40+ Must-Do’s in and around Las Vegas
33. Day trip to Zion National Park*
Although Zion is a bit of a trek -2.5 hours from Vegas – it is definitely worth the drive to see one of the country’s most gorgeous national parks. It would be a shame to pass up this breathtaking natural wonder while in such close proximity. The entry fee ($12 per person for a 7 day pass) really isn’t that bad considering the park is home to some of the most stunning rock formations out West. The word Zion translates to “a place of peace and relaxation” in Hebrew and this is exactly how I would describe this national park.
This underrated gem features an incredibly picturesque drive, miles & miles of gorgeous hiking trails including a moderately easy trail to the beautiful Emerald Pools waterfalls, and the most gorgeous paved bike trail known as the Pa’Rus trail which follows the serene Virgin river and is lined with towering red rock formations. No matter what trail you pick you will be surrounded by colorful ancient (estimated to have been formed 250 million years ago) towering sandstone formations.
34. Holiday Lights at the Ethel M Cactus Garden
Vegas isn’t exactly the best city when it comes to grand traditional holiday celebrations, however, there are a few hidden gems here and there. One of these is the outstanding holiday light display at the Cactus Garden at Ethel M Chocolate Factory in Henderson. Over half a million colorful lights are draped over the cacti for a truly unique holiday display in the desert. Best part of all, it’s completely free unlike many other overpriced light shows! If your Vegas visit falls during the month of December, you will definitely want to escape the craziness for a bit for a relaxing stroll through this gorgeous garden.
35. Poker room at Binions
Binion’s Gambling Hall, formerly Binion’s Horseshoe, was location to the first ever World Series of Poker. This is where it all started in 1970, with the tournament becoming more & more popular every year until eventually running its’ course at Binions in 2004. Any poker fans will definitely want to make their way to Fremont Street sometime during their trip to check out the place which made the WSOP tournament so popular for so many years. You can also take your pic next to a poker table which has been signed by all the greats. Also be sure to check out the classic neon Binion’s Horseshoe sign at the Neon Museum!
36. Hershey’s Chocolate World
An 800 pound replica of the Statue of Liberty, comprised of chocolate twizzlers, stands in front of the popular Hersey’s Store in the NY, NY casino. There are lots of really cool gifts for chocolate lovers here and I almost always find myself picking up a birthday or Christmas gift here. The store itself is beautifully organized and appealing to stroll through with 2 floors worth of treats, souvenirs, and gifts.
They even have a cool interactive feature where you can make your own candy bar, choosing your own ingredients and designing your own wrapper. And of course, there are all sorts of decadent treats like cookies, brownies, and shakes to enjoy. Similar to the Hershey’s Store is an M&M’s World which is super popular with tourists – just follow the trademark yellow bags.
37. Spa Day at Drift at the Palms
Vegas has no shortage of spas, from high end luxury options at the more upscale casinos like Caesars Palace & the Venetian, to budget friendly alternatives at the more affordable resorts. The best deals are offered during the week.
One of the best mid-range spas is the Drift Spa at the Palms. Not only do they offer super affordable pricing (starting at $100 for a 1 hr Swedish), but they have a beautiful facility which includes a very large steam room, sauna, a Hammam (a Turkish style steam room), whirlpool, and cold plunge pool. They offer great monthly specials, the massage themselves are fantastic, & the facility super relaxing.
38. Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe is always a fun place for a vacation dinner. The atmosphere is lively, the food (though unhealthy and mostly fried) is tasty, and the music and rock memorabilia just put you in a good mood. Plus, they sell all sorts of fun souvenirs and you can even order your drink in a fun souvenir glass. I love the twisted mac and cheese and the jumbo appetizer – it’s worth the splurge and extra calories. After all, you are in Sin City! There are 2 locations – one on the Strip and one inside the Hard Rock hotel. Great energy, great decor, great music, & tasty comfort food – overall, a great vacation pick!
39. World’s largest chocolate fountain
The world’s largest chocolate fountain is located inside the Bellagio hotel at Jean Phillip Patisserie, a delicious European style pastry shop. The 27 foot tall glass enclosed multi tier fountain is a mesmerizing sight and will definitely have your taste buds craving something sweet. Fortunately, you will not have to look very hard as the indulgent pastry shop has a tantalizing display of every treat imaginable. Most of the treats are mini sized so you can mix and match a few to share amongst your party.
40. Paris Buffet
The Paris Buffet is another one of my favorites, mostly due to the quaint french style cottage setting. The food selection is not as diverse or as extravagant as The Wynn or Bellagio buffets, however, the setting is just as nice and you really cannot beat the amazing dessert selection if you love macaroons! Food offerings include various options inspired by the 5 provinces of France. I love anything potato, and thus, this buffet was a real treat with the potato leek soup, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, etc. Good classic comfort food at its’ best!
41. Big Apple Coaster
The rollercoaster ride at the NY, NY casino really stands out due to the central Strip location and unique ambiance of all the famous New York replicas. This coaster is the best value in terms of thrill rides in Vegas. The coaster is fast with lots of drops, twists, and turns and uniquely travels both inside and outside of the casino with fun views of The Strip. A bit bumpy due to the rough nature of the tracks but worth a visit if you like coasters. New for 2018 is a virtual reality ride which sounds pretty exciting.
42. Greenwich Village at New York, New York
In the NY, NY hotel there is a great little dining area reminiscent of Greenwich Village in Manhattan. Here you will find all sorts of cute sidewalk cafes. The trees and brownstone give the area true New York style charm. From NY style thin crust pizza, to deli sandwiches, to fresh pastries, you can find something to remind you of New York City in Vegas. Il Fornaio is a wonderful Italian restaurant – try the butternut squash ravioli!
43. Venetian painted ceilings
The gorgeous hand painted ceilings in the Venice inspired Venetian resort are definitely worth a quick look even if you are not staying on-site. To authentically recreate the look of Venice, artists and architects did extensive research in Venice and also commissioned talented & dedicated artists. The Sistine Chapel recreation is amongst the most impressive. Just walking around this gorgeous casino is a feast for the eyes.
44. The Wynn Fountain show
The Wynn fountain show is easily missed as it is not located near the central portion of The Strip where most tourists tend to congregate. While not as dramatic as the Bellagio show, this dazzling illuminated show is definitely worthy of a visit. Plus, you can combine the show with a visit to one of the Wynn’s great restaurants and a stroll around the beautiful conservatory. The show includes music and lights like the Bellagio. And although it’s much simpler than the grand Bellagio production, it’s still an elegant and classy production which fits in perfectly with the overall ambiance of the resort.
45. Ri Ra Irish Pub
I love a great Irish Pub (even if it is not St. Patrick’s Day) and Vegas has a few decent options. Nine Fine Irishmen in the NY, NY is one great option. Another great choice which combines terrific food with a terrific authentic ambiance is the Ri Ra Irish Pub in the Mandalay Bay Casino. The gorgeous bar was constructed with authentic materials from Ireland in an attractive 19th century Dublin style. Ri Ra serves the best fish and chips in town. For appetizers, you must try the traditional potato cakes – so good!
Also in the Mandalay is the wonderful Guinness Store, home to the largest collection of Guinness merchandise outside of Ireland. Here you can learn about the brewing process and even learn the techniques to pour the perfect Guinness!
46. The Wynn Conservatory Holiday Display
The beautiful Wynn Gardens are worthy of a visit anytime of the year. However, the holiday season is even more spectacular with an elaborate display which includes more than 30 Christmas trees, gold & silver themed gingerbread houses, and the most gorgeous gold & ivory poinsettias. This enchanting display creates the perfect elegant holiday ambiance and fits in perfectly with the overall theme of the luxurious Wynn resort.