Spring Break Spotlight: Las Vegas

Weekend Wanderlust

Jamie Hazlett / Sun Star Columnist
March 8, 2011

Chosen as the number one 2011 spring break destination by www.studentuniverse.com, a website catering to the travel needs of university students and faculty, Las Vegas is a great option for those hoping to trade snow in for sand. Since it’s located in the United States, you won’t need a passport to fly in or out, money won’t need to be changed, and the language is one you already know. Plus, Las Vegas offers something for everyone, so you can split your hotel room with an offbeat roommate without worrying about running out of things to do.  This time of year, the heat won’t be too unbearable for those of us accustomed to packing ourselves into parkas, with daily highs averaging in the 60s and low 70s.

The price might seem a little prohibitive at first – Alaska Airlines is advertising round trip fares from Fairbanks to Las Vegas in the $800-900 range if you pick carefully – but considering that round trip fares to Mazatlan or Miami are being quoted in the $1500-1600 brackets for the week of spring break, Las Vegas starts to look like a steal. Split your hotel with a friend or two, and not only will you have more money when you reach your destination, you’ll also have more energy with which to spend it. Since Las Vegas is a lot closer to home than the Caribbean or Europe, you’re looking at less flight time, which equals less jet lag.

The obvious attractions in Las Vegas are well known; gambling, drinking, and taking in a show are more or less standard vacation staples in this town. For a less predictable visit, stop by the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and let your Willy Wonka fantasies take over as you watch chocolatiers mix, melt, and mold candy delights, then sample the results on the free tour. A trip to M&M’s World will have your head spinning from all the different colors and the heady smell of so much sugar.  If your fancy leans more towards animal attractions or juxtaposition, hit up the MGM Grand’s Lion Habitat, located inside the hotel itself.  Perhaps you might also drop by the Flamingo hotel and casino to take a stroll through their indoor Wildlife Habitat, which features the establishment’s namesake species, as well as a variety of other birds.

Once you’ve gotten your fill of urban sprawl, consider taking a one- or multi-day trip away from the city.  Floyd Lamb Park, located 20 miles from the Strip, offers a green playground to those whose eyes need a break from the desert. This park has been home to everything from dinosaurs to divorcees, and is worth a visit if you want an ultra-abridged tour of the area’s history. Nearby Red Rock Canyon offers hiking and sightseeing, and man-made Lake Mead caters to water enthusiasts.  Those eager to stand 700-plus feet above the Colorado River or view a National Historic Landmark should head for the Hoover Dam.

Need to nurse a nasty sunburn? Duck into the Atomic Testing Museum and measure your own radioactivity, or stop by the Luxor, where “Bodies…The Exhibition” is currently displaying actual preserved human bodies that showcase the various bits and pieces that make us, us.  This is rumored to be a particularly good show for those trying to kick their cigarette habit to see.  Check for local exhibitions particular to your interest, too. There’s always something cool going on.

Whether your spring break goal is to get a tan, see a great musical act, view an amazing museum exhibit, hike a breathtaking trail, or just kick back for a week with a slot machine and a mixed drink, Las Vegas is the destination for you.   This city has many options for gourmands of every appetite, so what are you waiting for?  Dig in!

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