- The desert city has lots of hidden treasures.las vegas images image by isatori from Fotolia.com
Las Vegas is more of a tourist black hole than a trap. If you don't particularly care for the "tourist" thing, you'll be happy to know there's plenty to do in Sin City other than gamble, see Elvis tributes and elope. Some of it doesn't even glitter.
- You could spend your whole vacation sampling spa treatments.spa ii image by studio vision1 from Fotolia.com
For the past few years, Las Vegas has been toning down the theme park motif and lapping on the luxury. As a result, the city's more opulent resorts offer spa retreats. The best part? You don't have to be a hotel guest to book a treatment. Try the Good Luck Ritual at the Encore. THEhotel at Mandalay Bay's Bathhouse spa draws on Zen minimalism for its décor, with waterfalls and plunge pools. Aquae Sulis at the JW Marriot specializes in hydrotherapy.
Restaurants Locals Love
- Tapas and wine are Firefly's specialty.tapas image by razorconcept from Fotolia.com
To find out where to go when it's mealtime, read restaurant reviews in the local newspapers for a broad scope of the city's offerings. Firefly on Paradise Road is a tapas joint known for its unpretentious, vibrant atmosphere and compelling wine list. On Vegas' outer rim is lakeside Marché Bacchus, where you can buy a bottle of fine wine at the built-in market and bring it to dinner at the restaurant.
Desert Road Trips
- The Mojave Desert is scenic and serene.Mojave Desert 5992 image by St Clair Photography from Fotolia.com
Travel beyond the city limits and try a hike through Death Valley or day trip to the Grand Canyon. Helicopter and plane rides can transport you to either area, but there's more to explore when you road-trip it. Car rentals in Las Vegas are affordable and accessible. If you'd rather be a passenger, Pink Jeep Tours can take you and your friends all over the Mojave Desert. On a cautionary note, avoid going the desert at night, when all the critters and snakes come out.
Pink Jeep Tours
3629 W. Hacienda Ave.
Las Vegas, NV
Skiing and Snowboarding
- Strap on some skis and head for the slopes.botte de ski image by fraenz from Fotolia.com
Las Vegas is located in one of the many basins of this mountainous region. That's why it's just a short 45-minute drive to Mount Charleston, a bonafide ski hill. The season begins in late November and ends in early April. After a day of making tracks, you can either relax at one of the area's resorts or return to Vegas's dry desert climate.
Ski Las Vegas
Mount Charleston, NV
- The Bellagio boasts an expensive art collection.bellagio image by anupio from Fotolia.com
On the surface, Las Vegas might seem utterly artless. On closer observation, it's a rich patron of the arts. The Las Vegas Art Museum has a collection of contemporary art that continues to grow. Over on the Strip, top off a visit to Bellagio's Gallery of Fine Art with a meal at the hotel's Picasso restaurant, decorated with $30 million worth of the artist's work. Next door is the CityCenter complex, itself an architectural novelty for the city. It also has a fine art collection valued at $40 million.
- Tee off in style on Las Vegas's green patches.Playing Golf image by Chad McDermott from Fotolia.com
It doesn't seem like a city in the middle of the desert should be a golf oasis, but it is. The Wynn resort boasts the only 18-hole course on the Strip. On the other end of town, the Angel Park facility has two 18-hole courses, one 12-hole course and a putting course. Serious golfers can head to the Badlands Golf Club, designed by PGA champions Johnny Miller and Chi-Chi Rodriguez .