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By: Avery Lennard
Okay, so let’s say that you’re bringing someone along to Las Vegas who doesn’t fully appreciate gaming and is less than thrilled to be going to *yet another* gaming conference. This obviously would never happen because, let’s face it, everybody and their grandma wants to be at this event, but if it did then we would still want your captive--er, guest--to enjoy Las Vegas and to experience even a small fraction of the fun that you’ll be having at SOE Live. So to help these fictional people out, we’ve decided to highlight some nearby attractions.
Let’s begin with what Planet Hollywood has to offer, because it’s a lot. While you’re busy checking out the expo hall, going to dev panels, and kicking butt in tournaments, your guest will have no shortage of places to explore without ever having to leave the magical land of Planet Hollywood! To begin, Miracle Mall Shops is a collection of stores, restaurants, and theaters that offer countless affordable places to shop, eat, and enjoy entertainment--all while enjoying the sweet blessing of air conditioning. Score! Notable places to eat include Earl of Sandwich and Fat Tuesday’s. After shopping, but before dropping, tell them to check out the Pleasure Pool for a dip in the pool and a drink at the bar. Or for something even more relaxing, send them to Spa by Mandara, which includes salon, spa, and gym facilities. Some exciting Planet Hollywood nightlife attractions include happy hour at PF Chang’s, frozen cocktails at PH Shiver, and, dare I say it, a Britney Spears performance the night of Tuesday, August 19th. Yep.
One of the biggest perks about staying at Planet Hollywood is its unbeatable central location on The Strip. So tell your buddy to get ready to hit the street, because here in Las Vegas, a 5-minute walk can transport you a world away. No, but really. Ever fancy a trip to Rome? Visit Caesars Palace. Wish you could enjoy a gondola ride down a canal? The Venetian can give you that, plus or minus a few gawking tourists. Always dreamed about zipping around the Manhattan skyline on a rollercoaster? Me too, and New York-New York has heard our plea. Never been to the Eiffel Tower? What about its half-sized replica? Wait no longer, visit Paris Las Vegas.
After your friend is done being cultural and all that, there are plenty of beautiful, and free, places for a scenic rest stop along The Strip. The Fountains of Bellagio are a must-see. You can catch the water, music, and light show throughout the day running on 15 or 30 minute intervals. The Flamingo Las Vegas is home to The Wildlife Habitat and the many exotic birds, fish, and turtles that the 15-acre garden courtyard houses. Stop by the Mirage to visit Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat and admire the facility’s many big cats, including white lions and white tigers, and the family of bottlenose dolphins. Also be sure to check out the hotel’s courtyard volcano. Wait, what? You heard me right. The Mirage has a volcano that erupts every half hour each night, beginning at 8pm, with giant fireballs, tall explosions, and a sick soundtrack. Other nearby attractions include Madame Tussaud’s inside The Venetian, it’s one of the few places you can take selfies in peace, and the P3Studio at The Cosmopolitan where you can view one of the country’s most exclusive art collections.
Some notable attractions that require a short drive or bus ride include the Neon Museum, Las Vegas Springs Preserve, and the “Welcome to Las Vegas” Sign. The Neon Museum is a 12-minute drive from Planet Hollywood and you can take a tour of the restored Las Vegas signs during the day, or you want to see the shining beauties restored to their full neon glory, you can also tour at night. The Las Vegas Springs Preserve is the premier place to explore the valley’s history through interactive exhibits, nature walks, beautiful gardens and live animal shows. The iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign is located on South Las Vegas Boulevard and is the perfect place to take some touristy pics.
Due to the awesome location of Planet Hollywood, most of these attractions are within walking distance and are located right on The Strip. With that said, we’re talking about Las Vegas, and the days get hot. There are two public bus options that run the entirety of the strip and offer routes that go even further. The Strip & Downtown Express (SDX) runs from 9AM-Midnight and has a northbound stop at Paris Las Vegas and a southbound stop at the Bellagio, right across the street from Planet Hollywood. Deuce on The Strip runs 24-hour, plus that name is incredible, so it gets my vote. The Deuce has a northbound stop at Planet Hollywood and a southbound stop across the street at the Bellagio. Both lines cost $6 for a 2-hour pass, $8 for a day pass and $20 for 3-day access. Passes can be bought at vendors, from select Ticket Vending Machines, or online (http://www.rtcsnv.com/, where maps of the routes are also available). There is a Big Bus Tour that runs throughout the city and offers both day and night tours, it’s a bit pricier but it is a good way to see the city’s famous sights.
Although this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, we hope it gives you the tools necessary to get your non-conference-going friends excited about their upcoming trip to Las Vegas. We can’t promise that these attractions will be as awesome as attending SOE Live, because they won’t be, but we are certain that this list will provide them with fun alternatives and an accessible way to explore the surrounding area.