Think of Nevada and bright neon lights and fortune making (or breaking) casinos undoubtedly come to mind. If you want to gamble, watch shows and indulge in opulence, this is the place for you. World-famous Las Vegas remains the state's star attraction, but it's definitely not the only one. Smaller and less glitzy is Reno – a city renowned for both casinos and outdoor adventure opportunities. Further west towards California, head to Lake Tahoe and you'll find world-class ski resorts as well as countless boating and fishing opportunities. If you've got more time to explore, experience some classic American hospitality in one of Nevada's old-time towns such as the state's capital, Carson City.
First stop for many visitors to Nevada is the famous Las Vegas strip. A 6.8-kilometre stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard lined with casinos, the Las Vegas strip is where you'll find 15 of the world's 25 biggest hotels. While it's easy to get lost in the flashing signs, a beacon of saving light is the Las Vegas Bellagio Fountains – a stunning display of choreographed water, light and music. A state that treasures its outdoors as much as its indoors, over towards the California border you'll find Lake Tahoe, a mecca for snow sports enthusiasts made famous after hosting the Winter Olympics in 1960. Other Nevada highlights include the stalagmite and stalactite formations in the Lehman Caves, 200,000 acre Red Rock Canyon, and the magnificent scenery at the Valley of Fire State Park.
Eat and Drink
There's no need to pack a suit and tie to go out for dinner in Nevada, with the state's dining scene typically a more casual affair than what you'll find in places such as New York and Los Angles. If you're thinking about the likes of burgers, steaks and pancakes, you'll find them in abundance, with Nevada's diners a haven for classic American cuisine. Popular with tourists and locals alike are the state's many casino restaurants. Though dining in a casino might not sound enticing to you, rest assured this is where you'll find some of Nevada's best chefs. For somewhere higher on the character and ambience scale, take your choice from the many hip bars and restaurants in Las Vegas' Fremont East District or the Midtown area in Reno.
Where to Stay
Whether you're winning at the poker table or not, accommodation in Nevada runs the gamut from budget motel rooms to lavish hotels. Hotels, motels and inns are spread right across the state, but Las Vegas and Reno are where you'll find the most variety. The city's casino complexes make popular places to catch some winks with many of the themed hotels, such as Paris Las Vegas and the New York New York Hotel, both fun and convenient places to stay. Away from the gambling strips, you'll find a ready supply of accommodation that's less glamorous but just as comfortable. For a quiet escape, head to Nevada's capital Carson City – a friendly town offering some of the best access for those wanting to ski at Lake Tahoe.
Casino winners will be grinning with the amount of options Nevada has for you to spend your success on. Shopping in Las Vegas in particular can be a suitcase-filling expedition, with the Grand Canal Shops at the Venetian designed to resemble a traditioanl Venice street. For world-leading brands including Gucci and Armani, head to the Forum Shops or Via Bellagio; to bag a bargain, visit the Las Vegas Outlet Centre or The Outlets at Sparks. Those in Nevada for the outdoors rather than the indoors can still pack lightly as there is an abundance of sports stores located right throughout the state, especially around the Lake Tahoe area.
Nevada Like a Local
Considering Nevada's often barren landscape, you might be surprised to learn that the state is home to many great lakes. Lake Tahoe is the most renowned of the bunch, but locals know it's definitely not the only one worth visiting. Best not read this aloud because Angel Lake, sheltered from the world by a shield of mountains, remains a well kept local secret! A sacred place for Nevada's indigenous population, Pyramid Lake's trademark is its pyramid-shaped limestone formations and crystal blue waters. More renowned of all is Lake Mead – one of America's most important water reservoirs and a popular place for boating, fishing and hiking. In Las Vegas, where you'll find a man-made appropriation of just about everything, there's Lake Las Vegas, a 320-acre artificial lake.