GET YOUR THRILLS BEYOND THE STRIP
While the Strip will steal your attention, make time to gain a rounded impression of Vegas with a few off-Strip gems.
Not much happens around dawn, save for a few sorry souls making the long walk back to their hotel after a big night, which is a shame: early mornings in the Nevada desert are one of the most incredible sights you’re likely to encounter. And where better to witness that magical morning light than flying over the Grand Canyon? Whether you choose a helicopter or light plane, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of one of the world’s most incredible natural wonders. As the light shifts, the shadows move to reveal and cloak the fissures, sheer drops and the glistening Colorado River below.
While some American cities boast something resembling a heritage, Las Vegas is a relative baby. Born in the age of neon, it is a living testament to the art of attention. As the city has evolved, a few wise souls saw fit to salvage some of its most iconic pieces of bright-light history, and they can be seen and celebrated at the Neon Museum (770 N Las Vegas Blvd, neonmuseum.org) in all their broken beauty.
For a more local vibe, head downtown to Fremont East (fremonteast.com), home to a number of shops, eateries and bars worth checking out. Drop in for a mescal on ice and New York-style pizza at Evel Pie (508 Fremont St; evelpie.com), dedicated to the feats of motorbike stunt performer Evel Knievel. The Container Park (707 Fremont St; downtowncontainerpark.com) precinct houses food and outdoor art installations, and a walk around the blocks surrounding it reveals some of Las Vegas’s restored neon signs; public art in its natural habitat.
Soak up that Old Vegas atmosphere at the far northern end of the Strip – there’s a lot to love about pink Cadillacs, Little White Chapel wedding, street art, dive motels and pawn shops. It's this colour and vibrancy that gives the town depth and humour. And speaking of humour, watch for the Godd Humor (goodhumor.com) ice cream van. Retiree Steve Daniel hand-finished the moving piece of history that serves ice creams and snow cones.