Las Vegas is one of those cities you can visit dozens of times and still never be bored of it. Vegas always has something new and exciting to offer its visitors, from top-rated restaurants to world-renowned live entertainment, but there’s so much more to Vegas than just the Strip. So when my significant other and I decided to make an impromptu trip to Las Vegas for the weekend, we promised to venture off the Strip and see what else Vegas has to offer.
After getting off work on Friday night, we hopped in the car and hit the road, braving the busy freeways of people fleeing to Vegas for a weekend of excitement and entertainment. On the way there, we booked a last minute Las Vegas hotel through HotelTonight, so we knew we had a great hotel room waiting for us when we arrived.
Sure, we had made up our minds to get off the beaten path and experience Vegas more like locals on this spontaneous weekend getaway, but we couldn’t travel all the way to Vegas without enjoying the energy and liveliness of the Strip. Plus, many of the best hotels in the city are located on the Strip, which is why we booked a hotel on the Strip through HotelTonight. We arrived late on Friday night and checked into our hotel. We were tired, but we still decided we needed to enjoy a bit of the Las Vegas night scene, so we headed down to the hotel bar and tested our luck at the roulette tables.
The next morning, we decided to venture out of the city to explore the beautiful Nevada landscape. Just a few miles outside of Las Vegas is Red Rock Canyon, a National Conservation Area that features majestic, fiery rock formations that left us speechless. You can rent ATVs or take Hummer tours of the rocky desert site, but we opted for the scenic 13-mile drive. We stopped at a few trailheads along the way and went for short hikes through the exotic Southwestern landscape.
Since we were already out and about, we decided to drive to another spot we’ve always wanted to check out – the Arizona Hot Springs. These natural hot springs are located near the Hoover Dam, and we had to hike about three miles to reach them, but it was definitely worth it. We spent hours lounging and relaxing in the three-tiered hot springs, and we certainly felt that we deserved a bit of pampering after that trek. Sure, we could have indulged in some spa treatments back at one of the hotels on the Strip, but relaxing in this all-natural hot spring amidst beautiful desert landscape is an experience we’ll never forget. Since we took this last minute Vegas trip in the winter, the hot springs felt refreshing. However, we wouldn’t recommend anybody visit the hot springs during the sweltering Nevada summers, as the high temps could pose health risks.
After a long day of hiking in the desert, we were exhausted. We headed back to our hotel, showered and rested for a bit before going to dinner. Since we consider ourselves Las Vegas regulars, we have eaten at our fair share of restaurants on the Strip, so we wanted to shake things up a bit. We hopped in the car and headed downtown, which is where you’ll find the locals when they want to have a fun night out in their city. We wandered the weird, vibrant and eclectic Fremont Street before settling on a quirky eatery for dinner. Afterward, we walked over to the Grand, a restored hotel that will made us feel as if we stepped back in time to an era of old-school Las Vegas grandeur. We sipped on cocktails at this swanky, classic casino and reminisced on what had just been our most memorable day in Las Vegas yet.
The next morning, we decided that we wanted to head out of Vegas relatively early so that we could beat the afternoon traffic rush out of the city. But we still had something left on our to-do list, so we made our way back downtown to tour the Neon Museum, also known as the Neon Boneyard. We meandered through the boneyard, which has preserved more than 150 old neon signs from Vegas’ golden days, including vintage signage from Caesars Palace and the Moulin Rouge Hotel. It was a cool, unique way to end our quick Vegas getaway, and we agreed that it’s memorable experiences like these you won’t get if you only stick to the Strip.
If you’re lucky enough to have a free weekend to take a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas, you should definitely do it. There’s always something to excite and surprise you in Vegas, which is why I’m so glad HotelTonight makes it easy to find great last minute hotels both on and off the Strip. Whenever I have an urge to make a spur-of-the-moment trip to Vegas in the future, I’ll definitely use HotelTonight to book my last-minute Vegas accommodations.