Las Vegas is a city of bright lights, high excitement, 24/7 entertainment and, should the mood take you, the perfect place to have a wedding ceremony conducted by Elvis. Best traversed by car rental with Avis, Las Vegas – self-described Entertainment Capital of the World – is one of the top tourist destinations globally, as well as a hub for business, finance and conventions. With all the sights and distractions on offer a week is the bare minimum needed to take it all in, so to enjoy the true Las Vegas experience in 7 days make sure to:
Take in the Cirque du Soleil
A three-hour spectacular of outlandish costumes and death-defying acrobatics, the Cirque du Soleil is a dramatic combination of circus arts and street entertainment. The biggest theatrical producer in the world, the Cirque originated in Canada and performs worldwide but has multiple permanent residencies in Las Vegas.
Visit the Shark Reef Aquarium
Residents at the Mandalay Bay hotel can watch the Shark Reef channel 24 hours a day, but this is no substitute for visiting the aquarium in person. Half indoor, half outdoor, Shark Reef Aquarium is a 95,000 square foot institution that houses reptiles, fish, rays, sharks and marine invertebrates, offering visitors a unique perspective with the Shark Tunnel.
Ride the New York-New York Rollercoaster
In line with the theme of the New York-New York Hotel and Casino, the cars of the rollercoaster are styled on NYC chequered taxi cabs and the dock is designed like a subway station. Running both inside and outside of the building, the ride has a vertical loop, a 180-degree spiral, is 62 metres high and has maximum drop of 44 metres.
See the Bellagio Fountains
There are plenty of free shows in Las Vegas, but the most famous is arguably the choreographed water and light show outside the Bellagio Hotel. Every half hour from 3pm until 8pm, and then every 15 minutes until midnight, 1,214 sprinklers shoot water out of an 8.5 acre man-made lake, up to 460 feet into the air in an aquatic performance. Set to music and co-ordinated with other 4,500 lights, the fountains are an absolute must-see during any Vegas visit.
Just north of the Las Vegas Strip, downtown is home to the original casinos and hotels of the city. Site of the first hotel (1906), the first telephone (1907), the first pavement (1925), the first gaming license (1932) and the first high-rise (1956), the area became known as Glitter Gulch due to the huge number of neon signs. The Freemont Street Experience offers a nightly show of light and sound via the largest audio-visual system in the world.
Breakfast at Wynn’s
Wynn was the first Las Vegas resort to include a luxury car showroom on its grounds. With premium brands such as Maserati and Ferrari, and a store accompanying the dealership whose staff wear pit crew outfits, the popularity of the concept led to management instituting a charge for entry. Fittingly, their food is excellent too. Collectively with its adjacent sister site, Wynn holds more Forbes five-star awards than any other resort in the world and, although there are a range of eateries to choose from, The Buffet – particularly at breakfast – is one of the best in the city.
Don’t forget to roll the dice
It’s too easy to zone out and miss out on everything else the city has to offer if the whole visit is spent at the tables, but a trip to Vegas wouldn’t be complete without a flutter. Blackjack, craps, roulette or the slots; with a little luck, the visit could even pay for itself! Just remember that the IRS does expect to know about your winnings, so make sure your online system for tax preparing is equipped to handle that. Otherwise you may have some unwanted black suits banging on your door. The words “Vegas” and “audit” should never end up in the same sentence.