Out and about in Las Vegas
'Entertainment Capital' continually reinventing itself
Story by Greg Coates
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?
Really? Not when it comes to sharing what the “Entertainment Capital of the World” has to offer. Sin City has come a long way from simply being a place to try your luck in the casinos or partake in a $5 all-you-can-eat buffet. Entertainment options range from world-class shows to high-end foodie tours to zip-lining down Fremont Street.
Las Vegas is regularly reinventing itself. In fact, more than US$8 billion is being invested into new attractions, experiences and refreshed amenities across the destination over the next several years. And the results are impressive, with Vegas attracting more than 42 million visitors in 2015 alone.
A group of Canadian travel agents recently got a good taste of Las Vegas during the LVCVA’s #VegasUnwrapped MegaFAM, held in conjunction with WestJet. Along with site inspections, agents got to experience a Cirque du Soleil show – one of eight available in the city, skate high above The Strip at The Cosmopolitan, spend a night (and closing reception) on Fremont Street and take part in a scavenger hunt, which included a chance to test their nerves on rides high up above The Strip at the Stratosphere. There was even an Elvis sighting!
The following are just a few of the entertainment options available in Las Vegas, a destination sure to have something designed to suit every client’s needs and price points:
What Canadian doesn’t like skating? How about high above The Strip overlooking the heart of Las Vegas Boulevard? Now in its fifth year, this is what The Ice Rink at The Cosmopolitan offers at its rooftop rink featuring 4,200 sq. ft. of real ice (rentals available). Visitors are also encouraged to warm up or roast s’mores by the fire, as well as enjoy seasonal treats and beverages.
For one of the best views possible of the city, the Maverick Aviation Group has just the ticket. Its helicopter tours fly right over the mega-resorts of the Las Vegas Strip from the New York-New York skyline to the Bellagio fountains and the light of the Luxor pyramid. (www.maverickhelicopter.com)
Battlefield Las Vegas. Perhaps not for the faint of heart, this is Las Vegas’ ultimate shooting range. From the trenches of the First World War all the way to current operations in the Middle East, Battlefield has more than 350 different weapons systems from which guests can choose. From hand guns and pistols to fully automatic rifles, sub-machine guns to belt-feds and .50 calibers, Battlefield Vegas has it all. A beginner’s package, known as GI Jane, costs US$120 and has guests firing a SIG P-226 (20 rounds), an MP5 SD (25 rounds) and an M4 CQBR (25 rounds). And for those with a spare US$2,500, why not crush a car with a tank? Open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., the company even offers free Humvee transfers from all major hotels. (www.battlefieldvegas.com)
Above All Las Vegas ATV Tours. Visitors are invited to explore the Eldorado Canyon with experienced and friendly guides in this family-friendly tour featuring plenty of open areas to play and historic features to explore. The Eldorado Canyon tour features two hours of ride time. ATV operation training is provided and all riders are advised to dress for blowing sand and dust storms, as this is a desert tour. Helmets and riding gloves are provided. The company also offers ATV tours of Mount Charleston and the Valley of Fire, as well as boat and jet ski rentals, horseback riding tours and zip-line tours. (http://www.lvatv.com)
Good eats. While visitors may need Lady Luck at the gambling tables, not so with the dining ones with Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, founded by local restaurant industry professionals. With their exclusive connections and research, the company has “uncovered the little-known gems and hideaways both on the Strip and off-the-beaten path that truly make Vegas one of the most eclectic dining scenes around.” Lip Smacking’s mission is to introduce visitors and locals alike to the best signature dishes, unique preparations and exciting tastes in Las Vegas. A sample tour is “Savors Of The Strip,” from US$199, a three-hour evening tour taking guests inside the exclusive doors of five of Vegas’ most dynamic restaurants to sample adventurous and luxurious fare. Bon appétit! (http://vegasfoodietour.com)
What can one do off The Strip? How about taking in one of the seven natural wonders of the world? Among the offerings from Sundance Helicopters is a unique Grand Canyon Sunset Experience. The 3.5-hour tour costs US$535 and includes complimentary limousine pickup and a champagne picnic inside the Grand Canyon, not to mention spectacular views of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, the Grand Canyon and the Las Vegas Strip. Tours, aboard new helicopters featuring leather seats and Bose headsets, are narrated by the pilots. (www.sundancehelicopters.com)