Answers from Our Experts (3)
Sometimes the best things to do in Vegas are the things that let you forget you're in Vegas.
The easiest thing to do if you're tired of spending (read: losing) money is to head down to the pool. It's practically free, every property has one, and the people watching is priceless. If you're lucky enough to be staying at the non-gaming Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, you've got a nice, quiet oasis located on the 8th floor of the hotel. Grab one of the well-appointed cabanas or a lounge chair and recline next to one of two pools or the jacuzzi, and you feel like you're miles away from the hullaballoo of the Strip.
Or you could literally go miles away from the hullaballo of the Strip and check out the Grand Canyon. Except the Grand Canyon is so... far. Helicopter tour companies like Papillon can fly you out for a bird's eye-view of the North or South Rims in a matter of hours, and even offer packages where you can go on a guided Harley-Davidson motorcycle tour on the ground.
Drinking beer is an activity, right? If you’re looking for the ultimate beer-geek experience in Las Vegas, you might already have found your way to the Freakin’ Frog, a deceivingly well-stocked college bar with the largest beer menu in the U.S. If it's not too busy, just ask for a peek inside the beer fridge.
But, wait—where are all those people going?
Once a month, a group of dedicated beer geeks gathers at the Frog. At a pre-prescribed time, and possibly after one or more warm-up brews, they follow proprietor Adam Carmer upstairs to his reservations-only Whisky Attic (also home to the largest whiskey collection in the U.S.). When they descend two hours later, they do so bearing the serene smile of one who has reached enlightenment. So, is Carmer handing out enlightenment up there? (He is a beverage professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas ...) No, but he is doling out some of the rarest beers in the world.
At the monthly Freakin’ Cask Tasting, Carmer taps a firkin (quarter keg) or cask of scarcely imported beer from Italy, France, Germany, Belgium or beyond, sometimes even gems from the Zymatore Project (wherein a sort of mad beer scientist ages rare beers in former spirit casks for utterly unique results). Past beers have included Apostelbraeu Dinkel Bock, Le Brasserie a Vapeur Saison de Pipaix and Square Root 225th Anniversary Sour Historical Saison. The cost is anywhere from $35-$45, and you have to be invited to attend. To be added to the invite list, email Carmer your request at email@example.com, and to increase your chance, make it interesting!
There’s far more to do in Las Vegas than gambling. Just off the Strip visitors can do everything from swing on the links, hike the natural beauty of the desert to driving a race car.
MGM Resorts International owns Shadow Creek Golf Course, 18 holes of near perfection in the middle of the desert. Golf course architect Tom Fazio designed the course filled with waterfalls, creeks and meadows with the mountains as a backdrop.
Head to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area for hiking the red rocks there. Desert tortoises and burros can be found along the 14-mile loop in the park while the trails here run the gamut from easy to difficult.
Those with a need for speed can head to the American Muscle Car Driving Experience, where drivers can take on a Shelby GT500 and Corvette Z06 during a thrilling 30-mile excursion through Red Rock Canyon.