As promised in my previous post, which focused on the hotels we visited in Las Vegas, I will share some of the activities that we did while on our short stay here. My preconceptions of this city being solely for those wanting to party and gamble all through the night were inaccurate and I found this out pretty quickly when we started planning our trip. We were pleasantly surprised by the variety of activities available to us and in fact we struggled to fit in everything we wanted to do in our three days in the city. From tasty restaurants to breath-taking sights, we were spoilt for choice in this gem in the desert.
Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chip shop
This casual eatery was somewhat new when we were in town. We had heard about it on the grape vine before our trip and knew it was a must for us. On our first day in Vegas, we decided to go exploring the city with the intention of locating this restaurant on our travels for lunch. It was super easy to find and in a central location between the Linq and Flamingo hotels. Once you are on the correct street you can’t miss this place! It is aptly decked out in the British colours with the shop front donning an enormous fish dressed in the British flag. The doors in and out of the restaurant are also very genuine…they have used doors from red telephone boxes to keep the authenticity of this venue strong!
We couldn’t go passed the obvious choice of battered fish and chips and boy were we blown away. As with anything Gordon Ramsay touches, nothing is standard and this can certainly be said of the fish and chips. This fish itself was cooked to perfection with crispy batter that left us wanting more. The accompaniments for the chips were also considered thoroughly and added that extra special touch to the meal; the choices of homemade sauces were to die for and the real vinegar on offer was that little something you don’t often get when away from home. The generous lemon wedge skewered on top left us wanting for nothing. This venue is also licensed so was the perfect pit stop for our afternoon and the size of the meal saw us right through to dinner even with hours of walking under our belts.
Things to see & do
The Grand Canyon
The trip we made to the Grand Canyon was an experience I will never forget. We hadn’t booked this tour in advance and in fact that benefitted us on this occasion. We knew this was definitely something we wanted to do while in Las Vegas but hadn’t gotten round to researching it properly and didn’t want to book it without doing so. As a result, on the day we wanted to go, we went to one of the tourist kiosks in our hotel and enquired about any deals they had running. As there were vacancies on a tour running later that day, we got a really good deal. I know this may not always work out in your favour but if you are going to be in the city for a few days, it may be worth sussing this option out on your first day or two and even if you end up paying full price later in your stay, well you haven’t lost anything.
Another thing that we hadn’t realised prior to our trip, was that the Grand Canyon is a nature reserve and therefore can not be accessed by just anyone. Many people decide to drive to the Grand Canyon themselves while in the city but they can only get to certain points and don’t get the same access or experience that you get when on a guided tour.
We hadn’t intended going the full hog when we started looking into this tour but due to us booking last minute, we got all the frills for the same price as the basic package. We ended up being collected from our hotel in a limo and driven in style to the airfield on the outskirts of the city. We opted for the helicopter ride that took us over the Hoover Dam and then into the valley of the Grand Canyon. As this area is a nature reserve, there are only certain places that people can set-down and they need clearance and all kinds of licenses to do so. Taking a guided helicopter tour is one of the only ways of being able put your feet on the ground of the Canyon itself!
We opted for the late afternoon/evening tour and were glad we did so. Our tour meant we had a stop over in the Canyon which included the most adorable champagne picnic. We landed while the sun was still up and had our nibbles and champagne as the sun began to set…it was like something out of a movie!
We also had time to take pictures and the tour guides were wonderful in terms of assisting with this too when we both wanted to get into the snap. As we left the Canyon just on sunset, we then got to experience the surrounding landscape and indeed the glitter strip (on our arrival back to the city) in a totally different light to when we left. The incredible lights of the hotels were in full swing and we could appreciate the city for what it is best known…the glitz and glamour!
One little tip I would give if opting for the tour at this time of day is to bring a warm cardigan or coat. Regardless of what the weather is like when you leave to start the tour, once the sun sets you need to remember that you are in a desert and the temperature can drop dramatically!
This area of the Las Vegas is a must when in the city. Fremont Street was once the heart of Las Vegas and the origins of this crazy city can still be seen here today. It is considered the “Old Las Vegas” but once you step into this area, nothing feels old about it. The flashing lights above the casinos, the street performers and the huge ‘tacky’ signs in the street are what we have come to associate with this part of the world and if that is what you want to see, then this is where you need to visit.
Depending on where you are staying, it may be worth getting a taxi or ride share to this part of the city as it is a decent walk from the more modern hotels mentioned in my previous post, but if the weather is good and you want to explore, why not walk and I’m sure you would discover many hidden treasures along the way!
There is another unusual feature on Fremont Street that attracts lots of attention – Viva Vision: The world’s largest video screen! This is a free show that can be enjoyed from any point under the 1,500 feet long screen that is suspended 90 feet above Fremont Street’s pedestrian mall. The show lasts about 6 minutes and run every hour starting in the evening (depending on the time of year). The imagery projected by the millions of LED lights come in a variety of shows and are certainly worth checking out. And one spectacular way to see all this is to take the zip line that runs under the Viva Vision screen – not for everyone but definitely an option for the thrill seekers.
Cirque Du Soleil
My choice of activity on this trip was to take in a Cirque Du Soleil show. What I didn’t realise until we started looking at our options for shows, was that there are several shows running at the same time in Las Vegas in different hotels. Many hotels have resident shows running for long periods of time and as a result, the performers take short periods of time off meaning there are times of the year when some of the shows may not be running for a few days at a time. This caught us out a little as some of the shows I was interested in were on a break and therefore limited our choice of what we could take in on the dates we were in the city. As there are several running along side each other though, you should be able find some show operating during your stay even if it is just a short stay. It may be worth double checking dates however, if there is one particular show you are interesting and if your dates for travel are flexible.
We ended up seeing the show Kai. It wasn’t a show we had heard anything about but the fact that it was a Cirque Du Soleil production was good enough for me. I definitely wasn’t disappointed! The stage and setting was out of this world with parts of the stage even moving during the performance to add to the dramatics. The performers were like nothing I had ever seen before, with skill and courage that I couldn’t even comprehend! We were both speechless from the very opening scene to the last movement on the stage. A show like this is something I would highly recommend and no matter what your interests are, there is no way you couldn’t appreciate the mastery involved in such a performance.
The venue for the show was the MGM Grand so once it was over, we ventured through the numerous bars and restaurants to explore our new surroundings. We found a cosy bar with amazing cocktails…the perfect setting to discuss the incredible show we had just seen and reminisce about our favourite parts. What a perfect way to round off an amazing experience!
So, like I mentioned in my previous post about Las Vegas, there is so much more to this city than just the typical casinos and late night watering holes. I hope this has helped open your mind to all this incredible city has to offer and has perhaps given you a new interest in exploring this diverse pocket in the desert.
Thanks again for taking the time to read another one of our posts and if you would like to see where we will be discussing in the coming weeks, why not head over to our Instagram page for some regular peeks at what is coming up.
But for now…keep planning,
Richard and Michelle.