To help savour the traditional and the unexpected sides of Las Vegas during your next trip, we asked Adrian Little, Chef Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, to share his recommendations for the best things to see, do and experience both on and off the Strip.
Grand Canyon by helicopter
Photography Koji Hirano / Thinkstock
Fly right from the Las Vegas Strip to the Grand Canyon, one of the natural wonders of the world, then below the rim into the Canyon itself. Along the way, fly over Lake Mead and the engineering marvel known as the Hoover Dam. Alternatively, night flights over the Vegas Strip give a unique perspective on the city’s man-made wonders.
Vegas rivals any city’s retail offerings, but while every casino has shopping, the best upscale stores and boutiques are tucked into a handful of smaller enclaves. Via Bellagio’s shops include Fendi, Hermès and Prada; Wynn Esplanade has Brioni, Cartier and even a Ferrari and Maserati dealership; the Shoppes at the Palazzo have Jimmy Choo, Chloé and Vegas’ first Barneys. Outside the casinos, the Fashion Show Mall has expanded and now includes more than 250 stores with powerhouse anchors such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. And Crystals at City Center, a premier shopping centre on the Las Vegas Strip, includes a collection of high-end retailers, eateries and art galleries.
Red Rock rendezvous
On the Strip it is easy to forget that Vegas is in the middle of the desert. For a reminder, head just five miles (eight kilometres) outside the city to stunning Red Rock Canyon, with 200,000 protected acres (78,000 hectares) of impressive red sandstone peaks and stark Mojave Desert beauty. Take a Pink Jeep tour with professional and well-informed guides to get the full experience.
Thrill seeker’s paradise
For a whole new level of adrenaline, exciting options abound, including Exotics Racing at the Motor Speedway where thrill-seekers can get behind the wheel of a powerful supercar. And if you want to take your adventure off the ground, hitch a ride with an experienced fighter pilot at Sky Combat Ace.
Dining off the Strip
Lotus of Siam on Sahara Avenue was praised by Gourmet magazine as the best Thai food in North America. The restaurant’s owner and chef, Saipin Chutima, who won the James Beard Foundation Awards 2011 Best Chef in the Southwest, dishes up classic Isaan-style food that is second to none when it comes to flavourful dishes with a unique presentation. Another local favourite, The Vintner Grill, is located in Summerlin about 20 minutes from the Strip. For diners seeking award-winning cuisine and casual elegance (call ahead to reserve the patio’s illuminated cabana seating), this is the place to escape for lunch or dinner. The menu features American dishes infused with Mediterranean flavours from Spain, France and Italy.
Modelled after the world’s finest opera houses and concert halls, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is in the heart of historic downtown’s Symphony Park. The venue opened its doors in 2012 and offers a broad range of first-rate programming, including Broadway shows, contemporary and jazz performances, and dance.
Photography Isaac Brekken/Getty Images; Costumes Zaldy Goco
You don’t have to go far to experience the exciting day and nightlife for which Las Vegas is known. After all, many of the Strip’s newest venues are just next door at the adjacent Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. The Strip’s newest pool party, Daylight, offers a DJ, private cabanas and the energy that defines the Vegas pool scene. Meanwhile, Light, the eagerly anticipated nightclub conceived by Cirque Du Soleil, features Cirque performers and a levitating DJ booth where a roster of world-class DJs will spin nightly. If a Vegas-style show is more your style, Cirque Du Soleil has more in store. Also playing at Mandalay Bay, Michael Jackson ONE takes its inspiration from Michael Jackson’s life and music.