bellagio las vegas

The always in-fashion Bellagio

red rock canyon las vegas

Photo: Courtesy George Hatoun

Red Rock Canyon

Las Vegas

A desert oasis in more ways than one

FIRST-TIME ESSENTIAL  Climb up the Stratosphere tower, Vegas’s highest viewpoint, after dark, and behold the metropolis built on bets twinkling against the lightless desert. TIP: While you’re there, hop on the Insanity ride, a roller coaster that dangles off the side of the 1,149-foot tower. stratospherehotel.com

FOR LOVERS  In a city where romance can often mean plastic champagne glasses and Elvis chapels, the new Cosmopolitan Hotel, which stretches a quarter-mile off the Strip, has just what you need for a romantic getaway. Hide out in one of its beautiful, modern terrace suites, which has a full kitchen, a soaking tub, and even a two-person love seat on the spacious balcony overlooking the Strip. cosmopolitanlasvegas.com, from $160

EAT THIS  The Paris Hotel may have the Eiffel Tower, but for Vegas’s best French cuisine head to Joël Robuchon in the MGM Grand. Executive chef Claude Le Tohic prepares a rich six-course meal that will fill even the most ravenous Francophile, with signature dishes like le boeuf, a sublime and simple beef rib eye with rock salt and vegetable fricassee. mgmgrand.com

RETAIL THERAPY  Even voracious shoppers may be overwhelmed at the Crystals at CityCenter, a 500,000-square-foot megachurch of consumerism completed in 2009 that houses upscale stores like Prada, Gucci, and Tiffany, as well as numerous art galleries. citycenter.com

las vegas neon boneyard

Photo: Courtesy the Neon Museum Inc. Copyright held by the Neon Museum Inc.

A taste of old-school Vegas at the Neon Museum Boneyard

REST YOUR HEAD  The strip’s fanciest hotel just got swankier. With a recent $70 million overhaul under its well-heeled belt, and, of course, its iconic fountains, nowhere screams “decadent winter getaway” quite like the Bellagio Resort & Casino. bellagio.com, from $169

WHAT YOU DIDN’T DO LAST TIME  The Neon Museum Boneyard showcases Vegas’s classier days. Wandering among its 150 signs salvaged from old, forgotten hotels, businesses, and casinos—some dating back as far as 1930—will make you long for the days when black ties and wingtips outnumbered T-shirts and sandals. neonmuseum.org by appointment only

  • 8 flights from PDX daily
  • 63 average high temp in February
  • 141,770 slot machines in Vegas

ZEN MOMENT  Breathe in the scent of yucca and Joshua trees on the 2.4-mile Arnight trail, which cuts through Red Rock Canyon. Just west of Vegas, this geological gem boasts over 50 miles of hiking trails along its sun-drenched auburn walls.Even Las Vegans will jump in front of developers’ bulldozers to protect it. redrockcanyonlv.org