Around the World

Take a Peek at the Softer Side of Vegas

Mar 2023 | By Catherine Daley

Take a Peek Behind the Scenes to Discover a Softer Side of Vegas

Las Vegas is a city that is consistently evolving and forever changing with new acts, attractions, eateries, sights, sounds and experiences. It’s also a city of split personalities and extreme contrasts. While one person might enjoy the glitz and glamour of nightclubs and casinos, others may prefer the rich hues of the desert landscape and the natural attributes of the surrounding area.

If it’s been a while since you last visited, you’ll notice some big changes. Located in Nevada, it’s the only major city in the American west to be founded in the 20th century – growing from a desert-bound railroad service centre, to the fastest growing metropolis. Between 1990 and 2000 alone, the population increased by 82.5 per cent. However, twice as many people live outside the city limits, as downtown Las Vegas wasn’t built for residents, but to service tens of millions of guests on an annual basis. It’s one of the country’s leading vacation destinations, drawing more visitors than the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park.

Bygone Days

An image of the las vegas desertThe historic core of Las Vegas is located on a site that once included marshes, fresh water springs and grassy meadows. Vegas is the Spanish word for ‘meadows’. Surrounded by mountains, the basin collects insufficient rain water. With this type of development in an arid location, one can’t help but wonder how water is supplied to the thousands of hotel rooms, homes and businesses in the area. Operated by the Las Vegas Valley Water District, you can gain a better understanding of the journey that water takes at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. Here, 180 acres are also dedicated to nature walks, displays, events and activities.

At the Neon Museum, you can walk through a retired graveyard of old signs in various states of disrepair (some have been restored), that depict long-forgotten joints – from classy to tawdry.

Located on Fremont Street, the downtown Container Park is an open-air shopping centre and entertainment venue constructed of repurposed shipping containers. Boutiques, food vendors, a performance stage and a children’s playground, cater to the whole family.

Natural Wonders

An image of the grand canyon with blue water running through it.For one of the most spectacular experiences, book a helicopter ride over the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. Sundance Helicopters offers a tour option that includes a champagne breakfast in the canyon – there’s nothing quite like it.

Located in Boulder City, the building of Hoover Dam was no simple undertaking, and is known as the tallest dam in the world. Tours are available every day of the year, except on American Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The breathtaking desert landscape shows its true colours with shades of red, rust, pink and mauve. Explore the city’s unexpected side at the Red Rock Canyon.

Nestled in Virgin River Valley, about an hour north of Las Vegas, is the small town of Mesquite. Here, you’re surrounded by scenic vistas and red flat-topped mountains called Mesas. Close by are seven golf courses, beautiful resorts and a national and state park.

Cordial Reception

Hospitality is at the core of any Las Vegas experience, and they do it up right. Many hotels offer incredible spa experiences that are richly luxurious, with skilled practitioners who will ensure that you receive the highest level of care and attention.

Star-Studded Dining

A glass is seldom half empty in Vegas, and here dining out is a heightened gastronomic experience. The best performers go to Vegas to strut their talents, as do the best chefs. At the Aureole restaurant in Mandalay Bay, diners can choose from more than 3,000 types of wine. The wine team then pours, and tags, each glass to denote the producer, variety and vintage before they are presented to your table.

Opening this spring is the Bedford by Martha Stewart. Drawing inspiration from her country farmhouse, she brings the outdoors in. This intimate restaurant will seat 194 diners.

Award-winning private, or group, dining experiences can be booked through Lip Smacking Foodie Tours.

The Best of the Best

An image of cirque du solei performers.When it comes to entertainment, Las Vegas is a recreation hub. Canada’s own Cirque du Soleil evokes powerful images, along with exceptional ability and talent at tailored performances. Opening this spring is Mad Apple by Cirque du Soleil.

Katy Perry launched a new residency at the Resorts World Theatre, and fellow Canadians, Michael Bublé and Shania Twain recently promoted limited engagements.

Nothing stays the same in Vegas for long, so check dedicated websites or contact your travel agent for the most up-to-date information.