In my role as a luxury travel adviser, I currently find myself in the throes of planning a whole bunch of honeymoons, bachelorette parties and trips to Europe. Most recently, I was looking into Vegas packages for two friends who are turning 30 this spring. Vegas has famously not been my favorite of destinations, but that’s because I’m not really into the whole bright lights (I have night vision), smoky casinos (I prefer to spend my hard-earned money on camera equipment and plane tickets) and chaos of the Strip (I’m old and lame). That said there are other things to do in Vegas than just casinos. To name a few:
1) The shows. OK, while technically on the Strip, the grand drama of many Vegas productions is what brings people from far and wide (especially this recovering show choir girl and wannabe performer). Personally, I love every Cirque production I’ve ever seen—well, aside from that trippy holiday Wintuk I caught at Madison Square Gardens a few years ago—and SVV and I went to see the Beatles LOVE at the Mirage a couple years ago (SO GOOD). If I get back to Vegas anytime soon, I plan on catching Zarkana at ARIA, as I hear amazing things. Oh, and naturally I’d pay a visit to my Nashville pals Tim McGraw and Faith Hill at the Venetian, as well.
2) A helicopter ride over the skyline. My traveling friend Alex recently got an aerial view of Vegas, and it sounded amazing. I didn’t know neon lights could look so pretty! And I’ve never been in a helicopter, so that would be one to check off the list.
3) Off-roading in the desert. If you’re a Vegas fan and not already following Abby’s blog, you should probably get on that. Abby and I worked at In Touch Weekly together back in 2005 and have remained friends since then, having reconvened in San Francisco and Napa a couple of times. She’s the EIC of Vegas magazine, and her blog is what convinces me regularly that I ought to give Vegas another shot. I’m not sure what looks more fun, Abby’s off-roading experience with VORE or her recent adventure in the passenger seat of a race car.
3) The eating. No big surprise, but I love to eat. (That admission is the reason why I’m now restricted to 1,200 calories a day as I try to get in shape for Kilimanjaro next month!) Vegas is the kind of place where you live to eat and not eat to live. (Hey—there’s nothing wrong with that!) When I interviewed Carrie Underwood last year, she told me that’s her favorite activity when she’s in Vegas for shows. I knew Carrie and I could be fast friends (aside from the whole vegan thing).
5) A side tour to the Grand Canyon. I always forget how close Vegas is to the Grand Canyon, particularly as the two tourist spots seem worlds apart. I have only explored the GC via camping near the North Rim. Then, once again, Abby’s blog one-upped my own experience when she took a private flight to the canyon and explored the floor via motorcycle tour!