To make your trip to Las Vegas memorable, we sought out some unusual, wonderful places to explore. Have fun!
Now this is a tiki bar! From the hand-carved tiki gods and sensual hula dancer pictures to mugs brimming with potent brews, Frankie’s Tiki Room is the real deal and a must-see. Check out clever cocktails such as Lava Letch, Tiki Bandit and Thurston Howl. Location: 1712 W. Charleston, Las Vegas; 702.385.3110.
Cool as Ice
Head for CityCenter and follow the sound of “oohs and aahs” to the Crystals retail/dining area. There you’ll find visitors mesmerized by the extraordinary waterfeatures of WET Designs, the folks who created the Mirage volcano and Bellagio’s dancing water fountain. The fascinating Glacia (shown), for example, consists of a cluster of ice poles, up to 15 feet tall. Inside each, a pillar of ice rises, is formed into patterns by water jets, then quickly melts, disappears — and rises again in a different shape. Location: 3720 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas.
Those Crazy Girls
If you plan to do a little gambling while in town — and, really, who doesn’t? — you might want to join in a certain good-luck ritual that takes place outside the Riviera, one of the oldest casinos on the Strip. There’s a bronze sculpture of the backsides of a line of showgirls, which gamblers rub for luck. It’s a tribute to “Crazy Girls,” the topless revue at the Riviera. Location: 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas.
Twisted Farm Food
That’s how the folks at Hash House A Go Go refer to their eats. Any place that has reviewers talking about “burgers as big as your head” has got to be good, right? Lunches and dinners feature comfort food such as meatloaf and chicken ‘n’ biscuits, but it’s the breakfasts and weekend brunches that are truly epic. Bring your appetite! Location: Plaza Hotel & Casino, 1 S. Main St., Las Vegas; 702.384.4646. Other Vegas sites include 6800 W. Sahara Ave.; and Imperial Palace, 3535 Las Vegas Blvd. South.
If the idea of a freshly rolled cigar — by a Cuban master, no less — appeals to you, then you must digress a couple of blocks from the Strip and visit Don Yeyo Cigars. The large selection ensures that you will find something you like, with prices ranging from $3.15 for the Nino to $7.30 for the huge Torpedo. Location: 328 W. Sahara Blvd., Las Vegas; 702.384.9262.
Watch Out for Flying Zingers
Unabashedly calling itself “The Shame O’ the Strip,” this eatery dishes up filling foods such as Ride’m Cowboy Rib Eye and buckets of finger foods, as well as cold beer and nine types of daiquiris — with a side of sarcasm from the smart-aleck wait staff. Dick’s Last Resort is a fun place to unwind after a busy day at the Expo. Location: Excalibur Hotel and Casino, 3850 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas; general info/reservations: 702.597.7991.
For a little break from the Strip, take a side trip to Mystic Falls Park at Sam’s Town Casino on Boulder Highway. Besides multitudinous trees, this faux forest in Sam’s 10-story central area sports massive rockwork (complete with faux mountain goats), big waterfalls, real birds, howling wolves and coyotes (recordings, that is), and fountains that arc eight stories high in synch with orchestral music. Location: 5111 Boulder Hwy., Las Vegas; 702.456.7777.
Gotta Luv It
Craving an unusual sweet treat? Say no more! Make tracks for Luv-it Frozen Custard in downtown Vegas. It looks and tastes a bit like ice cream, but is richer and smoother. Specialties include sundaes, cones, shakes, malts and floats. The most popular sundae, dubbed the Western, consists of hot caramel, hot fudge and salted pecans over frozen vanilla custard. For those in a hurry, there’s a walk-up window. Open 1-10 p.m., Sun.-Thurs; 1-11 p.m., Fri.-Sat. Location: 505 E. Oakey Blvd, near the Stratosphere, Las Vegas; 702.384.6452.
The Spiritual Realm
For all things mystical, there’s the Psychic Eye Book Shop. From books, meditation aids, oils and candles to tarot cards, amulets and cauldrons, this place has it all. In fact, psychic consultants are available by phone or in person at the store — and astrologers also are on hand to give readings and one-on-one instruction. Established in 1985, it is said to be the largest New and Old Age bookseller and metaphysical gift supplier in the nation. Location: 6848 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas; 702.255.4477.
The Little Mermaid
Tourists and locals alike love this eatery at the Silverton Casino. From the distinctly aquatic décor to the 117,000-gallon aquarium along the wall, the Mermaid Restaurant & Lounge offers an escape to an underwater wonderland. If you look closely among the 4,000 fish (and sharks!) in the tank, you will often spy a mermaid who is happy to pose for photos. The affordable menu leans toward seafood (try the ahi tuna wrap), but there also are salads, burgers and steak sandwiches. Location: 3333 Blue Diamond Rd., Las Vegas; 702.263.7777.