“See” Vegas in a Whole New Way

Las Vegas: a trip to this desert oasis is a once-in-a-lifetime dream for people around the world. Las Vegas offers as many activities as it does slot machines leaving most tourists with far too much to do and too little time in which to do it. Among the most important of these choices, however is simply seeing Vegas. The history of this town, blended with its ever-changing hot spots is a lesson in American opulence throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Both by day and by night and from many different vantage points, Vegas allows visitors the ability to “see” it warts and all. Each of these perspectives will shed new light onto the wonders, dangers, and sin of this famous city.

“See” Vegas from on High: The Stratosphere Observation Deck

On April 30, 1996 the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower opened and still stands as the 5th tallest building in all of the United States. It is one of the most anticipated destinations on any Vegas tour, and for good reason.

Standing a towering 1,149 feet above the ground, Stratosphere is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the US. Stratosphere represents one of the most daring and awesome views of Las Vegas day and night. Admission to the tower is $16 for adults and $10 for children, but it is also included in many tour passes such as the Vegas Power Pass. It offers panoramic windows for a 360° view of the City of Lights, as well as some of the most thrilling rides in town, including the world’s tallest controlled free fall in Sky Jump Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Stratosphere

“See” Vegas as a Bird”: Nighttime Helicopter Tours

Another great aerial view of Las Vegas will gives a far different perspective on the majesty of the city’s lights by allowing tourists to take a bird’s eye tour of Sin City via helicopter. Nighttime helicopter tours of Las Vegas are not always cheap, but the 15-20 minute ride aboard these luxury aircraft is far worth the splurge. Many people who have taken them call these tours the highlight of their trip, offering a view of Vegas straight out of CSI.

There are several reputable helicopter companies who offer varying tours from the Vegas strip and surrounding areas. HeliUSA Airways offers discounted tickets to Power Pass holders and several other tour companies hold specials online and in Vegas. Since helicopter tours rely on good weather, plan ahead if this element of your trip is a priority. However, last minute seats are usually sold at a discount as well.

“See” Vegas as a Gangster: The Mob Museum

Located at 300 Stewart Ave, the Las Vegas Mob Museum is formally called The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. Overseen by the City of Las Vegas, the museum is dedicated to telling the story of both organized crime as well as law enforcement officials who fought them throughout Las Vegas and the world. Its exhibits include a timeline of Las Vegas and its intricate relationship with organized crime, profiles of famous mobsters such as Al Capone, John Gotti, and Bugsy Siegel, as well as descriptions and recounts of the law enforcement officers who worked to bring these mobsters down.

For fans of the Godfather and the Sopranos alike, taking a look at Sin City’s original sins can be enlightening and entertaining. Admission to the museum is $18 for adults and $12 for children and students; it is open 7 days a week at 10 am.

“See” Vegas Naked: The Erotic Heritage Museum

If the Mob Museum isn’t sin enough, the Erotic Heritage Museum, located at 3275 Industrial Road, will fill in the rest of the gaps. Open only to those 18 years and older, the 24,000 square foot space was formerly known as the Déjà vu Love Boutique. Through the museum’s more than 300,000 pieces of art and memorabilia, the concept of sex is explored not as that of sin and debauchery, but as art and an important cornerstone to all socio-cultural experiences across time. Though not for the prudish at heart, the Erotic Heritage Museum is sure to offer information and intrigue to all who are interested.

The museum is closed on Mondays. General admission is $15, with 1 discount given to seniors and military personnel.


10 Cities to Consider for Your Next Vacation

When it comes to choosing a destination for your next vacation, many different factors come into play.  Climate, activities and cost are all aspects to consider when deciding where to travel to next, and with choices ranging from Oahu to Chicago to London, there are many cities worthy of a trip!  We’ve compiled this list of 10 places to consider visiting on your next trip to make your decision making process a little easier.

1. New York, New York. NYC is a city full of good food and fun, with more activities to do than you can imagine.  There are plenty of sights to see no matter what age you are!  From amazing zoos (Bronx, Queens and Central Park) to a tour of the Empire State Building to visiting the NBC Studio, there is truly something for everyone.  If music is your passion, there is much history to be enjoyed in New York City, so considering checking out Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden. And of course, don’t miss all the amazing museums New York has to offer, including the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

The weather can vary – in the summer, temperatures and humidity levels are high, while the winter months will offer blustery days.  Fall days will provide a crisp feeling in the air, and picturesque streets with multicolored leaves covering the city.  Spring showers may bring flowers, but the fickle weather in spring has proven to be unpredictable. And though the city is beautiful in every season – you will want to visit when you are most comfortable walking city streets to see the sights.  Overall, NYC has amazing activities that are fun for the whole family – no matter when you decide to visit!

beach party Luau on Big Island Hawaii after sunset

2. Oahu, Hawaii. Hawaii is a beautiful state, and the island of Oahu has a lot to offer a tourist.  Since there is so much to do, it is recommended to invest in a Go Oahu card to enjoy activities and attractions at a discounted rate.  You can easily see all the sights of the island by taking a tour, including the Pearl Harbor and Honolulu City Tour or the full-day Grand Circle Island Tour.  And while in Oahu, you won’t want to miss the sea life native to the area, so be sure to check out Sea Life Park.  To see the sea life up close, consider kayaking, surfing or snorkeling!

Weather on Oahu is very stable – with most months averaging temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees, though the rainiest season is winter.  Even if it rains on your Hawaii parade – you will surely enjoy your trip full of gorgeous scenery, fascinating plant and animal life.

3. Los Angeles. Los Angeles, LA, The City of Angeles, LALA Land… whatever you call it, the city is a great place for a vacation trip!  If roller coasters, funnel cake and people watching are among your favorite pastimes – Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm are all within a reasonable distance from the city.  If movies are of interest to you, LA is the perfect place for you!  Don’t miss Universal Studios, Warner Brothers Studio Tour and Sony Pictures Studio Tour for a behind the scenes look.

The weather in Los Angeles varies a bit – with the best months to visit reported as April through June and September through October. In the summer you can expect sunshine and high temps, while the fall is cool, winter chilly and spring full of showers.

4. London. If your budget allows for a trip overseas, consider visiting the city of London.  There is so much to see, including the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Thames River cruise and much more. The London Zoo and the London Aquarium are great activity options for children and adults alike.

With rainfall being common – the highest temperatures are naturally in the summer, but winter temps rarely plunge below freezing.  London is a city with much to offer from beautifully designed buildings to precious views – it is worth the trek!

Tower Bridge - London

5. Boston. Though the weather can be fickle in New England, Boston is an amazing city to visit any time of year. With winter bringing snow, sleet, and all kinds of precipitation – you must be prepared to visit in wintertime – though the snow on the trees and buildings is very picturesque.  Spring showers are frequent, summer months are full of sunshine and warm weather, with autumn breezes blowing colorful leaves around your feet.

With some much history surrounding it, the city of Boston offers a great deal of activities.  Between the Freedom Trail, the Trinity Church, museums, memorials, breweries and of course, Fenway Park, you will be busy every day of your trip!

6. Chicago. Known as the “Windy City,” be prepared for the weather in Chicago!  While winters are cold, summers can be humid.  Spring and fall can also be chilly but offers great scenery for sightseeing!

With the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and architectural tours at your disposal, you definitely won’t be bored during your stay.  And if you are, be sure you add SkyDeck Chicago, Hancock Observatory and the Navy Pier to your list of must-sees!

7. San Francisco. If you love beautiful sights, amazing seafood and unique culture, then the city of San Francisco is for you!  You’ll enjoy the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks and the entire city – especially if you ride the cable cars.  If you’re a foodie – you’ll be in heaven, as the San Fran streets are full of restaurants and cafes.

San Francisco temperatures are on the cool side all year round, with summer temps averaging between 60 and 70 degrees – though winter weather does not bring temps much lower than 45 degrees.

8. Las Vegas. If you and your travel buddies are over 21, Las Vegas is a city you have to visit at least once!  Vegas is full of bars and clubs – if that is your kind of vacation, but there are also a great deal of entertainment options.  With shows ranging from The Lion King to Cirque du Soleil to David Copperfield, there is surely an event that will suit your interests.  And don’t miss the roller coasters on the strip – including theStratosphere Tower and The Roller Coaster at New York-New York!

With more than 300 days of sun a year, chances are you will be able to enjoy at least one sunny day on your trip! And since the weather is usually warmer and drier than other parts of the country, don’t forget your sun screen!

9. San Diego. Beaches, museums, parks, and more – San Diego has it all!  With so much to do, San Diego is a great city to visit with family and/or friends!  The beautiful weather – withtemperatures barely reaching below 50 degrees – allows for outdoor activities all year round.

When making your San Diego itinerary, don’t forget to plan for the San Diego Zoo, the USS Midway Museum, Torrey Pines State Reserve and SeaWorld San Diego!  With so much to do, your San Diego trip will be full, but if you have time, try to plan for the amazing beaches in San Diego as well!

10. Seattle. Though Seattle is known for its sometimes dismal weather, contrary to popular belief – it does not rain all the time!  While it does rain often, summertime (specifically the last half of July and the first half of August) is the driest time of the year in Seattle and winter is the wettest season.

And if it is raining – have no fear. There are plenty of indoor activities in Seattle that will make your vacation worthwhile, like the Museum of Flight, the Seattle Public Library and the Original Starbucks – a must visit for coffee lovers!  If you are visiting and the skies are clear, don’t miss Pike Place Market, Kerry Park and the Space Needle!

With 10 great recommendations of cities to consider for your next vacation – start planning today!  Whether you decide to visit Boston, explore Hawaii with the Go Oahu card or drink coffee in Seattle, we’re sure you’ll have a great time.