A trip to Las Vegas, Nevada should be one everyone’s bucket list. Films and photographs do their best to show the giltz and glamour, but they can’t do justice to the electric atmosphere of the City of Lights. Menion Vegas to anyone and the first things they will think of are the iconic casinos that line The Strip, but there is so much more to this desert paradise that deserves to be explored.

The Amazing Scenery

It’s easy to forget that Las Vegas is surrounded by miles of some of the most stunning scenery the USA has to offer. The Mohave Desert covers 30 million acres of land across four states and is the smallest and driest desert in North America. Despite this, it is home to 2000 species of animal and plant life included cacti and cougars.

When in Vegas, take a day out of the city to tour the wider area. The Grand Canyon is within reach, with its stunning views over the Colorado river. You can also visit the man-made marvels of the Hoover Dam and the historic Route 66. And if you fancy something a little different, why not take a helicopter tour instead of a bus? There’s no better way to see the area that from the skies above.

Flash the Cash

The hotels and casinos on The Strip aren’t the only places to stay and play in Las Vegas, but they are the most famous. Each one is utterly unique, from the glamour of the Bellagio and Mandalay Bay, to the fun of Circus, Circus and Treasure Island. From the moment you walk onto the casino floor you can feel the excitement in the air. Whether you’re a fan of the slots or prefer the thrill of table games, there is something here for everyone.

And if you’re after something more competitive, check out one of hundreds of poker tournaments in Las Vegas every week. What makes these unusual is the games are held at all times of day, not just late in the evening. So if you have plans for the night, they can be a great way to spend the day. The tournament experience varies from casino to casino but one of the best places to play is the Bellagio. With 40 cash-game tables you will have plenty of time to practise beforehand and might even find yourself sat next to a superstar from the World Series as several are regulars here.

Show time!

It is in the evening where Las Vegas really comes alive. The neon lights make The Strip glow, advertising a myriad of evening entertainment like nowhere on earth. Huge names in the music industry have set up home in Vegas during a residency, offering their fans the chance to see a musical performance of such scale and magnitude that would only work in such an over-the-top venue. From Elvis Presley to Britney Spears, Vegas has been home to some huge names in the past. Take the time to find out who is around when you visit.

It’s not just music that you can find in the evening. Cirque Du Soleil have a variety of spectacular productions showing in Vegas, Penn and Teller and David Copperfield are just some of the world-class magicians preparing to astound audiences, and if you are extremely lucky, you might snag yourself tickets to a world class boxing match.

Dive into History

If you want a more educational way to fill your days, Las Vegas has many museums where you can bone up on its interesting history. The Mob Museum details Vegas’ beginning and shares stories of its golden years when the gangsters were in charge. You can listen to the FBI tapes that eventually took down their operation, have a go at some FBI weapons training, and have your photo taken in a police line-up!

Or book a tour through Las Vegas’ famous Neon Graveyard and see some of the signs and decorations from hotels that have been knocked down over the years. This is a fantastic way to learn about some of the hotels of the past, the people who ran them, and see first-hand how Vegas has continually rebuilt and rebranded itself to keep up with the times.

More Than Just A Hotel

You don’t need to stay in the Strip hotels to appreciate their amazing designs or experience their unique attractions. Take a gondola ride at the Venetian, ride the rollercoaster around the New York hotel or visit the tigers at the MGM Grand. The dancing fountains at the Mirage and the Bellagio are world-famous, but it the lesser-known pirate show at Treasure Island is also a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Everything happens on a strict schedule, so make sure you find out when they are supposed to start and get there early to ensure a good view. And if you miss the show, don’t worry, it will be on again in a few hours!

In fact there is so much to see outside each hotel that you can easily spend an entire day just walking The Strip and admiring them all. And when the Las Vegas sun gets too much, pop inside any hotel and sample the amazing food and drink available at an in-house restaurant or spend a little money on the casino floor.