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Just because gambling, boozing and late nights (come early mornings) isn’t your scene doesn’t mean that you should discount visiting Las Vegas on your next trip to the US of A – and here are some reasons why…
Highroller Ferries Wheel at the LINQ
Situated in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, the High Roller is the main feature of a $550 million open-air entertainment district, The LINQ Promenade. The High Roller in Las Vegas isn’t your average Ferris wheel, it’s actually an observation wheel – currently the biggest in the world a staggering 550-feet-tall. It still holds the Guinness World Record for largest observation wheel.
Grand Canyon by Plane or Helicopter
Definitely a must-do. Take off from Las Vegas Airport on a breathtaking helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon. Approximately a 45-minute helicopter flight each way. For something special land deep in the canyon for champagne picnic, and fly low over the famous Las Vegas Strip on your return.
Lightshow at Fremont Street – Neighbourhood Block Party
Downtown Las Vegas is famous for The Fremont Street Experience, it has been described as a project that blends vintage Las Vegas with high-tech wonder, live entertainment and more to create an attraction that rivals the famed Vegas Strip. It provides an intimate party atmosphere with a laid-back feel. The street experience also features a Viva Vision canopy and light show, zip lining, food trucks and live music. It’s hosted monthly on every second Saturday.
OMG, the shopping outlets in Vegas are cray cray, depending where on the strip you are staying outlets are approximately a 15min cab ride or there are regular shuttles/buses that depart from various points on the strip. My favourite is Las Vegas North Premium Outlet which has over a 115 store, with the likes of Burberry, Calvin Klein, Diane Von Furstenberg, Kate Spade New York and many more.
Sahra Spa and Hammam, The Cosmopolitan
After you have completed exploring the LINQ Promenade, had your picnic in the Grand Canyon, partied hard at the neighbourhood block party and pretty much maxed out your credit card at the shopping outlets, there is only one last thing to do; experience the luxurious spas The Strip has to offer. My favourite is The Cosmopolitan Sahra Spa and Hammam, one of the newest hotels on The Strip. The hotel itself is understated luxury with a very funky twist, it’s also home to Marquee nightclub. The Sahra Spa and Hamman is a 43,000 square-foot oasis inspired by desert cultures from around the world. With over 25 treatment rooms, luxurious penthouse spa suite and an authentic Turasis of indulgence and rejuvenation. You must try the body wrap!
The menu is inspired by regional flavours of Spain and France where Pablo Picasso spent much of his like. Highly recommend the White Alba Truffle Menu, the Ravioli of Butternut Squash is to die for, plus the restaurant boost over 1500 of the world’s best European wine. Definitely a treat!
Hotspot: Hakkasan at the MGM Grand
Not only is Hakkasan one of the greatest nightclubs on the Strip, attracting all my main men Steve Aoki,Calvin Harris and Tiësto but it also has the finest authentic Cantonese cuisine. Their description: “To enter Hakkasan is to enter a different world, a mysterious realm of the senses that exists beyond a hidden passageway. The Hakkasan DNA is all about a relaxed mood with a sensual vibe. The interior design exudes a sultry Shanghai-Chinois chic” – and I would have to agree!
Signature dishes include Stir-fry black pepper beef ribeye with merlot and Roasted silver cod with Champagne and Chinese honey.
And if you are just looking for that 2:30am burger and fries, I would highly recommend a visit to Grand Lux Café at the Venetian (the same inventors of The Cheesecake Factory). Their Avocado-Chipotle Cheeseburger definitely hits the spot, (the burger has avocado it’s still healthy)!
By Lisha Singh
Images via kuriositas.com, Google images, Legacy of Taste UK
It is no surprise that the ‘Borough of Nations’ (Queens) is home to Astoria, a culturally diverse community known as both a creative neighbourhood full of praiseworthy cultural institutions and a food destination popular for everything from Greek, Italian or Brazilian cuisine.
Faster than you can say Opa! Astoria is easily reached by subway from Midtown Manhattan and is the ideal neighbourhood to sample some of the best Greek food this side of Athens. A quintessential melting pot, Astoria is home to world-class ethnic restaurants, impressive cultural institutions and green space in Astoria Park.
Must-See Astoria Highlights
- Socrates Sculpture Park exhibits large-scale sculptures and multimedia installations in its unique outdoor environment, and the park offers family activities, a place to picnic or jog along the East River and panoramic skyline views.
- Established in 1988, the Museum of the Moving Image offers visitors an understanding and appreciation of the art, technique and history of film, television and digital media. In 2015, the Museum will debut a new Jim Henson gallery that will include nearly 400 puppets, props and costumes donated by The Jim Henson Company and Henson’s family.
- Founded and designed by the internationally renowned Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi, The Noguchi Museum complex is an open-air sculpture garden tucked away inside a converted industrial building that houses a collection of the artist’s life work.
- Extending from south of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough) to north of the Hell Gate Bridge, Astoria Park offers visitors panoramic views of Midtown Manhattan. The 60-acre park is equipped with playgrounds, tennis courts, athletic fields, baseball diamonds, pedestrian trails and the largest swimming pool in NYC.
- Home to a prominent Greek culture, Astoria offers visitors a wealth of Greek cuisine that can be found at Ovelia, Taverna Kyclades, Telly’s Taverna, BZ Grill, MP Taverna and Artopolis Bakery.
- Astoria’s restaurant scene offers foodies the opportunity to savour international cuisine from around the world. Stop by Malagueta for a taste of Brazil, Mombar for traditional Egyptian fare, Le Gamin Astoria for French delicacies, Piccola Venezia or Trattoria L’Incontro for Italian specialties or Arepas Cafe to tap into the lively atmosphere and delicious treats of Venezuela.
- At the heart of Astoria’s social scene, microbreweries and beer gardens welcome everyone to taste the City’s best tap selections and enjoy live bands in an open-air casual environment. Whether you are looking for a bit of history (try the 100-year-old Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden), seeking out a brand-new watering hole (The Garden at Studio Square is a good choice) or just looking for the biggest space to fit all your friends (check out SingleCut Beersmiths), you can find a good time year-round in Astoria.
- Boutique designers offer hard-to-find vintage clothing. Shop jewellery, bags and boots or collections like Pierre Cardin duffels and Diane Von Furstenberg at LoveDay31.
Visitors looking to experience more of Queens can extend their stay at one of the borough’s hotels—from Long Island City, Flushing or the airport areas of LaGuardia and JFK.
Astoria is the third feature in a three-part Neighbourhood x Neighbourhood documentary series. The videos feature a local’s guide to the neighbourhood, focusing on the shops, restaurants, attractions and history, that make every NYC neighbourhood distinct and provide further reasons to get out and explore beyond the well trodden paths. To view the video of Astoria, visit nycgo.com/nxn.