Las Vegas Road Trip

We took a road trip beginning in Wisconsin with our main destination being Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas Road Trip

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on April 5, 2007

My husband and I decided to take a cross country road trip from Wisconsin to Las Vegas. We drove the 25 hours with only stopping at the places we couldn't pass by - i.e. Loveland Pass (CO), Bryce Canyon (UT), Zion National Park (UT), and the Grand Canyon (AZ). We spent one week in Las Vegas and had the time of our lives. Overall, I would strongly suggest the road trip to anyone!${QuickSuggestions} The National Parks were beautiful. The Autumn was a prefect time to go, because the weather was perfect for walking and there were no crowds.

Las Vegas has so much to over everyone. We especially enjoyed a few shows (Zumanity, Blue Man Group, and Lancce Burton), sightseeing on the Strip (Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, Volcano at Mirage, Fountains at Bellagio, Gondola Ride at Venetian), the entertainment downtown on Fremont Street, Red Rock Canyon, and the Hoover Dam. Las Vegas can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. It has so much variety and there's something for everyone in Vegas.${BestWay} In Las Vegas we stayed at the Grand View, which was a few miles down the Strip and we were glad that we had a vehicle so that we could come and go as we pleased. There is tons of free parking on the Strip, so we had no problems.

The Grand View at Las Vegas

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on April 5, 2007

We stayed in a one bedroom unit and were very comfortable. I have to admit that it does make it easier to stay in a hotel when it’s as nice as the Grand View. The room is very new and has a great sense of style.

On the other hand, the hotel is a ways away from the action of the Strip. We did get sick of driving back and forth to the Strip. We were thankful that we had our own vehicle so that we could get to were we wanted to go with only a little hassle.

I wouldn’t recommend taking the tour. The sales pitch was a lot longer than they said it would take, and we were very up front about not being interested. But at the same time they didn’t use high pressure techniques, they were just slow.
Grandview at Las Vegas
9940 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, 89123
(702) 966-4700

Hard Rock Cafe

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on April 6, 2007

The Hard Rock Cafe was easy to find even though it is off the strip. Just look for the 45 foot neon guitar at the entrance. The hard rock cafe is also part of the Hard Rock Hotel. We were in Vegas over Thanksgiving and went to the Hard Rock Cafe for Thanksgiving meal. When we arrived we knew that something wasn't quite right when there were lines of homeless people. We were happy to see that Hard Rock did such as positive thing for the community. (Although the homeless people weren't actually allowed in the restaurant. They had to eat on the curb.) We came back later in the evening for a very nice meal. Although Hard Rock is know for hamburgers, we tried something a little different. I had a sandwich and my husband when for the Thanksgiving special. Expect to pay around $20 a person depending on if you get drinks or not. The food was great, the service was excellent, and we had great time. I know that the noise level did bother some people, but it really wasn't an issue for us. If you have never been to a Hard Rock Cafe, then you have to try it at least once. The Hard Rock in Las Vegas is pretty much like all the other Hard Rock Cafes with tons of Rock & Roll memorabilia. The Hard Rock in Vegas has a lot of Elvis memorabilia. The Cafe hours are from 11am to 11pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11am to midnight Friday to Saturday.
Hard Rock Cafe
4475 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 733-8400


Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on April 5, 2007

Cirque du Soleil describes Zumanity as "the other side of Cirque du Soleil." I would describe Zumanity as the highlight of our stay in Vegas. The show is absolutely hilarious from the first minute. Actually, even before the first minute of the show. As guests are taking their seats, this waitresses (who aren't actually waitresses at all) pass out chocolate cover strawberries, and get the crowd laughing. Be aware that the humor is definitely directed for adults. In fact, you must be 18 or older to even attend the show. Zumanity explores every aspect of sexuality from nude scenes, to the jokes and language, to the props used. I know that you can order tickets ahead of time, but we bought them at the box office in New York - New York. We had seats in the upper level which is referred to as the "limited view seats". We paid $69 a ticket for the cheap seats but we were towards the center and we were very happy with our position. The standard seats are $99 and the sofa seats are $129. Regardless of where you sit, the show is worth every cent! The show is at 7:30pm and 10:30pm on Friday through Tuesday.

New York, New York

Blue Man Group

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on April 5, 2007

The husband really wanted to see this show. Blue Man is performed by three mute men. The trio is covered in blue paint. In the show they use a lot of odd props like paint balls, PVC piping, Captain Crunch, and tons of paper. There is also a large portion of audience participation. The tickets were about $69 per person and we had awful seats. We were so high that I couldn't even read all of their signs. The show was high energy and had some really great parts, like when they put paint inside the drums and it splattered all over. The people towards the front are given plastic rain ponchos to protect them from the paint. The show is great for a family, and I'm sure kids would love to towards the front and be in the middle of all the action. The staff were very high energy and really great. We paid around $70 for seats in the upper balcony and the seats on the floor towards the front run around $125. If I were to go again, I would spend the money for better seats. I also filled out the survey card. They called me at home about four weeks later and I did quick interview (5 - 10 minutes). About four weeks after that we got a gift box of a T-shirt and CD in the mail. I was a little disappointed with the overall show. And my husband said that he would "highly recommend" the show.
Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109

Gondola Ride

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on April 5, 2007

The gondola ride at the Venetian is modeled after authentic Venetian gondolas and look pretty neat. After the ride I felt a little disappointed and thought that the ride was not worth it. You can choose from the indoor gondola ride ($15 for adults and $7.50 for children 12 and younger) or the outdoor gondola ride ($12.50 for adults and $7.50 for children 12 and under). And if you really want it to be romantic you can spring for a private gondola which are $60 of inside and $50 for outside.

We went on the outdoor ride and we shared with another couple. The ride was only about 10 minutes. The Gondola covers areas that you can see from the strip. The Gondolier was a nice lady with an awesome voice, but the ride was so short.

If you decide to try it, the hours of operation are: Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 11pm, and on Friday and Saturday from 10am to midnight. I also saw something about a wedding gondola, that is elaborately decorated in white and gold.
The Venetian Gondola Rides
Grand Canal at The Venetian
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(877) 883-6423

Bryce Canyon National Park

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on April 5, 2007

This was what made our endless hours of driving worth it. Bryce Canyon is the nicest National Park I've ever been to. Although it's called Bryce Canyon it's really not a canyon at all. The total park is about 18 miles long. It's possible to hike most of the park or you can get to many of the locations by driving. We drove to the different look out points because we were on a schedule, but I wish we would have had the time to hike around more. The Hoodoos are the offical name of the detailed rock formations. These formations were caused by both wind and water over time. The rocks have such a brillant orange color that just enhances their appeal. This is one place you just have to see for yourself to really understand how wonderful it is.

Overall, the park is smaller than many National Parks and has a lot less tourists, but it was extremely impressive. This is one place you don't want to pass up!
Bryce Canyon National Park
Southwestern Utah
Bryce, UT, 84717
(435) 834-5322

Zion National Park

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on April 7, 2007

Zion is a 146,560 acre National Park. The canyon is carved out by the Virgin River and it has steep rock towers and high mesas. It is neat to be inside of the canyon looking up at the massive rocks instead of always being on the top looking down into the canyon (like the Grand Canyon). One of the highlights is driving through the 1 mile narrow pitch black tunnel through the mesa. We did enjoy seeing wildlife (wild Mule Deer within 30 - 50 feet). We were a little disappointed with this park compared to some of the other parks in Utah. And if you live in rural areas don't spend the time walking to the Emerald Pool! It's a hike (especially for kids), and it's not much more than a puddle.
Zion National Park
Zion Boulevard
Zion National Park, Utah, 84767
(435) 772-3256

Old Nevada

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on April 7, 2007

Old Nevada (a.k.a. Bonnie Springs Ranch) is an old time western town that is equipped with everything from a bandit, sheriff, and a hanging at noon. There is also a small petting zoo. I do have to admit that Old Nevada looks authentic with their rustic buildings. Plus the setting is in front beautiful mountains. So it is a perfect for a western. You can wander the town (it's only about a block long), taking peeps into well-replicated places of business, such as a blacksmith shop, a working mill, a saloon, and an old-fashioned general store.

Old Nevada is about 20 miles outside of Las Vegas, just a couple miles away from Red Rock Canyon. You can easily go to both Old Nevada and Red Rock Canyon on the same day. It's also about 10 degrees cooler at Old Nevada then it is on the strip.

Old Nevada would be a great adventure for kids ages 7 to 12. As for the rest of us, it’s one place to skip. (Especially the except when stage melodramas in the saloon).
Bonnie Springs Old Nevada
1 Gunfighter Lane
Blue Diamond, Nevada, 89004
(702) 875-4191

Grand Canyon National Park

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on April 22, 2007

I've heard the Grand Canyon referred to as the "Canyon of all Canyons". Once you lay eyes on it, you have to agree. The canyon is unbelievable, but the park is also crowded and a little hectic.

After waiting in line on Highway 64 for about two hours to get into the park, we started at the Yavapai Point View Point. This was a nice place to begin because you can really see and imagine how the Colorado River ate away the rock to form this massive canyon. Next, we headed to the Yaki Point. At this point you can see some of the hiking trails. We didn't have enough to hike around at the canyon, but we prepared before you attempt to hike.

The Grandview Point is one of the better view points. You can identify a few rock formations including the Horseshoe Mesa, Angles Gate, and Vishu Temple.

We also enjoyed the Lipan Point and Desert View. What I liked about the Lipan Point was the Colorado River below makes a huge curey "S" with a some vegetation along the banks. We heard that this is the area where most wildlife (mule deer and white elk) can be seen, but we were only lucky enough to spot a few squirrels. By the time we got to the Desert View, it was late in the afternoon and their was a huge shadow over the canyon and the rocks appeared dull and gray. Although the view was still impressive, it was as brilliant as other view points earlier in the day.

The cost for the park is $25. We chose to purchase a National Park Pass which is $50 for the family and is good at any National Park for 1 year. The Grand Canyon South Rim is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
Grand Canyon National Park
P.o. Box 129
Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023
(928) 638-7888

Red Rock Canyon

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on April 24, 2007

Red Rock Canyon is about 15 miles out of Las Vegas, and it's worth a visit. In fact, it's so close to Vegas that you can see the red rocks from all over the city.

The canyon is made up of 197,000 acres within the Mojave Desert. Red Rock is an area of worldwide geologic interest and beauty. When arriving at the park, first stop at the spacious vistors center. The facility offers information about available recreation, wildlife, wild horses and burros, vegetation, geology, and cultural history. There is also a gift shop inside the vistors center if you're looking for some maps or souvenirs. The best part of vistor's center, however, is the Desert Tortoise, Mojave Max, who has taken up residence there.

Overall, there are a lot of things to do in Red Rock Canyon. If you like to hike, take spectacular pictures, or experience the desert, then plan on spending at least a couple of hours here. Red Rock Canyon also offers horseback riding at Bonnie Springs Ranch, picnicking at places like Willow Springs, and rock climbing.

My husband and I went to the canyon for scenic drive and to just take it all in. The Scenic Drive is a 13-mile, one-way loop that offers numerous stops for sightseeing and photography. Hiking trails are accessible from the designated pullouts and parking areas. The scenic drive is open daily from 6am until dusk.

We went to the canyon in November, and the weather was prefect. We were able to hike around without getting hot or dehydrated. I've read that the spring is especially beautiful in the canyon because of the wild flowers, but be prepared if you go to the canyon in the summer, because there isn't any shade or anywhere to cool off.
Red Rock Canyon
Highway 159 at Scenic Drive
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89124
(702) 363-1921

Loveland Pass

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on April 25, 2007

On our trip from Wisconsin to Las Vegas, we took Interstate-70 West from Denver. As we headed over the mountains, we took Loveland Pass to get a bit more of a scenic view. This drive was worth every terrifying minute of the drive. The pass reaches an elevation of 11,990 feet. The road is considered to be especially treacherous during the winter months—we took the challenge in late November. The construction of the Eisenhower Tunnel in the 1970s allowed motorists on Interstate 70 to avoid crossing the pass directly. Some trucks cannot pass through the tunnel and must still cross the pass on US-6. As you go over the pass, there are very few guard rails and you can't help but get nervous. There are a lot of areas where you can pull over and get out to enjoy the view, but what impressed us the most about the pass were the skiers jumping off at any edge and flying down the mountain.
Loveland Pass
Rocky Mountains
North-Central Colorado

Top 10 FREE things to do in Vegas!

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by kathyjohanna on May 28, 2007

Who doesn’t love things that are free? Well, Las Vegas is full of things to see and do that absolutely free. Here is my “Top 10 list of Free Things in Las Vegas”.

10 – Garden in the Flamingo. There are lots of different birds like flamingos, penguins, an African Bird, and other animals like fish. It only takes a few minutes to walk through, but it’s worth a quick stop.

9 – Atrium at the Bellagio. The Atrium is open 24 hours a day and the theme changes for each season. The botanical gardens encompass approximately 14,000 square feet and each flower is replaced every two weeks by an expert to keep everything looking prefect.

8 – Lion Habitat at the MGM Grand. The habitat is open from 11am-10pm daily. The Habitat is quite large and there is a number of viewing areas.

7 – Bird Shows at the Tropicana. The shows are great for kids and adults, too. Shows are at 11:30am, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm daily. The show includes colorful parrots, macaws, and cockatoos that do all sorts of tricks like riding a bicycle, flying through hoops, as well as singing and dancing.

6 – Sirens at TI. This free show is in the front of Treasure Island (TI) and consist of slightly trashy female pirates that battle a renegade of horny male pirates. Overall, the show was OK, but I was a little disappointed. Shows run at 7pm, 8:30pm, 10pm, and 11:30pm and it gets crowded fast so get there a little early.

5 – Masquerade Village at the Rio. We weren’t actually able to see this because it was closed the week we were there getting ready for Christmas. But based off of what we heard from others, it is an excellent show. It is $25 million of floats that travel above the casino, dancers, musicians, aerialists, and stilt-walkers. Performers supposedly drop from the ceiling and raise from the floor to make a pretty exciting show. Shows are on a rotating schedule of 3, 4, and 5pm, and 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, and 9:30pm.

4 – One free pull at the Tropicana Slot Machine. At the hotel entrance you can take one free pull each time you go into the Tropicana. Prizes include cash, show tickets, meal coupons, drink coupon, a deck cards.

3 – Volcano at the Mirage. The volcano is set on a three-acre lagoon and is a magnificent display of more than 3000 lights computerized to simulate flowing lava. The eruptions is spectacular but the lead up to the eruption is dragged out a bit. Shows are on the hour starting at 7pm and going until midnight.

2 – Freemont Street Experience. This is a $70 million light and sound show that takes place 90 feet overhead and four long blocks along a pedestrian mall downtown. It feels like your watching a huge TV in the sky that stretches on forever. There are five different shows that run nightly. Shows start at 8pm and start on the hour until midnight.

1 – Fountains at the Bellagio. The fountains consist of one thousand fountains that dance in front of the Bellagio Hotel. It is a combination of water, music, and lights. The overall display is huge and the water soars as high as 240 feet in the sky. The fountains are choreographed to music anywhere from Elton John to Elvis Presley to the classics. Show times are every 30 minutes from 3pm until 7pm on weekdays, every 30 minutes from noon to 7pm on weekends, and every 15 minutes from 7pm to midnight every night.

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