Starting with Las Vegas, whatever your preconceptions of this city might be, you really do have to experience it once in a lifetime. Vegas needs to be seen to be believed – You can shop till you drop, try your luck at the card tables, party non-stop and don’t forget to see the Grand Canyon too! It’s a crazy, non-stop party town and despite the focus being on gambling, it also has some of the most extravagant shows and clubs on the planet along with excellent restaurants and incredible shopping.
Although the Las Vegas Strip is only about four miles long, there is so much to see that you’ll need a few days to make the most of it. When planning your trip do get tickets for a show or concert in advance, there’s always a world-class Musical, a legendary singer performing, and often a sports event on too.
For top shopping haunts, you’ve got to check out Caesar’s Palace Forum. Known as ‘The Shopping Wonder of the World’, even if many of the shops might be a little too high-end designer for your wallet, you’ve got to see it- and look up at the ceiling too! The Fashion Show Mall also on the Strip is the place to find loads of high street shops as well as some of the large department stores. North Premium Outlet has loads of designer Stores at rock-bottom prices which is worth a taxi-ride to.
When you’ve shopped till you’ve dropped, head to a pool to kick back. All the hotels have pools where you can bask in the desert sun and enjoy some chilled cocktails on your sun lounger.
By night the Strip is transformed by its spectacular bright lights – this is the best time to walk around and explore the other hotels as during the day it is usually far too hot. The Venetian has gondolas that transport you along its network of canals, Paris of course has its own Eiffel Tower and The Bellagio has a stunning fountain display set to music which is truly magical.
Make sure you’ve saved plenty of energy for partying the night away – there are some of the world’s best DJs playing at pool parties along the Strip – as well as some of the world-famous nightclubs check out Encore Beach Club for the ultimate pool party.
After a wild night in Vegas, you’ll need a good brunch to set you up for the next day – traditionally Vegas had a reputation for vast ‘all you can eat’ style buffets where the emphasis was definitely on quantity not quality, but it actually has some amazing restaurants and many of the world’s top chefs. Check out the Bellagio Buffet for the best haute-cuisine buffet ever! If you’re in need of a Bloody Mary, head to Yardbird for top notch Southern- style food and the ultimate Bloody Marys. La Cave Wine and Food Hideaway at Wynn Las Vegas is famous for its brunches and classic American dishes too.
Whilst in the State of Nevada you also need to see beyond the Vegas city limits, so take a helicopter tour out to the Grand Canyon. Often considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the scale and colours of the one-mile deep gorge are breath taking. You’ll also fly over the Hoover Dam and, if you take an afternoon flight you might time it right to return to Vegas at dusk. Seeing the lights of the Strip shimmering in the desert heat from above is worth the helicopter ride in itself!
Next up, head to San Francisco, a city full of Victorian charm and where so much will be familiar to you from the movies. Ride a cable car, climb the steep streets, grab a coffee in Union Square and visit Lombard Street –known as the most Crooked Street in the World. From there you can also easily walk to North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown. Also see the Painted Ladies (the Victorian houses next to Alamo Square Park) and whilst you’re there you must to have an ice cream from Salt and Straw!
When it’s time for more sustenance, enjoy freshly cracked Dungeness crab at Fisherman’s Wharf whilst hopefully taking in the views across the bay to Alcatraz. Union Street in the Marina is also a great place to wander around with attractive houses, great places to eat and lovely boutique shops.
A cool way of getting around is to hire bikes – pick them up at Fisherman’s Wharf and then you can cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge – what better way to see the bay! Whilst you are in San Fran why not take a tour of the infamous Alcatraz prison and you could also enjoy a sailing trip out into the bay in a catamaran? Napa Valley is also only 50 miles inland and makes a wonderful day trip to explore the stunning wine region.
After a few days in San Fran, head south to Los Angeles, if you’ve got time you could drive along the famous Pacific Highway stopping at wonderful seaside towns as you go to admire the Ocean views. When you get to LA you’ll realise how massive and sprawling it is and the traffic is horrendous, so jump on the metro or use Ubers which are really cheap.
The Getty Centre has incredible views of the city along with outstanding modern architecture and a world class art collection. Visit the famous Kodak Theatre, walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, check out the Santa Monica Pier, drive down Sunset Boulevard and stroll down Rodeo Drive – there’s so much you’ll want to see in this exciting town! You could check out the awesome views of the Hollywood sign from the Griffith Observatory, visit Universal Studios or go on a Stars Home’s tour.
Also enjoy the iconic beach areas of Santa Monica and Venice Beach, each area very much with its own identity and you can hire bikes or roller blades to cruise between the two. Also do see if the LA Dodgers or Lakers are playing as taking in a game here is a cultural experience.
These three destinations are all so iconic and all have so much to see – so have loads of fun – it’ll be the trip pf a lifetime!