5 Unique Las Vegas Tours
Explore history, food and the great outdoors in Sin City.
See the Grand Canyon from above in a helicopter tour from Maverick Helicopters.(Courtesy of Maverick Helicopters)
History buffs, foodies and adventurers hoping for a unique glimpse of Sin City are in luck: Across Las Vegas, you'll find a number of great tours that will take you beyond the sights and sounds of the Strip. To help you find a tour that catches your fancy, U.S. News asked local experts to share their recommendations.
Las Vegas Pop Culture Tours
Las Vegas may not be known for its monuments, but it still has a rich history – thanks, in part, to iconic figures such as mobster Bugsy Siegel, Elvis Presley and the Rat Pack. Las Vegas Pop Culture Tours captures a bit of this past during its walking tour of Fremont Street downtown. It "takes visitors through a whirlwind history of Vegas in the context of the American imagination," says Andrew Kiraly, editor of Desert Companion magazine, a southern Nevada lifestyle magazine. You'll visit the sites of iconic movie scenes and learn about the town's roots as a railroad stop.
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The tour lasts 90 minutes and costs $30, which includes a complimentary cocktail at the historic El Cortez Hotel & Casino for those 21 and older.
Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours
"You're in the Wild, Wild West, and what says the Wild, Wild West better than an old gold and silver mine?" asks Carol Styles, concierge at The Venetian Las Vegas and The Palazzo Las Vegas. Her go-to is the Techatticup Mine in Eldorado Canyon, about an hour from the city.
"It gives one a true glimpse of what hardships the gold rush pioneers endured, and just beyond the mine is an amazing overlook of the Colorado River," she says. "The view is on par with that of the Grand Canyon, and not many people know about that."
You need a reservation to tour the old mine. The tour costs $12.50 for adults and $7.50 for kids 5 to 12. Children younger than 5 are free.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours
It can be overwhelming for an epicurean to navigate a city so saturated with celebrity chef restaurants. But, according to Melinda Sheckells, editor-in-chief of Vegas Seven magazine, a weekly Las Vegas lifestyle magazine, Lip Smacking Foodie Tours offers a number of delicious solutions. The tour group "came up with a really great way for people to visit multiple restaurants and get the best samplings of what they have to offer," Sheckells says. She adds the tours include some of the city's best culinary destinations.
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While there are several tour options, the "Savors Of The Strip" package costs $199 per person and includes five restaurant stops.
Many city experts agree that, adventurous or not, visitors should take flight in a helicopter while in Las Vegas. "I think it is a must, must do," says Tina Matson, head concierge at the Bellagio Las Vegas.
Helicopter tours offer a variety of routes and destinations, but Joe Moracco, concierge at the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, thinks you should visit the Grand Canyon – "without a doubt." His top-three Grand Canyon helicopter tours are all offered by Maverick Helicopters: the "Wind Dancer," the "Wind Dancer Sunset" and the "Dream Catcher Sunset."
If a Grand Canyon helicopter tour does not fit your budget (Maverick Helicopters' Grand Canyon packages start at around $400), Matson recommends taking a more affordable night tour. "It's a beautiful way to see the lights of our city when Las Vegas is at its most beautiful," she adds. Either way, experts recommend making sure the tour you choose allows you to catch the sunset from above.
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Night flight tours in Las Vegas begin at around $100.
Pink Jeep Tours Las Vegas
For an action-packed day, Margarita Martinez, concierge at Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace, suggests Pink Jeep Tours Las Vegas' "West Rim Drive, Fly, and Float Adventure Tour." "You get three experiences in one – off-roading, river rafting and a helicopter ride," she says. Plus, you get to visit the Grand Canyon, all for $475 per person.
But, if the Strip is all the adventure you need, you can book Pink Jeep's "Las Vegas Bright Lights City Guided Tour." Patrick Ritschard, chief concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, says, "It's a fun thing to do." A guide picks you up in a pink Jeep and drives you down to Fremont Street, sharing history, fun facts and urban legends along the way. You'll even get a chance to take your picture at the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign. The tour costs $79 per person, and if you are with a group, you could end up on a private tour.
To experience more of what Las Vegas has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.