Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Advice needed for must do activities for first trip to Vegas

Advice needed for must do activities for first trip to Vegas

Nov 30th, 2010, 06:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 3
Advice needed for must do activities for first trip to Vegas

My husband and I are both 30 and heading to Vegas for our first time December 27-31st. While neither of us are big gamblers we have heard there are a lot of great ways to spend the time. Two things we are interested in doing are going on a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon/Hoover Dam and renting ATVs to tour the desert.

Does anyone have experience with either of these and if so, could you recommend a company we should look into? Finally, in there a place to buy tickets for Cirque shows at a reduced rate in Vegas or should we buy them online prior to going?

Other favorite activities? Places to get a drink? Great affordable restaurants?

Can't wait to learn from your experience!
KLDunnies is offline  
Nov 30th, 2010, 07:07 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,218
We rented a car while we were in LV (it was very cheap) and drove to Hoover Dam, went to the Clark County Heritage Museum on the way back--that was a great day.

We also liked the Atomic Testing Museum, Fremont Street Experience, Springs Preserve, Bally's Jubilee backstage tour, the exhibits at the various hotels.

We saw the Cirque show Ka at the MGM Grand--they were giving our half price vouchers in the hotel. There are half price ticket booths at several locations along the Strip.

I used certificates from restaurant.com for severalo restaurants, which definitely lowered the price. We liked the Border Grill at Mandalay Bay.
abram is offline  
Dec 1st, 2010, 05:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,365
I would highly recommend the Siegried and Roy Animal Garden at the Mirage. Doesn't take a lot of time but it was great to walk around and see. I also enjoyed the Aquarium at Mandalay Bay.
tchoiniere is offline  
Dec 1st, 2010, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,876
Pick up a cheap foam cooler at the quicky mart and fill it with ice, drinks, water, snacks, etc. Car rentals are pretty cheap in Vegas, so get one, hop on rt 95, when you get to Beatty, head west to Death Valley. Check out the bottle house in the ghost town Rhyolite on the way in, a couple of minutes off the main road. Stop at the top of the hill where there are public toilets and take in the view down the valley. Then go down and head south, stop at the VC then go down to badwater, the lowest elevation in the U S, a couple hundred feet below sea level, and as many of the other interesting stops along the way, head back through Parumph.

Go to Valley of Fire State Park and Red Rock Canyon. When you go to Hoover Dam, take a boat ride on Lake Meade.
emalloy is offline  
Dec 1st, 2010, 03:38 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 79
-death valley is a must
you won't be believe the colors that are in the desert

-valley of the fire is good
-skip red rock canyon....boring
-tropicana stained glass ceiling over the gaming area
(one of the last grand old casinos from the sinatra days)
-light show downtown
-elements martini bar....tropicana and rainbow...130 martini list
-get tickets NOW for the "love" cirque show ....best and only
one worth seeing
[email protected]
wrestlpsu is offline  
Dec 1st, 2010, 05:23 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,644
-skip red rock canyon....boring

I liked Red Rock Canyon. Very unearthly desert scenery. Different strokes ...
Songdoc is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2010, 02:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,830
Prefer Valley of Fire to Red Rock Canyon, but both are worth a visit if you have time. Also consider following the shoreline of Lake Mead to Overton for some nice views of the lake.
If weather is nice think about grabbing an outdoor tableat Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris hotel/casino for some interesting people watching and the Bellagio fountains across the street.
Oh, and yes include Death Valley if you can.
boom_boom is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2010, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,607
My favorite Cirque shows are Mystere, O and LOVE, and I'd recommend all three. If you're a Beatles fan, LOVE is a must-see for sure.

If you have your heart set on a particular Cirque show, book ahead. The chance that the show you will want will be discounted on the night you want may be slim. Even if you book ahead, you can still get a discount at the official CDS site which offers various discounts and packages:


But if you're willing to take a "wait and see" approach to see what discounts are available, wait until you get there and see what is available for half-price at your hotel or at the tix4tonite booths:


"O" is probably the most popular CDS show and is virtually never available at a discount IME. Ka is more often available. I think Viva Elvis, the new show that gets very tepid reviews is also discounted fairly often.
cheryllj is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2010, 02:39 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 22,831
Cirque is my first choice. I don't know if online is cheaper or not. DH and I saw the first one at Mirage and enjoyed it very much. The one at Wynn's place ("O"? Bellagio?) gets rave reviews but came after our visit.

We took a ride to Hoover Dam. It was interesting to see but not hugely exciting.

We also enjoyed visiting the casinos just to see the buildings and decor. Caesars and NY NY stood out. Bellagio had not opened when we were last there.
TDudette is online now  
Dec 2nd, 2010, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,607
PS - Where are you staying?

There are so many great restaurants in Vegas, it's hard to know where to start on recommendations without a location and a budget and type of food.

Are you actually leaving on the 31st? That day will be insanely crowded for NYE and moving around will be difficult with the streets closed, so plan ahead.

The only "must see" in Vegas imho is the Bellagio fountain show, both day and night. I'd also say that the Bellagio lobby and conservatory, along with the interior of the Venetian, are also worth visiting because they represent the excess and glamour of Vegas hotels. The fake (er, faux) Venetian canals and piazza are amusing to me, to others a horror, but very Vegas. Everything else is up to you, because what is fun for one is boring to another.
cheryllj is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2010, 03:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,829
Did you do a site search? This question comes up often here, and there are plenty of good threads you can find for answers. Looking at a guidebook or two won't hurt, either.
bachslunch is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 04:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 3
Thanks all for your replies. We'll be staying at Mandalay Bay. I had done a search a while back but it seemed that a lot of the posting (at least about helicopter tours) were a few years old. It sounds as though no one else has done the Helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon? Do you all feel it would be a waste with all else there is to do?
KLDunnies is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 02:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,830
IMO, if the helo doesn't go below the rim of the canyon, it's not worth it.
boom_boom is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 03:26 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,876
A few years ago we took a small plane from Vegas, up lake Meade, stopping at the airport near the south rim. A bus picked us up and took us to the major sites in the NP, then we flew back to Vegas before suppertime. It was fine for a quick look and we have been back several times since on our own.
emalloy is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 05:44 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 9,333
I have taken the helicopter tour and I thought it was a waste of money and scenery. The view is terrible and as boom boom says if it doesn't go below the rim its not worth it, and it does not go below the rim, it just hoovers above a couple of spots. I went back to the canyon 2 years ago and from the ground it is much more impressive. If you are driving from Las Vegas to the canyon it is a very long day by the time you get back to your hotel. Well worth the effort, it is awe inspiring. For a must do I agree with the cirque shows. I have seen Love, and even though I am a passive Beatles fan I thought the show was very entertaining and the music awsome. For our 30th anniversary we were feeling a little naughty and went to Zumanity, it is sometimes topless,its sexy but very funny and the acrobatics were great. I would like to see Zumanity again. If you see a cirque show I recommend not siting in the front, farther away from the stage is better so you can see the overall show, there is a lot going on at one time. I also recommend going to one of the celebrity chefs restaurant at least once for an expensive meal. You will not forget the food. There is lots of free stuff to see if you walk around. Beware of the smut peddlers and the time share people offering you 'free' tickets to something or other, when confronted by a salesperson just say no. Or tell them you are leaving on a plane in a couple of hours! Enjoy your trip, ziggypop
ziggypop is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,566
www.cheapovegas.com DH and I love the funny but very true reviews on this site!

We always eat at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in Caesar's. We love southwestern food, and this place is awesome! Goat cheese queso...Mmmm...

For cheaper show tickets, there are a couple of half-price booths on the Strip: one is in the Coke bottle at MGM Grand, and the other is next to the Harley Cafe neat Planet Hollywood. It's not likely that they will have Cirque shows, but it never hurts to look. We saw Penn & Teller last time we were in town and they were excellent.

Keep in mind that Vegas gets darn chilly in the winter; your ATV tour could be as cold as a snowmobile tour depending on the wind! A better time to do that would be in April or October when it isn't so cold, and hasn't yet gotten too hot.
ChristieP is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 03:17 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 152
When in Vegas you should gamble a lot, drink a lot, eat a lot and have sex a lot. Sorted.
Lateagain is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 03:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10,966
My must-do activities in Las Vegas are always to gawk, visit Red Rock Canyon, and avoid gambling.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Dec 6th, 2010, 03:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 152
HTTY - If you like looking at canyons then go to Utah leave Vegas to the gamblers, or is it that you quite like the seedier side of life.
Lateagain is offline  
Dec 13th, 2010, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 315
In Vegas, gawk at the half-topless chicas.
Eat at the Excalibur buffet.
However, seems nature is more your style, so skip Vegas, and stay at a motel in Grand Canyon.
Vegas is for gamblers, sex seekers, and run aways.
POMAH is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:00 AM.