The Non-Party Girl's Guide To Vegas
Two years ago I had never been to the desert let alone Las Vegas. “I don’t like to party, there’s nothing for me to do there.” I thought. Since then I’ve been to sin city approximately 10 times and I just can’t get enough. Believe it or not, I still haven’t “gone out” in Las Vegas. I attended one pool party, but that’s in the day time so it doesn’t count (...right?). This is my guide on how to love Vegas without the hangover!
1. Walk the hotels
My #1 activity in las vegas is walking, not only am I toning up my yams but there is so much cool free stuff to see along the strip and beyond. Grab a water bottle and start hoofin' it, my favorite stops are;
· The botanical gardens display at the Bellagio conservatory
· The flamingo habitat at the Flamingo
· Bellagio fountains (a total classic)
· Jeff Koons art at the Wynn
· Floral displays at the Palazzo
· Interesting restaurants at Mandalay Bay (Libertine Social and Red Square)
· SLS for its quirks (giant ducky at the pool, fortune teller Elvis in the washroom)
· Paris for general atmosphere
2. Hunt for urban art
If street art is your thing, head down to the Freemont side and take a walk! Past the old Vegas casinos emerges a trendy area chalk full of gigantic murals and colorful graffiti. This area has become quite a mecca for popular street art artists and the work is truly spectacular. If you’re bound to the strip try your luck in the cosmopolitan parking garage where you could spot some Shepard Fairey. Check out this article for a better idea of street art in Vegas!
3. Visit the container park
Downtown Las Vegas sits a very unique, shopping and dining mecca – made up of shipping containers. I happily stumbled across it on my first visit to the freemont area, and I loved how refreshing it was. With vintage shops, clothing boutiques, a toy store and many small eateries – I felt I could have been anywhere in the world!
4. Drool over vintage neon signs on Freemont St.
Something about neon signs – especially of the flashing variety gets my blood pumping. Add in a dose of “vintage” and you’ve fully got my attention. There simply is not better place to see neon in all its glory than on Freemont street. From the original casinos like the golden nugget and the 4 queens to the dingier sort like el Cortez and the heart attack grille, the street is packed with luminescence. Even some older neon signs no longer in use are proudly displayed throughout the street, like the Pabst blue ribbon ad.
5. Visit the Neon Graveyard
Sadly, not every Vegas sign is destined for a glowing eternity. Enter the Neon Boneyard, where neon signs go to … um… rest their bulbs. The graveyard features an amazing collection of discontinued signs, many of them truly iconic. Top-tip: go first thing in the morning while the heat is still at bay. The tour is completely outdoors with minimal shade, which mid-day could be quite unbearable. I went on the first tour beginning at 10:00 am, which was comfortable and a nice easy way to start the day. They also offer a night time tour, which features 11 restored signs lit up in their former glory.
6. Take a hike!
Head up to Mt. Charleston for some fresh air and a nice hike. The Trail Canyon Trail is rated as a “hard” trail, but it offers spectacular views and can be completed quite quickly. There are a number of different trails in the area and all different sorts of terrain, promising to give you a unique perspective.
7. Go to an arcade
Yes its childish, but the fun kind of childish and you’re doing no more harm than gambling your money away. So get that unlimited play card and unleash your wild side for an hour or two! There is the Coney Island Emporium at New York New York, something called the Fun Dungeon at Excalibur or GameWorks located in Town Square off the strip.
8. Shop it out
The shopping in Las Vegas is next level, every resort has shopping to some extent and it can vary from ultra luxurious to everyday brands. The forum shops at Caesars Palace are my favorite simply because of how stunning the setting is, the Venitian is good too. Bear in mind, Las Vegas is home to two gigantic outlet malls and countless pawn & vintage shops slightly off the strip. Whatever you may be looking for, you’re sure to find it in Vegas!
9. Spoil yourself with treats and see the world’s largest chocolate fountain
While you still can visit the Bellagio patisserie around the corner from the botanical gardens and conservatory to see the world’s largest chocolate fountains. Yes it is shrouded in mirrors to exaggerate its chocolaty goodness, but it is still quite a feat. I was saddened to hear that my dream bakery Jean Philippe Patisserie would be no longer in either Aria or the Bellagio, but there are still plenty of delicious treats to be found around the strip. Check out the Sprinkles cupcake ATM at the Linq Hotel or Bouchon at the Venetian.
10. Visit 7 magic mountains
Bizarre, quirky, instagrammable - 7 magic mountains is all of these things. A larger than life art installation by a Swiss artist, the exhibit is free and only a short driving distance from the Las Vegas Strip. Currently the future of 7 magic mountains is in Limbo and it is only promised to be in its current location until the end of 2018.
11. Indulge in an American classic
You’ve got two choices and it may actually cause a spat in my relationship. According to me you’ve got to go for the Steak and Shake, according to my better half In N’ Out is the move. Whichever you choose truly indulge and enjoy a classic American meal – Burgers, fries and a shake.
12. Get a cheap bev. And walk the strip at night
Pharmacies litter the street corners on the strip and thank goodness, there is no better place to pick up a chilled beer, wine or cooler for under a fiver. Grab whatever you like and go for a cruise on foot, when you find a comfortable spot (such as the foot of the fake Trevi fountain) sit down and people watch for a bit. This is also well done in a hotel lobby. Honestly, this is the most fun you can have in Vegas without spending an arm and a leg.
13. Gamble on A Peice of History
I’m not a huge gambler, but I dabble every now and again (damn you willy wonka machine!). The most fun I’ve had gambling was in a corner of the Excalibur hotel on a 1 cent retro I Dream of Jeannie slot machine. The machine itself had a little lamp on top with a genie figurine that swayed back and forth in the most unsettling way. The machine blurted out “yes master” every couple of minutes. It was hilarious and fun and I made 5 bucks. Win.
14. Hangout at the Chandelier bar at the Cosmopolitan
I know, we said the non-party girl guide. I promise you don’t have to “party” to have a drink at the Chandelier bar. Sitting inside is simply breathtaking, enjoy and drink and your surroundings. Bonus: after you’ve enjoyed drag yourself up a level to the secret pizza shop. That’s the real prize here.
15.Detox in Henderson
Maybe you’ve already partied and you’d like to forget, or maybe you simply don’t like the Vegas vibe. Totally fine, fact is that 10 minutes beyond the strip Nevada is just another American state, and so it has totally normal American cities. If you’re craving a bit of normality head to Henderson. There you will find a Whole Foods, West Elm, Anthropologie and the best BBQ place around, Luciles. Take heed, the maple butter and biscuits at Lucile’s are not something you’ll soon be able to forget, but they will change your life.
A couple places I think would be amazing and suitable, but that I haven't made it to yet:
- Frankie's Tiki Room
- Burlesque Hall of Fame
- National Atomic Testing Museum
- Pinball hall of fame