Weekenders: The High Life in Las Vegas

Discover Sin City from a whole new angle.

By Maribeth Mellin

With its glitzy casinos and action-packed Strip, Las Vegas never fails to delight. There’s plenty to enjoy at ground level, and even more excitement sky-high. You can seek thrill rides, soar over city lights and gaze down at the colorful carnival while sipping Champagne at restaurants set above the fray. For a new perspective on the familiar sights, check out these high points.

Dine Among the Stars

It’s hard to decide what’s more stunning at Rivea, the view or the food. On the 64th floor of the Delano Las Vegas, the restaurant has glass walls that afford panoramas of the bright lights below. Consider ordering the striped bass cooked in a fragrant minestrone reduction. You can end the meal sharing a baba cake soaked in limoncello, then wander over to the adjacent Skyfall Lounge for cocktails with a 180-degree vista.

A few blocks north is one of the Strip’s most beloved shows, the Fountains of Bellagio. Although pedestrians often stop in their tracks, the best seats aren’t at street level but up above at Picasso, where you’ll find paintings by the restaurant’s namesake. Reserve an outdoor patio table for the full fountain experience. Menu standouts include crisply seared scallops, poached oysters and Wagyu fillet.

If you can’t get enough of the famed fountains, you’ll find another spot-on overlook at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, in the Paris Hotel. Try to arrive before 7 p.m. to increase your chances of grabbing a window table. If you’re celebrating, you can splurge on classics, such as caviar, escargot, truffles and beef Wellington, followed by the feathery-light chocolate soufflé.

For the complete vista, book a table 844 feet high at Top of the World. You may find the rotating dining room disconcerting at first, but the 360-degree circuit takes 80 minutes, a spin slow enough that you’ll soon adjust. Try the crab cakes or one of a half-dozen steak options as you look out on the Strip from all angles. On a clear day, you may see the mountains framing the city.

Scenic Cocktails

Las Vegas’s lounges and nightclubs claim some of the best views of the city’s bright lights and flickering stars. Hold off until at least 10 p.m. to ride the elevator up 55 floors to chic Ghostbar, in the Palms Casino Resort. The DJs quickly adapt to each night’s revelers, switching between genres to keep the party going. When you need a break from dancing, wander to the patio to see glittering casino signs give way to neighborhoods.

Want to stay on the Strip and experience some of Sin City’s hottest nightlife? Join the queue for Drai’s, on the rooftop of the Cromwell hotel. The combo beach club and nightclub is so hot that Nicki Minaj rang in 2016 with a concert here. Drai’s enviable location, on a corner with a view straight across the Strip to Red Rock Canyon, makes it a great spot for watching the fireworks and light shows that flash across Vegas’s sky at night.

For a quieter evening, settle into blue banquettes and red leather barrel chairs at the Mandarin Bar, on the 23rd floor of the Mandarin Oriental. Don’t be surprised if you linger over signature martinis, gradually forsaking other plans. On the same floor, the Mandarin’s Tea Lounge is a must for daytime vistas. Come for high tea to nibble on scones with clotted cream. One tiered tray holds treats for two.

Total Thrills

Don’t miss a ride on the world’s tallest observation wheel. At 550 feet, the High Roller dominates the Strip’s eastern horizon. Its bubble-shaped capsules take 30 minutes to complete one rotation, so you have plenty of opportunities for photographs. Hold your camera against the glass and turn off the flash to get the clearest image. Adults can book a Happy Half Hour ride starting at noon, when bartenders hand out unlimited cocktails inside the cabin.

Looking to go even higher? You can soar above the city when you book Maverick Helicopters’ Vegas at Night flight. Only 15 minutes long, it gives you a bird’s-eye view of the popular off-Strip resorts and wedding chapels. If time allows, consider flying over the Grand Canyon and the Strip as the sky turns pink during the two-and-a-half-hour Vegas Dream Sunset tour.

End your trip at the city’s highest point: the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, rising 1,149 feet from the ground. A seesaw-like roller coaster called the X-Scream tips riders over the tower’s edge. At the top, the Big Shot zips riders up and down the tower in what feels like a gravity-defying free fall. Or head right to the observation deck to take in what may be Vegas’s best view.


Las Vegas Headliners

Check out some of the city’s hottest summer shows.


Celine Dion

Get your tickets early to hear Dion sing some of her biggest hits and pay tribute to other celebrated artists. The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 866-227-5938; tickets, from $42*

Criss Angel
The TV and YouTube sensation performs more than 40 illusions during Criss Angel: Believe, produced in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil. Luxor, 3900 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-262-4400; tickets, from $72

David Copperfield
The grand illusionist is bound to amuse and amaze. MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 866-740-7711; tickets, from $72

Jennifer Lopez
Glitzy special effects and extravagant costumes help tell the story of the star’s life in Jennifer Lopez: All I Have. AXIS Theater, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-777-2782; tickets, from $109

Mariah Carey
The splashy production Mariah #1 to Infinity features 18 hits spanning her career, plus a few surprises. The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 866-227-5938; tickets, from $100

Olivia Newton-John
Favorites from Grease keep audiences dancing and singing along during Newton-John’s Summer Nights show. Flamingo Las Vegas, 3555 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-777-2782; tickets, from $69


EXPLORE
High Roller

3545 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 866-328-1888; caesars.com; tickets, from $27

Maverick Helicopters

6075 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 888-261-4414; maverickhelicopter.com; tours, from $124 a person

Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower

2000 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-380-7777; stratospherehotel.com; tower admission, $20 a person; prices for rides vary

EAT
Eiffel Tower Restaurant

Paris Hotel, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-948-6937; eiffeltowerrestaurant.com; dinner for two, $200**

Picasso Bellagio

3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-693-8865; bellagio.com; dinner for two, $200

Rivea

Delano Las Vegas, 3940 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-632-9500; delanolasvegas.com; dinner for two, $180

Top of the World

Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-380-7777; topoftheworldlv.com; dinner for two, $150

RELAX
Drai’s

The Cromwell, 3595 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-777-3800: draislv.com; cover varies

Ghostbar

4321 W. Flamingo Rd.; 702-942-7777; cover varies

Mandarin Bar

Mandarin Oriental, 3752 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 888-881-9367; mandarinoriental.com; drinks for two, from $24

Tea Lounge

Mandarin Oriental, 3752 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 888-881-9367; mandarinoriental.com; tea for two, from $38

STAY
RCI® affiliated resorts in Las Vegas include:
Bluegreen Club 36 A851

This resort has a lavish and ultramodern design. 372 E. Tropicana Ave.
Member Review: “The staff is outstanding.”

Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Desert Club Resort 0110

Outdoor pools and hot tubs are a great place to unwind after a day exploring the Las Vegas Strip. 3950 Koval Lane
Member Review: “Can’t wait to go back again!”

Hilton Grand Vacations Club on the Boulevard 6300

Relax in luxurious accommodations situated at the northern end of the Strip. 2650 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Member Review: “In a class of its own.”

Hilton Grand Vacations Club on Paradise 5426

A serene oasis in bustling Vegas with year-round golf, tennis and Grand Canyon excursions. 455 Karen Ave.
Member Review: “Perfectly located just off the Strip.”

Grandview at Las Vegas 6923

A family-oriented resort adjacent to the South Point Casino that features restaurants, movie theaters and bowling. 9940 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Member Review: “Peaceful and well-managed.”

Tahiti Village C610

The lagoon-style pool, with its sandy beach entry, is a great escape from the desert sun. 7200 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Member Review: “We loved the BBQ grills outside.”

The Carriage House 1837

Start your day with a workout in the exercise center or a game of on-site tennis. 105 E. Harmon Ave.
Member Review: “Very close to everything.”

For complete member reviews (as member reviews have been condensed) and additional resort listings, visit RCI.com or call 800-338-7777 (Weeks) or 877-968-7476 (Points). Club Members, please call your specific Club or RCI telephone number.

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Non-RCI affiliated resorts:
Bellagio

Elaborate gardens and gourmet restaurants make the Bellagio far more than a casino. 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 888-987-6667; bellagio.com; doubles from $229 a night

The Cromwell

A hip club and a celebrity-chef-run restaurant add to the sense of glamour at this boutique hotel. 3595 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-777-3777; caesars.com; doubles from $125 a night

Delano Las Vegas

Mandalay Bay’s casino and other attractions are right next door to these comfortable suites. 3940 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-632-7888; delanolasvegas.com; doubles from $139 a night

  • *Contact venue for additional details and availability.
  • **Estimated meal prices do not include drinks, tax or tip.
  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: April 2016