The Side of Vegas You Never Knew Existed

See recent posts by Alex Creange

As one of the most popular destinations on our site, we’re constantly visiting Las Vegas to discover everything new and exciting Sin City has to offer. And let’s face it, in Vegas, there’s always something new and exciting popping up somewhere along the strip. Yet after a few visits, the clubs, casinos, and Cirque de Soleil shows seem to lose their luster, so on our most recent visit, we decided we wouldn’t even attempt to bar-crawl, gamble, or theatre-hop. Instead, we discovered a side of Vegas we never even knew existed...

Sky High Views: Where to Take in the Skyline from Above

View of the Las Vegas Strip from Rivea; photo courtesy of Alex Creange

View of the Las Vegas Strip from Rivea; photo courtesy of Alex Creange

1. Rivea 

Michelin Star chef Alain Ducasse’s newest restaurant offers incredible 180-degree views of the Las Vegas Strip from the 64th floor of the Delano…oh, and the food isn’t too shabby either. Inspired by Ducasse’s childhood in the south of France, menu items reflect the distinctive food culture of the French and Italian rivieras. We were lucky enough to be present for Rivea’s grand opening, where we particularly enjoyed the lobster with purple artichokes, octopus salad with confit peppers, and the ox cheek pasta in a rich daube sauce. For those with a sweet tooth, the traditional zuccotto — a domed shaped cake made with chocolate, brandy, and ice cream — is a must.  

2. The High Roller 

As of 2014, the strip’s newest attraction has outranked the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer as the world’s tallest observation wheel. Standing a whopping 550 feet high (107 feet taller than its peer across the pond), the High Roller offers impressive views of the strip and the surrounding desert landscape. Our favorite time to go is at night, when the city lights come alive. Of course, in typical Vegas fashion, guests can purchase happy hour tickets, which include access to an open bar while inside the cabin, for the ride.

Bright Lights, Sin City: Literally Brighten Your Day

The Neon Museum 

Only in Vegas will you find a museum strictly dedicated to neon signage. The Neon Museum, a six-acre campus surrounding the former La Concha Motel lobby, is an homage to the glitz and glam of its hometown. The museum tirelessly restores old hotel, casino, and restaurant signs to their former glory, and offers guided tours of its “boneyard” seven days a week. We recommend booking tickets well in advance, as tours tend to fill up quickly. 

A Different Kind of Open House: Step Inside a Celebrity Home

Wayne Newton's House; photo courtesy of Alex Creange

Wayne Newton’s House; photo courtesy of Alex Creange

Casa de Shenandoah 

A mere four miles from South Las Vegas Boulevard is Casa de Shenandoah, the private 52-acre estate where Wayne Newtown has lived with his family since 1966. For years, the property’s gilded exterior walls have shrouded the place in mystery, leaving many a passerby to wonder just what Mr. Las Vegas was up to when he wasn’t singing Danke Schoen on the strip. But in mid-Spetember 2015, Mr. Newton opened the doors of his home, allowing fans to take a closer look at his fascinating life. Now operated six days a week, private tours allow visitors to explore Wayne’s private jet, luxury car collection, and family mansion, and even interact with the handful of exotic animals he keeps on property. Though Mr. Newton and his family no longer live on premises, he and his daughter can often be seen riding his world-famous Arabians across the vast lawns.        

The Dish: Restaurants That Stand Out, Even in Vegas

1. Auerole  

From an old French word meaning “an orb of light or brightness,” Auerole is a fitting name for this glitzy dining room. Charlie’s Palmer’s Las Vegas outpost, located at the Mandalay Bay, is known across the strip for its famous four-story wine tower. The impressive glass structure houses over 50,000 bottles of wine, and during dinner service, “wine angels” can be seen ascending to the top of the tower to retrieve diners’ requested bottles. The menu is probably best described as upscale French-American fusion. The bouillabaisse and sea bass are impressive mains, but our top pick would have to be the braised Colorado lamb. 

2. Veranda 

Located at the Four Seasons, Veranda is a rare gem amongst Vegas restaurants. It isn’t backed by a celebrity chef, it doesn’t have a dress code, and there isn’t some month-long wait list to score a reservation. Yet despite its lack of fame, Veranda is quite possibly our favorite place to eat in Vegas. Why? There’s something about the warm, casual dining room that has the power to make anyone feel immediately at home. The young Chef Antonio Minichiello, who feels like a long lost Neapolitan cousin, often greets customers in the dining room, where he personally describes the facets of his seasonally changing menu. His passion for food can be seen in his creative presentations and his affable personality. Our pick for the can’t-miss dish: Chef Antonio’s signature La Pasta Cotta nel Vaso — roughly, pasta in a jar. This comforting dish of handmade artichoke pasta with shrimp, scallops, and calamari is cooked and served in a glass jar with a warm basil and seafood broth.

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