Feature Friday | Las Vegas - Beyond the Strip & Casinos

Happy Friday everyone!

We're kicking off the weekend with Feature Friday in the crazy world of Las Vegas with Niki from Chasing Departures. 


Las Vegas, Nevada Beyond The Strip and the Casinos.

Reason for Visit?

Sin City is seen as a one stop party destination by many. Budget carriers often fly there for cheap. And hotels are often cheaper than your average city destination too. But you don’t have to spend your days in the smoke filled casinos watching your savings vanish. Las Vegas is an ideal starting point for venturing out into the Wild West. Just make sure you fill the gas tank up before setting off.

Best Time to Visit?

Most recently I was in Vegas in December and it was perfect. The weather was not too hot and cold enough for a hoodie. Plus, winter is the off season so crowds are non existent.

What must we Do?

Definitely rent a car. So much of what makes Vegas one of my favorite cities isn’t so much what’s in the city, it is what you can do outside the city.

In a short time driving, you can be on the top of a mountain looking down at the craters created from nuclear testing during World War II, or meandering through bright red rocks in Valley of Fire State Park.

Another easy drive from Las Vegas is the Hoover Dam. You can walk across the dam or take one of the tours inside to see how the place runs. 

If you want to drive a little farther and make a day trip out of your drive you could check out Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park - North Rim or South Rim, or Death Valley National Park. All three offer stunning sights and excellent landscape photo opportunities.

One thing to be aware of is you can get altitude sick while visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

At night, look into the High Roller at LINQ. The High Roller is Vegas’s version of the London Eye. Tickets are reasonable and you will get a bird’s eye view of the city. This is still something still on my must do list.

Also check out the Fountain Show in front of the Bellagio, it is something everyone needs to see at least once in Vegas.

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You should plan on spending most of your “free time” on Freemont Street. They have three concerts every night, a multistory zipline, and really neat street performers to keep you entertained into the wee hours of the morning.

Where should we Eat?

Check out some of the buffets offered by the casinos. The Silverton Casino (off the Strip) has a Polynesian Buffet Saturday Evenings. They have all you can eat Kalua Pork so you can pretend you are at a Luau in Hawaii. Check their website to see what other themes they have for different nights.

I have not been in a hotel/casino complex in Vegas that didn’t have a buffet, so check the hotel you are staying at. They might have something you want to try. Buffets are usually priced in the $20-$30 range for one person.

Other places to look into are the Mexican restaurants. Being so close to the border, the tacos and burritos are probably better than at home, unless you are from the Southwest.

Where can we Drink?

Anywhere and everywhere! Truth be told, this is going to sound super lame (especially as a young twenty-something that is over 21), I’ve never actually purchased any alcohol in Las Vegas. I did take note of all the places ready to serve anyone over 21 and next time I am getting an alcoholic slushie. Alcohol and a slushie, what could go wrong? *Cue The Hangover photo montage*

Where could we Stay?

The Freemont. Or Anywhere on Freemont Street. The Golden Nugget would also be an excellent option because of their super awesome shark tank slide pool.

I also recommend the Downtown Grand. It’s a fun, quirky hotel within walking distance to Freemont Street and they have a rooftop pool.

Anything to Avoid?

Avoid the Strip during the day. There are some parts of the Strip that are a must do while in Vegas, mostly at night, like the Fountain show at the Bellagio, but you won’t be missing out on much if you decided to skip the rest. If you do choose to hang out on the Strip during the day, you can walk the whole thing and check out all the shops within the various casinos. I felt like I was being herded from one place to the next with all the rest of the sheeple.

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Finally why the hell should we go?

Las Vegas is the ideal destination for just about anything you could be looking for. You can stay in the city or venture out into the desert to explore. You can blow your savings or win a retirement fund (sorry to be realistic, but the latter is unlikely).

There are several National Recreation Areas/National Parks within driving distance for people who are more interested in getting out and do something like hiking or landscape photography.

Las Vegas has something for everyone.

Meet our lovely Contributor

Niki has been a traveler and dreamer all her life. She got her first taste of international travel during a high school trip to Spain and she fell in love with solo travel on a trip to Key West, Florida when she was 20. Now she’s focusing on finishing up her last semester (May 2017!) and planning out her next grand adventure. Niki blogs regularly (when not focusing on school work) at Chasing Departures.

Check out her Website - www.chasingdepartures.com

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Thinking of going to Las Vegas? Or have you already been? Let's us know below.