Top 10 Vegas off piste

Things to do in Las Vegas when you're not playing poker

Well why not? With the cost of an average wedding in the UK now a wallet-busting £11,000, not to mention the fact that your partner will probably insist on a High Church ceremony, we say book a flight to Vegas and do it on the cheap. The Viva Las Vegas Chapel has various themed services on offer, including the $275 ‘Only Elvis’ option that gives you use of the Elvis Chapel and one Elvis impersonator/minister to sing and perform the ceremony. If you want something a bit more ‘tasteful’ try the Little Church of the West (, where Noel Gallagher and Meg Matthews got hitched. You can always go and get it annulled in the morning but bear in mind it might cost you more than the initial ceremony.

Britney Spears wed friend Jason Alexander at The Little White Wedding Chapel, and ended it two days later. Dennis Rodman married Carmen Electra but ended it shortly after claiming he was drunk at the time of the ceremony, and Chris Evans and Billie Piper got married at the Little Church of the West in May 2001. They lasted a little bit longer.

One of the most amazing sights in the world is your first glimpse of Vegas at night as you fly into the airport. Get yourself on the Big Shot at the Stratosphere and you can relive it time and time again. The ride shoots you up to a height of 1,081 feet at 45mph, and delivers 4Gs at the top before a split-second of weightlessness. Check out the new Insanity and X Scream rides as well, they’re boss.

If you want to get in to a club like Pure (Caesars Palace) you need to either be pals with someone in the know, a stunningly attractive female or extremely lucky. With average queues over three hours your best bet is to get there early and look the business (don’t even think of wearing trainers). The Tao (Venetian) is another haunt favoured by poker players like Antonio Esfandiari.

You can’t go to Vegas without seeing a show. And if you’re out there during the World Series there’s a special treat in store – Jerry Seinfeld at Caesars Palace on August 4-5. If not then avoid Caesars (Celine Dion has a permanent residence) and go for Penn & Teller (at the Rio) or Avenue Q (at the Wynn). If you’re really lucky you might hit town when there’s a boxing match on.

Despite the excesses of Vegas there’s nothing to match the awe of the Grand Canyon. It’s also one of the biggest tourist-sells in Vegas so shop around when you’re there. Little planes are cheaper, helicopters are more salubrious (and more fun) and if you’ve had a decent win at poker you can splash out on the tour that takes you to the bottom and sticks you in a boat on the Colorado River.

Yes we know guns are bad, but you have to experience firing something like an AK47 once in your life. The Gun Store lets you shoot a Magnum as well, which is quite possibly one of the scariest experiences you’ll ever have. We were told that if we pointed it towards a member of staff we’d ‘have a bullet put through our head instantly’. We didn’t check to see if they were bluffing.

If we ruled the world we’d build a huge rollercoaster that took you on a white-knuckle ride past the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Seeing as we don’t you’ll have to put up with the Vegas interpretation. The Manhattan Express is built on, around and through the $480m resort and is a must – not for the actual ride, which is fairly tame – but because of the surreal setting.

Don’t attempt it at the weekend when the traffic’s gridlocked, but pick a quiet weekday afternoon and the drive will be one of the best of your life. Get something nippy and don’t forget that if you floor it you’re likely to run out of petrol very quickly – we went from half-a-tank to drips in the space of about 15 miles and only just made it to the next garage in the lethal desert heat.

It’s not all guns, over-sized meals and gambling. When you’re tired of the fun things in life you can salve your conscience by dipping your toes in the murky waters of culture. Top of the list is the Guggenheim Museum at The Venetian which houses works from the Guggenheim and Hermitage museums in an ultra-modern steel gallery. Win the WSOP and you might be able to buy one of them.


This isn’t just limited to Vegas but for fatties-per-square-kilometre this is prime hunting ground. Try not to startle them – they’re surprisingly agile when they’ve rumbled you – and if you’re not using a digital camera don’t shoot your load too soon. Remember, this is Vegas, not Britain, so ignore the moderates. Extra points for those needing mobility carts as a result of too many Big Macs.

Best of the rest…

After heated office arguments and plenty of sampling on ‘business’ trips this is our ultimate Vegas Top 10. Do all of these, and play some poker, and you’ll probably have the best holiday of your life. The only trouble is that there’s so much more to do it’s likely you’ll need to plan another visit straight after. Try as we might we couldn’t find a space for the hilarious indoor skydiving (www., the monstrous Warp Core Breach cocktail at the Star Trek Experience in the Hilton (www., the so-naff-it’s good Gondola ride at The Ventian ( or any of the fine adults-only entertainment in the district. (There are plenty of upstanding gentlemen’s clubs and the ever-popular ‘Thunder from Down Under’ for the ladies.) But maybe you know better. Have you found the ultimate offpiste Vegas activity? Or have you got a Vegas secret you’re dying to spill? Let us know and if it tickles our fancy we’ll give it a good PokerPlayer workout and report back after the upcoming World Series. It’s a hard knock life…

Adults only

The days of the Disney-esque Vegas are on their way out. With the introduction of the Wynn hotel last year, Sin City has taken a more upmarket and adult approach to entertainment. With the slogan ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’, the resort is finally wising up to the idea that kids are better off at home. We couldn’t agree more.

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