Janet and I spent a few days in Las Vegas just before the Christmas holiday, and it’s certainly a land of two worlds. The Las Vegas most of us think of is the glitzy, opulent, over-the-top world of casinos and night club acts. But, sitting in the desert as it does, there is another world, one of quiet majesty and extreme beauty.
Most of our trip was spent in the first of these worlds. We stayed at the Stratosphere on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, certainly one of the most recognizable hotels in Vegas. There is an observation deck that gives you an amazing view of the region, whether by day or by night.
We made several trips by cab to Caesar’s Palace and the Bellagio, massive hotels and casinos each. We came upon a wonderful Chihuly glass ceiling in the Bellagio, as well as a massive Christmas display in their Conservatory. We stopped by there again at night to catch one of the frequent fountain displays.
What’s Vegas without a night club show? We had the good fortune to see Paul Shaffer and the Shaf-Shifters perform in Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesar’s. Paul assembled a band of local musicians just for this short run, and he found some fabulous talent. The Barge is an intimate venue with no bad seats, and Paul and the crew put on an amazing show, complete with Go-go Dancers! Surprise bonus: Martin Short was in the audience and went up on stage to sing a tribute to Frank Sinatra with “That’s Life”. What a hoot! We also chatted with some of the band members afterwards, who were very friendly and appreciative of the audience. It’s also clear Paul appreciates his band members, too.
As fun as all that was, perhaps the highlight for my camera and me was a day trip to Red Rock Canyon. Barely forty minutes from the hustle of the Vegas Strip, this is well worth your time when you are in Vegas. The beauty of the landscape provides a lovely contrast to the hustle of the Vegas Strip. Hikers, climbers, and photographers will all find something to love about the entire area. We happily endorse Pink Jeep Tours for this excursion.
One city, two worlds. There’s more than meets the eye to Las Vegas.