Local & Travel Information
Interested in planning excursions to the Strip or outings to the desert with other conference goers?
Connect with other conference attendees via the LOEX of the West facebook group! Conference organizers will be happy to help scout locations or facilitate arrangements to help you explore Vegas and southern Nevada during your visit.
Las Vegas offers many options for touring and entertainment. Here are a few suggestions from locals that you might not find in the typical city guide:
LasVegas.com Travel Tips. A categorized guide for finding things to do in Las Vegas.
Ethel M Chocolate Factory, Cactus Garden, & Natural Recycling Plant. (Off Sunset Rd. 435-2655) Free. Check out the myriad plants from around the world and the ecologically sound recycling system -- also walk through the chocolate factory and enjoy a free chocolate at the end of a short tour.
Neon Museum (On & around Freemont Street Experience): Free Visit this “museum” at night only. Located on sidewalks just past the tourist shops on Freemont and nearby side streets are examples of old Vegas neon signs. While on Freemont St. at night, don’t miss the hourly canopy light show. For those interested in a deeper look, pre-arrange a tour of the Boneyard, the collection of unrestored signs ()
Paymon's Mediterranean Café & Hookah Lounge (4147 S. Maryland Pkwy) Offers interesting cocktails such as fig or lychee martinis. Specialty drinks are half off (about $3 each) during the 4-7pm happy hour daily. You can also enjoy smoking flavored tobacco (mango, pistachio, jasmine, etc.) in a hookah pipe. This traditional method of smoking uses hot coals to roast the tobacco rather than burn it. Smoke travels through water before being inhaled making it very mellow. One hookah will last several people about half an hour. They typically cost $12-15 but are half price during happy hour.
The Atomic Testing Museum (755 E. Flamingo Rd. 702- 794-5161) Documents the unique history associated with 50+ years of nuclear weapons research and testing conducted at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site. Features first-person narratives, large iconic artifacts (Geiger counters, atomic cocktails, and drill bits, oh my!), environmental re-creations (without the pesky nuclear fallout), and a gift shop! Get fired up for your trip by taking a virtual tour, be sure to click on the Atmospheric Testing Gallery to hear about the Miss Atomic Blast Beauty Pagent and the Atom Bomb Boogie.
Horse-a-round Bar (Circus, Circus) Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas describes a psychedelic spin at a carousel bar. Find this rotating bar on the second floor arcade level of the Circus, Circus Casino. Your seat at the bar is a great place to watch the free circus acts every half an hour, and then it’s not, and then it is, and then…
The Gun Store (2900 E Tropicana 702-454-1110) Get in touch with your inner gun moll. The Gun Store rents AK47s, Uzis, Tommy Guns and more and will give you a brief safety demonstration and set you up to fire off 50 rounds or so at their indoor range. Print off a $5 coupon here:
The Peppermill Fireside Lounge (2985 S. Las Vegas Blvd. 735-4177) Quintessential 1970s Vegas-style lounge complete with deep velour pit seating around the romantic flaming pool. The Peppermill was the 2005 Las Vegas Weekly Readers' Choice for Best Place to Take a Secret Lover. Try a Pink Squirrel or a Scorpion (exotic drinks) but skip the attached restaurant with its pastel Denny’s ambiance.
World’s Tallest Chocolate Fountain: (Bellagio) The Jean-Philippe Patisserie boasts a first-of-its-kind, 14-foot-tall freestanding fountain (although, in total, it measures 27 feet tall with its mechanics) of melted chocolate. The glass-enclosed, floor-to-ceiling chocolate fountain emerging from the pâtisserie displays a series of melted chocolate cascades. The fountain circulates nearly 2 tons of melted dark, milk and white chocolate at a rate of 120 quarts per minute. This is a good starting point for….
Diane’s Custom Chocolate Tour: (various casinos near the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd and Flamingo Rd.) Start at the World’s Tallest Chocolate Fountain, enjoy a pastry while you gawk at the rivers of liquid joy. Also, be sure to note the impressive cake displays in cabinets to the rear of the Patisserie. Head out of Bellagio past the hotel desk and fountains, set your sights on the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood across Las Vegas Blvd. (LVB) Your goal is a boutique truffle maker’s shop located near the Theater called Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland. The Jasmine and Champagne Truffles are to die for, often they have seasonal specials as well. Back out to the Strip, head North now one casino to Paris. Wend your way to the cobblestone streets at the rear of the casino floor to find La Creperie. Enjoy a crème topped Nutella-filled crepe at a “sidewalk” table before heading out the back connecting route into Ballys Casino. You’re using Bally’s as a way to hang on to a few moments more air conditioning, a bright and flashy hallway, as it were. Head back to LVB once more, you’re crossing both the strip and also heading North again to cross Flamingo to get to Caesar’s Palace. Follow the street facing fountains, you want to enter the Forum Shops door closest to the Blvd. You’re looking for Vosges Haut Chocolat for a unique truffle experience. Vosges truffles include unexpected ingredients such as chile powder, paprika, rosewater, candied violets, ginger and more. You can wrap up the tour here or, if you’re still up for more, grab a cab down to the Luxor. Find the Burger Bar restaurant in the passage of shops and eateries connecting the Luxor to Mandalay Bay. Order up a chocolate burger. A rich ganache patty between donut buns with a mango fruit leather slice of cheese. It looks just like a cheeseburger.
Approximate drive times for out-of-town trips:
Hoover Dam & Lake Mead National Recreation Area—30 minutes
Valley of Fire State Park—1 hour
Red Rock Canyon—45 minutes
Mount Charleston—1 hour
Zion National Park—3 hours
Bryce National Park—4 hours
Cedar Breaks National Monument—3 1/2 hours
Death Valley National Park—2-3 hours
Grand Canyon National Park (North or South rim) - 4-5 hours