When most people think of Las Vegas, certain ideas come to mind such as,
A tropical oasis with an abundance of bright lights and one of a kind resorts.
The capital of strip clubs. There is an over supply of scantily clad women.
A candy land of casinos. Go big or go home.
A broad range of entertainment to suit almost anyone’s creative preference.
And it’s array of high and end unique restaurants.
With over 40 million visitors per year, Las Vegas is an adult’s playground. How could anyone get bored? After coming here with friends for years, then visiting friends that migrated out west for the weather, I actually got a bit tired of the same scene. Don’t get me wrong, the new resorts and clubs never cease to amaze me. There’s always a new lounge to check out, and the for old time’s sakes strip clubs and late night parties; after all, it’s not like you go to Vegas to stay in and play Scrabble. ( I actually did that one night with a friend who moved there. ) My last few visits to Vegas I have thrown caution to the wind, I’ve stepped outside the norm of the Strip, and found there is life outside of Las Vegas Blvd.
Here is a list of some inexpensive, yet fun side trips when you want to enjoy life like a local in Las Vegas.
- Shoot a gun! I grew up with a shooting range, but never was interested in my dad’s guns. In Vegas I decided to try it out at the Gun Store Las Vegas. It is located 2900 EAST TROPICANA AVE, an eight minute ride from the strip. There I was able to shoot an oozie and an AK47. I was so excited I was a natural; I shot the target in all the right spots and they let me take it home.
- Take a scenic drive to the Valley of Fire. It is a beautiful 50 minute drive outside of the busy city of Las Vegas. A peaceful and windy trip on the highway, sometimes you are the only person for miles driving. The Valley of Fire is just phenomenal. You can simply drive through the rocks, or park and hike a bit. They have camping which would be totally fun for only $20 per car.
- Hike through Red Rock. A quick twenty-minute drive outside of the city limits, you will find some awesome hiking trails of every level. We accidently missed the correct path and wandered up the cliffs at high noon in over 95% degree heat while I was 16 weeks pregnant. We had some nice views and cooled off in the ice box, another hike that led us into a valley of rocks that was significantly cooler.
- Play the Price is Right. Ever since I was three years old, and I watched The Price is Right with my grandpa, I have dreamt of being on the damn show. Well finally, in 2007, my dreams came true. My friends all flew home early, and I decided to test my luck and watch the show. I was the last person of the day called up to the podium. I was beyond ecstatic. Let’s just say you would have thought I won an Oscar, not that I was bidding for a popcorn machine. I didn’t win, but it was one of my finest memories in Vegas.
- Check out some local restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, The Strip has every food option you could desire. Don’t forget to check out the classic diner, The Peppermill. But if you take a cab or a fifteen-minute walk to Paradise, you will find some great local restaurants. Here are some of my favorite spots. This one is closer to the airport, Skinny Fat’s. http://skinnyfats.com/ It has a kickass menu at great prices $8-15 for some interesting healthy and maybe not so healthy dishes. From unique sandwhiches to breakfast platters, juices, and one of a kind eats, this place is sure to leave your stomach and your wallet full. I’m a huge fan of In and Out Burger, it is just a classic west coast thing, you try it once, and you will make a habit of it every time you visit if you aren’t from the west coast. Fire Fly has a few locations, but the closest is on Paradise. It has a great atmosphere, outdoor seating, brunch, nightly happy hour specials, and a fun tapis menu that is great for sharing with just one or large groups. Some evenings they have local live music. The prices are reasonable, and the food and wine selection is great! http://www.fireflylv.com/ If you are into some authentic Moroccan cuisine and want a little side dish of entertainment, Marrakech Vegas has belly dancers and a sexy ambiance with the dim lit dining room. http://marrakechvegas.com/bellydancing/ One of my favorite spots is a Korean BBQ restaurant called, Gangnam BBQ. They also have a happy hour where the food and the drink prices are ridiculously low and great quality. Even the regular menu is priced well. Try the spicy edymame, cream cheese wontons, and the bacon wrapped asparagus. You won’t be disappointed; just thinking of Gangnam makes me want to book a ticket to Vegas now! This hot spot is great for dates, families, and large parties.
- Clark Country Wetland’s Park. A free lush park that is home to hundreds of species of animals and plants. It is open daily from dawn until dusk. Some trails allow dogs, others are great with children. Clink on the link provided to see what trail might suite your needs. http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/parks/Pages/cc-wetlands-park-trailsmaps.aspx
- Drink with locals. Sin City is overflowing with great drinking spots. There are some fun local spots off the strip that is a quick ride away. The Golden Tiki, is near Chinatown. When you step inside you are transported to a tropical Caribbean island. Patrons sip on tropical cocktails in the pirate themed bar. They have light bites and weekly events and entertainment.
- Ski the snowy slopes of Mt. Charleston. In the morning you can be in hiking in the desert, and by afternoon you can be skiing. So cool right? Don’t expect the same fluffy slopes that you’d expect in the Alps, but you can have the opportunity to ski, snowboard, and sled at Mt. Charleston, located just 40 miles from Las Vegas. Check out Lee Canyon http://www.leecanyonlv.com/site The best months for skiing are from December through March. January is typically the chilliest month in Las Vegas.
2015 I’m prego! Only sparkling water for me!