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Best of Aaron Todd
While I am a lover of Las Vegas, Sin City was not on my top-10 list. My wife and I generally have the same interests when we travel. But in Las Vegas, our interests are diametrically opposed. While I would love to sit down at a poker table and test my wits against other tourists and the occasional Las Vegas rounder for eight or more hours a day, Wendy has no interest in the game, and wouldn’t want to do much more than play 20-30 minutes of blackjack on a trip to a casino.
So we’ve never been to Las Vegas together, and I figured we never would. And then I started to think about our common interests again, and I discovered that there actually is plenty to do in Las Vegas that we both could enjoy. So here are my top-10 activities that my wife and I would enjoy doing together in Las Vegas.
10. Bellagio fountains
One of the iconic attractions in Las Vegas, the Fountains of Bellagio provide those walking along the strip with a fabulous display of music, water and (at night) lights. Shows are every half-hour until 8 p.m., and every 15 minutes after that until midnight. And after the show, we could wander through the casino to see the Botanical Gardens.
9. Terry Fator show
One of our summer guilty pleasures is NBC’s America’s Got Talent. The goal of the show is to find a great act that can sustain a show in Las Vegas. And there’s been no winner in the show’s history that fits that description better than Terry Fator.
Fator is a singing ventriloquist whose characters can perform a multitude of song styles. Vocally, Fator’s range is incredible, and his comedic timing is also impeccable.
Fator performs on Tuesdays through Saturdays most weeks at The Mirage.
8. Fremont Street Flightlinez
The Fremont Street Experience is an attempt to revitalize downtown Las Vegas, and there have been some fun developments downtown. One of them is a zip line that runs 800 feet down Fremont Street, over hundreds of pedestrians below. Operated by Fremont Street Flightlinez, the zip line opened last fall and is still a popular ride for young and old alike. While my wife insists that she would be too terrified to give it a try, I think I could convince her to give it a whirl, and I’m sure she’d be exhilarated when we got to the end.
7. Swim with the sharks in The Tank at the Golden Nugget
My wife enjoys her pool time. Soaking up the sun and sitting in a pool can be an ideal way to spend an afternoon, in her opinion. I, on the other hand, get a little bored after an hour or so. Well, an afternoon in The Tank at the Golden Nugget would keep my attention. The swimming pool surrounds a 200,000-gallon tank, so you can swim right up to the sharks (separated by a glass wall, of course).
Cost: Free for guests, cabanas available for $175-$250/day; day beds available for $50-$100/day
6. Eiffel Tower at Paris
Yes, it’s cheesy, but there’s nothing wrong with doing something a little cheesy on vacation. The half-sized replica Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas provides a great view of the strip, and a restaurant and wine bar at the top give you some time to appreciate the view.
Cost: $10-$15/each for elevator ride
5. Visit Gold and Silver Pawn Shop
As I indicated earlier, the wife and I are fans of a few reality television shows. One we recently discovered is Pawn Stars, which shows the inner workings of one of Las Vegas’s biggest and (now) most famous pawn shops, Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. We love the show because people bring in some interesting items, and the bartering process to settle on the price is fascinating to watch. Plus you get to learn a fair amount of history. It would be great to see some of the amazing items on display in the shop. And if you’ve seen the show, you know how much fun it would be to barter with Chumlee.
4. Bowling at Gold Coast Hotel and Casino
My wife and I enjoy a good-natured contest, and we have been known to talk quite a bit of trash during a bowling match. There’s no better place to go bowling than the Gold Coast, especially during the “Graveyard Shift” (after midnight on weekdays, and after 2:30 a.m. on the weekends). With 70 lanes and food and drink available, bowling at the Gold Coast is a cheap way to compete with your loved one for bragging rights on the lanes.
3. New York-New York rollercoaster
While my wife insists that I would have to drag her kicking and screaming to the zip line on Fremont Street (thus calling into question whether it really should be on this list, but I know she’d end up having fun), she says she’d be excited about riding the roller coaster at New York-New York Hotel & Casino. The roller coaster sends its riders up 203 feet and down 144, reaching top speeds of 67 miles per hour.
Cost: $14 each, $25 one-day pass
2. Rent a crazy car and cruise the strip
My wife and I are pretty practical when it comes to our own personal vehicles. With three kids, the minivan gets the whole family around most of the time, while our hybrid serves as a commuting car and saves us money on gas. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have an automotive heartbeat. It would be a blast to rent a ridiculous car and cruise the Las Vegas Strip for a few hours. Whether it be a Lamborghini Gallardo, a Dodge Viper, a Ferrari or a Hummer, Dream Car Rentals in Las Vegas probably has what you need. If it were me, however, I’d get the 1959 Cadillac convertible.
Cost: Varies by vehicle
1. Have dinner at Craftsteak
There are dozens of great restaurants to choose from in Las Vegas, so picking one was a little overwhelming. And then, of course, I started thinking about my wife’s obsession with the Bravo TV show, Top Chef. So of course, if I were to choose one restaurant to take my wife to in Las Vegas, it would be Tom Colicchio’s world-famous Craftsteak at MGM Grand Las Vegas. Colicchio is the lead judge of the cooking competition, and while that doesn’t guarantee that he’s a great chef, The James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Chef” Award, given to Colicchio in 2010, is a pretty good indication of his abilities.
Cost: Varies by order; three-course menu starting at $115