Vegas! Vegas! Vegas! 3 Days, 3 Ways
On the Strip, off the Strip, and out of town—native Geraldine Campbell reveals insider tips to make your next trip a win-win-win proposition.
On-call tour guide
The new Vegas edition of GyPSy Guide's GPS-based electronic tours is the ultimate independent traveler's resource. Just stick it to your car's dashboard and start the engine; as you tool around, the narrator kicks in, spitting out factoids ("Las Vegas has the most outdoor escalators in the world"), suggesting photo ops, and directing colorful side trips to spots as far off as the Hoover Dam, 30 miles southeast. gypsyguide.com, $49 per day.
Come summer, 100-degree days are the rule, not the exception. But just outside of town, temperatures drop fast: Atop the 11,918-foot Mount Charleston, the mercury slips by as much as 45 degrees, an enticing reason to try the 10.3-mile hike to the summit and back (Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, 4701 N. Torrey Pines Dr., free entry). If you're after something a little tamer, Red Rock Canyon's 2.6-mile Ice Box Canyon trail is a shaded, gentler walk that can still clear the din of slot machines from your ears (redrockcanyonlv.org, $5 per car).
Ask any native: The best pizza in town is not at some fancy Batali joint on the Strip, but in a shopping center in Henderson, about 12 miles away. Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana serves real Neapolitan pizzas, with a thin, lightly charred crust and San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy. Give your dressy duds the night off—dinner here is a family affair, jeans are the norm, and sharing is encouraged. 140 Green Valley Pkwy., settebello.net, Margherita pizza $10.
At the 814-room Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, 14 miles west of the Strip, panoramic views of color-washed rock formations are only the most obvious selling point. There's also the Adventure Spa, with hiking, biking, and kayaking tours; a 16-theater cinema; a bowling alley; and restaurants ranging from the no-nonsense Bagel Cafe to a brand-new outpost of the Yard House, a beer-centric bar with 130 drafts on tap. Free shuttles transport guests to and from the Strip six times a day. 11011 W. Charleston Blvd., redrocklasvegas.com, doubles from $85.