Glitzy and open 24/7, Las Vegas promises all the fun and indulgence its nearly 40 million visitors a year can handle. But figuring out what to do -- especially if rolling the dice till the wee hours isn’t your jam -- can be overwhelming. Luckily, you have plenty of options. In fact, this world-class city is spoiled for choice with high-adrenaline activities, big-budget stage shows, nightlife, pool parties, and awe-inspiring nature tours. If you want a leg up on exploring everything Sin City has to offer, consider booking these tours and attractions right now.
Prices are subject to change.
Perhaps there’s no better way to begin a Sin City adventure than riding the world’s largest Ferris wheel for shimmering neon views. If you haven’t been to Vegas in awhile, this colossal 550-foot structure has dominated the skyline since 2014. When you tack on access to an open bar for the 30-minute ride, it’s easy to see why this is one of the more popular activities in the city. With this pass, you’ll skip the line and snag a spot in the special Happy Hour cabin (one of 28 air-conditioned pods) equipped with your own bartender and plenty of spirits. You’ll want to have one or two drinks to get your money’s worth, though the killer photos are a great souvenir, and it’s a fun way to get your night started off right. Guests must be 21 or older to ride in a Happy Hour cabin; families and teetotalers can opt for the non-bartender option.
These days, there are more helicopter tour options than ever in Las Vegas and many take advantage of the city’s proximity to the Grand Canyon. This particular aerial tour starts with a limo pick-up at your hotel where you’ll meet your small group (maximum six passengers). After the spectacular 45-minute ride, narrated by the pilot, you’ll land on a canyon bluff on the park’s West Rim, about 3,200 feet high. You’ll have enough time explore the scenery, take photos, enjoy snacks, and sip a glass of bubbly before climbing back into the limo for your return trip. Other helicopter tours, like the Las Vegas Strip Helicopter Night Flight with Transport, maximize views after dark within city limits. While it’s cheaper than the All-American tour, expect a much shorter ride.
What started in the early 1980s in Quebec, Canada, has transformed into a major production involving fantasy worlds and extreme acrobatics. Travelers in Vegas have their pick between six permanent Cirque du Soleil shows, like Mystère and Michael Jackson ONE, but the show titled “O” (pronounced eau, the French word for water), is the only one that combines synchronized swimmers, divers, acrobats, and special effects inside an elegant theater modeled after a 14th-century European opera house. Also notable: This incredible spectacle takes takes place in, around, and above a one-and-a-half-million-gallon pool of water. It’s easily one of the coolest tickets in Vegas, though be sure to check your seats before booking as not all are created equal.
Less than an hour from Las Vegas, this arched concrete dam in the Colorado River makes for a great half-day trip. Run by a family-owned company, the tour starts with a comfortable drive through the beautiful Nevada desert while learning about the area’s history along the way. Upon arrival, you’ll descend 524 feet into the walls of the Black Canyon to see the Nevada Powerwing’s massive generators and diversion tunnels. Then, head back up to the visitor center for a series of displays and exhibits. There are many tour options available, but this one allows you to walk on top of the dam itself, pausing on the bypass bridge to check out views from above, which previous guests have loved. Lunch at a restaurant and transportation to and from your hotel are included in the price. If seeing this engineering marvel up close isn’t a priority, many helicopter tours en route to the Grand Canyon offer views from above (like the All-American tour above).
In a city where inhibitions tend to be lowered, an adrenaline-pumping tandem skydive makes sense. This five-hour experience starts from the MGM Grand, where you’ll board a shuttle to the drop zone. From there, you’ll meet your instructors for a safety briefing and tutorial before the plane takes off. You’ll be able to take in the scenery from the plane’s windows as you pass over Red Rock Canyon, Mount Charleston, and the Las Vegas Strip. Once you arrive at your jump point, you’ll do one final equipment check and latch on to your instructor. You’ll free-fall for just under a minute at 120 miles per hour before the parachute deploys and you float safely to the surface. Thankfully, previous guests report that the fun and professional staff members keep you laughing through your nerves.
With so many bars, clubs, and lounges, it’s hard to know where to spend your night in Vegas. This pass will make things much easier, especially if traveling with a group. You’ll breeze past the general lines to the VIP entrance and get access (and free entry) at nearly fifty options like Marquee at the Cosmopolitan, Hyde at the Bellagio, and Chateau at the Paris Hotel and Casino. You’ll also receive free entry to popular ultra-lounges including Ghostbar and VooDoo Lounge. As an added bonus, you can soak up daytime vibes at the wild pool parties at Tao Beach at The Venetian and the Palms Pool. This pass also includes access to selected shows, specials on drinks, and other benefits. Make sure to read the fine print as restrictions may apply, and — more importantly — don’t forget your I.D.
With all the noise, crowds, and commercialism, it’s easy to forget that Las Vegas is actually surrounded by natural tranquility. Case in point: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which is just 20 minutes outside of the city in the Mojave Desert. After pick-up at your hotel, you’ll head for the 13-mile scenic loop and make frequent stops at the best vistas where guides explain the plants and wildlife all around. The area is famous for geological features, including towering red sandstone peaks as well as petroglyphs left by Native Americans who once lived in Red Rock Canyon. Choose the six-hour option if you want lunch included as well as a stop at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, a ranch once owned by eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes. Previous guests have mentioned friendly, knowledgeable guides. Tip: Stay hydrated — this is the desert, after all.
There are many ways to see Las Vegas from above, but nothing competes with a hot-air balloon ride. On this three-and-a-half-hour excursion, you’ll be picked up from your hotel at dawn and transferred to the launch site. Listen to a short safety briefing from your pilot and guide, then assist in assembling the balloon if you so choose. When it’s time to depart, you’ll hop into the basket and soar over residential areas, the Strip, and Red Rock Canyon and the mountains on the west side of town for unobstructed morning views. After an hour-long flight, the pilot will guide the balloon back to earth for light snacks and a glass of bubbly. Between December and February, you can take advantage of a sunset departure option, but be wary of weather conditions, which can quickly put a damper on your balloon cruising plans.
This is one of the more popular permanent stage shows in Las Vegas, aside from Cirque du Soleil’s performances. French for “the dream,” the show takes place in an aquatic theater-in-the-round — meaning every seat has a great view — and tells a 75-minute story, or dream sequence, acted out by colorful characters who participate in acrobatics, swimming, dancing, special effects, and breathtaking plunges from the high-dive. You can upgrade by booking seats in the Splash Zone; if you choose to sit poolside, you’re definitely in for a memorable experience.
If you want to tick off one major bucket list item from your agenda while in Vegas, you’d be foolish to skip the Grand Canyon. While a copter trip is hard to match, travelers with tighter budgets (or who want something a bit calmer) can opt for this narrated bus option. However, you’ll need a bit more time — 15 hours to be exact. This full-day excursion reaches the park’s South Rim, passing through the Mojave Desert, Black Mountains, and Grand Wash Cliffs for nonstop scenery. Once you arrive, you’ll see panoramic Grand Canyon views from various lookout locations while learning about the park’s history, geology, and wildlife from your guide. You’ll also have time to explore the area at your own pace before visiting the National Geographic Visitor Center, which sets this tour apart from the others. You can also add optional upgrades, including a jeep tour, an IMAX movie, or scenic helicopter flight. The only downside? It’s a long day, especially if your hotel is one of the last on the drop-off list. But it’s not every day that you get to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, is very, very Vegas — in fact, it’s one of the biggest hotels hotels in town and has many of the city’s most famous dining spots. When you add the massive casino, huge pool complex, and lots of entertainment options, the hotel is the complete package for most Vegas travelers. This place is so big and diverse that everyone — yes, everyone — can find what they want. It’s ideal if you’re looking to have that only-in-Vegas experience, and — bonus alert — rooms are far nicer than you’ll find at some of the other brand-name spots in town. Check in and you’ll score king beds, minibars, and Carrera marble bathrooms, which don’t make for a bad retreat in a hotel that’s packed with things to do.
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