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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hop On the Bus, Hop Off the Bus in Vegas

It wasn't that long ago that I was all excited about the concept of the Hop-On Hop-Off buses that I'd never been on before. Once I started, as predicted, I've never wanted to see a city any other way. Okay, that's not true, but I enjoy the tour buses so much, I've not gone anywhere since without climbing onboard one. Vegas has two routes for their buses (downtown and The Strip), so you can learn about different parts of town and have totally different photo ops and cool places to check out. The bus tour was included on my Explorer Pass from Smart Destinations and makes up a large portion of the cost, giving you a great discount on your activities while in town.

vegas tour bus

We spend a ton of time on the Strip each time we're in Las Vegas, so we chose to take the downtown route, since we've hardly made it down there on our many trips. You need to catch the bus out front of Circus Circus (the tour office is across the street). Choose a seat on the top deck of the double-decker for the best views and unimpeded views for your picture taking. The top deck has an attached shade to keep you from frying in the sun, but I suggest slathering on the sunscreen, popping on your sunglasses and picking a seat in the fourth row from the front, so you don't have the windshield in your way or the top, if you want to take photos. You'll thank me, especially if your bus is crowded. 

The downtown route takes you past the Mob Museum {you can read about it here} and the awesome new container park. If you don't know what a container park is, it's an area made up of those metal shipping containers, turned restaurants and shops. There's an amazing metal praying mantis out front that lights up the night by spitting flames to music when the sun goes down. It's free to enter and you'll find all different kinds of shops and dining venues. The kids can burn off their energy while you shop at the playground in the middle of the park. After 9, the park is 21 and over only and alcohol starts flowing. Wednesday and Sunday nights movie nights, where you can kick back with a beer and watch a popular classic. When we were there Caddyshack was playing.

Get back on the bus and check out Gold and Silver Pawn Shop from TV's Pawn Stars. You can get off here and stand in the quick-moving line to get inside. Along the way you'll see some of the city's graffiti art (which is commissioned by the city), famous chapels where celebrities got married, buildings that mark Las Vegas history and even Fremont Street. Jump off at the Golden Nugget, now a remodeled and chic hotel in the heart of downtown, and walk through to downtown's biggest draw. During the day, you'll be able to walk freely around the three-block stretch under the lighted canopy. Sit outside with an iced coffee or try your luck at any of the original Vegas casinos like Binion's Horseshoe or 4 Queens. At night, the only time it's dark here is when Freemont Street Experience is getting ready to run the show in the sky. The crowds are thick and there are tons of things to look at, including 3 stages with live music.

Further down the route, you can get off at the Las Vegas Outlet shops. If you're hoping to get a great deal on designer duds, this is where you want to go. You'll save an average of 30% off retail prices, plus the mall is inside, so you can cool off in the air conditioning while you shop 'til you drop. Other stops on your loop are the Stratosphere, the Las Vegas Convention Center and Circus Circus. 

The Strip loop takes you to the Las Vegas sign, the Linq's High Roller, the Eiffel Tower, the Miracle Mile Shops and more. You'll learn all sorts of Vegas trivia and you'll never look at the city the same again. 

What's your favorite part of Las Vegas?

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