Life / Travel

Five things to do in fabulous Las Vegas

Whether you're in town for a weekend or a week, this list will take you beyond the casino.

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From Magic Mike Live at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Club Domina (which reinvents the traditional male striptease show) to art installations, celebrity chef restaurants and spas that take relaxation to the next level, there’s no need to gamble on your next bachelorette, birthday celebration or wild getaway. Here are five options that take you beyond the casino.

Catch a show

The Living Room is no ordinary living room — it’s an exclusive, social-media-free club within a club, accessed through hidden bookcase doors inside Intrigue at Wynn Las Vegas. And sister property Encore’s XS Nightclub is known for hosting some of the hottest DJs. Vegas is also known for its big, flashy productions like the brand-new Backstreet Boys residency show at The Axis Theater in Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.

For something a little wilder, Magic Mike Live (based on the Channing Tatum movies) puts a unique spin on the traditional male striptease show with a female host and a message of empowerment, all in an intimate (and interactive) cabaret nightclub setting. Of course, the men all have  washboard abs, but they can actually dance — and that’s what sets this show apart.

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Eat your heart out

I didn’t think anything could distract me from my lobster hash, but when TV celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis stopped by our table during brunch at her namesake restaurant, Giada at The Cromwell, my fork literally froze in mid-air. That’s just the type of thing that can happen here.

Vegas is the place for foodies, where there are more celebrity chef restaurants along the Strip than perhaps any other place on the planet, from Lago by James Beard Award-winning chef Julian Serrano inside the Bellagio (with fountain-show views), to the newly opened Chica in The Venetian featuring Latino fare from Top Chef Masters chef Lorena Garcia.

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Get pampered

While in Vegas, it’s easy to overindulge (I had a 'food hangover'). But it’s also a place to detoxify and de-stress, with world-class spas and specialty treatments you won’t find back home, like a Shio salt meditation room with lounge chairs that vibrate to music at The Spa at Aria.

Or, get off the Strip at Red Rock Spa, set against the backdrop of the Red Rock National Conservation Area, which offers everything from therapeutic body treatments to canyon hikes and full moon gong meditation and yoga.

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Go full glam

Don't let your hair down in Vegas — get it done up. Here, at Color by Michael Boychuck inside Caesars Palace, you can be transformed in a salon and style bar that serves clientele like J. Lo, Gwen Stefani and Katy Perry, amidst crystal chandeliers and vintage Fendi fixtures. With a blow-out, airbrushed makeup and lip colour that doesn’t budge (handy, given the glasses of champagne being passed around), I’m ready to take on Vegas with hair that could withstand a tornado.

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Check out the art

Vegas is chock full of art, from Picasso masterpieces adorning the walls of Picasso, an eatery at the Bellagio, to the Neon Museum Boneyard in historic downtown Vegas, featuring iconic neon signs in an outdoor exhibition space. It’s also home to pop-up art, like Seven Magic Mountains — a large-scale public art installation by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. Driving about half an hour out of Vegas through the Mojave, you’ll see a burst of colour interrupting the desert landscape: seven towers of multi-hued boulders, stacked more than 30 feet in the air. Seven Magic Mountains will be on view until May 2018.

The author of this piece was hosted by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which  did not review this story.

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