Grand Canyon/Las Vegas

Old Jun 11th, 2015, 10:20 AM
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Grand Canyon/Las Vegas

I am planning a 3 night surprise 40th birthday trip for my husband to Grand Canyon/Las Vegas. We will be going Sept/Oct 2016. He really isn't interested in Vegas but has always wanted to see the Cirque show "O". My thought is to stay a night in Vegas for the show and then head to Grand Canyon. Neither of us have been to Vegas or the Grand Canyon, I need help with the details! Should we rent a car, where should we fly in and out of, best route to take if we do drive, best way to get to Canyon, what rim to see, where to stay??? Any other tips. We both love the outdoors, good food and wine!! Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 12:09 PM
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Fly into Vegas, rent a car. It's four and a half or so hours to Grand Canyon. Decide if you can do that before dark on the day you fly in, if so head out there.
If not, stay in Vegas and go to O and head for Grand Canyon the next day. Route 93 to I-40 to 64.

Plan on one or two nights at GC (two if you go the day you arrive) . Hike down into the canyon at least a bit and walk along the rim trail and/or use the shuttle (if it's still running) and get off at the sites out to Hermit's rest. Drive to the east too and stop at the viewpoints on the way out.

On the way back to Vegas stop at Hoover Dam and do the dam tour.

Get lodging inside the park if you can. Call and keep calling as cancellations come up all the time. el Tovar is the nicest, but the other in park lodging is ok.
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 12:11 PM
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This is actually pretty simple. Fly into Las Vegas on the day you want to see O; see it, and spend the night there. Early the next morning drive to the Canyon and spend 2 nights there. On the final day, drive back to Las Vegas (4 hours) and take a late flight home. If you really can't do a red-eye, then take an early afternoon flight. I guess the timing of this depends on where you live.

You should rent a car, and cars are usually pretty cheap in LV. Since parking is generally free, rent it on arrival and save yourself the cost of airport transfers. Prepay for the full tank of gas so you don't have to find a station on the way back.

Just be aware that you don't want to be in Las Vegas on a Friday or Saturday night, and O is dark on both Monday and Tuesday night, so this means you have to arrive in LV on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Sunday. If you have to be back to work on Monday, then (for me), a Wednesday arrival makes the most sense. If that doesn't work, then arrive on Thursday, and you have to decide whether to arrive home on a red-eye early Monday morning and go straight to work, or get back really late and go to work the next morning.

Also, check on when you can get a room at the Canyon. Stay in the park even if it's at Maswik. But Bright Angel or El Tovar are the best accommodations.
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 12:12 PM
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I would say it's easier to get to the North Rim from Las Vegas, but it will be closed by mid-October and there are fewer lodging options, so the South Rim makes more sense.
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 12:45 PM
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The first two posts did not mention it, but both were talking about the south rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. That is where you want to go, not the so-called "west rim", which would be a very pale substitute for the real thing, and pretty much a rip off. The north rim (GCNP) doesn't close until the end of October, so that would be an option. I love the north rim, with its heavily wooded surrounds and its relative isolation. But for a first time visitor, I definitely suggest the south rim. The south rim has probably around 20 named viewpoints, while the north rim has a handful, with long drives between them.

Since you have well over a year for the details, continue to plan and get your dates set. Then, in October 2015, book your lodging. You will have your choice by booking a year in advance. El Tovar, Kachina, Thunderbird, and Bright Angel are all right on the rim, so you would be just yards from the gorgeous views. El Tovar is the grand Dame of GCNP lodging and will be more expensive. But you would also be in the same building as the restaurant, which is the best at the GCNP. Kachina and Thunderbird are more motel-like lodging, but definitely clean and acceptable, renovated a few years ago. Bright Angel is the second oldest lodge, also right on the rim. BA also has cabins, somewhat rustic, but more privacy.
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 12:47 PM
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Thank you all for such quick responses!
Doug- do you say not to be in Las Vegas Fri/Sat because of crowds!!??
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 12:50 PM
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Are there any restaurants near the Grand Canyon or are they just at the lodging in the park? I wanted to plan one nice dinner during the trip!
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 01:04 PM
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At the GCNP, the restaurants, in order of best first are:

El Tova Dining Room Food is actually quite good, but not top notch, and the ambience is VERY nice.
The Arizona Room
Bright Angel Restaurant

Outside the GCNP, the closest restaurants would be in Tusayan. I have never eaten there, but I don't think the are any that would be considered as good as El Tovar.
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 01:08 PM
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That should have been El Tovar, not El Tova.

The dining room
http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/din...om-and-lounge/

The current menu
http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/ass...er-Revised.pdf
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Old Jun 12th, 2015, 04:55 AM
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It's not the crowds in Las Vegas that bother me. Actually, you don't want to be in Las Vegas on Friday or Saturday because of the costs and because it's so hard to get tickets or restaurant reservations. The city is a bit weekend destination for people in the region. Hotel rates also pretty much triple on weekends (they also triple on certain days during the week if there is a huge event or convention, so you really do have to plan a bit ... there's usually a lot going on in the early fall).

Since your main objective is to see O, price the Bellagio, Aria, Cosmopolitan, Planet Hollywood, Paris, or Caesars Palace. All are within easy walking distance of Bellagio and offer a nice mid-Strip location, which is where you want to be so you'll be able to get almost anywhere you want easily (since you have only one day). You don't want to have to drive in Las Vegas unless you have to.
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