Las Vegas is one of the top tourist destinations in the United States for both domestic and international travellers. It currently ranks third with 6.7 million visitors behind Miami’s 8.1 million and New York’s 13.1 million.
The city in the middle of Nevada’s desert is famous for many things. While Birmingham, Alabama has more wedding chapels per capita, Las Vegas is the undisputed king for express nuptials and even “drive-up ceremonies”. Speaking of kings, it’s also where you’ll find more Elvis Presley impersonators than anywhere else in the world.
Of course, Vegas is best known for its casinos. After all, it is where many of the modern aspects of casinos were invented and popularised. For starters, the game of blackjack may have come from Europe but the name originated in Las Vegas as casino owners started creating new side bets to add new elements to the classic game. One of these was a payout for getting a blackjack in your hand and it wouldn’t be long before the name stuck. Today, you’ll find dozens of other different side bets such as 21+3, which combines blackjack with a poker hand, and blackjack insurance which is a separate wager that you think the dealer has a winning hand. The city has also helped to invent the modern integrated resort which has since been exported around the world to cities like Macau, Singapore, and Atlantic City.
But there’s much more to Las Vegas than casinos and wedding chapels, in fact, it has one of the most diverse sets of sights and attractions on the planet. Here are some of the must-see and do things when you visit the city.
See a Show
Las Vegas is where many of the biggest artists perform on a semi-permanent basis. Over the years, A-list stars like Celine Dion, Elton John, and Rod Stewart have all held residencies, while in 2022, you can still get tickets to see Shania Twain, Katy Perry, Foreigner, Lionel Richie, Usher, and Sting.
If live music isn’t your thing, then there’ll still be something for you. The theatres and event centres of Vegas host plays, stand up comedy, magic shows, and much more throughout the year.
Experience Some White-Knuckle Thrills
You usually find roller coasters and other thrill rides in large theme parks that are often located outside a town or city, but not in Vegas. To try to stand out from the crowd, several Las Vegas casinos have built their own coasters and white-knuckle rides in, on, and next to their gaming floors.
The famous New York-New York Hotel & Casino is home to the aptly-named Big Apple Coaster, which sees riders sitting inside yellow taxicab-themed trains as they traverse drops of up to 144 ft (44 meters) and through two inversions.
There’s also the Adventuredome at Circus Circus which packs in several existing coasters and rides, an interactive ride known as Adventure Canyon at Buffalo Bill’s, and the former world-record-breaking Desperado at Primm Valley. If that’s not enough, the roof of The Strat is where you’ll find three very unique thrill rides, including 2 that’ll leave you dangling over the edge of the building.
If you prefer something a little more sedate than hurting around the desert at break-neck speed, then why not take advantage of some of Las Vegas’ boutique shops. Several casino resorts have built huge shopping malls that stock unique products from internationally-renowned and local designers.
This includes The Grand Canal Shoppes, an upscale mall inside The Venetian. It’s also where you’ll find a huge canal with gondola rides on offer, just like you’d find in Italy.
If you prefer bargain hunting, then Vegas has still got you covered. The Las Vegas Premium Outlets brand has two locations, once in the north and one in the south. They both offer discounts on major brands so you can get more for your money. It’s worth keeping in mind that both locations are outdoors, so dress for the weather if you plan to visit.