Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. The landmark sign says it and it isn’t wrong! Vegas is ritzy, glitzy and a whole lot more besides, but it came from humble origins… As a former cowboy town, the city was founded on natural springs by ranchers and railroad workers who probably little suspected the explosion in gambling that was to occur in the 1960s! With the rise of the mega casino in the 1980s, the desert metropolis took on a new face as millions of tourists from all over the world were drawn to the neon glow of the city. Don’t let Vegas’ wild reputation blind you to its other charms though. There is plenty of other attractions that draw the crowds that will dazzle you. Check out all that there is to see in Vegas with a hire car from easyCar.
Nature (Inside and Out)
If you enter into the city’s casino hotels, be ready for an overwhelming sensory overload – they are decadent, theatrical and garish (and that’s just the simple ones)! The supreme example of Vegas hotel decoration is Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Updated every season by a team of over a hundred horticulturalists and gardeners (plus engineers and lighting experts), the arcadia is filled with intricate displays of flowering plants, shrubs, ivy and ornamental features. In December, it is Christmas themed, in January, Chinese New Year themed, and in the Spring, Summer and Autumn they let their creativity run wild! Another nature spot on the strip is the Flamingo’s Wildlife Habitat. The hotel’s garden is filled by the pink long-legged birds that gave the hotel its name, along with other birds, fish and turtles.
After the harsh desert landscape of the strip, Floyd Lamb State Park comes as a pleasant and green relief. A twenty mile drive from the city’s hub, the grassy lawns and winding paths amongst well stocked ponds make the perfect spot for a bit of peace and relaxation. This former ranch has had a varied past, with dinosaurs frequenting the springs prehistoric times and prospectors hunting for treasure during the gold rush. If the transition from arid land to lush vegetation fascinates you, stop by Springs Preserve. It was here that Las Vegas life first began and you can learn all about the city’s history. There are 1910s railroad worker’s cottages to tour, hiking trails to follow and botanic gardens to amble in.
The collections in Las Vegas are anything but dry and stuffy – there are no mouldy old tomes here! One of the must-see exhibits is the Neon Museum, where the history of the city’s strip is told through the evolution of its illuminated signage. The gambling district is know for its frequent building booms where hotels and casinos are often knocked down to be replaced by newer, shiner successors, so the museum serves an important purpose in recording the city’s past. For the ultimate experience, take a tour of the boneyard (the outdoor portion of the museum) at sunset when the restored neon signs glow against a fiery backdrop. Whilst you’re ticking off some of the Las Vegas collections, be sure to see the Titanic Artefact Exhibition (that houses pieces rescued from the North Atlantic including a 1900 bottle of champagne and part of the ship’s hull) and the Auto Collections at Caesars (that showcases classic and exotic cars).
You might be surprised to learn that along with its casinos, Las Vegas is also renowned for its food. The city’s restaurants have a veritable galaxy of Michelin-stars! From awesome burger joints and great street food to exquisite fine dining, Las Vegas has every kind of food you could possibly image. Visit L’Atelier Joël Robuchon, the home of the ‘French chef of the century’ to see your entire meal prepared before your eyes in their open plan kitchen. At Sage, they prove the excellence of simple farm-grown food, beautifully served. Eat in the contemporary, dimly lit interior amongst murals painted by famous artists. The Picasso restaurant goes one better with original Picasso paintings, served up alongside flawlessly presented food and with beautifully matched wine from their extensive cellars. Tired of the fancy fare? Wander down the strip to Pink’s Hot Dogs for some sausages in buns with some wacky toppings. If you like to customise your dinner, stop by Burger Bar to build your own burger step-by-step.