True story: While penning this article, the writer has a weekend trip planned that may or may not be canceled due to weather conditions. It’s times like these that he asks himself, “Why not just catch a bus to Las Vegas?”
Winter/early spring are great times to go to Las Vegas. Not only is the weather probably better than wherever you are, but the food, entertainment, and education options don’t slow down during this time of year. There is always a good show to catch. The food is always superb. And the visual impact of seeing the lights of Las Vegas, whether for the first or fortieth time, never ceases to take your breath away.
If you’re looking for an excuse to take a bus to Las Vegas and enjoy a weekend or week getaway, you don’t have to look far. And today, for your benefit, we hope to capture the essence and wonder of the entertainment capital of the world.
1. You’ve Never Been
First and foremost, a word for those who perhaps have never been to fabulous Las Vegas: go. At least once in your life, you should make the trip and see this famous city for yourself. Visually, it is a spectacle. When approaching southbound on I-15 by night, the lights illuminate the whole desert. As for dining and entertainment options, well, you just keep reading. There’s so much more to do in Las Vegas than look at it.
When you catch a Salt Lake Express bus to Las Vegas for the first time, whether from St. George, UT or Great Falls, MT, you are preparing yourself for a trip full of spectacle, wonder, and nearly endless entertainment. Take a look at what there is to do.
2. The Slots
The beep, boop, and (if you’re lucky) ka-ching! of slot machines has become synonymous with the Las Vegas experience. And though Salt Lake Express doesn’t necessarily condone gambling, if you’re hopping on a bus to Las Vegas, you’re more than likely going to wander near the slots.
So while you’re at it, there’s comparatively little harm in bringing along a roll of quarters, dimes, nickels, or even pennies to try out the respective slots. Rusty Griswold won four sports cars in four tries, and though we can with absolute certainty guarantee that won’t happen to you, a feeble hope for a similar outcome is part of the Vegas experience.
But remember, there is a ton more to do in Vegas than just sit expectantly at the penny slots. What, exactly, is there else to do in Vegas besides gamble? Scroll on, friend.
3. The Shows
Besides hitting up the casino, besides patrolling the Strip, one of the most iconic things about Las Vegas is its shows. There’s never a shortage of fantastic shows and spectacles at any time of the year. And it’s only a short trip on a bus to Las Vegas away.
Vegas! The Show
If you want to get the Vegas experience all in one night, you definitely don’t want to miss “Vegas! The Show.” This world-famous Saxe Theater show portrays all the glitter and glam in a highly-praised Broadway-style production every night of the week. With nightly showings at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., this is the perfect Strip pit stop. Get your tickets here.
Cirque du Soleil
Believe it or not, Cirque du Soleil offers six fantastic shows in Vegas. Each show is independently unique of another, however, they are all equally incredible. Their shows include “O”, which showcases high-flying acrobats and awe-inspiring stunts taking place in, around, and above water. If you’re a fan of the late Michael Jackson, the show “Michael Jackson ONE” has high-energy, electrifying performances that revolve around the King of Pop. Another for music fans is “The Beatles Love”, which tells an amazing story through time to the soundtrack of the legendary English band.
“Mystère” is a beautifully imagined show and is certainly a fan favorite as the first Cirque production to open in Vegas. The technically advanced “KÀ” has to be one of the most immersive shows you’ll ever see as it explores themes of family, war, and good vs. evil. And lastly, there’s the brand new Mad Apple at New York-New York opening May 2022! Don’t miss out!
This award-winning tribute show to the Purple One himself is a must-see for Prince fans die-hard and casual alike. Long recognized as the world’s number one Prince tribute, “Purple Reign” was the first impersonator/tribute musical act to appear on David Letterman (in 2008) and has been making waves ever since.
Not familiar with the late artist’s music or legacy? Let your in-the-know friends take you and introduce you to the purple corner of the pop music world. What’s the deal with the purple, you say? You have so much to learn. Start by getting more info on this incredible show.
*Must be 16 years or older to attend this event.
Blue Man Group
Though not specific to the entertainment capital of the world, the Blue Man Group show encapsulates Las Vegas perfectly. Spectacle, music, and laughter abound at this electrifying performance, which entertains like baldness, body paint, and lots of BLUE never have before. And look closely, you might see Tobias Fünke trying to sneak in a live audition.
The blue trio may not be exclusive to Vegas, but they do have their own theater: the state-of-the-art Blue Man Theater at Luxor Hotel and Casino. This is definitely one to keep at the top of the list as you plan your trip to stroll The Strip.
4. The Food
Face it, we all need to eat on our big day out in Las Vegas. Do us but especially yourself a favor: avoid fast food. You can get it anywhere. While you’re in Las Vegas, don’t you want your once-in-a-lifetime experience to extend to gastronomy? Yeah, you do.
The problem is, there are so many restaurants to eat at. It all depends on your taste, or what you’re in the mood for, or what your spouse is in the mood for. We’ve got you covered. Be sure to check out our list of the top places to eat in Las Vegas for an authoritative reference — “authoritative” because of our huge love of food.
Other top-rated restaurants we may not have mentioned for the sake of brevity: Yardbird, Gangnam Asian BBQ, Tacos El Gordo, and Joe’s. But seriously, there are a ton. Or check out one of a large number of buffets to get a little more bang for your buck.
5. The Climate
As your guide sits here blogging from the bitter cold of Idaho in March, the current temperature in Las Vegas is 72°F. This weekend, it will be sunny in the mid-70’s. Summer may be a different story, but perhaps there’s no better reason to hop a bus to Las Vegas right now than for its climate.
Close your eyes. Let every movie, retro photo, and stereotype dictate your vision of Las Vegas. You’re probably seeing lots of pink, neon, flamingos, slot machines, red carpet, Wayne Newton, and, oh yeah, palm trees. Palm trees, blue skies, short sleeves, and sun. This is probably a good time to drop the link to purchase your ticket.
6. The Museums
When Las Vegas comes up, casinos, glamorous shows, and a slew of heist movies come to mind. But don’t get too busy on The Strip for the educational offerings of this luminescent city. Spanning over a century of history, they basically have a museum, exhibit, or hall of fame for everybody.
The Mob Museum
The Mob Museum is marketed as an educational program (see: field trip). But that in no way diminishes the awesomeness of this tribute to the struggle between organized crime and law enforcement. In fact, this 501(c)3 non-profit takes the matter seriously, and visitors are rewarded with “high-tech videos, one-of-a-kind artifacts and interactive exhibits.”
The mission of The Mob Museum is “to advance the public understanding of organized crime’s history and impact on American society.” And in the process, you get a highly entertaining and captivating experience that will sate the appetite of history buffs and casual tourists alike.
National Atomic Testing Museum
Las Vegas is probably the brightest, most explosive thing to hit the state of Nevada…and Nevada has seen its share of nuclear tests. You can learn all about them at one of Las Vegas’ most dynamic museums: the National Atomic Testing Museum (NATM).
The only Congressionally-mandated museum in the state, NATM is a preeminent private national museum regarding our country’s history in atomic testing. It covers over 70 years of atomic history, has rare artifacts and a nuclear reactor on display, and educates visitors on the historic Nevada Test Site.
Learn more about NATM here.
Pinball Hall of Fame
After the Atom Testing Museum, you’ll see me falling backward into a black wave of bumpers, wormholes, and nostalgia at the Pinball Hall of Fame. Here, you have access to 150+ pinball machines dating back as far as 1947. And guess what? You and your whole family are welcome to play any one of them! Older models are set at twenty-five cents and newer models at fifty.
The Pinball Hall of Fame, a 501c3 non-profit, is a 10,000-square foot facility designed to give people of all ages an afternoon of sweet, classic arcade bliss, all while helping a good cause. Maybe this alone is reason enough to get you on a bus to Las Vegas today, maybe not. But be sure to stop by when you do go.
7. The Ecosystem
What? Nature in and around Las Vegas? You bet. The bite of “Sin City” loses some of its edge when you take a short trip out of town to see what lies beyond. Sure, this metropolis is planted right in the middle of the desert. And certainly, you must still have some reservations about the legitimacy of this section. Hopefully, we can change your mind.
Valley of Fire State Park
The desert reputation of Las Vegas’ geography becomes its strength in the Valley of Fire State Park. Forty thousand acres of bright red sandstone complement the tan and gray limestone in this ancient and breathtaking park. This park is open year-round, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and only costs $10 for admission ($15 for out-of-staters). There is also plenty of opportunity for camping, hiking, biking, and more.
Having gone through all our suggestions of what to do in Vegas, you’ll love stopping in at this affordable, family-friendly park. With so much history, breathtaking views, and things to do, the Valley of Fire State Park carries on the Vegas tradition of spectacle. Learn more about the park here.
Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center
“Purple Reign” has the purple. The Blue Man Group bring the blue. What’s the missing color in the scheme? Your art teacher will remind you it’s red, and we’re here to direct you toward Red Rock Canyon, one of Las Vegas’ proudest state parks.
Red Rock Canyon boasts “something for everyone.” Sitting at nearly 200 acres within the Mojave Desert, just west of Las Vegas, this conservation area is a stunning landscape to behold. Explore the shimmering red canyons, peaks, gullies, and explore the flora and fauna via a winding labyrinth of hiking and biking trails. Learn all about Red Rock at the visitor center, and overall, just take in the quiet beauty of this area.
Check out all the many different things there are to do at Red Rock Canyon.
Desert National Wildlife Refuge
Just north of town (you’ll pass through it as you take a St. George bus to Las Vegas) lies the massive Desert National Wildlife Refuge (Desert NWR). The largest refuge outside of Alaska, Desert NWR sits at 1.6 million acres. There is plenty to see and lots to do when you pop out of town for a day at this refuge.
The refuge, first established for desert bighorn sheep, is now home to 400+ species of animal and over 500 plant species. Due to the harsh desert nature of the refuge, most mammals and reptiles are nocturnal and active at night. But there is still plenty to do: hunting, camping, hiking, photography, and more.
It’s not easy to encapsulate all the myriad activities and sights Las Vegas has to offer in a single sitting, but here we are. When you take a bus to Las Vegas, make sure you have your trip planned out. You’ll need food, a good climate, plenty of things to do, and moments of quiet reflection amongst the glamour, and Las Vegas provides all that and more.
Salt Lake Express makes it easy to start planning your trip. With multiple daily trips to the Las Vegas airport, we take you to the gateway to the most exciting city in the world. A wide array of shuttles can take you to anywhere in the city, from The Strip to your hotel, to museums, and more. But it all starts with a simple bus to Las Vegas. And we’re pleased to take you there.