From hiking and cycling in state parks to indoor climbing and relaxing in spas… health and fitness fanatics in Las Vegas have the world at their feet
Vegas nights might be all about getting dressed to the nines, sipping Gold Leaf Martinis and lounging at blackjack tables, but during the day you can get to know a totally different side of the city.
The key to getting under the skin of Vegas's healthy alter ego is, says Andrea Bennett, Editor-in-Chief of Vegas magazine, all about being outside. 'Vegas locals will always love the outdoors; it's in a desert dweller's DNA. Of course, I know a lot of people who have gotten downright religious about barre and [fitness workout] Orangetheory, but for the most part you'll find Las Vegans in nature. We have the Valley of Fire, Red Rock, Mount Charleston, and so many other beautiful hiking destinations.'
Cycling near Red Rock Canyon
Taking a class at the Mandarin Oriental yoga studio
The city's obsession with stepping out for its fitness fix is down to the desert climate. With around 310 sunny days a year and the average temperature a touch under 70 degrees, the location makes for uplifting workouts. Add to that Vegas's prime position in the Mojave Desert, encircled by mountain ranges, and you have endless opportunities to test yourself.
If you need to pack your workout into a half-day, Cycle Vegas will pick you up outside your hotel for bespoke tours on swish carbon-fibre bikes. Or take a slower pace with Cowboy Trail Rides, an operation that has been running raved-about horse treks from its ranch in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area for more than a decade.
Hikers who want to push themselves can sign up with the 52 Peak Club, organisers of up to 90 hikes a month. The founder, experienced hiker Branch Whitney, has lived in Vegas for more than 30 years. His must-do peaks? 'If you're staying in summer, Fletcher Peak (the trail passes by 1,000-year-old bristlecone pines), and in winter it has to be Fortification Hill, which has the best views of any summit around Las Vegas – you'll see Lake Mead and the snowcapped peaks of Mount Charleston.'
For spa lovers, you have one of the cities most fêted wellness hotspots on your doorstep: the plush, two-storey Spa at Mandarin Oriental (one of only 30 in the world to recevie the coveted Forbes Five-Star award). It offers an array of diversions, with 16 treatment rooms, an ice fountain, vitality pool, hamman, and fitness classes ranging from yoga to Pilates.
The Spa's resident personal trainer and yoga instructor Mary Jane Kleiman is on hand to personalise your workouts, and runs regular complimentary classes. 'There is such a diversity of fitness options within Las Vegas,' says Kleiman, 'from trapeze yoga to pole-dancing classes, CrossFit and everything in between.'
With 18 years of experience behind her, Kleiman shares tips on everything from perfecting the downward dog to the best walking trails. 'My favourite trail in Mount Charleston is my namesake "Mary Jane Falls", a rigorous hike with majestic views,' she says.
According to Kleiman the go-to spots for fitness gear are REI in Boca Park, for the mountain-minded workout, and Lululemon (which has stores in both Fashion Show Mall and Summerlin), if you're after fashion-focused kit.
Pressed Juicery at Aria
Vegas's outdoorsy vibe goes hand in hand with a boom in juice bars. 'The Juice Standard is my pick of the bunch,' says Bennett. 'I go to their Hive location in Summerlin for my favourite, Bee Grateful, a mix of carrot, pineapple, apple, ginger and lemon.' She also recommends Pressed Juicery at Aria, beside Mandarin Oriental. The signature Brazil Nut green juice is a mean hangover fix.
When summer temperatures hit 100-plus, there are many ways to burn calories indoors. Origin Climbing and Fitness is a gobsmaking 23,000-square-foot space that includes a multicoloured climbing facility and unexpected extras like complimentary post-climb yoga classes. Or make like local fitness obsessives, most of whom have a membership with Las Vegas Athletic Club, which has seven sites throughout the city (you can sign up for a free VIP day pass). You'll find Olympic-sized pools, kid's playrooms and over 700 classes a week.
Origin Climbing and Fitness
If you only have time to try one thing, opt for something uniquely Vegas. The destination's circus legacy makes it one of the best places in the US to try out the trapeze. So get spandex-ed up for a session with Trapeze Las Vegas, where budding artists swing and cavort 25 feet off the ground. Book a private evening lesson and you'll be flying through the air as the sun dips behind the mountains and the lights on the strip flicker to life.