Las Vegas is famous for Elvis impersonators, celebrity headliners, all-night casinos and clubs, and extravagant hotels. Nicknamed “The Entertainment Capital of the World,” Las Vegas is home to the neon-coated Strip, where the most lavish casinos, clubs, and restaurants are concentrated. This lively resort city is unequaled for gambling, gaming, and over-the-top entertainment.
Las Vegas isn’t limited to the Strip, however. Situated in a valley within the beautiful Mojave Desert, the city is surrounded by premier golf courses, hiking destinations, and breathtaking landmarks such as the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon.
Whether you’re looking for the glamor and glitz the Strip offers or the majestic beauty of the desert landscape, Outdoor Traveler offers not just a vacation, but a getaway adventure. Get the most out of your next trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, with this guide from Outdoor Traveler.
Natural and Historic Landmarks
The area around Las Vegas is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. Located just 17 miles west of the Strip, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area features 197,000 acres of breathtaking geological features, unique species of plants, and an interesting variety of desert-dwelling animals. Far from the glitter of the strip, this conservation area offers activities of a different kind: miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, as well as areas for rock climbing and picnicking. With a 13-mile scenic drive, this magnificent natural landmark can be appreciated even in passing.
As one of America’s most impressive civil engineering feats, Hoover Dam also makes a great day trip destination for those staying in Las Vegas. Only 30 miles southeast of the Strip, this monolithic dam is located on the Nevada-Arizona border. While you can drive across the dam to appreciate its massive size, you can also take part in one of the frequent, informative tours of both the dam and adjacent power plant.
Bluegreen Club 36™
Bluegreen Club 36 is adorned in colorful, lively hues and decorations that reflect the eclectic style of the early 20th century Parisian Art Deco movement. Fitting in well with the lavish casinos a few blocks beyond on the Las Vegas Strip, the resort derives its name from its latitude at exactly 36 degrees north.
Though famous casinos and attractions like Mandalay Bay, New York New York, MGM Grand, the Luxor, and Excalibur are within walking distance of Bluegreen Club 36, the resort provides a serene retreat. You can easily relax away from the excitement of the Strip in a one- or two-bedroom villa that includes all of the essential amenities of home. The villas include a full kitchen with an oven, microwave, coffee maker, and refrigerator, a living area with a television and DVD player, and a washer and dryer.
After an activity-packed day of rock climbing or exploring the Las Vegas Strip, guests can relax with Club 36’s large outdoor sundeck, covered pool, and fitness room, or get a massage from a professional masseuse by the pool or in your room. There are also several restaurants located on-site for a casual dining experience, as well as a poolside cocktail bar.
Las Vegas has a dizzying number of attractions that captivate visitors from all over the world. With performances by headliners like Britney Spears and Celine Dion, comedians like Carrot Top, and magicians like Criss Angel and David Copperfield, the city has a show for everyone. Famous acts like Cirque du Soleil have performed in Las Vegas for over 20 years, and performances are scheduled year-round. Cirque du Soleil’s 90-minute shows comprise unforgettable illusions, acrobatics, and gravity-defying stunts.
In addition to the shows, Las Vegas offers unrivaled shopping opportunities. The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, for example, are known as “The Shopping Wonder of the World,” and anything from diamond jewelry to Andy Warhol artwork can be purchased at one of the 160 specialty stores here. There are also a multitude of restaurants and a 50,000-gallon aquarium to help you relax in between shopping. Other casinos and hotels offer similar experiences, like the Venetian Hotel and Casino, which is home to the Grand Canal Shoppes. Here visitors can shop in luxury designer stores situated along a beautiful recreation of Venice’s famous canal, complete with gondolas.
Away from the Strip, the Fremont Street Experience is another famous attraction that offers a variety of fun spectacles like street performers, free live concerts, and magnificent lights shows on the world’s biggest screen. At 1,500 feet long and 90 feet wide, the Viva Vision screen is hung above Fremont Street’s pedestrian mall and includes 12.5 million LED energy-efficient lightbulbs. You can also take in the light shows on Fremont Street’s SlotZilla Zip Line, which is almost 12 stories high and spans the entire 1,750 feet of the plaza. You’ll fly “superman-style”—lying prone with your arms outstretched—and reach speeds up to 40 mph.
If you crave an adrenaline rush, you’ll definitely enjoy a trip to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where you’ll get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race an actual Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, or McLaren. You can also drive or ride in a dragster.