Take a gamble on Las Vegas

You needn’t be a high roller to enjoy the bright lights of Las Vegas. Our associate editor skips the casinos to find out…


Forget the Elvis-themed weddings and the 24-hour gambling, there’s far more to tempt you to take a Vegas vacation. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly, adrenaline thrills or Sin City’s newest attractions, here are some suggestions to guarantee a return on your investment.

Take in a show

Productions here are as glitzy as the nocturnal skyline on The Strip, with at least one theatre in most of the major hotels. You’ll find musicals familiar to West End theatre-goers, some audience involvement options — often over a meal — plus magic gigs, stellar name concerts and new and lavish productions. And with standard Vegas chutzpah, “contemporary songs” can mean pretty much anything from Madonna to Nirvana. Save money by monitoring outlets such as Tix4Tonight for half-price or other on the day reductions.

Don’t miss: Take the music from the movies of Baz Lurhmann — Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby — add the city’s standard high-octane twist and you’ve got BAZ, a new generation cabaret-style show which opened last summer. Playing at The Palazzo, the staging and dancing are amazing and if you are in the tables at the front, expect to see some routines at very close quarters as the action is not confined to the stage.

Take the kids

Vegas might not seem the obvious option for families but with a succession of rides, shops, child-friendly shows and outdoor activities, there’s plenty to entertain.

Teens will love the gaudier attractions of Downtown Vegas, such as Fremont Street’s evening light shows, and the interactive tales of organised crime at The Mob Museum, while younger ones will enjoy the animatronic statues and special effects of the Fall of Atlantis free show in Caesar’s Palace.

All ages will love the confectionary emporiums — the word shop isn’t enough to cover something like the four-floor M&M’s World — or for clothing and accessories bargains, Premium Outlets has retail parks on the north and south ends of The Strip, reachable by the local bus service (around £6.50 for a 24 hour pass). Register online for vouchers for even greater savings.

Don’t miss: The Blue Man Group, playing at the Luxor, is one show that even fairly young children will enjoy. If you’ve seen the painted trio elsewhere, there’s nothing really new. But the fast-paced mix of percussion and ingenious slapstick goes down a treat.

Take a bite

Vegas dining is about more than buffets, although some of these represent the best in mass catering. As a rough guide, prices rise through the day, with breakfast generally ending at 11, and lunch becoming dinner at around five.

If you like a drink (or several) with your meal, the best deal is the weekend champagne brunch, where in addition to your embarrassingly frequent food station top-ups, you enjoy two hours of unlimited bubbly. The selection and quality at Bacchanal at Caesars Palace is exceptional and the brunch at the Bellagio is an enduring favourite.

The famous names in this city extend to the chefs too — Mr Chow in Caesars is the latest addition to his culinary empire started in Knightsbridge in 1968. Here the scenery is almost as interesting as the food, with a huge kinetic ceiling pod which comes alive at regular intervals and nightly noodle-making demo.

Don’t miss: Two new additions to the city’s dining scene which opened in late 2016: Momofuku at the Cosmopolitan for stylish sushi and noodles, and Morimoto Las Vegas at MGM Grand, with spectacular cocktails complementing its signature twist on sushi.

Take in the view

It’s comforting that some of the best things in Vegas are free — the view down The Strip for starters, as well as the dancing fountain displays set to music outside the Bellagio. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by bright lights, The Park district has more than eight acres of green, dotted with restaurants and bars, including the Beerhaus, and entertainment at the T-Mobile Arena. This is a park, Vegas-style.

For the paid variety, the High Roller is one not to miss. The Nevada version of the London Eye, it offers a bird’s eye view of the main sights, moving imperceptibly through a 30-minute-ish rotation, during which you’ll take endless selfies and banter like old friends with the strangers in your pod. You can do it sober, or as a happy half-hour, downing as many drinks as you can get during the ride from the in-pod barperson, plus a chocolate-themed High Roller trip with the Ethel M gourmet brand. A friendly chocolatier gives a brief explanation of the production process before a six-choc tasting (and more if you are lucky), plus a takeaway box.

Don’t miss: The Seven Magic Mountains art installation, a few miles south of Vegas, took five years to complete. With 33 boulders, each painted in neon colours, it’s one of the largest land installations of the last few decades.

Take a breath

If you’re looking to get your heart racing, you needn’t bet everything on black. Speedvegas has turned 100 acres of Las Vegas Boulevard into an adrenaline-fuelled supercar experience.

Or let someone else drive with one of the many rollercoasters and rides, including Big Shot which launches you 160 feet up in 2.5 seconds, letting you taste just what 4Gs feels like. For something unique but less terrifying, the New York-New York rollercoaster goes through the New York-New York hotel during the ride at up to 67mph.

And simply watching the SkyJump from the Stratosphere Tower will have most people’s hearts in their mouths: jumpers are attached to a cable for the 108 storey freefall but it’s still the highest in the world.

Don’t miss: With work due to start this spring, Vegas Extreme is set to be a huge draw for thrill-seekers; 90 acres including indoor skydiving, wakeboarding and surfing lakes, mountain biking, rock climbing and zip lines, all powered by solar and wind energy.


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