New York and Las Vegas are two of the must-see destinations in the US, and if you don’t have enough time to see everything that these spectacular cities have to offer, then this is the perfect twin city dream holiday.
Many people choose to begin their holiday in New York, the city that never sleeps before travelling to the bright lights of “The Entertainment Capital of the World” Las Vegas, or sin city as it is now recognized by many.
New York City
For me even though many of New York’s emblematic attractions are very familiar to tourists from seeing them in movies or on television, I say there’s nothing like experiencing them first hand. Get on the Staten Island Ferry and sail by the Statue of Liberty. Explore Ellis Island and uncover the history of the settlers who gathered to the new world. Walk across the West Village or unwind in leafy Central Park. Trips to MoMa and the Guggenheim museums are also highly endorsed for culture vultures. Take in as much of the city as you can on your holiday to New York before travelling to Las Vegas!
What to Expect
A visit to New York City is a real bucket list essential, there are certain things you have to prepare yourself for, the following would only scratch the surface of what to expect but will arm you with information to feel confident during your time in New York City.
- So Much Creativity – It’s one of the art metropolises of the world in the eyes of many, and it’s the place where so much creativity is born and lives. New York City is filled to the beams with people that enjoy displaying what they can do, even if it’s as an actor, a singer or through some other kind of craft. You can even be riding the subway back to your hotel, and then seconds later, someone gets onto the train and starts breakdancing their way up and down the carriage. No, I am not making that up.
- Pizza All Over – From north to south and west to east – you aren’t going to be able to walk too many blocks in New York City without coming across a truly great pizza place. Or, otherwise, you’ll discover a really bad pizza place. Either way, this delicacy would be looking you directly in the face. Together with Chicago, it just seems as if these are the two destinations in the country that certainly take pizza to an entirely new level. Sure, it’s a remarkable meal to have wherever you might be, but New Yorkers surely have perfected the recipe.
- Expensive Bars – Precise numbers don’t have to be detailed here, because while there are some cheap places for you to search for when you travel to NYC, there are also way, way more boozers that would charge you absurd fees for their drinks. They also charge for non-native people which is wrong, and sometimes you might come across a few bars that might charge you a cover charge for being a tourist. So always find out before you order or stay in alert for extra charges. Just try and locate a quieter bar down some of the more random roads as opposed to going too ‘tourist.’ Though, you should probably watch yourself in doing so.
- Extraordinarily High Buildings – Everything –and we mean everything– is bigger than life, and it’s kind of wild that it can all fit onto such a tiny island. You might not be a fan of a gorgeous skyline, but even if that’s the case, you have to value the sheer size of it all.
Top Attractions in New York
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France to the United States, has greeted new arrivals to the coasts of America for about a hundred years. Lady Liberty on her pedestal stands at a remarkable 93 meters (305 feet), which tourists can climb for sights of Brooklyn and Gustave Eiffel’s supportive structure. For those who decide not to climb the 154 steps to the crown, the pedestal provides sweeping views of the port and downtown New York City. Guided tours of Liberty Island are provided through the day by Park Rangers and self-guided audio, given in nine languages, the tour is incorporated with a ferry ticket to the island.
You should arrive early to evade lines & purchase your ticket ahead of time, if possible the first ferry which leaves at 9:30 am. Weekdays are better than weekends, and Fall and winter months are less packed and therefore more fun. On the other hand, the summer season provides the ideal weather, so it’s up to your priorities.
Empire State Building
The Iconic Empire State Building rises above a quarter of a mile over Manhattan and provides extensive views to the millions of tourists it draws every year. On a clear day, you can see New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. There are two observation decks in the tower, on the 86th floor and 102nd floor. Both provide remarkable views and fascinating facts about the building’s broad history and significance. The Empire State Building has made appearances in about 250 movies and was titled “America’s Favourite Architecture.” It is open every day from 9:30 am until midnight and tickets could be bought at the counter or online.
You should visit the empire state building during sunset to enjoy a stunning view of the skyline. The crucial lure of this time slot is certainly the sunset. If you’re fortunate, on a clear day, you could watch the city’s glow change from sun to electricity.
Situated in the middle of Manhattan, Central Park is an extensive 840 acres and home to Belvedere Castle, the Central Park Zoo amongst several other attractions. For naturalists wanting to take a break from the vast city, unwinding in the Great Lawn or a stroll beside the extensive trails all through the park could provide a much-required relief. There are also lots of outdoor pursuits to amuse tourists which include catch and release fishing at the Dana Discovery Center, rowboat hires from the Loeb Boathouse. The park has six miles of cemented roads open just to joggers, bicyclists and also skateboarders and inline skaters. Central Park is also particularly pleasant for families with playgrounds and the Tisch Children’s Zoo.
It’s one of the most spectacular parks on the face of the earth, and I think that the fact it is bordered by a concrete jungle helps that. There’s something so enchanted about strolling through the centre of Central Park, and the ideal part is that it truly doesn’t matter what time of year you go there. Whether it’s the middle of summer or the tail-end of winter, you’re going to be able to seem like you’re the only person in the city – despite being surrounded by over eight million strangers.
With around 39 million tourists yearly, Times Square is the world’s most toured tourist attraction. The bright lights and big-city atmosphere of this commercial intersection have iconified this location as “The Crossroad of the World.” Today, Times Square is the chief centre of the world’s entertainment industry. The yearly New Year’s Eve ball drop, which started in 1907, has been a staple of the square’s attraction. The shopping, entertainment and surplus of restaurants provide numerous activities and choices for every kind of traveller. It’s an area not to be missed on a trip to New York City.
You should visit Times Square once after dark (1 or 2 a.m. is better) – there will be lesser people, and the diverse billboard displays look amazing; and once in the morning (something like 9 a.m. rush hour) to see the crowds.
The Brooklyn Bridge, constructed amid 1869 and 1883, is one of the oldest and most familiar suspension bridges in the world. It stretches 5,989 feet and links Manhattan to Brooklyn over the East River. Nearly 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians and 2,600 bicyclists go over the bridge every day. Tourists to the bridge could walk, drive, or bike across this prominent New York City landmark. There is a pedestrian walkway located above the traffic, where visitors could take in views of the port and both boroughs. The 2 km (1.3 miles) walk across the bridge provides lots of opportunities for admiring the New York skyline.
Entree to the Brooklyn Bridge is 24 hours per day and it is stunning at any time of day, but sunset is mainly a nice time to visit! This way, you could take in the views of both Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Statue of Liberty while there is still light out and then watch as all the sights come alive with electric wonder.
Rockefeller Center & Top of the Rock Observation Deck
When it comes to New York attractions, Rockefeller Center is on nearly all tourist’s tours. This massive entertainment and shopping compound in the centre of Manhattan is home to NBC-TV and other media, but the heart is the 70-story 30 Rockefeller Plaza, an Art Deco skyscraper that provides breathtaking views above Manhattan from the famous Top of the Rock Observation Deck. The “deck,” as it’s identified, consists of three floors, situated on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors. Indoor and outdoor viewing spaces provide remarkable views by day or night. You can purchase a Top of the Rock Observation Deck Ticket ahead of time. These tickets come with a flexible voucher recovery policy, so you could change the date if your plans change or the weather doesn’t agree. Skating on the outdoor skating rink at the base of the tower is one of the most common things to do during winter in New York City and it’s a fun activity for families and couples. The rink is normally open from October to April.
After Thanksgiving, a giant Christmas tree is set up in front of the skating rink, lighting up the compound for the holiday season. Many people visit New York during December just to see this site. Another point of interest in this region is the popular bronze statue of Atlas in front of the International Building. It’s a famous subject for photographers.
You should visit during sunset, as everyone wants those picture-perfect views and photos. Nevertheless, this time is perfect as you get to view New York while it’s still daylight and when it gets dark. Book ahead of time, and you have to pick your day and time, but to see the sunset above New York City, it’s completely worth it.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met, as it is generally known, was established during 1870, and is one of the most popular museums in the United States. The permanent collection of The Met holds nearly two million works of art, covering 5,000 years. If you’re an art fan, I think the Met is well worth a visit to its massive and varied selection. There’s no way to see everything this museum provides in one day, but just a couple of hours offers you a taste of its most significant jewels. The best day to visit the MET is on Fridays and Saturdays when you have the most flexibility in your visit since the museum is open until 9:00 pm.
Best Restaurants and Where to Stay When in New York and Las Vegas
For some of the best restaurants, and where to stay when in New York and Las Vegas read our Holiday Guide to USA Quad City 2021.
Las Vegas is well-known for its splendid hotels; household names such as The Mirage, Bellagio, and Venetian; there are fountains, attractions and interests in abundance to explore. Try your luck at the blackjack or roulette tables in the lavish surroundings of a Las Vegas casino or revel in the world-class entertainment of a Las Vegas show. Las Vegas is the beginning point for loads of great day trips, there are countless combinations to select from. Visit the Grand Canyon, see it from above by helicopter if you can. Red Rock Canyon, not far from Vegas, has lots of adventure pursuits for outdoor admirers.
What to Expect
Vegas is a real-life legend, and it’s not like the metropolises you’re used to. It’s a world-popular destination for crazy partying, a jungle of flashing neon and pumping music, and a treasure stash of excellent restaurants and enormous shops. What can you expect from your time in Sin City? Let’s find out…
Suggested Read: From Las Vegas to Utah, The Ultimate Holiday Guide
- You’ll Be Stunned by The Light Show – There’s truly nothing that measures up to the lights on the Las Vegas Strip. The shapes on display are marvellous, from hot air balloons to cowboy hats, crowns to guitars. The lights change in crazy patterns, flowing like water across chains of neon. It’s completely mesmerizing!
- You’ll Think You Can Just Stroll Down the Strip… And You’ll Be Wrong – It’s a prominent street for sure, but how long could it be? Well, as it turns out, around four miles. And it’s crammed end-to-end with thrilling, remarkable and enormous buildings. There’s so much to view and do that you can’t just walk down it and take it all in – this requires time to do it right!
- You’ll Realise That a Hotel Isn’t Just a Hotel – It’s just so much more. In Vegas, hotels are first and foremost huge monuments, constructed around fun-loving themes. From the sophisticated Bellagio’s emblematic dancing water fountains to the lavish extravagance of the Venetian, hotels are as much an artwork than shopping centres are homes.
- You’ll Have to Pick Between, Like, a Million Restaurants and Shops – In the Grand American custom, Las Vegas goes huge when it comes to food and shopping. All up and down the strip you’ll be confronted with limitless choices; aisle after aisle of clothes and enormous restaurants packed with lavish aromas of all kinds!
Top Attractions in Las Vegas
Casinos could be found all over Las Vegas, but the strip, an expanse of Las Vegas Boulevard South, has most of them. It consists of massive mega-casino hotels, adorned with extravagant care and attention to detail to make a fantasy-like ambience. The casinos frequently have names and themes that induce romance, mystery, and far-away destination. Walking down the strip is an enjoyable and sensible choice as the casinos are next to each other. Frequently, hotels are linked to each other either by a bridge or underground or in the instance of the Excalibur, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay, by a free rail shuttle. Be mindful that in the summer, the cruel heat in the daylight hours might make walking a very painful activity.
Travellers can hit a daily double when seeing the Bellagio Casino, well-known for its dancing fountains, conservatory, and botanical gardens. The garden has several plants; it takes 140 horticulturists to preserve it and also organize holiday-themed exhibitions. Specialists also answer tourists gardening questions every day in the conservatory. As remarkable as the gardens are, the fountains are even more breathtaking. They burst in a combination of light and music, varying from opera to Broadway tunes, regularly through the day and night. It’s difficult to argue with Bellagio when it refers to this show as “the most determined, choreographically intricate water feature ever imagined.”
Major Vegas hotels focus on themes or distinctive tactics to lure visitors. The Stratosphere Hotel is no exception. It is home to the Stratosphere Tower, which, at 1,149 feet (350 meters) tall, is the highest freestanding tower in the United States. The observation level is THE place to go for remarkable 360-degree sights of the city and surrounding landscape. Since the tower is open till 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends, it’s a great place to view Las Vegas at its sparkling best. One of the most toured attractions in Las Vegas, the tower would charm daredevils and adventure seekers too who, for a price, could sky jump off the tower at 855 feet (261 meters).
A larger-than-life resort, Caesars Palace was visualized and constructed by Jay Sarno, who worked hard constructing motels during the 1950s. His adoration for gambling led him to Las Vegas, where he imagined a casino much more trendy than what the Strip had been providing. And so Caesars Palace opened during 1966 for $24 million and was unlike anything Las Vegas had seen. With fountains and pools and staff in Roman-themed uniforms, it was an instant hit and set the bar for the themed-hotels that are so popular in Sin City today. The casino has made an appearance in numerous Hollywood movies since it opened its doors including the Academy Award-winning movie Rain Main and the 2009 hit comedy The Hangover.
Situated on the Strip, the Mirage is a Polynesian-themed casino and hotel with 3,044 rooms. The “volcano” at the Mirage Casino might be the world’s only volcano that doesn’t smell when it explodes. This volcano, which erupts every night from 8 p.m. to midnight, emits out a Pina colada aroma. This fake volcano also explodes to a soundtrack of real volcanoes erupting. The Mirage is filled with other attractions, which include a giant aquarium situated behind the hotel’s front desk. The aquarium is home to 450 fish that swim about an artificial coral reef. Suited-up divers clean the tank numerous times weekly in the early morning, offering another exceptional sight to see.
Fremont Street Experience
The Fremont Street Experience is an attraction no tourist to Las Vegas should miss. Situated on a five-block division of Fremont Street, recognized as Glitter Gulch in the city’s early years, the Fremont Street Experience is a top-grade sound and light show that would wow the senses. Vibrant displays of lights and loud music happen several times a night below a 90-foot high canopy. Casinos and other businesses switch off their lights, a sign that a light show is about to start. Nearly 12 million LED lights flash across the pedestrian mall situated in the historic part of Las Vegas. The show could only be described as “completely awesome.”
The Venetian Las Vegas
Venice, Italy, is well-known for its canals and singing gondoliers, but travellers wouldn’t need a passport to ride the Grand Canal at the Venetian Casino Resort in Nevada’s biggest metropolis. The Venetian named their leading shopping mall the Grand Canal, then constructed a canal across it. Gondolas, complete with costumed singing gondoliers, lead their craft underneath bridges and balconies, and past shops with external décor that imitates the real thing. Couples could share a kiss beneath the Rialto Bridge or any of the other bridges, for that matter. Here’s to smooth sailing!
Paris Las Vegas
Exceptional views of Las Vegas wait for travellers who take part in the Eiffel Tower Experience at Paris Las Vegas. This half-scale model of the real thing goes up to 46 stories into the sky, confirming it is a Vegas monument. Once at the observation deck, tourists are treated to 360-degree sights of Las Vegas. On a clear day, one could see forever. Don’t know any of the monuments? Not to worry, the staff will name them. The views are mainly spectacular at night when the city that never sleeps is lit up like a Christmas tree.
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