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Las Vegas tours and excursions

Las Vegas tours

Bus tours

Gray Line Las Vegas offers a five-and-a-half hour 'Neon Lights Tour', an evening sightseeing excursion around Las Vegas. The tour starts at around 1830, and operates six days a week (not Saturdays). The tour includes a narrated guide to the Strip and various other renowned landmarks, including a visit to the Special Memory Wedding Chapel, and ends at the Fremont Laser Light Show, Downtown.

Tel: +1 702 739 7777.
Website: http://www.graylinelasvegas.com

Helicopter Strip Tour

When evening falls and the neon carnival of the Strip reveals its full colours, there's arguably no greater vantage point than from a helicopter performing a full circuit above the screens, rollercoasters and skyscrapers that make up Las Vegas' heart. Numerous operators such as Papillon and Sundance Helicopters offer such trips, as well as longer journeys into the desert.

Tel: +1 702 736 7243; +1 702 736 0606.
Website: http://www.papillon.com

Las Vegas excursions

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

Located 56km (35 miles) south of Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam is one of the most famous dams in the world. One of America's many public works projects during the Depression, it is an unusually beautiful representative of the era's engineering. The dam stretches 380m (1,247ft) across the Colorado River, holding back the waters of Lake Mead. Constructed of a massive 2,486,250 cubic m (87,801,090 cubic ft) of concrete, its function is primarily a power generator, supplying electricity to Nevada as well as nearby California and Arizona.

Tel: +1 702 494 2517.
Website: http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam

Grand Canyon

For the first-time visitor to the region, it's near criminal to forgo a trip here. It is possible to reach the Grand Canyon in a full-day excursion from Las Vegas whether by land or air, including overnight stays and two-day hikes. The 'Grand Canyon Deluxe' tour offers a narrated aerial tour of Lake Mead, the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. Upon arrival at Grand Canyon airport, there is a coach tour through the Grand Canyon National Park, with plenty of stops for staring at the stunning scenery. Believe everything you've read – it's a phenomenal sight.

Tel: +1 928 638 7888.
Website: http://www.nps.gov/grca

Zion National Park

Just on the other side of the Nevada Utah border, 251km (156 miles) east of Las Vegas, is the spectacular Zion National Park Named by Mormon pioneers, who were awe-struck by the area's unique temple-like rock formation. Zion is a favourite location for hiking and wildlife viewing, and there are several hiking trails to explore. Less energetic visitors can experience the park by local shuttle. The Zion National Park can be reached in just over two hours from Las Vegas via Highway 15, to Utah SR-9 and Utah SR-17.

Tel: +1 435 772 3256.
Website: http://www.nps.gov/zion
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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.