There are certain things about Las Vegas that you can take for granted. There will be gambling opportunities, bright lights and plenty of bachelorette parties on the go.

20253-Stratosphere-TowerThere will be memory-making moments you’ll laugh about long after you leave and things that are better left unrepeated. (What happens there stays there, right?) But along with the tried and trues there are also some things about Vegas that might surprise you. Forget what you thought you knew about Sin City and explore these other ways to overindulge.

If gluttony is on your list of must accomplish sins, Vegas can help. There are the buffets that are world renowned of course but you’ll also find restaurants that dazzle and impress by some of the best chefs in the world. Most high end hotels now boast a celebrity chef and signature restaurant. A few you should add to your must try list include L’atelier Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand and Guy Savoy in Ceasar’s Palace.

Vegas has long been a popular concert destination for performers and in the early days there were always a few that called it home (Long live the rat pack!) but in recent years the house acts have upped the ante with celebrity starlets who boast long lists of recording accolades checking in for long stays around the city. These days you can find anyone from Celine Dion to Brittney Spears to Jennifer Lopez (her stay starts in January) in productions well worth the cost of admission. Long term projects mean the investment in show-stopping lighting, choreography and costumes is bigger and better and you are guaranteed a show to remember.

Canadians will proudly tell you that Cirque de Soleil is one of our proudest accomplishments and the Quebec original has  long made a second home in Las Vegas. You can catch one of eight productions on any given night in Las Vegas. From “Ka” to “O” and now the very popular odes to the Beatles ( “Love” ) and Michael Jackson (“One”). Buy your tickets early: Shows tend to sell out quickly.

Spa Time
It may be all “bright lights, big city” outside but inside some of those towering Vegas hotels you’ll find spa sanctuaries worthy of the big spenders who frequent them. With hotels putting out all the stops to wow with their interiors, there was no way they were going to fall short on their spa dens. The Mandarin Oriental offers a 2500 square foot Asian themed oasis set high above Las Vegas Boulevard. The Canyon Ranch Spa Club at the Venetian brings the desert original to Vegas with a menu offering more than 100 options. The Sahra Spa and Hammam at the Cosmopolitan brings a middle eastern flair to the mix.

27339-Las-Vegas-NevadaOutdoor Adventure

You’ll find most of the action and the crowds on the Vegas Strip – that stretch of roadway lined with hotels and life-size replicas of famous monuments – but if what you’re seeking is the desert landscape you won’t have to go far to find it. The Red Rock Canyon is 30 minutes west of the strip and offers great views whether on foot or in the car.  Rafting along the Colorado river will include sightings of the Hoover Dam. Throughout the state you’ll find many opportunities for hiking, biking and exploring the region away from the slots.