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A Las Vegas Solo Trip? Forget ‘The Hangover’, It’s Totally Doable!

For years, Vegas has been the ‘go to’ spot for a wolfpack or a gang of girls. But it can also be a solo travel hit!

Published
Travel
5 min read
What movies like <i>The Hangover</i> don’t tell you, is that Vegas can be a revelation for a solo traveller.
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The Hangover... Ocean’s Eleven... Now You See Me. I could go on and on. Few global cities have been immortalised in popular culture like Las Vegas has. But most of these films play up the same side of Vegas – South Las Vegas Boulevard, aka the Strip. The Strip’s bright lights, contemporary architecture, iconic casinos and massive hotels are Vegas’ defining images.

Or are they?

Vegas’ hotels light up the Strip.
Vegas’ hotels light up the Strip.
(Photo Courtesy: Ashwin Rajagopalan)

For years, Vegas has been the ‘go to’ destination for the ultimate wolfpack or gang of girls’ outing. The crazy shenanigans of the Hangover films fuelled that image – but Vegas is more than the Strip. Ask me, I’ve done Vegas twice now in three years and it wasn't the bright lights of the Strip that brought me back.

What all those movies don't tell you, is that Vegas can be a revelation for a solo traveller. You might need our 101 though:

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Get There:

ATV rides across the desert.
ATV rides across the desert.
(Photo Courtesy: Ashwin Rajagopalan)

The Mc Carran International Airport is probably the only one in the world with innumerable slot machines. This is Vegas after all. If you’re flying directly from India, hop over in London – British Airways offers direct flights to Vegas. You could also fly via Los Angeles or better still, do the 5-hour drive from LA on Interstate 15. You’re good to go with your Indian driving license. Rental Cars (www.rentalcars.com) aggregates the best deals from multiple ‘rent a car’ operators.

Check-in:

The original Downtown is not short on bling.
The original Downtown is not short on bling.
(Photo Courtesy: Ashwin Rajagopalan)

The Strip is the best place to stay. I’d recommend weekdays over the weekend; the city is a tad quieter and rooms are considerably cheaper. Make sure you avoid any dates where Vegas hosts major international conventions. Rates tend to fluctuate wildly; pick your dates wisely. Wynn (www.wynnlasvegas.com) is one of my favourite Vegas hotels and then there’s Vdara (www.vdara.com) which is one of the only major Vegas hotels without a casino. Aside from June-August, when daytime temperatures can get into the high 30s, Vegas is great almost round the year.

The City Loop:

The High Roller.
The High Roller.
(Photo Courtesy: Ashwin Rajagopalan)

Take in the views of the Strip from the World’s biggest observation wheel – everything is bigger in Vegas! The cleverly named High Roller is 550 feet tall and comprises 28 air-conditioned pods that can carry 40 passengers each. There’s no better time than dusk to grab a vantage point in one of these pods that offer gorgeous 360-degree panoramas that stretch beyond downtown Vegas. From the rocky, arid landscape that encircles the city to the Vegas lights, take it all in.

Go Off the Road:

Seven Magic Mountains – a stunning art installation by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.
Seven Magic Mountains – a stunning art installation by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.
(Photo Courtesy: Ashwin Rajagopalan)

Literally. Less than an hour away from Vegas is Pioneer Saloon, a historic establishment that is now the starting point for one of Vegas’ coolest adventures (www.vegasooffroadtours.com). Drive through the Mojave desert terrain in Polaris ATVs and experience a roller coaster ride that is a stark contrast from the Vegas Observation Wheel. I was covered in a sheet of dust at the end of a desert adventure that criss-crosses stony paths and gorgeous mountain landscapes. But all that dust was well worth the adrenaline highs. Do make time to stop at the Seven Magic Mountains – a stunning art installation by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. It’s a slice of Vegas bling in the middle of the desert featuring seven 30 to 35-foot high dayglow totems comprised of painted, locally-sourced boulders.

Hang From a Wire:

I barely gave my nerves time to recover from the thrills of the ATV experience before I strapped up for another Vegas adventure. The expanses around the Red mountain 30 minutes from Vegas and next to Boulder City provide the perfect backdrop for the four zip lines that make up the Bootleg Canyon trail (www.flightlinezbootleg.com). The speeds along these lines breach the 90kmph mark and are certainly not for the faint hearted.

Grab a Window Seat:

Aerial views of the Grand Canyon.
Aerial views of the Grand Canyon.
(Photo Courtesy: Ashwin Rajagopalan)

If you lucked out at a casino, spend those extra bucks on a flight over the Grand Canyon. You also get stunning views of the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead en route. Papillion (www.papillon.com), one of the oldest flight operators in the region, gives you two options; I’d recommend the chopper ride over the scenic flight. The chopper ride also makes a breakfast stop at the Canyon’s West Rim – perfect to put those mobile shooters into overdrive.

Slow it Down in the Original Downtown:

The Mob Museum.
The Mob Museum.
(Photo Courtesy: Ashwin Rajagopalan)

This is where the Vegas fairy tale began. Walk through the Vegas Art district where the walls have been taken over by large murals crafted by quirky artists from the world. And then there’s the Mob Museum, my favourite in all of America, that is housed in a building that was once a federal courthouse. Start your tour at the courtroom where the high-profile Kefauver Committee hearings were held in the 1950s as part of a massive crackdown against organised crime. Just 5 minutes away from the Museum are the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets, where the deals on premium brands will make you feel luckier than a casino.

Take Your Taste Buds For a Spin:

Scarpetta at the Cosmopolitan.
Scarpetta at the Cosmopolitan.
(Photo Courtesy: Ashwin Rajagopalan)

Vegas’ luxury hotels are all walking distance within each other. Lip-smacking Foodie tours’ (www.vegasfoodietour.com) culinary tour makes five stops at award winning restaurants like Scarpetta at the Cosmopolitan, taking reservations and waiting out of the equation. The three-hour dinner tour is a great platform to meet fellow foodies and travellers from across the world.

(Ashwin Rajagopalan enjoys communicating across boundaries in his three distinct roles as a widely published lifestyle writer, one of India’s only cross cultural trainers and a consultant for a global brand services firm. Ashwin writes extensively on travel, food, technology and trends)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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