Getting out in Vegas requires a car and, once you have wheels, you’ll want to head in one of two directions: to the west is the Red Rock Canyon, a stunning expanse of sandstone cliffs, fossilised dunes and hidden waterfalls. There are miles of trails ranging from easy to difficult, but if you’re short on time, it’s worth the trip just to drive the scenic 13-mile Loop (21km). To the east are Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. The state recently completed construction of the Colorado River Bridge, an approximately 600m-long stretch of concrete and metal that passes some 270m above the Colorado River. The more adventurous can soar via helicopter with incredible views of the Hoover Dam, the Colorado River and the Las Vegas Strip, before descending 3,200 feet and landing inside the Grand Canyon.
In the past decade, celebrity chefs have flocked to Vegas, making it one of the foodiest destinations in America, rivalling the likes of New York, Chicago and San Francisco when it comes to epicurean affairs. French heavies Guy Savoy, Joël Robuchon and Pierre Gagnaire have all opened establishments here, as have American chefs such as Thomas Keller and Mario Batali. At Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, Twist by Pierre Gagnaire is a must for special occasions, while the third-floor restaurant MOzen Bistro is a more affordable and delicious alternative. Next door to the hotel and touted as one of North America's finest Greek restaurants, Estiatorio Milos by restauranteur Costas Spiliadis features fine Mediterranean cuisine at its best and has a long-standing reputation for serving the freshest seafood imported daily from New York City and Montreal. Neighbouring restaurant Julian Serrano, by the eponymous chef, is a must for inventive Spanish fare, like white chocolate-encased gazpacho and deconstructed fish stew. Order some sherry to go with your rabbit, chicken and chorizo paella.
Vegas’s entertainment scene is dominated by the Canadian contortionist troupe Cirque du Soleil; seven of their shows are in town, but if you only see one, make it the Beatles-themed Love. Check out the Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys at The Paris Hotel, an ode to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, they are the best. For headliners, nobody tops Celine Dion at the Colosseum.