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Things to do in Las Vegas

Cycle Badger Pass

The Badger Pass Mountain Bike Loop is a medium difficulty, 4km (6-mile) loop at Cottonwood Valley. You'll find a certain amount of tricky maneuvering and some moderate climbing, but nothing too extreme. You're rewarded with some great views of the surrounding desert at Badger Pass. Speak to Las Vegas Cyclery (tel: +1 702 596 2953; http://lasvegascyclery.com) to hire some wheels.

Explore the nature at Springs Preserve

The Springs Preserve (tel: +01 702 822 7700) has 45 hectares (110 acres) of native habitats and archaeological sites to explore yet it is just a Tootsie Roll's throw from Downtown. You'll fund butterfly and tortoise habits, museums and nature trails. Perfect for relaxation if the chaos of the Strip gets you down.

Jump out of plane

Join one of Skydive Las Vegas' (tel: +1 702 759 3483; http://skydivelasvegas.com) instructors on a tandem parachute jump for jaw-dropping views of Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, the Colorado River and the Strip itself. You'll be flown to 4,500m (15,000 ft), from where you'll fling yourself out of the plane, freefall at 190kph (120 mph) for 50 to 60 seconds, then (hopefully) float back down to Earth.

Pound the streets in Las Vegas’ art town

Las Vegas' art district is called 18b (www.18b.org) and is a crisscross of art galleries, shops, restaurants, theatres and music venues. If you get down there on the first Friday of every month, between 1700 and 2300, you'll find a mini arts festival where everywhere opens its doors to visitors and the streets become thronged with street performers and live music.

Walk among the ghosts of signs past

The neon signs that illuminate Las Vegas by night are a vital part of its heritage and the Neon Museum Boneyard (tel: +01 702 387 6366) seeks to preserve them into perpetuity. This two-acre location hosts such icons as the Hacienda Horse and Rider, and the Golden Nugget sign. If possible go after dark for the full LED effect.

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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New York New York Hotel and Casino

This 2,000-room resort and casino is easy to spot: it's the one with the Statue of Liberty out front, standing proudly beside a miniature Brooklyn Bridge. Rooms in its Empire State and Chrysler Building towers are large, well-appointed and can be surprisingly good value. If you pick upon the faint sounds of screaming coming from outside, don't be alarmed. It's adrenaline junkies hurtling around the full-size rollercoaster that loops around the perimeter.

Fremont Hotel

It may not have an Eiffel Tower outside or a Grand Canal running through it, but the Fremont has a longer-standing claim to be one of Las Vegas's best-loved landmarks. Now the heart of the Fremont Street Experience, when it was built in 1956 it was the first high-rise hotel in the downtown area. Its history might be long in the tooth (for this city), but the 447 spacious guestrooms are regularly renovated and modernised.

El Cortez Hotel

One of the more modest casinos in Las Vegas, El Cortez's roots actually go back to the era of 'Bugsy' Siegel, one of the city's founders. These days, this Las Vegas hotel advertises a modest selection of rooms with furnishings that are generally simple but comfortable. The friendly atmosphere and central location to downtown attractions have long been one of the draws, despite it now being outmatched by the grandiose casinos of the Strip.

MGM Grand Hotel and Casino

An inventory of over 5,000 rooms makes the MGM Grand one of the big players in terms of volume, but they've done their best to retain some character. Black-and-white movie photos adorn the guest rooms, and the art deco furniture also helps. Joël Robuchon, Michael Mina and Tom Colicchio add their names to the top-class dining rooms. The casino is gigantic, with Cirque du Soleil among the entertainment options.

Green Valley Ranch Resort

Located in Henderson, a short drive outside of Las Vegas, Green Valley Ranch Resort puts the focus on pampering and provides a break from the pace of The Strip. The resort is a rambling Mediterranean hacienda and houses eight restaurants, a cinema and a European-inspired intimate casino. The main buildings open onto the pool area with a small sand beach and private lounging beds in a more modern European setting.

Palms Casino Resort

The Palms is one of the newer hotel/casino resorts in Las Vegas, and caters to the young, moneyed celebrity and wannabe crowd. Chicago's famous Ghostbar has a franchise here, and is one of the gathering spots for the rich and beautiful. Guest rooms feature the usual amenities as well as the not so usual, including private outdoor Jacuzzis and an on-resort palm-reader.