A trip to Las Vegas on business need not be all work. There is an abundance of choices of entertaining things to do indoors and out. Once known primarily for its casinos, ersatz marriages, Elvis impersonators and lavish stage productions, the city has worked hard in recent years building up and diversifying its offerings to better accommodate the tastes and needs of families with children and adults interested in diversions other than games of chance, dancing girls, trained tigers and magic acts. However much things may have changed over the years, people watching remains a major sport in Las Vegas. Visitors of every shape and size and stripe flock to the city year around, putting on a kaleidoscopic show as they wander Las Vegas Boulevard along the Strip and downtown on Fremont Street clad in everything from cut-offs and T-shirts, to khakis and Polos, to tuxedos and formal gowns. On my most recent visit, a well-dressed wedding party, with the happy couple bedecked in traditional, picture-perfect bride-and-groom finery, was enjoying a meal together at tables set before a Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand while nearby a gaggle of seemingly genuine cowboys decked out in chaps and spurs and 10-gallon hats clustered together, trying decide in which direction to turn next. Nearby, a blue-haired grandmother who had just hit a modest jackpot on a nickel slot machine chortled happily as though she had won the Power-ball Lottery. A standard rule when visiting Vegas is, Expect the unexpected. Las Vegas is a shopper’s paradise, with an abundance of stores catering to every taste and budget. If western wear and cowboy moots interest you, there’s no better place to shop on planet earth than the famous Boot Barn located on Las Vegas Boulevard South a short cab ride from the Strip. Western boots, work boots, motorcycle boots, equestrian boots, outdoor boots or just plain casual boots—they have them all in every style, size and price range imaginable. If you have a spare $1,800 to invest in footwear, you might want to try on a pair of Lucchese Men’s Caiman and Suede Western Boots. For the budget-minded amongst you, boots for infants and kids start at under $50 and boots for men and women start at under $100. Fashionistas will want to visit the Las Vegas Fashion Show Mall, featuring high-end department stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom; luxury jewelers like Tiffany & Co.; electronics stores like Apple and Microsoft; scores of men’s and women’s clothing stores; and much more.
If you love golf, you needn’t leave the Strip to enjoy a game at a top-notch course. The Wynn Golf and Country club offers an 18-hole, 7,042-yard, par 70 golf course featuring dramatic elevations within shouting distance of the Las Vegas Strip. Use of the club is available to all visitors to Las Vegas. Another choice golf course located close to the Strip across from McCarran International Airport is the Bali Hai. (You’ll pass right by it on your way to and from the Boot Barn.)
Tennis is another sporting pleasure easily accessible to out-of-town visitors. The best-known destination resort for tennis on the Strip is Bally’s, where lighted courts offer you the chance to sharpen your backhand night and day. Lessons are available from a former ATP Tour pro.
For those of you with a hankering to play Mario Andretti or Sterling Moss, at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas you can test your skills behind the wheel of a Ferrari 458 Italia, a Lamborghini Aventador LP700 or an Audi R8 or any of a score or more other classic racing machines. If you’d rather leave the driving to a professional, they offer a “ride-along-experience” that allows you to ride as a passenger while a professional driver takes you for a rocket-like spin around the track.
A variety of tour options—on the ground and in the air—is available to such “must-see” locations as the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Red Rock Canyon. My best advice is to talk to your concierge about the best choice for you.
If golf, tennis, race car driving, shopping and touring are not enough to fill your Vegas days and nights, there remain, of course, the shows. Cirque du Soleil offers an octet of choices: Criss Angel Believe; KÀ; The Beatles LOVE; Michael Jackson ONE; Mystère; O; Zarkana; and Zumanity. Every time I visit Vegas, someone is touting a different Cirque du Soleil show. The flavor of the month this time was KÀ. Several friends who took in a performance (I unfortunately did not), struggled to find superlatives adequate to describe what they had just experienced. In truth, you won’t go wrong with any of them. If you haven’t yet made up your mind about what to do as an unscripted evening approaches, you might want to visit a discount ticket website like www.tix4tonight.com to see what special deals they have to offer. Several years ago, I caught a radio announcement that Tony Bennett was appearing that Friday night at Caesar’s Palace. Much to my surprise, I was able to score two first row center balcony tickets for half price for a once-in-a-lifetime experience watching one of history’s greatest crooners perform. Coincidentally, a couple sitting behind us was talking about Saudi Arabia just before the show began. It turned out that their husbands were retired Aramcons. They gasped when we told them what we paid for our tickets. It was less than half of what they paid for theirs weeks in advance. Las Vegas is full of surprises. That was one of the better ones I’ve experienced. For more information on Las Vegas and some of the attractions mentioned here, visit the following websites: https://www.vegas.com http://www.thefashionshow.com/en.html http://www.lasvegas.com/listing/wynn-golf-and-country-club/12173/ http://www.bootbarn.com https://www.caesars.com/ballys-las-vegas/things-to-do/tennis#.U207u61dXIY http://www.exoticsracing.com http://www.tix4tonight.com