Express Guide to: Nevada, AmericaBy Alicia Grimshaw
The State of Nevada boasts a wealth of diverse cities, villages from time gone by and a contrasting landscape. The beauty of this state is its diversity – you can lose your inhibitions on the Strip in the morning, take a scenic tour over the Grand Canyon in the afternoon, and make it back to Las Vegas to see a show in the evening. Nevada offers so, so much more than gambling; the state is teaming with nature and is home to stunning desert plains, it’s also a hot bed for foodie talent, and presents tons of variety and outdoor activities. If you’re heading to Nevada, here’s our top picks:
The Lowdown: People say the best way to see Nevada is from the air, and they aren’t kidding. Flightlinez, located a mere 30 minutes from the bustling Strip, operate zip wires in Boulder City and it’s an absolute hoot. Ditch the bright lights for the majestic Red Mountains, and breathe in some outdoor goodness.
What to Expect: The whole experience takes three hours, and there’s four zip wires to tackle, covering 8,000 feet (1.5 miles) as you travel at speeds up to 60+ mph. The panoramic views from the top are epic; take in views of Boulder City, Lake Mead and Red Mountains. And you may be lucky and spot a few mountain animals too.
Where: 1644 Boulder City Pkwy, Boulder City, NV 89005, USA
Photo Credit: Flightlinez
The Lowdown: The much lauded Vegas Off Road Tours offer atv tours through the Mojave Dessert, and it’s one of the one of the best ways to soak up the great outdoors and beyond. There’s rocks, gravels, dips and lush green terrain to contend with, so prepare for a bumpy ride.
What to Expect: This is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Apart from seeing the Grand Canyon (which is a given anyway), the dune buggy experience is a must if you’re travelling to Nevada. 3 hours in the Mojave Dessert driving a two seater dune buggy full throttle over hills and across sandy terrain is bloody fantastic. You can double up with a partner and take turns driving. And take a pit stop after at The Pioneer Saloon for a proper slap up American meal. We wholeheartedly recommend the pulled pork sandwich.
Where: 159 E Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
Photo Credit: Vegas Off Road Tours
The Lowdown: If you’re visiting Nevada and you don’t manage to catch a glimpse of the Grand Canyon, then quite frankly – you’re doing it all wrong. Beyond the glitter and high energy of Las Vegas, through the Mojave Desert, the mighty stone gorges of the Grand Canyon have been evolving for millions of years, and it’s an absolute must see.
What to Expect: Grand Canyon Scenic Tours are the best in the business (they’ve been operating for 90 years, so the team know their stuff). The company operate varying tours; from the more expensive helicopter rides to the purse friendly plane rides. The highlights air tour lasts around four hours and you soak up the sights of the Hoover Dam, the glittering waters of Lake Mead, and the Colorado River seen just outside the cabin windows.
Where: 1265 Airport Rd, Boulder City, NV 89005
Photo Credit: Brooke Edlund and Therese Meehleib
The Lowdown: The foodie landscape in Las Vegas is never ending – and even if you’re a regular visitor to The Strip, you’ll still find it hard to make a dent on the foodie scene, it’s forever growing and changing. Lip Smacking Foodie Tours is one of the best ways to sample some of the finest dishes in Las Vegas, and it only takes three hours.
What to Expect: This is a foodie tour of epic proportions. Forget any foodie tour you’ve ever been on – this isn’t a selection of canapés – this is well-thought out tour, highlighting the incredible restaurants and chefs residing in Las Vegas. Over the course of the evening you’ll hit up four restaurants, each showcasing their show stopping dishes, with every course paired with a different cocktail. A word of warning: the food is plentiful, so eat a light lunch and wear trousers with some give.
Where: For more information and to book – see here
(Photo Credit: Lip Smacking Foodie Tours)
Las Vegas Restaurant Guide: Our Favourites
Las Vegas’ food scene is diverse, exciting and features some of the country’s best restaurants. The arrival of celebrity chefs have contributed massively to the city’s world-class dining culture, with the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Joël Robuchon and Guy Fieri opening up various outposts across town. Boozy Brunches are a pilgrimage for any out-of-towner, and the vast selection at hotel’s breakfast buffets are outstanding. If you wanted to hit up some places – here’s a list of our favourite dining spots:
The Lowdown: A California burger gaff that has earned themselves a cult fanbase since opening in 1948. This may be a fast food establishment, but don’t let that deter you; all burgers are fresh, made to order, and feature only the highest quality ingredients. The ‘secret menu’ (which is actually the worst kept secret) is where the burger party gets turned up a notch. The animal fries will have you never ordering chips again: French fries are topped with cheese, In-N-Out’s secret spread and grilled onions. You can add all the toppings under the sun onto their burgers if you wish, but their classic cheeseburger does it for us. And it features their legendary secret spread, with the recipe unchanged since their arrival on the burger scene.
Where: Locations here
The Lowdown: Eggslut is a breakfast institution that opened its doors first in Los Angeles 2011 by Chef Alvin Cailan and in June 2016, it welcomed another branch in Vegas, much to the joys of its hungover revellers. A joint that praises the humble egg, the dishes are filthy, fabulous, but most of all, delicious. If you’re an Eggslut newbie, try one of their signature sandwiches – we say, go for the house-made turkey sausage with cage-free over medium egg, cheddar cheese and honey mustard aioli all stuffed in a warm brioche bun.
Where: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 3708 S Las Vegas Blvd E1, Las Vegas, NV 89109
The Lowdown: There’s no shortage of Wolfgang Puck restaurants on The Strip, with Austria’s biggest export behind 6 magical eateries including his famed Spargo Restaurant at Ceasars Palace. But it’s at one of Puck’s latest openings that provides a party for the tastebuds. Cucina, housed within the upmarket The Shops at Crystals, is a laid-back Italian eatery that serves everything from antipasti and salads, to Wolfgang’s pizzas and house-made pasta. The dessert menu changes every three months, but expect classic Italian pudding like Tiramsu with mascarpone cream, and Zeppole – fried Venetian doughnuts served with caramel sauce – aka heaven.
Where: 3720 S Las Vegas Blvd #240, Las Vegas, NV 89158, USA
The Lowdown: With it’s low lighting, moody interiors and wrap around booths, Scarpetta is one of the sexiest joints in town. Here, big bold Italian flavours are at the fore, with the menu a list of classic Italian eats with a healthy dose of Scarpetta magic. The pasta dishes are the restaurant’s crowning glory, with all pasta freshly handmade daily. For the love of all that is holy, order the duck and foie gras ravioli. We can’t express how damn right incredible this dish really is; plump, silky smooth ravioli encases a decadent mix of duck and foie gras, all swimming in a masala reduction. A close second is the short rib agnolotti topped with brown butter, horseradish and toasted breadcrumbs. A dish of varying textures and flavours – the hit of horseradish, the crunch of breadcrumbs – it all works. This isn’t dining, this is a quasi-religious experience.
Where: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Alicia travelled to Nevada with Travel Nevada. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Norwegian fly direct from the UK to Las Vegas
Flightlinez offer zip lining in Bootleg Canyon from $99 per person (£74).
Vegas Off Road Tours offer AV tours from the Pioneer Saloon in the Mojave Desert from $275 per vehicle (£205).
Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines offer flights over the Grand Canyon starting from $90 (£67).
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours have a range of culinary tours in Las Vegas. A Savours of the Strip, 3-hour food tour costs from $199 per person (£149).