A Visit to Las Vegas Without the Clubs or Casinos

In 2016, I spent 12 days in Las Vegas. Although my time was split across two separate work trips, 12 days in Vegas in one year was a lot for me. Or so I thought.

During my second trip in December, I decided to experience the “What Happens Here, Stays Here” city a little differently. And I loved it.

Seven Magic Mountains

After arriving in the morning, I picked up my rental car and headed out for breakfast. I wanted something to grab-and-go, so Pink Box Doughnuts was a perfect stop. I drove out to the desert for breakfast with a view at Seven Magic Mountains, a two-year public art installation of colorful boulders stacked more than 25 feet high.

Seven Magic Mountains and PinkBox Doughnuts by KelseySocial.com
Seven Magic Mountains Las Vegas, colorful rocks by KelseySocial.com
Seven Magic Mountains Las Vegas, colorful rocks by KelseySocial.com

Red Rock Canyon

The next desert destination was Red Rock Canyon. You can drive the scenic 13-mile loop around the park while stopping along the way for short hikes and lookouts. I really wish I had more time there for a longer hike but I will definitely make time during my next trip to Las Vegas.

The scenery is incredible and very Grand Canyon-esque, but the pictures don't do it justice. I've never seen rocks these colors or hiked this terrain before so it was interesting to experience a contrast from the wooded mountains that I'm used to.


High Roller Ferris Wheel

Back on the strip in Las Vegas, there are fewer options for outdoorsy fun and beautiful views, but the High Roller Ferris Wheel is a way to see the city lights from a different perspective.

When my coworker told me that it's the tallest ferris wheel in the world, I decided it was worth checking out. We went right before sunset to pay the daytime discount price but were also able to see the city at night. The 360 degree views were great and since the landscape is flat, you can see for miles into the desert.


Eat and drink your way down the strip

Las Vegas is a foodie's dream. Yes, you can easily blow a whole paycheck on one meal, but there are also dining options for every budget. If I wasn't on the hunt rainbow lattes, I could've never left my hotel, The Cosmopolitan, and been culinarily pleased. I mean, if Jose Andres, Christina Tosi, and Chris Santos all have restaurants under one roof, you can only imagine the possibilities surrounding the strip!

My recommendations? Rainbow lattes at Sambalatte, enormous milkshakes at Holstein's, The Fairfax sandwich at Eggslut, Secret Pizza in The Cosmo [no link because it's secret], and olive oil gelato at Otto. If you really want to treat yourself, do the chef's tasting menu at Nobu.

Eggslut Las Vegas


Treat yourself to a spa day

Some great spas reside in the fancy schmancy Las Vegas hotels. The Cosmopolitan has a top floor Moroccan hammam while the Aria has a cavernous spa complete with a salt therapy room.

I had full intentions to treat myself to an evening at the spa, but after discovering a Lush store near my hotel, I decided to save money and create my own spa experience on a budget. Next time I'm back, I'll be sure to set aside some time and money for the real thing.

Bathroom at The Cosmopolitan Hotel Las Vegas

Overall, I kind of fell in love with Vegas on this trip. It's not my ideal vacation spot, but I'm hoping to go back to spend more time at Red Rock Canyon and explore all of the restaurants in the city.

Any recommendations for my next trip?  Let me know!

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