Las Vegas is well-known as a place for wild, spur-of-the-moment weddings. But it's also rated among the top honeymoon spots, with good reason: Thanks to the money spent by gamblers, Las Vegas room rates and food prices are kept relatively low in relation to the city's high quality of accommodations and dining.
Hiking and (yes!) Skiing in Las Vegas
If you're not big on glitz and crowds, with a rental car you can drive to places of quiet repose. Twenty miles west of town, Red Rocks is a 13-mile drive through scenic vistas of incredible beauty. Not so long ago, wild burros would graze alongside the highway.
You can park at the Red Rocks Visitors Center and learn about the desert environment, then enjoy a picnic lunch at designated spots and do some hiking.
Depending on the time of year you go, Las Vegas weather can be very hot. To escape the broiling temperatures, hie to the Mount Charleston ski resort area, about a half hour's drive from the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard). It's a beautiful drive up to the timber line. When we got married in Las Vegas in May, it was 100 degrees on the Strip -- and 60 degrees atop Mt. Charleston.
Come winter, honeymoon couples can actually ski and snowboard right outside of Vegas. Close to Mount Charleston, Lee Peak rises to an elevation of 11,289 feet and has a base lodge. Ski season stretches from November to April.
Las Vegas Entertainment
The Strip is a crowded, happy, raucous, and safe place. Volcanoes erupt before your eyes outside the Mirage Hotel, and waters perform an original ballet at Bellagio. In addition, there's the fun of people-watching and many free attractions nearby.
If you like nightlife, there's no better bet. From the gravity-defying Cirque du Soleil performances (Zumanity is the sexiest) to top-name stars to free lounge acts all over town, you'll be entertained to your heart's content. Play for a little while at a table or even the slots, and it's likely you'll be offered a free drink.
Las Vegas Lodging
Where are the best hotel values? And which ones have rooms for you? Generally, the further you go from the Strip, the cheaper the rooms. Since this is your honeymoon, you'll want to stay in a decent place, though. These are among the most wonderful Las Vegas hotels for romance:
- SLS Las Vegas - for my money, SLS Las Vegas has the sexiest guest rooms in town, and I don't just mean the mirror over the bed and the white-leather sofa that lines an entire wall. A huge shower, a great bed, and easy access to the Las Vegas Monorail make this a top choice.
- The Venetian - This faux city in the desert features some of the largest guest rooms in town, and nice baths, too. And go ahead: spring for a gondola ride.
- The Cromwell - Boasting the best location in Vegas (you may get to see Bellagio's dancing waters from your sensual, steampunk-designed guest room). Big plus: TV chef Giada de Laurentiis' only restaurant is in this hotel, and it's delish.
- Caesars Palace - Yes, it's gaudy and yes, staying here can be expensive. But Caesars has recently added a lot of new rooms. Caesars also contains an Omnimax theater, the tony Forum Shops area, and inexpensive (as well as pricey) dining facilities.
Places I Wouldn't Send Friends To
- Circus Circus - It is a circus here, attracting hordes of downscale families with kids.
- Excalibur - Rooms are inexpensive and the Middle Ages theme is cheesy at this enormous place on the far end of the Strip.
Las Vegas Dining
A city of vast buffets as well as high-priced restaurants, Las Vegas puts out an abundant spread for visitors. You can't go wrong at any of these:
- Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace - literally anything you like to eat can be found here, and in impressive quantities
- Pamplemousse - cozy yet elegant country French, right off the Strip
- Twist in the Mandarin Oriental hotel features culinary amazements conceived by Michelin-award-winning chef Pierre Gagnaire
The Bottom Line
Will you be happy with a Las Vegas honeymoon? If you like to swim outdoors in warm weather, golf, play tennis, gamble, be entertained, laugh at the goofiness of it all together, dine well, and not spend a fortune doing it, the answer is yes.