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Continuing our tour of the USA, we completed our three city journey at the glitzy and glamorous city of Las Vegas. ‘Viva Las Vegas’, although clichéd, does describe the place perfectly. It is a city bursting with vitality, energy and a racing pulse of never-stop action, with towering themed Hotel/Casinos lining ‘The Strip’. These imposing structures are a work of art and are a tourist attraction within itself. Where else can you see buildings that replicate a pyramid, the Eiffel Tower, a medieval castle, the skyline of Manhattan, have Venetian canals running through the centre or have a roller-coaster adorning their rooftop?
The facts are that Las Vegas is the most populous city in the state of Nevada and is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, fine dining and nightlife. It is the leading financial and cultural centre for Southern Nevada. The city bills itself as ‘The Entertainment Capital of the World’, and is famous for its mega casino–hotels and associated entertainment.
Now if you want to splurge stay at one of the five-star resorts and try your luck at one of the casino gambling tables. Experience some of the fine dining that Vegas has to offer, then take in a show such as Celine Dion at Caesars Palace, ‘Phantom’ – ‘The Las Vegas Spectacular’ at the Venetian, one of the Cirque de Soleil shows, ‘CSI: The Experience’ at MGM Grand or ‘Legends in Concert’ at the Flamingo. Take a scenic flight by night down the strip and be bedazzled by the light show that Vegas puts on after the sun goes down.
For people like ourselves who don’t have the money to splurge or gamble away at the Casino tables, here is what we did during our five day stay in Vegas:
These are just a small sample of other attractions and things to do in Vegas:
A trip to Las Vegas would not be complete without doing either a bus tour or a helicopter flight out to Hoover Dam and The Grand Canyon. We took a bus trip which is only two hours from Vegas to the Canyon, stopping via Boulder City and Hoover Dam.
After a quick stop at Boulder City for breakfast, we go our first glimpse of Lake Mead, aka Hoover Dam. We stopped at this mammoth man-made structure, which borders Nevada and Arizona, to take in its sheer magnitude. Hoover Dam is a major tourist attraction and the newly completed Hoover Dam Bypass, a four lane arch bridge that spans the Colorado River downstream from the dam wall, is just as spectacular.
Hoover Dam impounds Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States by volume. The dam was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated in 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers, and cost over one hundred lives. The dam’s generators provide power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona, and California.
The Grand Canyon in the state of Arizona is known for its visually overwhelming size and its intricate and colourful landscape being 446 km long, up to 29 km wide and attaining a depth of 6,000 feet or 1,800 meters. It is managed by the Grand Canyon National Park, the Hualapai Tribal Nation, and the Havasupai Tribe.The canyon was carved by the Colorado River at least 17 million years ago and continues to erode and form the canyon to its present-day configuration.
Our tour took us to Grand Canyon West, where there is the glass bottomed Grand Canyon Skywalk, where you can walk out onto a cantilevered platform over the deep abyss below for breathtaking views. The shuttle bus that is a continuous hop-on, hop-off service, took us to two viewpoints called Guano Point and Eagle Point which had magnificent views of the canyon and the Colorado River. We also visited the Native American village which is a walking tour of authentic Native American dwellings and consists of an amphitheatre which features Native American performances.
Lunch was at nearby Hualapai Ranch where we partook in a hearty western-style meal and were entertained by a cowboy show, wagon rides or horseback rides were also available. You can stay overnight in one of the western cabins with views out over the canyon.
Or trip back home to Vegas included a stop at Dolan Springs, a desert community in Mohave country, nestled at the foot of Mt Tipton in the Cerbat Mountains with the largest Joshua Tree Forest in the world. This makes for stunning desert scenery with spectacular sunsets and sunrises with the colourful mountains forming a backdrop.
Las Vegas certainly is an eye-opener and you will either love it or hate it for all it stands for. I found it a fascinating mix of thrilling entertainment, posh hotels and intriguing characters. Everywhere you looked there was something to ‘look at’. Would I return to ‘Sin City’ though? Probably once was enough!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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