Secret Las Vegas: 35 Insider Tips From The Locals

Think you know Las Vegas? Think again. There’s so much more to this city than fountains and gambling tables and star-studded concerts. And no matter how many times you’ve been, there’s a hidden Vegas that the residents keep to themselves. I tapped into a handful of in-the-know experts and convinced these lady bosses to share their favorite secret finds. From places where artists go for inspiration to secret celebrity shopping spots to the coolest off-the-Strip gems, this is the Las Vegas list you need to have. (For more amazing Vegas addresses, check out “Best Las Vegas Restaurants: 25 Secret Spots Where The Locals Eat.”)

James Turrell Las Vegas

Photo courtesy of Louis Vuitton

This James Turrell installation is hidden away in a shop.

What: A Secret Light Show

Recommended By: Jessica Galindo, fine artist, leatherwear designer and owner of Leather Couture in Summerlin

What: One of artist James Turrell’s most dazzling installations, Akhob, is tucked away inside a Louis Vuitton store. It’s exquisitely executed and such an experience that you must have a reservation to see it, no shoes, only a few people at a time. You are escorted by an exhibit representative who explains the magnitude of the experience. Yes — it’s more an experience than a visual art show. If you allow it, it takes you out of Las Vegas and out of your own thoughts. An amazing must-see. In fact, the permanent installation is so exciting that it has inspired Vegas to install other permanent art fixtures around the city. Reservations book up a month out, so call ahead.

What: Landscapes Worth the Drive

Recommended By: Dorit Schwartz, a Vegas-based artistwhose work is carried at The Wynn and is currently on exhibit at Delano Las Vegas

Where: I love going to the Valley of Fire, which feels like a work of art. It is roughly a 40-minute scenic drive from Las Vegas. White Domes is one of my favorite sections: This is where you will see fiery red rocks and sandstone formations with brilliant contrasting colors of white, lavender and purple. Aside from the visual aspect, people enjoy coming to this park for the spiritual aspect, using the area to meditate and connect with their inner selves. There’s a purity and serenity that surrounds this desert wilderness.

What: Top Golfing

Recommended By: Denise Valdez, 8 News Now anchor (follow her on Twitter and Facebook)

Where: There are only so many shows, slot machines and clubs you can take before you need some sunshine and fresh air. Topgolf is a four-level sporting and entertainment complex at the MGM Grand. Grab a climate controlled bay on the third floor for the best views of the enormous TV screens and driving range. Hackers to competitors will enjoy swinging clubs and hitting targets with balls that score themselves. You can take a dip in the sexy swimming pool or settle in to watch sports on one of the hundreds of HDTV’s. Topgolf is a fun spot for a corporate event or with family — everyone will find something to enjoy here.

helicopter over Las Vegas

Photo courtesy of Maverick Helicopters
Soaring over the Vegas skyline.

What: Once-in-a-Lifetime Views 

Recommended By: Amy Rossetti, founder and CEO, Rossetti Public Relations

Where: Las Vegas is surrounded by many must-see natural wonders, such as the grandiose Grand Canyon, red sandstone-brimming Valley of Fire and post-volcanic Fortification Hill, as well as structures like the Hoover Dam and the beautiful resorts of the Strip. So what better way to experience it all than with a bird’s-eye view on Maverick Helicopters’ Dream Catcher Sunset Tour, which takes guests across Nevada and Arizona in four hours. For a unique experience, guests can request their preferred music by speaking with their pilot, which really personalizes the trip. I can’t tell you how much I loved flying over the Strip at sunset while listening to Frank Sinatra — it was truly breathtaking. (Another place to get a great view: a terrace from a room at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, located in the heart of the Strip.)

Absinthe

Photo courtesy of Absinthe
Under the big top in Vegas: Absinthe.

What: The Show You Must See 

Recommended By: Shannon McBeath, co-founder of The Ride, premium indoor cycling studio; and Jessica Galindo, fine artist, leatherwear designer and owner of Leather Couture in Summerlin

Where: Shannon McBeathAbsinthe is my pick for best show on the Strip and my go-to when friends are in town. Circus-style entertainment (think Cirque du Soleil) with breathtaking acts combined with incredibly funny and provocative humor in an intimate setting. Love the tableside VIP champagne tables.

Jessica Galindo: Favorite show to date. Smushed into a cozy, almost too-close-for-comfort seating arrangement inside a tent in the back of Caesars hotel, this show is ballsy, scary, thrilling, jaw-dropping and badass. I recommend everyone see it once, and I feel like it’s a show that locals can see over and over again and not be bored of it. It’s a bit brass, but the acts are just incredible. Once isn’t enough.

 

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