Las Vegas is not the kind of city where you’d easily run out of things to do, but Sin City regulars are always hungry for something different. If you’ve already traipsed the Strip, been to the museums, explored the revitalised Downtown, seen Red Rock and the Valley of Fire, feed your need for new with our round-up of alternative activities.
VIP Dining with Lip Smacking Foodie Tours
The Las Vegas dining scene is one of the best in the world, but how can you get a true flavour on a short city break? Lip Smacking Foodie Tours run award-winning food tours which include several signature dishes at up to five of the most acclaimed restaurants on the Strip or in Downtown Vegas. Book a tour and you can forget about waiting for a table or being told “we’re fully booked”. Your expert guide will escort you right into the action, where freshly cooked, speciality food and drink will be set down beside you immediately upon arrival, with cocktails prepared tableside.
Every stop is a unique dining adventure, with a guided walking tour between stops packed with insider info on all the famous sights you’ll pass along the way. The laid-back Downtown tour features four stops, including the renowned Carson Kitchen inside the hip, re-purposed John E Carson Motel. Alternatively, the Savors of the Strip tour includes 15+ dishes across five different A-list restaurants, making it the ultimate night out for time-pressed foodies.
Stargazing beyond the city limits
You won’t see much of the night sky amid the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip, but just beyond the city are some great stargazing opportunities. On the outskirts of Vegas in the tiny settlement of Goodsprings, the old Wild West-inspired Pioneer Saloon hosts regular stargazing nights. These include round-trip transportation from your hotel and a meal at the saloon, as well as expert commentary and the chance to view far away galaxies and planets through a selection of professional telescopes and binoculars.
The Las Vegas Astronomical Society also hosts regular star parties in some of the amazing desert locations surrounding the city. The next event will take place from 11–12 May 2018 at Cathedral Gorge State Park, around a three-hour drive north.
Epic gaming at the Luxor’s new Esports Arena
Officially launched last week, the new multi-level, 30,000-square-foot Esports Arena is designed to host every form of competitive gaming and offers more than 100 gaming stations. Watch a tournament between pros or hunker down and get stuck into retro arcade favourites like Pac-Man, Pong, Street Fighter and Super Mario. The classic games are free to play, with $25 day passes available for all other games and spectator events.
There’s a gigantic 360-degree video wall, as well as a History of Gaming exhibit set beneath a custom chandelier made from gaming controllers. Many of the tournaments are open to the public as well as pros. Even if you’re not into gaming, you can still enjoy the latest virtual reality experiences and dine on a practical, gamer-inspired menu designed by world renowned Spanish-American chef José Andrés.
Eat at Gordon Ramsay’s new Hell’s Kitchen restaurant
It may be gimmicky, but it’s already turning out to be one of the hottest new Vegas restaurants in years. Yes, Gordon Ramsay has opened a replica of his hugely successful TV show as a full service restaurant – not Kitchen Nightmares, we hasten to add, but the reality cooking competition Hell’s Kitchen, where hopefuls compete for a role as a head chef. Here at Hell’s Kitchen Las Vegas, the kitchen is helmed by Season 17 winner Michelle Tribble, with a life-sized projection of Ramsay welcoming you to the new venue in front of Caesars Palace. The restaurant seats more than 300 diners, has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Strip, and kitchen space set up to mirror the ‘red team versus blue team’ aspect of the show. You’ll feel like you’re on the studio set, but the modern lunch and dinner menus are anything but contrived. Come for an all-day ‘eggs in purgatory’ breakfast, or dine on dry aged tomahawk steak from the grill and classic mains like beef wellington and rack of lamb. More than 12,000 reservations were placed in the first 10 days of opening, so booking is essential.
Ride the virtual reality rollercoaster at New York New York
Just opened in February this year, the new virtual reality experience at New York New York’s Big Apple rollercoaster takes thrillseekers on an aerial ride over the Vegas Strip and Nevada desert. Supposedly the longest rollercoaster in the world equipped with virtual reality, the new ride swaps views of the coaster tracks for virtual reality goggles, which sync up with sensors in the rollercoaster cars to deliver a three-and-a-half minute experience featuring 3D footage in 4k resolution. Instead of a head-spinning trip featuring sky and Strip, you’ll now get to chase an alien along a hair-raising desert cliff, before being led up to the edge of the 203-foot precipice by a gangly, four-eyed robot.
At the climax, you’ll fly past various landmarks on the Strip inlcuding the Luxor Sphinx and Excalibur castle, before a military helicopter shootout. The VR experience costs $20, but you can still ride the coaster the traditional way for $15.
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