Some of the popular things to do in Las Vegas are a given: gambling; seeing shows; eating; drinking; people watching; shopping; swimming/sunning; nightclubbing; the water fountain show at the Bellagio; etc. While my husband and I like most of those things, here are a few other fun things we’ve done on our various Vegas trips (some of these might be a given also, but oh well).
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
My husband and I are suckers for aquatic displays – especially ones that feature sharks. We used to live in Monterey, where we were members and frequent visitors of its famous aquarium. So, naturally, we have visited the one in Vegas. It was just as an aquarium should be: all the fishes and other creatures (such as crocodiles, octopuses, Komodo dragon, piranhas, etc.) in their places, and a dark and eerie shark exhibit, which surrounds you. It’s chilling to see sharks swimming overhead. Visit www.sharkreef.com
Gondola Ride at the Venetian
Touristy, but still, we had to do it. We, being Italian, love all things Italian, no matter how cheesy or goofy. When in Rome (or Venice) … The gondoliers actually sing to you as you glide through the shallow canals, under bridges and through center of The Grand Canal Shoppes. The canal is surrounded by cobblestone walkways and several shops (selling gifts, apparel for women, men, children, shoes, jewelry, and specialty items), art galleries, and restaurants (where you can dine “outside” beneath streetlamps and charming facades). Everything is situated under a very real-looking faux sky with fluffy clouds. There are street performers and Living Statues. This place is truly unique (The Venetian in general is my favorite place in Vegas). Visit http://www.venetian.com/GCS.aspx
Rollercoaster at New York, New York
I don’t really like roller coasters, but my husband loves them. So, I agreed to go on this one. I even let him talk me in to sitting in the very front. For me, it was terrifying; for him it was exhilarating. This thing takes you really high up and then drops you, twists you this way and that, jerks you around, turns you upside down, and leaves you hanging.
Fremont Street Experience
Head off the strip into downtown and you’re in old-school Las Vegas. This area has its own appeal with a number of casinos and hotels, and notably the Fremont Street Experience, which is an outdoor overhead animated light show set to music. This free show takes place every 30 minutes or hour in the evenings via a several block long canopy that is 90 feet above the ground. The canopy consists of millions of lights. Shows featuring amazing visual and sound effects vary each time they play. Also, while you’re downtown, you might want to grab a $1.99 “Original” shrimp cocktail (or a “Big” shrimp cocktail for $3.99) at the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino (in the Shrimp Bar & Deli). Visit www.vegasexperience.com
Sky Show at Rio
The Masquerade Village Show in the Sky at the Rio is free and takes place hourly from 7 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Sunday. It’s really worth seeing. The entire casino gets dark, colorful lights start flashing, and a parade of magical floats begin to glide through the sky. The vibrant floats feature engaging costumed performers who dance and toss beads to the audience. Visit http://www.harrahs.com/casinos/rio/casino-misc/masquerade-show-in-the-sky-detail.html
Wine Tasting at Rio
When you’re at the Rio, you might also want to visit the Wine Cellar & Tasting Room. We had been to the Rio many times, to see the Sky Show, visit the Voodoo Lounge (which is on the 50th and 51st floors and provides a breathtaking view of the city), and to dine at the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. We were thrilled to accidentally discover this not-so-obvious downstairs enclave. When we entered, we no longer felt like we were in Vegas. No crowds, no slot machines, no neon lights. Just rock walls, brick and rock archways, decorative enormous bottles of wine, private little seating areas, room at the bar, and a friendly and knowledgeable sommelier. This place has a vault with 50,000 bottles and just about every wine you can think of. Visit http://www.harrahs.com/casinos/rio/restaurants-dining/wine-cellar-and-tasting-room-detail.html