Las Vegas: off the beaten track


By Danny Baggott

Photography by Wasin Pummarin

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Updated October 2017

Las Vegas is one of the most exhilarating and seductive cities in the world - everywhere you turn there’s a jaw-dropping hotel, celebrity-chef restaurant or extravagant show. But if you’re after something a little more offbeat, Danny Baggott suggests how to add a twist to your trip.

Visit the Neon Museum

A boneyard for discarded lights and signs, the Neon Museum collects, preserves and exhibits iconic Las Vegas signs. Founded in 1996, the unusual museum is made up of the Neon Boneyard and the North Gallery. With two acres of beautiful Vegas signage on show, take an hour long guided tour, from just $19 per person, and admire the collection of more than 200 items. Particular signs include: Stardust, Sahara and Binion’s Horseshoe.

Drink in the Commonwealth Bar

Make like the locals and head downtown for your cocktails. The Commonwealth Bar - inspired by pre-Prohibition era design - is in the fashionable Fremont East district and serves up cool vibes alongside an impressive drinks menu. Head for the rooftop deck, order a punch bowl cocktail, and soak up the views of the shimmering skyline. Or, if you’re lucky, bag a seat at the bar’s own speakeasy, The Laundry - you need a password to get in and it’s strictly no photos but, take it from us, you’ll love it.

  • The majestic intake towers at the Hoover Dam are a feat of engineering © Getty.

    Did you know…?  

    There are four intake towers that rise above the dam; each one is made of reinforced concrete and is 395 feet tall - their purpose is to control the water flow.  

    Search flights to Las Vegas 
  • Get your thrills at the Freemont Street Experience © Alamy.

    The city that never sleeps

    There’s never a dull moment in the desert metropolis of Las Vegas - celebrated for its 24-hour party vibe, it’s glitzy, vibrant and always fun. 

    Stay in Vegas in style
  • Buckle up for the Big Apple roller coaster ride outside the New York New York Hotel © Getty.

    Thrills and spills

    Calling all adrenaline junkies: this roller coaster will have you defying gravity as it reaches heights of 203 feet, speeds of 67 miles per hour, and spins you 180 degrees. 

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Check out the Mr Chow Champagne trolley

You’ve most probably heard of the Strip’s famous Caesar’s Palace Hotel and, likely, MR CHOW, the upscale Chinese restaurant located within it. But did you know that the eatery - part of the famed global empire - has a silver Champagne trolley, which is wheeled between tables serving fizz and specialty cocktails? Bubbles aside, the food here is exquisite: signature dishes include Beijing duck, green prawns and chicken satay, as well as the famous hand-pulled MR CHOW noodles.

Leap from 829 feet above the neon Strip and reach speeds of up to 40mph towards the landing pad.

Take a helicopter ride

There’s no better way to witness the mind-boggling beauty of the Grand Canyon than by taking a helicopter ride from Las Vegas. Fly over this vast natural formation - all red rock and rushing rapids - and soak up the Instagram-worthy views of Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon West. You can even opt to sail along the Colorado River and cross the desert in a 4x4.

  • Explore the history of Las Vegas through its iconic neon signs at The Neon Museum © The Neon Museum.

    All that glitters

    The only way to see the museum’s dazzling display of neon is on a one-hour guided tour - book a late night tour for even more impact.

    Things to do in Vegas 

Ride the Big Apple coaster

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, buckle up for a scream-inducing ride on The Big Apple Coaster, which is located outside the New York New York Hotel and Casino on the Strip. The roller-coaster is not for the faint-hearted: it stands 203 feet tall, with a 144-foot drop, and reaches heart-stopping speeds of up to 67 mph, not to mention the fact that it’ll also turn you 180-degrees in the process. Brave brides-to-be can even book their wedding ceremony at this exhilarating venue.

Sit in your throne, drink from a goblet and immerse yourself in the tale of King Arthur.

Watch a jousting match

The castle-themed Excalibur Hotel and Casino hosts the ultimate Medieval dinner and show experience: the Tournament of Kings. Sit in your throne, drink from a goblet and immerse yourself in the tale of King Arthur, as valiant knights ride their mighty steeds amongst show-stopping special effects - the jousting is a highlight. A three-course feast is served during the spectacle and, as befits the period, you’ll have to eat it with your hands.

Experience the SkyJump

Get your pulse racing at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower. It may have 2,400+ rooms, six restaurants, two rooftop pools and a ginormous casino but the highlight has to be its SkyJump, the highest commercial decelerator descent in the world. Leap from 829 feet above the neon Strip and reach speeds of up to 40mph towards the landing pad where audiences applaud each brave participant. You can jump in the day or night, though the sunset jump is magical (if you’re brave enough to keep your eyes open that is).