Las Vegas can seem as appealing as a root canal if you aren’t a gambler, but if you’ve avoided visiting, you may not be aware of all the city has to offer beyond 24/7 gambling. Depending on your interests, you might prefer checking into your hotel and relaxing at the spa, hitting the rides at the Stratosphere, or throwing on your hiking shoes and heading to the trails. In Vegas, the possibilities—even for non-gamblers—are endless.
Arts and culture
Las Vegas may not be known for its art museums, but two of its casinos have notable galleries. The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is a haven for art lovers. Through May 2007, the gallery is showcasing nearly 50 photographs by Ansel Adams, for a $15 admission fee that includes an audio guide.
Meanwhile, the Venetian houses the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, which charges $19.50 for adult admission, including an audio guide. The museum’s fall exhibit features photography by Robert Mapplethorpe and classical art from the late 16th century.
For many, a trip to Las Vegas means checking out one (or several) of the many theatrical performances. Cirque du Soleil has a huge presence in Vegas, with five current shows, including Love, KA, Mystique, O, and Zumanity. Tickets run from $60 to $150.
A revamped version of Phantom of the Opera (called Phantom: the Las Vegas Spectacular) and Mamma Mia, two longtime-running Broadway shows, are currently playing in Las Vegas. Mamma Mia is the more economical of the two, with tickets from $49.50 to $110, while Phantom tickets range from $75 to $150.
Celine Dion has a running engagement at Caesars Palace with her show, A New Day show. Tickets to see the Canadian superstar start around $87, but go as high as $225.
The great outdoors
Nevada was named one of SmarterTravel.com’s top five [%1232747 | | up-and-coming adventure travel destinations %], and Las Vegas is one of the best areas in the state for outdoor activities.
Closest to the Strip, about a 25-minute drive away, Red Rock Canyon Natural Conservation Area is one of the most inexpensive areas for outdoor fun in Las Vegas. For a $5-per-carload day pass, visitors can spend all day hiking the canyon and exploring the visitor’s center, which offers guided hikes throughout each month. The canyon also has a 13-mile scenic drive, mountain biking trails, and rock climbing and camping areas.
There are a number of outfitters that serve Red Rock offering guided hike, bike, and horseback tours, as well as rock climbing excursions. To give you an idea of costs, horseback rides start at $35 per person, per hour, but longer trips are available at higher prices. Mountain bike rentals go for about $35 per day, and guided bike tours start at $110. Guided private hikes start at $79 for a small group. Full-day rock-climbing tours start around $100, but can cost upwards of $275 per person, depending on the outfitter and trip.
Further afield, about 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Valley of Fire State Park is another popular destination for scenic drives, hiking, and camping. Admission costs $6 per vehicle. The park also has a large visitor’s center.
Luxury and relaxation are synonymous with spas, and nearly every hotel in Las Vegas has its own. The Venetian has one of the most famous spas, Canyon Ranch. For $35, visitors can purchase single day passes for unlimited usage of the fitness center, fitness classes, whirlpool, sauna, and steam room, though three- and five-day passes are also available. Canyon Ranch also has a menu of salon and spa services which can be purchased a la carte. A 50-minute massage costs $135 on weekdays, and an 80-minute Canyon stone massage starts at $245 on weekdays. Weekend rates cost more.
Canyon Ranch is one of the country’s top-notch spas, but many of the other casinos on the Strip also offer spa services. Visit Las Vegas’ spa section features three pages of on-the-Strip spas alone, not to mention those downtown and on the outskirts of Vegas.
Las Vegas has a few amusement park-style rides for visitors who enjoy getting an old-fashioned adrenaline rush. The Stratosphere has three roller coasters within the 1,149-foot Stratosphere Tower. Admission to the tower costs $9.50, and a ride on each of its roller coasters costs $8 apiece. Thrill-seekers who want to ride more than one coaster, or ride more than once, can purchase an unlimited day pass or packages of tickets that include admission and one, two, or three rides.
The New York New York Hotel and Casino is home to a roller coaster that rolls 180 degrees and hangs 86 feet in the air. Admission is $12.50.
For more information on planning your Las Vegas vacation, including tips on [% 11852 | | getting there %], [% 14562 | | getting around %], and [% 10996 | | where to stay %], read our [%1435 | | Las Vegas Travel Guide %]. VisitLasVegas.com is another good source for information about accommodations specials, tour operators, current shows, and more.