Saturday 22 October 2016

Top 10: Things to do in Las Vegas

The definitive list of the city's hotspots

Nicola Brady

Published 05/07/2015 | 02:30

Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas
Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas
Delano Beach Hotel
An aerial view of the grand canyon
Neon museum
Graffiti in Vegas

Planning a trip to Sin City? Here's our hotlist of the places you don't want to miss on (and off) the Strip.

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1. The Neon Museum

Ever wondered what happens to the old casino lights when they retire from the Strip? Well, a lot of them spend their final years in the Neon Museum, a kind of elephant graveyard for old illuminated letters and signs. Stacked up against each other, you'll find worn, curved letters with antiquated light bulbs, made for motels, theatres and casinos which are long gone. An old gas station sign offers up 'Free aspirin and tender sympathy' - a marriage made in heaven for those tender Vegas heads. Guided tours cost $18/€16. See:

2. Downtown

Las Vegas isn't a very old city (it was founded in 1905) but if it were, then the Downtown area would be the classic, 'Old Vegas'. Around Freemont Street, you'll find cute little casinos and bars (which are much cheaper than the Strip) as well as funky mini-districts like the Container Park. There's also amazing street art - check out the Maser Motel, a vibrantly painted old motel complex created by Irish graffiti artist, Maser. See:

Graffiti in Vegas

3. The Grand Canyon

There's not much that can prepare you for your first sight of the Grand Canyon, especially if you see it from a helicopter. After flying over the magnificent Hoover Dam, the land becomes craggier until you're suddenly in the depths of one of the greatest wonders on earth. You'll soon find yourself soaring through its peaks and troughs as the red rock comes to life in the sunlight. It's probably best to do it in style, with an early morning champagne breakfast. Packages start at $359/€316. See:

4. High Roller Observation Wheel

It's no secret that Vegas can get a little… well, spirited. So when you're feeling overwhelmed by all the action, take yourself up into the sky and watch it all drifting away beneath you. The High Roller Observation Wheel is the highest of its kind in the world, with a peak height of 500ft. Book a 'Happy Half Hour' ticket to make the most of an open bar in the cabin. Tickets from $26.95/€24. See:

5. Bellagio Fountains

Vegas, Deposit Photos.jpg  

Even if you don't realise it, iconic sights from Vegas are engrained into your mind - the famous sign, the showgirls and the spinning roulette tables. Add to the list the illuminated fountains at the Bellagio. The spectacle of water, light and music runs from 3pm onwards, but really comes to life when the sun goes down. You can watch the show for free from the bridge, but for dinner with a view book a table at Lago, an Italian restaurant with an unbeatable position to take it all in. See:

6. Bardot Brasserie

The culinary scene in Vegas has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years. Respected chefs like Joëll Robuchon and Gordon Ramsey have made their mark, and the scene has moved on from unlimited buffets to quality dining experiences. Bardot Brasserie is one of the new kids on the block, led by renowned chef Michael Mina. With the feel of a cosy Parisian brasserie, the restaurant is offering up impeccable French dishes, like escargot wrapped in puff pastry, king crab crêpes and juicy steaks cooked to perfection. See:

7. Walking the Strip  

The Strip is the bling-tastic bloodline of Las Vegas, and what likely pops into your mind when you think of the city. Position yourself correctly and you can see an Egyptian pyramid, the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower all in one go. It's worth walking its length during the daytime to get your bearings, though do remember that the afternoon heat can become stifling, and the walk is longer than it looks. Come nightfall, you'll likely be going gambling or partying, and you'll find both in excess. For nightclubs, hit Hakkasan, 1 Oak or XS, and be sure to dress to impress. See:,,

8. Delano Hotel

Vegas is home to most of the world's largest hotels, which soar over the strip, filled with thousands of rooms. The Delano is a shimmering, curved gold tower filled exclusively with uber-luxe suites. There's a definite Miami vibe to the décor, with white leather headboards and floor-to-ceiling windows. Laze at the chic pool area, or wander into the adjoining Mandalay Bay for their huge pool and beach complex. Rates from $200/€176. See:

9. Outlet Shopping

With the exchange rate so far out of our favour, a jaunt to the States isn't the bargain it once was. So if you want to pick up some deals, head to either of the Premium Outlet malls on the north or south end of the Strip. And if you're shopping in Macy's, don't forget you can claim a 10pc discount as an international visitor - just find the customer service desk for your coupons. See:

10. The Million Dollar Quartet

There's no shortage of epic shows to see in Vegas. The omnipresent Cirque du Soleil is around in many incarnations, from a new Beatles show to a Michael Jackson spectacular. But the underdog is the musical Million Dollar Quartet, which tells the story of the night Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins jammed together in a Memphis studio. The show sees them sing all the classics, until the audience is dancing in the aisles. Tickets start from $62.70/€55. See:

Get There

Aer Lingus ( ) flies daily from Dublin to San Francisco with onward connections to Las Vegas with partner airlines, United and JetBlue. Fares start from €269pp each way, including taxes and charges.

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