Top 5 Things to Do When You are in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is largely considered the gambling capital of the world and indeed is the first destination that immediately jumps to mind when it comes to placing a bet. The iconic city is home to an incredible array of luxurious casino resorts that offer tons of opportunities to those who chase the elusive dream of beating the house at its own game.
Many visitors of the city are indeed blinded by the glitz and glamour of the lavish casinos on the Strip, so much so that they tend to forget there is more to Vegas than gambling. From museums and national parks to aquatic shows and romantic gondola rides, Sin City has much to offer to the hordes of tourists that walk its streets year-round. But, of course, placing a bet or two at one of the opulent casinos won’t hurt you, especially if this is your first visit to the world’s most famed gambling hub.
№ 1 – Watch the Bellagio Audiovisual Water Show
Frequently featured in Hollywood flicks, the dancing fountains of Bellagio are one of the most spectacular attractions Sin City has to offer. The iconic fountains are part of an impressive audiovisual spectacle that attracts droves of tourists in front of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino throughout the year.
The water show is set to light and sound and runs year-round. The show runs every half an hour from 3 pm to 8 pm on weekdays and every 15 minutes from 8 pm until midnight. It continues during weekends as well, starting around noon up until midnight again.
The performance occurs in a massive man-made lake that spans around eight acres and contains 22 million gallons of water. Both the lake and the dancing fountains are impressive pieces of engineering, constructed by WET Design, a company that is also responsible for the creation of the Dubai Fountain and the Okada Manila Fountain in the Philippine capital.
Another interesting piece of trivia is that the fountains were actually built on what was previously the golf course of the now-defunct Dunes Hotel and Casino. This incredible feat of human engineering cost between $40 milion and $50 milion to build.
The mind-blowing light, sound, and water spectacle is made possible with the help of a pipe system that comprises over 1,200 cylindrical spouts. There are four types of those – oarsmen, mini-shooters, extreme-shooters, and super-shooters, each one creating a different water-shooting effect. As many as thirty engineers are responsible for the maintenance of the massive water attraction each day.
The show is undoubtedly the most impressive after sunset when spectators are able to clearly see the 4,500 co-ordinated lights. As for the music, the iconic fountains “dance” to a variety of classic and contemporary songs by performers like Celine Dion, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, the Disturbed, Elton John, Whitney Houston, and Lee Greenwood. And best of all, you can join the crowd of tourists and enjoy the dance of the massive fountains at no cost.
№ 2 – Take a Gondola Ride at the Venetian Luxury Hotel and Casino
Hopeless romantics who happen to pay a visit to Sin City should head to The Venetian Luxury Hotel and Casino for a delightful gondola ride. These are available both outdoors and inside the iconic casino resort, which closely mimics the atmosphere of the famed capital of northern Italy.
Each gondola can accommodate up to four people, although there is the option to book a ride for you and your romantic partner only, albeit at a slightly higher price. Each ride continues for around 15 minutes to the sound of the gondoliers’ melodious serenading. At the start of their shift, the gondoliers gather together and parade across the indoor canals, singing in unison.
Those who are very keen on gondola riding get the chance to learn how to pilot the gondolas themselves by taking a short course at The Venetian Gondola University. The visitors who pass the course successfully are rewarded with branded shirts and hats along with certificates from the Gondola University.
Other must-see attractions Vegas visitors can enjoy at The Venetian include the zodiac cocktail programme, the Atomic Saloon Show that features acrobats, comedic routines, and aerial stunts, and the twelve-story-high Venezia Tower.
№ 3 – Pay a Visit to the Valley of Fire State Park
Okay, this one is not located within the city itself but is an absolute attraction for Sin City visitors who are into hiking, camping, and road-tripping. The Valley of Fire is the oldest national park in the Silver State and is located just an hour away from Las Vegas (around fifty miles away from the city).
The first thing that will catch your attention is the unique colour of the rock sediments. The Aztec sandstone rocks are reddish in colour and look as if they are on fire, especially when they are bathed in sunlight, hence the name of the state park.
One of the most picturesque parts of the Valley of Fire is the road that passes through the park itself. It is ten miles long and was added to the list of Nevada’s Scenic Byways. The images carved into the reddish rocks are particularly interesting.
These are remnants of the prehistoric peoples who inhabited this area from 300 BC to 1150 AD. Some pieces of the rock art depict animals while others are shaped like crosses or even beehives. The stone cabins the park has managed to preserve are also worth checking out.
№ 4 – Visit the Iconic Fremont Street
When visiting Las Vegas, tourists should absolutely take a stroll at the iconic Fremont Street. Located in downtown Sin City, this famed street is the home of some of Vegas’ oldest and most popular casinos including the likes of the Binion’s Horseshoe, El Cortez, the Golden Nugget, the D, Fremont Hotel and Casino, the Eldorado Club, and The Mint.
This is the first paved section of the city whose history is as old as that of Las Vegas itself. The iconic stretch dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century when the city itself was founded. Fremont Street has also left its mark in cinematic history. It is featured in legendary films like Diamonds Are Forever with Sean Connery, Viva Las Vegas with Elvis Presley, and the comedy sci-fi movie Honey, I Blew Up the Kids.
The year 2002 saw the renovation of a five-block section of the historic Vegas downtown district now known as the Fremont Street Experience. The latter became a major drawing attraction for visitors, with hordes of tourists flooding the renovated district to see Viva Vision.
This is a gigantic video screen (in fact, the largest the world has seen so far) that hangs 90 feet in the air over the pedestrian mall. Tourists who visit the Fremont Street Experience get to enjoy a variety of exciting light shows at no extra cost. Live concerts and other entertainment events are hosted throughout the year. Free concerts are also hosted at times.
If Lady Luck fails you at the casino tables, you can always drop by Fremont Street’s Binion’s where you can have your free picture taken with one million dollars, stacked in a pyramid of cash, to show your friend’s when you get back home.
You can also rub the belly of the Happy Buddha at the California Hotel and Casino to try and turn your luck. Do not forget to leave a coin at the base of the statue as all coin donations there go towards charity.
№ 5 – Try Your Luck at One of the Strip Casinos
While gambling is by no means obligatory when one visits Vegas, it won’t hurt you to place a bet or two at some of the Strip or downtown casinos. There are tons of options for bettors from all walks of life. Recreational gamblers will definitely find games whose limits correspond to their budget although high rollers are also catered to by Strip casinos.
If gambling is simply not your cup of tea, you can always skip that part and visit the Strip casinos just to have a look at the lavish interior inside. There are plenty of gawk-worthy scenes to see both inside the casinos and outside, on the Strip. Some of the exterior highlights include the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, the High Roller observation Ferris wheel, and the Statue of Liberty at New York New York.
The interior of Strip casinos is just as impressive to look at as the exterior. Casino resorts like the Bellagio and The Venetian will floor you with their opulence and amazing displays. When visiting the Bellagio, you should most definitely check out Dale Chihuly’s art blossoms display, aka Fiori di Como, and the Conservatory. The Venetian, on the other hand, will impress you with its authentic marble floors, the roof that resembles faux blue skies, and the Madame Tussauds wax museum.