A Sunset Drive through Las Vegas

Photo Credit: ehpien via photopin cc

Photo Credit: ehpien via photopin cc

Las Vegas is a fantastic destination for rest and relaxation, distraction or excitement. Chock full of entertainments and attractions the city is a veritable playground that can accommodate every taste and leisure need. Seeing it all, however, can’t be done on foot, and taxis and public transport can be both expensive and constricting. Visitors should always consider car hire with a company such as Avis; Las Vegas has so much that is best seen from a bucket seat, missing out would be a travesty.

Despite the enviable sights of the Las Vegas Boulevard, more colloquially known as the Strip, driving down it for anything other than sightseeing purposes can be an incredibly ineffective way to get from A to B. The boulevard suffers from gridlock all the time, meaning that a two mile trip could take at least an hour, if not more. With the most congested area located between Tropicana Avenue and Spring Mountain Road, where all of the big hotel-casinos sit, a visitor should take a leaf out of the local’s book and avoid the Strip altogether.

The I-15, which runs parallel to the Strip, has all the same access to the hotel-casinos without the gridlock, or use Frank Sinatra Drive to the west of the Strip, which offers a less congested route behind the buildings. Paradise Road and Koval Lane offer similar accessibility to the east of the Strip, with the Desert Inn Road a purpose-built answer to the east-west traffic question of a speedy journey. Although your time in Las Vegas will probably be spent out of the car, don’t overlook the opportunity to see the Strip’s lights from a distance. By driving up Route 95, which has a gradual climb to the northwest of the city, the neon show can be seen as a luminous haze, offering a unique perspective on the hedonistic metropolis.

With an arid climate and sweltering temperatures that can, in the summer, reach over 100 degrees, Las Vegas during the day is probably most comfortably enjoyed in the shade. Visit America’s biggest indoor theme park, The Adventuredome at Circus Circus, or the check out the classic cars at The Auto Collections showroom in the former Imperial Palace, or enjoy the amazing foliage and fauna in the Bellagio’s Botanical Gardens. Thrill the whole family with the interactive Mob Attraction at the Tropicana, or pose with some of the world’s top celebrities at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum on the Strip.

If you have the time, try and fit in a trip to the internationally renowned Hoover Dam. Considered one of the 20th Century’s top construction achievements, the National Historic Landmark attracts more than 1 million visitors every year and, over 700 feet above the Colorado River, is the tallest concrete dam in the western hemisphere and remains one of the largest hydroelectric power facilities in the country. Situated in Black Canyon, just a few miles outside of the city limits, the dam was named for the 31st president and, since 2010, offers the opportunity to enjoy the views previously only accessible by helicopter from the Mike O’ Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.

With informational displays along the route, guided tours available for the dam itself, as well as the option to tour the power plant, a visit would be incomplete without spending a minute or two standing on top of one of the water diversion pipes. Travelling at up to 85 miles an hour, the Colorado River passes through these thirty foot pipes and both the river and Lake Mead can be seen from the dam’s observation deck.

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