24 Vegas Guide
Today on the #Indie30 challenge, I was asked to create a 24 hour guide to my city – Las Vegas.
So here is your 24 Hour Las Vegas Guide.
Vegas is a internationally known tourist hot spot. The Strip is famous for a reason and the bright lights will suck you in. As much as us locals love avoiding the Strip (because we know all the good spots away from the drunken crowds), if you haven’t been to Vegas yet, you HAVE TO hit up the Strip at least one night and see all the lights and craziness.
Saying that, a few hours on The Strip is more than enough, and if you are reading this, you likely want to learn more about what there is to Vegas besides gambling and casinos. So assuming you have done your night walking through the bright lights and sticking a few dollars in the slots just to say you gambled here, this is 24 hours of OTHER things to do in Vegas.
(I’m also going to assume you rented a car, because unfortunately, if you want to see anything other than The Strip and Fremont, you are going to need one. We have a saying in Vegas that, “The bus system will get you fired”. They are that unreliable.)
For breakfast head down to Tiabi Coffee and Waffle Bar on Maryland Parkway and Flamingo roads (east side of Vegas). This awesome little place has everything waffle (including vegan waffles which taste exactly like regular waffles). They have delicious and healthy breakfasts to get your day started.
After breakfast, head west and over to Red Rock Climbing Center on Charleston Street, one of the oldest indoor climbing gyms in the country. Get strapped up, and learn some rock climbing techniques and tips and have fun going up and down walls for an hour.
Next, keep heading west on Charleston, past where the street lights end, and down to Red Rock Canyon. But go in the secret local backway by taking Calico Basin. This entrance, which is the street before the actual, pay way into Red Rock, is free and less crowded. Although the state park is awesome, and does make for a beautiful drive, the back way has lots of rocks to climb, trails to walk, and a picnic area and boardwalk where you can see beautiful, lush grass and trees fed by a natural spring. Plan on spending a couple hours climbing around the boulders and having fun in nature. (No actual rock climbing necessary, but bring water and Gatorade because this is the desert).
After all this activity, it’s time to eat. Now you are going to continue further west on Charleston (also called Red Rock Canyon Road here, and which makes a semi circle back to southern Vegas). About halfway in the loop you will find Bonnie Springs, a family friendly ranch area with a restaurant and activities. Have a bite to eat at the restaurant, then sign up for their 2pm horseback ride. Take an hour long ride into the desert and see some of the local flora and fauna in the area.
You are probably all outdoors-ed out by now, so it’s time to head back to civilization and relax. Head back east on Charleston, and go to Boca Park.
Inside Boca Park is Massage Envy, a great chain massage parlour with many stores in Vegas and the southwest. For $60 with tip, you can get an hour long massage. Just relax and get invigorated for a night out in Fremont.
Now it’s time to eat. So let’s go to Chinatown and get some sushi.
Vegas does have a Chinatown and it is on Spring Mountain Road. This road is home to store after store selling various Asian goods and foods, from all over eastern Asia, not just China. And Sushi Kaya is one of the best all-you-can-eat sushi joint in all of Vegas. For $30 you get as much sushi as you can eat. Portions are small to begin with, and not over-stuffed with filling rice. At Kaya, they believe it is better for you to try more dishes, than just fill up on a few, and this is why Kaya is so popular. Local note: It’s not on the menu, but if you ask, you can get half-rolls of anything on their menu, meaning you can order half portions and try even more of their ridiculously amazingly named rolls. I recommend the Shrek Roll, the Crazy Orgasm Roll, and the Mistake Roll.
Now that you are full of energy again, and it is starting to get dark, it is time to go sit under the lights…of Fremont Street. In downtown Vegas is one of the largest LED walls in the world, and it creates the overhead ceiling that runs the length of the Fremont Street area. Local’s go here for the cheap food and drinks, the great people watching, and the lesser amounts of tourists. There are also multiple stages along Fremont where any night you could see local bands, random performances, or The Dancing Dj. And once an hour the sky lights up and you’ll see a choreographed animation, set to popular and classic rock music on the overhead LED ceiling. If it is near a holiday, you may see a holiday themed show too.
You will suddenly realize you’ve been here a couple hours, just wandering up and down the street, but now it is time to go see one of the coolest spots in Vegas.
Walk east until you hit the East Fremont, and keep going until you see the fire-breathing praying mantis. This giant, metallic, art piece sits out front of one of downtown’s newest features, Container Park.
Made from shipping containers, Container Park is home to an all-ages, tree house (yes, adults ARE allowed), shops, food, and a wine bar. In the far end is a small grass field in front of a stage. A stage that may be hosting a band, a theatrical performance, or a free Zumba class. Go walk around for an hour, then head back to Fremont and west to the bars.
If you drink, go check out the Griffin or the Commonwealth, but if you crave something more than just drinks, go across the street to the best place in the city: Insert Coins.
Insert Coins is a bar-slash-dance-floor-arcade. About 50 old-school arcade games line the walls. They also have tables with bottle service and poufy couches if you want a more trendy-living room feel, or just sit at the bar and play games on one of the many TVs that wrap around the bar, for free. (Yes, there is no charge to play games while sitting at the bar). If you crave some movement, there is always a dj spinning popular, dance, hip-hopy music, and you will often see local b-boys and b-girls getting funky on the floor. Sometimes special (and secret) guest DJs show up too. Imagine walking in and Dj Jazzy Jeff is spinning. Yes, that has happened here. I
t’s been a long day so it’s time to go to sleep and ready for the morning. Sunday through Thursday you can often find great deals on hotels on and off the Strip. But really, there is no reason not to stay on the Strip or on Fremont Street. I’d recommend a hotel on Fremont street, just because you won’t have far to walk, and you are close to where your night is ending, and where it is beginning tomorrow.
The next morning when you wake up, walk down to Emergency Arts on 6th and Fremont (right next door to Insert Coins).
Inside EA, is The Beat coffee shop, which has amazing coffee and food. Sit down, grab some coffee and breakfast, and recover from last night while you use their free Wi-Fi to update your social media, or wander around the hallways checking out the art.
After you have woken up, it’s time to go play with some heavy machinery! Dig This – Las Vegas, is an awesome activity that is also family friendly. Basically now you get to go play with construction excavators and bulldozers! Yup, Dig This is where you get to learn how to use one of these giant machines by actually climbing into the cab and doing it. You get instruction and walked through various exercises like digging, building tire pyramids, and playing basketball (yup.). It is definitely one of those things that gives you bragging rights with your friends back home.
There are a million more things you can do in Vegas, depending on what time of year, and what day of the week you come. We have neo-burlesque shows every Saturday night of the month, festivals throughout the year (FYI, this upcoming weekend – April 25-27, 2014 is The Pirate Fest!) and various random (and sometimes unannounced) classic car ralleys, food truck groups, monthly art events, and so on. If you are coming to Vegas and want to know what is up, feel free to contact me and I’ll try to help!
About Dani Blanchette
I am a freelance travel and music photographer and creator of GoingNomadic.com.
I love music, food, and exploring cities without guidebooks. I’ve flown a helicopter, hitchhiked down the east coast USA, and once snuck into the back of a zoo (in Serbia) and pet a lion.
I am always up for an adventure, and sometimes I videotape them.