from Def Leppard, clothes from the likes of Prince and Madonna, and special exhibits dedicated to Journey, Imagine Dragons, and other acts who’ve headlined at The Joint, it's then time to hit up the pool!
The Hard Rock Beach Club is home to one of the most kickin' pool parties in the whole city. With its pioneering daytime Rehab events, complete with sandy beaches, and waterfalls, you will definitely find some action here.
Photo cred - Fremont Street Experience
Fremont Street Experience
Fremont Street is a big attraction in Las Vegas, thanks in part, to the larger-than-life Fremont Street Experience. On top of the massive Viva Vision LED light shows, free concerts playing on one of three stages at any given moment, and the non-stop energy buzzing along the 1,500-foot long pedestrian promenade, there is also the SlotZilla Las Vegas Zip Line!
The $11 million attraction is an 11-storey, 120-foot high, slot-machine-themed zip-line takeoff platform. With two-levels, riders on the higher level are actually shot out of SlotZilla at 35MPH using a first-of-its-kind propulsion launch system, soaring the entire length of the Fremont Street Experience.
Gordon Ramsay BurGR
A play on Gordon's initials, BurGR at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Downtown Las Vegas focuses on traditional burgers, fries and milkshakes, but with an extra special touch. Featured on Masterchef Season 4, the 30-foot-long fire display and stylish 200-person dining room create an exciting ambiance to enjoy gourmet burgers and other specialties like ale-battered Maui onion rings, cornflake-breaded chicken sliders, a selection of fry flavors, and out-of-this-world desserts. BurGR is also the only burger restaurant on the Strip to cook over an open flame, and offers numerous tasty vegetarian options to boot!
With Vegas' history so closely tied to the mob, the Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas is a fascinating look inside the world of organized crime and law enforcement. Explore hundreds of authentic displays and artifacts, including a giant piece of the brick wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, while discovering what really went on in the infamous world of organized crime.
Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
Billing itself as "North America's only predator-based aquarium", Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is easily one of the most awe-inspiring aquariums out there. It features lots of killers, including rare golden crocodiles, moray eels, jellyfish, piranhas, and 15 different species of sharks! For that extra thrill, you can get up close and personal with Sand Tiger, White Tip Reef, Gray Tip Reef, Sandbar, Zebra, Nurse, and Galapagos sharks with a 45 minute dive into the 1.3 million gallon Shipwreck tank.
You do need to be a certified diver, mind you, but still pretty cool none the less. If you don't happen to be a certified diver, you can still enjoy the sharks from dry land, along with sea turtles, rays, and lots of fish.
Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
Right in the heart of Vegas lies Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, where you can come face-to-face with some of nature's most exotic and majestic creatures. Explore, learn and play in a captivating world of White Tigers, White Lions and Leopards, in quite literally The Mirage Hotel's backyard. For you dolphin lovers out there, get up close and personal with the Bottlenose Dolphins, and participate in hands-on activities including playing with, training, getting in the water with, and caring for them.
Photo cred - Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
When you've had your fill of bright lights and late nights, it's time to head out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, located 20 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. Forming part of the Mojave Desert, and boasting 10,000 years of human history, here you can hike, picnic and discover abundant wildlife under the towering 3,000-foot-high red rock formations of the canyon.
Red Rock is open year-round and is a favorite among many tourists, sightseers, joggers, hikers and rock climbers looking to spot some of the 200 different wild mammals. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area receives 1.2 million visitors a year at its expansive Visitor Center and surrounding areas, and because of its isolated and quiet location, also makes an unforgettable wedding venue.
Ever wonder where all of Las Vegas' old neon signs end up? At the Neon Museum of course! Displayed outdoors on over 6 acres of dessert, lies the Neon Boneyard; a stroll through Las Vegas history dedicated to saving and preserving vintage neon signs. Neon Museum guides will take you through this incredible collection of retired neon signs from gone-but-not-forgotten casinos and businesses, offering a truly fascinating look at Vegas' past.