It's fair to say that there's nowhere on earth quite like Las Vegas. It's most definitely a one-of-a-kind destination and the sort of place everyone should try to experience at least once in their lifetime. One of the best ways to see - or 'do' - Sin City is to dive right in for a fun-packed weekend, and then kick back and relax. With that in mind, here's my guide to spending 48 hours in this exhilarating city.
Arguably the world's most iconic entertainment capital, Las Vegas offers a ridiculous array of things to do. Although it is best known for its gambling and casinos, it's not called the Gambling Capital of the World or the City of Lost Wages for nothing, there is so much more to see and do, from art and history to fine dining and dazzling shows.
Day One: Food and a flutter
Las Vegas is renowned for its buffets, but the concept is taken to a whole new level at the much-lauded Bacchanal Buffet, located inside Caesars Palace. The upmarket setting is more than matched by an extraordinary selection of food - which ranges from truffle devilled eggs to red velvet pancakes.
Walk off your breakfast by strolling The Strip, Vegas' main road, which features over four miles of casinos, hotels and all manner of attractions and entertainment. Touring on foot is the perfect way to see the city for all its glorious absurdity - where else will you see a life-sized Egyptian pyramid, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, and a Venetian canal in one place?
You'll have earned a sit down after all that walking, and depending on your appetite, a great place to take a break is Pronto by Giada, back at Caesars Palace. Established by celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, the casual eatery mixes Italian fare (and flair) with Californian influences, and serves some great salads, such as crispy pancetta and candied lemon, soups including pomodoro meatball, and sandwiches including the delicious toasted turkey, avocado and bacon, as well as a fine selection of Californian-Italian wines, sold by the glass. It is lunchtime after all.
Since you're already at Caesars Palace, take a wander around the Forum Shops, which contain some fascinating stores but even more amazing Roman-style architecture, including statues, fountains, and a huge aquarium at the Lost City of Atlantis. Save some time to enjoy the afternoon sunshine at the Garden of the Gods Oasis, a 'six-pool paradise' where you can swim, sunbathe or enjoy a private cabana.
Make the short walk to the Bellagio to check out its world-famous fountains, which captivate audiences every 30 minutes during the day, and are at their best when illuminated after the sun goes down, when they put on their show every 15 minutes. The same can be said for Vegas itself, which really comes alive after dark, so if your finances can stretch to it, I'd definitely recommend a city lights helicopter tour, which will probably be the most breath taking 15 minutes you spend here.
Now's the perfect time to explore Downtown Las Vegas, the city's historic heart, which dates back long before The Strip appeared and still clings on to an unlikely old-time grandeur. The action is mainly concentrated around Glitter Gulch, where you'll find neon-lit casinos, the amazing (and free) light shows of the Fremont Street Experience and the world's largest slot machine, located at the Four Queens Hotel and Casino. While you're here you can grab something to eat at romantic restaurant, Hugo's Cellar, or the bar-style eatery, the Chicago Brewing Co - depending on the level (or not) of your winnings.
Day Two: Vegas culture and shows
Vegas is definitely the place to try something different, so forget the toast and cornflakes today - how about a breakfast flatbread with truffle Béchamel, spinach, cheddar and scrambled eggs? Or short rib and egg sliders? Head to Jardin at Encore Las Vegas for some of the most delicious breakfasts that will set you up for a busy day.
And if they sound like explosive combinations, then follow up your meal with a trip to the National Atomic Testing Museum, which tells the enthralling story of nuclear power and explores the history and impact of nuclear weapons. The museum is located just a few blocks from The Strip, and somewhat nearer than its inspiration - the Nevada Test Site, a major nuclear weapons testing facility for the US, and the largest on its home soil.
Soil is a key ingredient of another museum worth a visit, the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, which contains botanical gardens, nature trails and a range of ecological exhibits. It's also a terrific place to stop for lunch, as the on-site Divine Café has a great menu and offers wonderful vistas of The Strip and surrounding valley while you eat.
After yesterday's wallet-busting stores of the Forum Shops, enjoy some more frugal retail therapy by taking a trip to the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets, which is an easy detour as you head back to The Strip. Here you can pick up a range of designer-label goods - including the likes of Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade, Armani, Burberry, Michael Kors and more - all at bargain prices.
Make the most of the savings you've made on the shopping trip by heading for The Venetian - complete with a recreation of Venice's Grand Canal - to splurge on a meal at one of its upmarket eateries. It's probably best not to think too much about the prices!
What better way to wrap up your stay than by taking in one of Vegas' much-feted shows, which are as extravagant as everything else in the city. The fabulous acrobats of Cirque du Soleil are always a safe bet (pun intended) but you'll also find a range of comedians, magicians and music acts, from traditional Rat Pack singers and superstars like Celine Dion, to rock bands such as ZZ Top. And yes, I did say ZZ Top, who roll into town for a brief residency in January 2019. Viva Las Vegas!
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