Going to Vegas........Suggestions

My wife has given me a 5 day vacation in Vegas starting Nov 7.

I know I want to see the grand canyon.

Which is more spectacular, the West Rim or the South Rim?

How long does it take to drive to Monument Valley ?

What current venues or shows do you recommend ?

Saw Cirque ‘O’ at Bellagio and liked it. It’s spendy though. Take some time to hang out at the Bellagio Fountains though. Awesome to watch and completely free. If you want to have some drinks you can view them from the other side of the lake from the Fontana Lounge if it’s open.

Jubilee is one of the few remaining old style shows with the (topless) showgirls. Pretty good, but I think you can regularly get the tickets through the discounters.

I second the Bellagio, the fountains made me cry. I’m such a tourist sap. I also suggest you ride all the rollercoasters and catch a topless show. Have a ball.

I guess snorting coke off a stripper’s tits is out then.

I ate at the Stratosphere restaurant, went on the New York, New York rollercoaster (seriously violent). I liked the overhead light show on the Strip, and the famous fountains. But seriously, 48 hours in the casino area was too much for me. The constant “jing jing jing” of the fruit machines nearly drove me out of my mind. Me and a buddy escaped and went to Red Rocks Canyon. Interesting rocks but I think it’s the single hottest place I’ve ever been in my life. Nearly collapsed from heat exhaustion and only just made it back to the car, where my then-wife was sitting with the a/c blasting, having refused to leave the vehicle due to the heat. Fun place in small doses.

As always, it depends on what you like.

If you’re a techy sort, Hoover Dam is kinda cool, and there’s the Museum of Atomic Testing. (If you do Hoover Dam, go early. There are different levels of tours; the best one takes you into the service tunnels inside the actual dam. But the first time I went, those had sold out for the day. If they haven’t opened the new bridge yet, allow time for pretty heavy traffic.)

I don’t know what there is at the West Rim. (There’s that glass-bottom overlook, which is fairly far west, is that what you were thinking of?) The South Rim is a bit more built up, lodges and restaurants; the North Rim is just one big lodge and a campground. Either one is a long day trip from Las Vegas. If it’s not too expensive, you might look into a sightseeing flight from Vegas.

Do a bit a restaurant research before you go. Again, it depends on what you like. I had a good dinner at the Hofbrauhaus, but with the band and such, it was very loud and boisterous. Every song is a German drinking song.

We went to both the West and South Rims. and I have to say the West was by far the better trip. There may have been less in the way of lodges, restaurants and general tourist traps but the skywalk was incredible and more than worth the trip. We also did a day trip into Death Valley which took us to several different locations and was well worth the cost.

In Vegas itself, we planned to see most of the Cirque shows - “O” was far and away the best, “Ka” was much more industrial but still good to watch but I would steer well clear of Criss Angel because that was pure unadulterated sh*te. “Zumanity” is billed as an adult show and whilst it is more risqué than other shows, it wasn’t that great and hasn’t made it onto the list of things to see again. Aside from that, we went to see “La Reve” and thoroughly enjoyed that one. The so-called ‘big name’ acts like Sealion Dying and Bette MiddleoftheRoad didn’t appeal to us in the slightest so we didn’t bother with them.

The light show at Fremont Street was good to watch but, like jjimm, we found that the noise of the casinos got to be too much very quickly.

Lots to do.
November will be a bit nippy for the pool (at least for us locals), but otherwise, most likely sunny and clear skies.
Always a wise idea to order show tickets in advance, especially if there is a “must see” in the mix. There are, however, 1/2 price ticket booths on The Strip for same day shows - so if you are not all that picky, you might want to wait and see what is available on the day(s) you want to see a show.

I’m a foodie and a private chef; so I always gravitate toward the chow when I go to Vegas. For a feel of the old Las Vegas and soem excellent classic Italian (with complimentary house wine) try Battista’s Hole in the Wall. It’s a short walk from the Strip.

My favorite on the strip restaurant is Thomas’ Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in the Venetian.

I’m going for business next week, and I’ll be hitting both restaurants.

Monument Valley is a leisurely 8 hour drive - but oooooohhh so worth it.

Of course it is faster if you take the interstate, but in 8 hours you can take Route 66 from Kingman to where it meets back up with 40, then stop in Flagstaff for a couple hours for lunch (lots of good lunch options) and spend the night in Kayenta (The Hampton Inn is good). Then get up early… before sunrise… and go north to the UT border (25min) and another 13 miles. Then turn around and get one of the best road views in the world.

If you want to go to Bryce it is easy from Kayenta, go via Page (Fiesta Mexicana is a great Mexican place for lunch) then Kanab and spend the night in Panguitch and go up to Bryce. It can all be done in a nice 3 day/2night trip.

I’m with FallenAngel - for me, Vegas is about fabulous food. Lotus of Siam is probably the best Thai restaurant in the country. I get Keller’s food here in San Francisco so Bouchon holds no special charm for me, but I have dined well at Olives, Todd English’s joint. Claude Le Tohic is Joel Rubochon’s restaurant; quite extravagant and unforgettable.

Lastly, if you are remotely interested in art, the new City Center shopping mall. The public art there is astonishing and one of the most memorable experiences I have had in Vegas.

Last time I was there we went over to see London Bridge. just scroll down a bit.

While Red Rock Canyon is nice and is still a favorite of mine - just a little further out of the city is the Valley of Fire. Pack water and comfy shoes, there are a million places you can stop and walk just a little way off the road to see amazing vistas.

5 days isn’t enough to see all that surrounds Vegas let alone what is inside. I suggest you pick two or three at most major excursions outside of the city.

There are a few helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon which give you some wonderful views and usually lunch somewhere along the rim without the day of driving. You can also do it in a small plane although without the lunch stop. When we actually drove to the Grand Canyon we drove out one day, stayed the night at the lodge and drove back the next. Still wasn’t a lot of time actually at the Canyon. I would do a couple of nights there next time.

I loved the long Hoover Dam tour. It was very interesting to see all the working bits inside. The best part is if you go back each tour is different. They let the tour guides (or they used to) show the stuff that interested them. It’s not scripted which really adds to the fun.

I really love the whole area, I’ve been several times it’s great to be able to hike around in the dust all day and put on grown up clothes and dance all night.

Really? Maybe we just had a bad experience, but iceberg lettuce salad, prepackaged bread covered in oil, and flavorless food was not my idea of a good meal. It’s odd, because my Italian grandmother said she and my grandfather used to always go there, so maybe things have changed. It really was awful-- especially the wine! (And I mean, c’mon- I had low standards going in, since it’s free wine and all). The little old man with an accordion was cute though, I’ll give you that.

One quasi-unique thing you can do is shoot a full-auto sub-machine gun just like in the movies. You will see ads everywhere for ‘The Gun Store’, but will find it slightly cheaper and a lot less crowded at American Shooters on Arville, West of the strip. We also tried indoor skydiving at Flyaway (floating over a giant fan) kind of neat. That said, there are height and weight restrictions for it since you won’t get any lift off the fan if you are too short/heavy.

Lots of good advice here.


I don’t care for the glitz and gambling aspect of Vegas. I did enjoy the buffet at the MGM Grand.

If I were to go to LV again I’d get a bus pass right away. As I recall a single bus ride was $7 this summer, and a 24 hour pass was $13. The sidewalks on the strip are crowded, and every single corner people handing out cards for escort services :barf: - even trying to hand cards t my kids :eek: The blocks are also long - it’s quite a hike from one hotel to the next.

I love the scenery outside of town!

I’ll second Valley of Fire state park. It’s about an hour and a quarter out of Vegas by car, and is stunning! Do a Google image search. Yes, wear comfy shoes and bring water, a broad brim hat, and sunblock.

Hoover Dam is also interesting, and IMO fun. It might be easier to get to next month than it was in July, now that the bypass and bridge are open.

There is some good advice in this [thread=568968]thread[/thread] for my and MamaZappa’s vacation. With just a few days you won’t have time for as many sights as we did. You’ll just have to go back!

The Grand Canyon is amazing and I recommend everyone see it! FYI it took us about 5 1/2 hours to drive from the Grand Canyon south rim to Las Vegas - including some traffic delays around Hoover Dam. LV to South Rim is not a day trip IMO, but you know what you can handle.

More good advice in this [thread=520681]thread[/thread] from 2009.

They have In-n-Out Burger in Vegas now. If you like a good burger, get the Double-Double with grilled onions.

Is The Gun Store crowded now? The last time we went there, we were the only ones in there. We got to shoot several different kinds of fully automatic machine guns. They let kids shoot too.

Hoover Dam is a great sidetrip to drive to, its not that far.

As far as going to the Grand Canyon, its much too far to drive to, I recommend you take the helicopter if you are going to the Grand CAnyon.

The Pawn Stars pawn shop is sometimes busy with a line and time limit, and sometimes not busy at all.

I got a points card from the casino in the Venetian, and without feeding any money into any machines, I got a free upgrade on the tickets to Blue Man Group. I was in the third row, getting stuff thrown at me from the stage, for the same price as sitting way in back. After playing the slot machines for a while, the same point card got me two free tickets to the wax museum. So even if you don’t plan on gambling, check around to see what the casino cards may do for you.

Check the concierge desk if there’s something you really want to do. They might know how to get a discount.

And pace yourself. I spent my third day sitting in front of slot machines or laying in bed, because I just didn’t have the energy to do anything else. Even going to get something to eat was almost not worth the energy. I learned the hard way that my body isn’t going to let me run on 4 hours of sleep, just because I was in Vegas.