This site has touched on Las Vegas travel before, specifically by pointing out four things to do to make the trip unforgettable, beyond the obvious attractions of casinos, shows, etc. We talked about some of the art and attractions of the city, as well as some of the beautiful places in the surrounding area, and these are definitely good ways to mix up your Vegas experience a little bit. Even so, if you travel to Las Vegas, you’ll likely be spending some time on “The Strip,” which is the famous area packed with towering, flashing casino resorts. In some ways the best way to handle this is just to explore and see what grabs you. However, different resorts are known for different things, so we thought we’d write up a guide with some tips for how to get the most out of them all.
1. Ride The Manhattan Express At New York, New York
Here’s something a lot of people miss about Las Vegas: there are actually a lot of rides in town. They’re not all conventional theme park rides or roller coasters, but if you include thrilling experiences like driving off-road vehicles, riding in stunt planes, bungee jumping, etc., there are a lot of thrills. The Manhattan Express isn’t the wildest of them, but it’s probably the most charming. It’s been listed among the best thrill rides in Las Vegas, and it combines the illusion of zooming through a model Manhattan with the thrill of looping and climbing with views of the surrounding Strip.
2. Spend A Night At The Mandarin Oriental
One of the basic truths of Vegas is that the rooms in the famous resorts are exceptional. You may find something to gripe about if you compare them, or if you’re expecting the kind of suites you see in the movies when you book a basic room – but in general, they’re all wonderful. Having said that, the Mandarin Oriental has seemingly jumped out in front in recent years. It’s commonly recommended as the best place to stay at this point, despite the fact that it’s one of the few big name venues without its own casino. The reason is that the rooms themselves, as well as the rooftop pool, are just that outstanding.
3. Try Poker At The Bellagio
You can try your hand at poker in most any Vegas resort, and there are far more affordable (and less intimidating) places to do it. The MGM Grand is sometimes considered more accessible, for instance, as is Mandalay Bay. But if you just want a glimpse of the Vegas poker experience you’ve seen in movies and on TV, try the Bellagio. Arguably the town’s most famous casino, it’s particularly renowned as a poker venue. It’s home to the famous Big Game, where the best players in the world will play with millions of dollars on the line, and you stand a decent shot of bumping into a famous pro. It’s quite a spectacle, and there are also games for more casual visitors (though people at the Bellagio tend to know how to play).
4. Swim At The Mandalay Bay Beach
Vegas resorts are known for their pools, almost as much as for their casinos. In some cases they’re exclusive-feeling oases that can make you feel like an ancient royal as you bask in the sun or drift through the water. In others, they’re basically clubs, pulsing with loud music and full of excited crowds. Mandalay Bay’s artificial beach stands out from the crowd, however. While it can sometimes be a little too packed with tourists, it’s an incredible attraction – quite literally a massive artificial beach right in the middle of the city. If you go in the morning or on a less crowded day, it’s a great place to hang out.
5. See A Show At The Wynn
Picking a show in Vegas is every bit as difficult as picking a pool, or a poker table for that matter. There are incredible venues, as well as special shows that are more or less permanently stationed at individual resorts. If you only get to see one, however, you might want to look at The Wynn, and specifically Le Reve – The Dream, a special version of Cirque du Soleil that has made the legendary resort its home. Set up in a surprisingly intimate theater and held over a water tank, this is a show that allows you to let your subconscious take flight, and it’s truly unlike anything you’ll ever have seen before. It’s the very best example of the combination of talent and originality that’s behind so much of what makes Vegas great.