Going to Vegas doesn’t have to be a exercise in debauchery – though you’ve gotta admit, it is pretty fun when it is…. The beauty of this city is its diversity. Want to glam it up, go nightclubbing or dine at celebrity chef restaurants? Done and done! Off the strip you’ll find revitalized neighbourhoods, a heavy equipment playground and an otherworldly desert canyon to explore. Here’s a look a 5 very different, super fun ways to inject some oomph into your next Las Vegas visit.
Downtown Las Vegas
Wonder where local hipsters hang? They head downtown to experience vintage Vegas. You’ve got your Fremont Street experience with its old school casinos, and the Gold Spike is party central. Head here to shoot pool and take on massive (as in life size) games of Connect Four, Jenga and beer pong. Downtown Container Park is a family friendly spot made of shipping containers stacked upon each other. There’s an outdoor playground, indy shops and authentic Mexican at Pinches Tacos. Another great resto to try is Therapy, an unassuming joint that serves up the most decadent chicken and red velvet waffle slider.
If you’ve ever fancied tearing up Las Vegas real estate, now’s your chance. You can dig yourself into a real, legitimate hole at Dig This, an unusual attraction where Tonka trunks come to life in a four-acre sandbox. Several excavators and bull dozers are on site and after a brief safety lesson (and breathalyzer!), they’re yours for the taking. You’ll learn how to stack tires, dig holes and even play basketball with your big machine.
Sexy Vegas Show
I’m not big into shows, but Absinthe is a pleasant surprise if you’re not too uptight. The commentary is crude, the audience gets picked on, but I found it quite refreshing. It’s got your feats of strength, a dizzying array of acrobatics and some scary rollerblading stunts. Best is unlike Cirque, it doesn’t pretend to have a plot. This bawdy show is a hoot, just don’t take your parents. #awkward
Hiking near Las Vegas: Red Rock Canyon
Drive half an hour from the strip and you’ll feel as if you’re a million miles away. Within this National Conservation Area are a variety of walks to better explore this dramatic landscape.
Ease your way in by going along the moderate Pine Creek Canyon hike that crosses the open desert, past an old homestead site and into the canyon. There’s a bit of scrambling involved, but it’s worth it to get up to fern canyon where you can take a dip in running water – a pretty cool find in the desert. For more hikes within an hour of Vegas, check out Hiking Las Vegas.
Swish Vegas Strip Dining
You don’t need me to tell you the dining scene is Vegas is hot, but figuring out which restaurants are worth the splurge is a hard gamble. I stand by favourite Vegas restaurants, but there’s a new addition worth sussing out. Lago inside the Bellagio overlooks those famous fountains and dishes up Italian tapas. Nibbling on several small plates allows you to sample a good portion of the menu, helpful when there’s so many inciting, healthy options. Worth the calories was their spinach lasagne with a rich béchamel sauce and the antipasto with burrata.
For cocktails, try the smoked peach margarita. This multi-sensory sipper was complex with hits of smoke, salt and sweet thanks to the peach and shaved pineapple cone attached with a mini wooden clothes pin to the cocktail glass.
Have you tried something new or unusual on a recent trip to Vegas? I’d love to hear what you did. And have you ever travelled their kids? If that’s something you’re considering, here are some fantastic tips of doing Vegas with a toddler.