48 hours in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a huge city and there are so many things to do there, so how in the world can you spend only 48 hours there?  Had I not been there just a few weeks ago I would have felt so much more rushed.  My friend Julie flew out with me to Vegas on Tuesday afternoon.  This was Julie’s first trip out to Vegas, and even though it was only a 48 hour trip, she seemed content with everything we managed to do.  Our flight landed in Vegas at 4:30 pm, and then we headed to the Aria to meet up with my dad.  My dad booked us all a room at the Aria, which is a really nice hotel/casino.  It was almost too nice for our taste, but it was nice to be somewhere so fancy.

The Aria Hotel & Casino - Las Vegas

That night, my dad took Julie and I out to dinner at Rao’s, located in Caesar’s Palace.  My family always uses Rao’s sauce whenever we cook spaghetti or pasta, so I was excited to actually eat at the restaurant.  I was so hungry before we got to the restaurant too, so I ended up eating way too much, but it was all delicious.  After dinner, my dad took us to see a Cirque du Soleil show at Treasure Island.  The show we saw was called Mystere, and had something to do with animals.  I had never been to a Cirque du Soleil show before, so I’m not sure if the shows are supposed to be stories you interpret through their acrobatics and dance, but if that is the case I have no clue what this shows story was supposed to be.

Cirque Du Soleil Mystere - Las Vegas

It started off with two baby carriages on the stage as people were taking their seats, with baby noises over the speakers.  Once the show started the acts had more to do with animals than anything.  There was this one guy that was dressed as a baby, but he pretty much was always on his own during his acts.  There was another girl that was dressed in pajamas that was sometimes with all of the animals, so I’m not sure if she was supposed to be the other “baby” or not.  At one point during the show she had a snail she was carrying around, but then one of the animals kicked it into a chasm, and then at the end of the show she entered on this huge snail, which I’m assuming was the same one that got kicked into the chasm but grew.  This was the only part of the whole show that seemed to be intertwined, but I’m also not very artsy/interpretive when it comes to these types of shows.  It was still really cool to see some of the stuff people are capable of doing with their bodies, because I, for one, could never do any of it, no matter how hard I tried.

Cirque Du Soleil Mystere - Las Vegas

After the show, we walked back towards the Aria, and stopped to watch the fountains at the Bellagio.  None of us were really up for gambling or going out after the show, so we just walked around a little and then headed back to the hotel room.  Julie and I planned to get up early the next morning so we could head to the Valley of Fire and my dad had to get up early to go to some meetings, so it worked out pretty well.

Sunrise in Las Vegas

The next morning the three of us got up, got breakfast, and then went to the car rental place located in the hotel.  We figured renting a car would be the easiest way for us to get to the Valley of Fire, since it is about an hour away from Vegas.  We got to the Valley of Fire around 9:15 and it is seriously amazing.  You get into the park and as you turn the corner towards the park entrance you all of a sudden just see red EVERYWHERE.  It is seriously amazing just how different all the rock formations and types can be all within one area.

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire is a State Park in Nevada, and is around 42,000 acres – which is a lot of terrain to cover.  What is nice about the Valley of Fire is that there are multiple hiking areas where you can see different things, like elephant rock, or the fire wave, or the bee hives, etc, but most of these trails are only 1-2.5 miles total at each spot.  This makes it really easy to be able to see a lot of different areas in the park in one day.  Julie and I managed to see the Bee Hives, the Petrified Logs, Elephant Rock, the Fire Wave, Mouse’s Tanks, the Cabins, the White Domes, and the Seven Sisters.  All of these areas are so different too, it is seriously amazing.  Words can’t even describe it.

Fire wave at the Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park
Let’s play I spy.  I spy a bighorn sheep, do you?

Around 4 we had pretty much seen everything we went to the Valley of Fire to see, and started heading back to Las Vegas.  My dad had meetings and the PowerGen conference all of Wednesday, but had just finished with everything right as we got back to the Aria.  After we cleaned up from our day of hiking, we went out to dinner and then headed to Fremont Street so Julie could see what it was all about.

Fremont Street Las Vegas

The thing I like the most about Fremont Street is just seeing the whole ceiling lit up.  We walked up and down the promenade, so Julie could get a feel for it.  My dads favorite thing to do at Fremont Street is watch the spray paint painters.  We watched them for a bit, walked around and then decided we were all set in that area and headed back to the Strip.  I wanted to walk around more that night, but I was just so tired that I couldn’t do it.  So we all went to this dessert cafe in the Aria and got some gelato before heading back up to our room.  We were all asleep by 10 pm.  Who does that in Vegas?  Apparently us because we can’t hang.  But that’s ok because we all wanted to get up early to go for a hike at Red Rock Canyon the next morning before our flight.

Red Rock Canyon - Las Vegas

Thursday morning we were all awake around 5:15 am.  All of us were sort of awake around 5, but then I had a coughing fit at 5:15 that made everyone finally say that they were all already awake anyways.  By 6 we were all up and started packing our stuff and getting ready for the day.  We went down and got breakfast, and were all headed towards Red Rock Canyon before 8.  Red Rock Canyon is about 30 minutes away from the Strip, and is fairly easy to get to.

Red Rock Canyon - Las Vegas

Once we arrived, we stopped in the visitors center to ask what a good hiking area would be to check out.  The guy at the front desk suggested hiking the White Rock Loop, which was a 6 mile loop.  We followed the scenic road to the parking area, stopping at a couple of other parking areas along the way to take pictures.  What was weird was how different the temperature was within the park in each area.  One area was cold.  The next area was cold and windy.  And then when we parked the area we were in just had a small breeze and was much warmer than the other two parking areas.  Then on our hike we went from no breeze, to a breeze, to huge gusts of wind.  It was so bizarre.

Red Rock Canyon - Las Vegas

The White Rock Loop goes around the base of one of the many mountains in Red Rock Canyon.  There is about a 900 foot gain in elevation throughout the hike, but it is pretty gradual.  It took us about 3 hours to hike this loop, and were finished by 12:30 pm.  Our flight was a little after 4, so we headed back to the Aria so we could drop off the rental car and grab something to eat before heading to the airport.

Flying into Las Vegas

All three of us didn’t even spend a dime on gambling.  Julie isn’t really big on it and neither is my dad, and I’ve only gone to casinos a handful of times so it didn’t really matter to me whether we gambled or not.  For anyone that is a non-gambler but plans to take a trip to Vegas, I highly recommend checking out the Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon.  I wish I’d had at least 1 more day there that way I could have checked out of a few other areas of Red Rock Canyon as well, but I am pretty content with the amount of activities we all managed to do in under 48 hours!

How to spend 48 hours in Vegas


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