Las Vegas: The Strip, The Canyon & Beyond

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Las Vegas: The Strip, The Canyon & Beyond

Though most well known for its iconic casinos, Las Vegas offers much more than gambling to visitors and hides a pleasant surprise at every corner.
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The famous ambience of Las Vegas greets you the moment you step off the aerobridge and step into the arrival lounge of the airport. A wide variety of slot machines accompany the passengers all through their walk to the baggage console as well as the exit gates of Las Vegas.

Step outside to get into the mood that numerous landmark Hollywood films have so aptly captured over the decades. Queues of the famed stretch limousines, each bigger than the other, greet the passengers at the pickup point on the arrival gate. And if for some reason your limousine has not yet arrived, just play on the slot machines on the pavement while you wait.

The Strip

Though it is a large city, set in the Nevada desert, stretching over 352 sq km, the highlight of downtown Las Vegas is its central district, The Strip. Just over 4 km long, The Strip is the central section of the Las Vegas Boulevard, the main avenue of the city, which runs through the city. The best of the hotels and casinos of Las Vegas are cramped next to each other at The Strip. Most of these mega-hotels and entertainment palaces have been built with a defining theme. With the city lights and the illumination of all the hotels and buildings located here, The Strip has an entirely different allure in the evening as it comes alive each day at dusk with thousands of brightly lit signages and well-illuminated buildings. One of the favourite activities of visitors to Las Vegas – first time or repeat – is to promenade along The Strip and enjoy the allure in the evening.

In old downtown Las Vegas, about five km from The Strip, Fremont Street is a pedestrian-only area and offers several unique sites. Like any other part of the downtown area, Fremont Street is also lined with numerous LED lights illuminating the sky in a kaleidoscope of colours and designs. Street performers and special entertainment acts often perform outdoors in this area. If you want to truly experience Las Vegas at night, take the 3.5-hour Las Vegas Lights Night Tour, which includes the Fremont Street light show and highlights along The Strip.

The Grand Canyon

Though now it is often overshadowed by The Strip, the Grand Canyon is one of the biggest attractions not just of Las Vegas, but of the entire country. While a drive and trek are definitely recommended, in autumn and winter, those pressed for time can also go in for a helicopter ride to get an aerial view of Las Vegas itself or the Grand Canyon. Those with a day to spare can go for a longer tour of the city, the Canyon as well as other neighbouring attractions.

Las Vegan hotels

With dozens of globally-recognisable hotel brands, Las Vegas spoils the visitor for choice. Though the brands and prices may be different, the hotels here have a few things in common. Almost all of them come in XXL sizes – be it for the number of rooms, the lobbies, the casinos and the buffets. Even the food plates are over-dimensioned here. Some of the hotels have aped leading cities around the world, complete with their key monuments and ambience.

(Clockwise from top leftright) The Grand Canyon; High Roller Ferris Wheel on the Linq; Mandalay Bay and the Shark Reef Aquarium; Vegas Indoor Skydiving; Mob Museum, The Wall of Mobsters; Slot machines; Bellagio Resort and Fountain Show; Fremont Street

(Clockwise from top left right) The Grand Canyon; High Roller Ferris Wheel on the Linq; Vegas Indoor Skydiving; Mob Museum, The Wall of Mobsters; Mandalay Bay and the Shark Reef Aquarium; Slot machines; Fremont Street; Bellagio Resort and Fountain Show

The Venetian

The Venetian hotel is one such property, sitting across from Treasure Island, another jumbo-sized property. The Venetian has several interesting tourist attractions. It has a shopping arcade resembling the city of Venice, complete with canals and gondoliers. The hotel also features recreations of the main attractions found in Venice, such as the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs, along with many others. The Venetian Gondola Rides are a fun way to see the complex.

Paris Hotel and the Eiffel Tower

The most distinguishing factor of Paris Las Vegas hotel is a scale model of the Eiffel Tower that sits not far from a replica of Paris Opera House. The Eiffel Tower Experience is an observation deck 46 stories above the city streets that offers startling 360° views. Just below the top deck is the Eiffel Tower restaurant, with lovely sights of The Strip as well as the musical fountains of Bellagio. There is also a mock hot air balloon festooned with neon and flashing lights.

Bellagio Resort and Fountain Show

Built on Italian style, The Bellagio Resort is a massive, high-end hotel complex, with a wide variety of attractions, including the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, a spa and salon, and some of the finest restaurants in Las Vegas. Beyond the lobby is a showroom area with changing themes, ranging from spring botanical displays to fascinating shows of art. The most impressive feature of this hotel is the musical fountain. Located in front of the Bellagio, along the Strip, the dancing fountains perform a beautiful display of water set to music. From the sidewalk, visitors have a ringside view. The concept has since been ‘adopted’ by several other buildings in the world, most notably the Burj al Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.

Mirage Hotel: Erupting Volcano and Secret Garden

The Mirage Hotel is easy to identify while walking along The Strip. In front of the resort is a volcano, which erupts at regular intervals. At night, the glowing red fire shooting out is one of the most unique sites visible from the sidewalk. Inside the Mirage is Secret Garden which has a wide variety of wild animals such as white lions, while the Dolphin Habitat is home to a large number of trained dolphins, in gigantic pools.

High Roller Ferris Wheel on the Linq

The High Roller Ferris wheel is at the far end of the Linq Promenade, just off The Strip. This huge Ferris wheel stands about 170 m high and takes all of 30 minutes for a full rotation, providing outstanding views over The Strip and surrounding area from the capsules. Each cabin, as they are called, can hold up to 40 people. Views are particularly outstanding at night with the city lights in full glow.

New York-New York Hotel

The New York-New York Hotel in Las Vegas is across the street from both the MGM Grand Hotel and the Excalibur Resort Hotel. Visually stunning, the hotel is designed to appear like New York’s skyline, complete with the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. To add to the adrenalin rush, a large roller coaster is built around the hotel.

Caesar’s Palace and The Colosseum

Definitely one of the best known of the hotels in Las Vegas, Caesar’s Palace continues to evolve. The hotel is closely associated with shows held in its huge concert venue known as The Colosseum. Top performers, such as Celine Dion and Elton John, have performed here for extended periods and shows are sold out well in advance. Visitors hoping to see a performance ought to check the dates and book at the earliest possible.

Mandalay Bay and the Shark Reef Aquarium

Mandalay Bay Resort is at the southwest end of the Strip, near the Luxor hotel. The key highlight here is the Shark Reef Aquarium. The massive five million litre tank that holds a wide variety of sharks, fish, rays, reptiles, and marine invertebrates. About 100 sharks of 15 different species and over 2,000 animals are on display here.

Luxor Hotel

Another distinctive theme hotel, at the far southwest end of the Strip, is the Luxor Hotel. Designed in an ancient Egyptian theme, the hotel is shaped like a pyramid, with a sphinx gazing over the street. The Luxor, like all the major resorts, offers a wide variety of restaurants and shopping opportunities. One of the standout features of this hotel is the beam of light that projects from the highest point of the pyramid and shoots up into the night sky. It can be seen from anywhere in Las Vegas.


Though the hotels of Las Vegas are bound to keep you entertained, even outside of the casinos, but if by some miracle you are still in search of entertainment, there are plenty of options. Here are some:

Mob Museum

The Mob Museum, or the National Museum of Organised Crime and Law Enforcement as it is officially named, is a truly unique and standout museum in Las Vegas. The museum is housed in a 1933 Neoclassical building, formerly the US Post Office and Courthouse, that has its own history. It was one of the locations for the famous Kefauver Committee hearings in 1950, which revealed some ugly truths about organised crime in Las Vegas and across the US. The museum tells the history of the mafia in America through engaging, interactive displays and video clips. Exhibits deal with everything from the individual characters and events to the culture and fashion associated with the times.

Stratosphere Tower

Besides the Eiffel Tower, the Stratosphere Tower or Strat as it is called here, is a strategic tower to get a bird’s eye view of the city and its surroundings from 350 m high above. Besides the view, the rooftop also offers several thrilling rides such as the SkyJump, Big Shot, X Scream and Insanity.

Vegas Indoor Skydiving

This is another unique offering of Las Vegas. Indoor Skydiving is a unique experience. Here, visitors will get to experience what actual skydiving is like, without an airplane or parachute. Qualified instructors escort participants to a vertical wind tunnel where they are suited up in special gear. Once the fan is turned on, anyone can float effortlessly in the air. No experience is necessary.

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