In Las Vegas, winter is never a dirty word. That’s because locals aren’t worried about buttoning up for months of deep freeze like most of the country. Instead, Sin City residents and visitors rejoice as temperatures finally drop from sweltering to sensational. No longer is the mercury bursting into the triple digits; rather, it’s hovering more around room temperature.
It’s the perfect season for those ambivalent about the pool scene to linger under the sun and/or stars. Instead of staying indoors under faux ceilings meant to make you think you’re outdoors, your clients can take in Mother Nature while still enjoying the oversized glitz and glam of Las Vegas. Here are some of our top choices for experiencing Las Vegas from a new perspective.
The pan-Asian restaurant Social House, at Treasure Island, specializes in sushi and sake
One of the more exciting new outdoor elements coming to the Las Vegas Strip is a reimagining of the Volcano experience at The Mirage. An instant icon when it debuted nearly 20 years ago, it’s getting totally reinvented and will reopen during the next few weeks. With a promise to deliver a spectacular experience, the show has been designed by the same folks that created the Bellagio Fountains. It’s also getting an awesome new soundtrack from legendary Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and Indian tabla sensation Zakir Hussain. Expect massive fireballs to leap 12 feet into the air and a fiery new lava effect that flows down the new mountain’s side.
Also at The Mirage is Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. It’s a relaxing way to spend an hour or so outdoors as visitors get to watch such animals as white lions and tigers and dolphins living in harmony. In our visits to this attraction, we are struck by how antithetical it is to the over-the-top experiences found elsewhere in Vegas. This is a soothing and subdued place worth a trip. It also offers a great “Trainer for a Day” program in which guests can work with animal experts to care for and train the dolphins. Up to four people each day can participate, Friday through Wednesday. Call 702-791-7188 for more information on this spectacular experience.
Five years into its run, the Sirens of TI is a kitschy, fun and flirty stunt show taking place nightly in front of Treasure Island Hotel & Casino. The show features sword fighting, high-diving acrobatics and pyrotechnic effects and was directed by Kenny Ortega, who is also the mastermind behind the record-busting High School Musical franchise. The inside scoop: The show is canceled when the wind picks up, a relatively common occurrence. Suggest a visit to this free show early in your client’s trip so they have several chances to see it, in case it’s canceled one night.
Meanwhile, Bellagio offers what many consider the signature free show on the Strip, the Fountains of Bellagio. Opera, classical music and country hits accompany choreographed movements of hundreds of fountains. It’s larger-than-life beauty on a grand scale. Shows are every half hour before 8 p.m., and then every 15 minutes until midnight.
At Treasure Island, Social House is a great spot for some outdoor dining. This Japanese restaurant specializes in sushi and sake, but also has a Pan-Asian focus. Dishes include Citrus Peel Miso-Marinated Cod and Snake River Farms’ Kobe Beef-Three Ways: Carpaccio, Tataki and Tartar. The patio overlooks the Strip, as well as the Sirens of TI show. Eating here is a great way to avoid the big crowds below while enjoying an exceptional meal.
At Bellagio, there are several outdoor spots to enjoy a meal and also see the Fountains. For a more casual experience, well-known Chef Todd English’s Olives serves up interpretive Mediterranean cuisine with great views. This is a great place to enjoy crisp brick-oven pizzas, homemade pastas and rotisserie dishes. It’s a lunchtime favorite for us. For a significantly more formal experience, Picasso is rated as one of the top restaurants in town. It’s costly, but well worth the price when enjoying the unique French cuisine infused with a Spanish influence. Indoor diners are surrounded by original works of art from the restaurant’s namesake artist.
Border Grill at Mandalay Bay overlooks the quarter-mile Lazy River
For mind-bending views of the Strip, enjoy a high-flying dining experience at miX. Located atop Mandalay Bay, miX is a contemporary and classic French and American award-winning restaurant created by culinary superstar Alain Ducasse. Here, diners can opt to sit perched on balconies while enjoying both contemporary and classic French and American dishes. Another option here is Border Grill, a vibrant and modern Mexican eatery.
Meanwhile, Dick’s Last Resort at Excalibur is a fun place to leave stuffiness at the door. Here, oversized cocktails and buckets of finger foods rule the day. It also features house-smoked ribs and chicken, salads, burgers and live music nightly. Diablo’s Cantina at Monte Carlo Resort & Casino sits right on the Strip with an outdoor patio perfect for people watching, which becomes even more fun as the night stretches on into the wee hours. Diablo’s focuses on Mexican food, natch, and offers dozens of tequilas.
Dick's Last Resort at Excalibur offers casual food and oversized cocktails both indoors and out
One of our favorite outdoor nightlife venues in Sin City is GhostBar. Located just off the Strip at the Palms, GhostBar is 55 floors above Las Vegas. Not only do you get to see a great view of the city, but the air is always cool up there. And if it’s too chilly, they roll out the heat lamps to keep it comfortable. In the center of the outdoor patio, which extends off the building, is a Plexiglas window with a dizzying view of the ground.
At Wynn Las Vegas, Tryst blends indoors and outdoors to create one of the city’s coolest clubs. The entire venue is framed by views of a 90-foot waterfall. A private lagoon adds to the mood and provides a nice space to take a break from the action. Reserve a table outside for clients looking to seamlessly mix outdoor conversation with the hard-pumping sounds of the DJ when inside.
Pure Nightclub at Caesars Palace features multiple levels, including a great rooftop patio with views that are directly over the Strip. The terrace has a separate DJ and sound system from inside, creating a totally different feel for this section of the mega club. Suggest your clients book a table here; it even comes with private security to enhance the experience.