Tuesday 24 October 2017

Viva Las Vegas: Where to eat, drink and play during Conor McGregor's UFC fight

Notorious #UFC

Conor McGregor in Las Vegas (composite image).
Conor McGregor in Las Vegas (composite image).
Las Vegas, USA: The Paris Las Vegas with replicas of the Eiffel Tower and the Montgolfier Balloon adorned in bright lights.
Mob Museum Las Vegas
Sky Combat Ace Las Vegas
The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. With over 5,000 rooms, it is the largest hotel in the US. Photo: Deposit Photos
Mark Evans

Mark Evans

Conor McGregor is ready to rumble in Las Vegas again. Mark Evans has your spare time covered for his upcoming bout.

Unmissable stuff

Fly backwards over the desert: Forget about rollercoasters - becoming an ace pilot is the ultimate adrenaline rush in Vegas (see below).

Basic courses consist of co-piloting a stunt plane over the Vegas desert, doing loops, barrel rolls, hammerheads and low-altitude flying - even flying backwards - while co-piloting with the rush of Gs.

If your budget stretches, you can even try sky combat against a pal.

I've experienced it, and it's like no other experience. Prices start at $299pp, with transport to and from your hotel to the airstrip. See skycombatace.com.

Sky Combat Ace Las Vegas

Home on the range: Gun ranges are classy affairs in Vegas - VIP rooms, packages for women and for fun days out.

Basic packages start at $30, but ideally, go for the likes of Urban Assault ($99 upwards). Try a Colt Commando, Glock, tactical shotgun and let fly with an MP5. No experience is required, and it's all about safety and fun.

Herald readers are being offered 20% off online packages (have passport ID handy). Transport provided from hotels on the Strip. See machinegunvegas.com.

Go to the museum (yes, really)

Mob Museum Las Vegas

Forget about stuffy exhibits - the Mob Museum in town brings the dark side of Vegas's (and America's) past to life, and shows how law enforcement (and the taxman) brought some of the country's most notorious criminals to justice.

This being America, there's plenty of fun too, including a look at Hollywood's take on organised crime. See themobmuseum.org.

Insanity at the Stratosphere

Dangle 64 feet out and 900 feet above the city on your rollercoaster-style seat at the Stratosphere Hotel. You'll need nerves of steel, and if you're nuts enough, there's also skydiving and a big shot tower. Rather you than me!

See stratospherehotel.com/activities.

Where to party/eat

McGregor Vegas composite.jpg
Conor McGregor in Las Vegas (composite image).

Crush: Party central is Crush at MGM, a favourite among the stars.

Irish bartender John O'Donnell has become an ambassador for the ex-pats and tourists from home visiting the city and looking for an insider's guide to the city.

"Everyone's welcome," says John. "We got 10,000 for the last weigh-in, and no one here had ever seen anything like the Irish fans. Conor McGregor's parents and sister will be here, as well as a lot of fans here to have some fun."

"There's something for every budget from $40 steaks to $10 shrimps or $8 salads," he says, predicting another big night next month: "The lobby bar here at the MGM Grand is open 24-7 and had its busiest ever night at the last fight. See crushmgm.com.

RíRá: A good watering hole for the Irish is RíRá at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. If you want a full Irish, beers from home, or to catch the Premier League or Six Nations, it's a good spot. See rira.com/las-vegas.

McMullans: Popular with locals, the Irish bar (open 24/7) on West Tropicana Avenue is the go-to place if you like your whiskey. And if you're hankering for home on your short trip away, it's also got GAA on the big screen too. See mcmullansIrishpub.com.

La Comida: Fuel up with some of the best Mexican food in the state of Nevada. It's a mix of good cuisine, American rock and it boasts that it's got more types of tequila than seats in the resturant. See lacomidlv.com.

Where to shop

You really should bring home a present or too. The dollar's slowly getting better for us, and most hotels boast a fashion gallery or two.

For discounts, Vegas has Premium Oulets north and south of the Strip, and the city also has curious places like Viva Hollywood on Main Street, with memorabilia from the golden era of Hollywood. Local insiders' website vegas.com has a good round-up of what's available for your taste or budget.

Get there

The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. With over 5,000 rooms, it is the largest hotel in the US. Photo: Deposit Photos

Click and Go has four-night deals at the Westgate Resort from €645pp; MGM Grand, where the fight is taking place (pictured above), from €895pp. Five-night deals at Westgate Resort from €695pp and MGM Grand from €965pp. See clickandgo.com.

Sunway has three-night packages from €619pP, staying at the three-star Stratosphere Hotel, including flights. See sunway.ie.

Tour America has four nights at the Trump International Hotel from €829pp, based on two travelling. Circus Circus and Rio Hotel deals are also available from €799pps. See touramerica.ie.

Gohop.ie has four nights at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort from €554pp, the four-star Westin from €570pp; four-star Luxor from €636pp; four-star Caesars Palace from €731pp; and MGM from €763pp. See gohop.ie.

NB: All prices subject to availability. Fight tickets not included.


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