“Well,” I thought to myself, “here goes nothing.”
In my mind, I pictured sparkling lights, clinking glasses, and hordes of tourists from around the world dressed in flashy nightlife attire. Having just turned 21, the world of Las Vegas finally became accessible to me. When I heard about this opportunity to join Travel Nevada for what seemed like the ultimate bachelor or bachelorette party in the city, I jumped at the chance. After all, what better way to spend your 21st birthday than celebrating among the energy and pizzazz of Sin City?
Of course, I didn’t intend for this to be a trip like “The Hangover” movies, or like the average drinking and gambling-infused trip to Vegas. In fact, the main point of the trip was to see everything that Vegas has to offer outside of these activities. Alas, Sin City has much more to offer than it’s name implies, and here are a few of the awesome things I got to experience while I was there.
Delicious Food and Drink
Because of its tourism and diverse inhabitants, Las Vegas has the advantage of having ties with many different nations, so the food options are varied and, of course, world-class. It seemed like every day we tasted something different, from international food to wineries to bowling alley fare.
While in Vegas, we hopped over to Pahrump Valley Winery for a quick bite and some delicious wine tastings. I smugly handed over my over-21 ID and tasted a smattering of wines, from sangria to some sweet wines and even a dry or two. The winery has won a ton of awards and rightly so, because the wine is delicious and the staff was extremely friendly and accommodating. Additionally, the salmon I ate for lunch was some of the best food I had during the whole trip.
“Bowling alley fare?” You may be asking yourself about this one. Well, our first night, we got to eat at this beautiful bowling alley gone restaurant called the Brooklyn Bowl, which features a delicious Arnold Palmer drink and some amazing fried chicken alongside – you guessed it – a bowling alley. Many locals make their way to the Strip to experience this eclectic combination. Between the relaxed atmosphere and the fun of the bowling alley, it was hard not to be amused during my dinner there!
If you wander a little bit outside of Vegas’ city limits, you’ll see that Nevada has a deep-rooted history. We had the chance to visit an old gold mine with Pink Jeep Tours, where we learned how gold was mined back in the day. It was a little bit creepy as we walked deep into the rocks, following our tour guide, whose family owns and runs the mine tours. Having a first-hand, local perspective on the history of the mine and the nearby areas was pretty interesting, and of course, we took gorgeous photographs of the sweeping desert surrounds. The owner also had photographs of all of the celebrities and famous people who have visited the mine, and they have certainly racked up quite a list!
Most people know that Nevada has gorgeous, sweeping canyons and unique rock formations, but not many are aware of the amazing (and sometimes terrifying) ways that people can view them. Some examples of these are Red Rock Canyon, Boulder City, Lake Mead, the Colorado River, and of course, the Grand Canyon. In fact, the Grand Canyon is only a few hours’ drive from Las Vegas, but most people don’t know that they can take a helicopter flight through this spectacular natural wonder.
The last time I visited Vegas, when I was twelve, my family and I drove for hours in the Nevada heat to the Grand Canyon and set foot in the marvelous rock formation. This time, I got to see it from a little bit of a different perspective. During my ride with Papillon, I got the experience the canyon, as well as the Hoover Dam and gorgeous Lake Mead, from a bird’s eye view. On top of that, our pilot told us lots of awesome facts and stories as upbeat music played on our headsets, providing for a welcoming and fear-free adventure.
In general, every time we left the wild, flashy Strip, I would see gorgeous views of Nevada’s dry, mountainous terrain. Views of Lake Mead always displayed its shimmering, blue waters in the hot Nevada sun. Mountain bikers ride through rocks and cliffs, the perpetually blue sky waiting above each day. If one thing draws me to Las Vegas more than anything else, it would be the rain-free weather and gorgeous Nevada terrain.
During my trip, I was a guest of Travel Nevada. As always, my articles solely reflect my own personal views