Surrounded by mountains on all sides, Las Vegas’ developed valley is merely 20 miles by 30 miles, with The Strip nearly smack in the center.
On a clear day, the colors of the mountains set against the bright blue sky are magnificent. And, even on not-so-clear days, there is always a view. Storms rolling in provide spectacular shows, especially when there is lightning and rain on one side of the Valley, and sun shining on the other.
At night, the view from Las Vegas is an entirely different story. Set up like a grid, lights intersect and stack as far as the eye can see, with the neon and flashing lights from the resorts’ giant marquees are visible from almost every raised vantage point.
Want to catch some truly breathraking views of Sin City? Head to these spots:
Ghostbar, Palms Resort: Ghostbar is a sleek and hip lounge where the beautiful people sip cocktails and take in the sights of the city before heading out for a night on the town. Because it is Off Strip, the 360-degree view from the 55th floor is nothing short of amazing. Its outdoor deck also features a glass inset to look down on the action at the resort’s pool.
Observation Deck, Stratosphere: On the north end of The Strip is the Stratosphere and its nearly 1,150 ft. tall tower. Fork over some cash and ride up on the elevator to the Observation Deck, a cool 869 feet above Las Vegas Blvd. America’s tallest observation deck, it gives visitors a 360-degree view of the city, along with some rides that actually swing over (and one ride that drops thrill-seekers down) the side of the tower. Come up for sunset and then stick around for dinner at The Top of the World rotating restaurant.
MIX, Mandalay Bay: On the opposite end of The Strip from the Stratosphere is MIX, a restaurant and lounge at the top of THEhotel, a part of Mandalay Bay. This swanky and sexy outlet 64 floors up serves French and American cuisine and is a hot spot for post-dinner drinks. It’s got both indoor views and a terrace to catch the desert breeze and give guests postcard-worthy photos of Las Vegas.
Lindo Michoacan, Henderson: This restaurant is a taxi ride from The Strip, but it is perched on a hill in Henderson that overlooks the entire Valley, making it worth the drive. Floor-to-ceiling views of Las Vegas create an ideal (and romantic) spot to watch the sky turn purple and the city light up below. It’s also got pretty great Mexican food.
Red Rock Canyon’s Calico Tanks Hike: This 2.5 mile hike is perfect for outdoor lovers and provides a sweeping view of the entire Valley. About 25 minutes from The Strip, Red Rock Canyon is one of Southern Nevada’s most gorgeous outdoor recreation areas. This is a moderate hike with some rock scrambling towards the end, but the view from the end of this trail (which includes a pool of water at the top), is well worth some slightly achy muscles. In the summer, be prepared with gallons of water and sunscreen.
And, a bonus tip: If seat selection is available on your flight to Las Vegas, opt for a window seat on the right side of the plane. By day, passengers can see Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. For those on longer legs from the east, the Grand Canyon is also visible. At night, enjoy a sea of black, a valley of lights and then the colorful Strip as the plane descends.
Diana Edelman is a travel blogger who resides in Las Vegas. In 2010, she decided to take a career-break and quit her job, put her life in storage and headed across the Atlantic for seven months of solo backpacking through Europe and Africa. You can follow her on Twitter or check out her blog, where she documented her backpacking experiences and continues to provide readers with tips and travel notes on her popular site, The Adventures of D. When she isn’t traveling, or planning to travel, she works in PR for a restaurant group in Las Vegas.