Last minute adventures seem to be our go to here at grâce belle and our trip to Las Vegas, Nevada was no exception. We hopped into our car and headed toward the desert in hopes of finding the unexpected adventure. Vegas is often known for its party scene, but we sought the task of finding the hidden gems in the city apart from this infamous stereotype.
What to Do
No trip to Vegas is complete without a stop at the sign that greets you as you drive into the city. We made sure to start of first day at the infamous sign in true fashion and recommend every visitor do the same. No matter the time of day, crowds line up to take a picture, so prepare for a wait, but do arrive earlier in the morning to capitalize on the softer lighting.
Seven Magic Mountains
As ones nears the end of the drive along the 15 freeway into Las Vegas, seven neon rocks structures spring from the desert floor combining the natural and artificial. We exited the freeway, hopped out of the car, and took advantage of the perfect golden hour lighting. This installation will only be on display for a few more months, so if you have been wanting to visit, do so sooner rather than later.
Ethel M. Chocolate and Cactus Garden
The oddest combo we have yet to find, this chocolate factory also features the largest botanical cactus garden in the South West. We wandered throughout the over 300 species of plants found within the grounds as the warm glow of the sun fell among the cacti. This free activity is a must do for any prickly plant lover out there.
Where to Eat
Originally started in New York City and once selling only hot dogs, this now burger and shake joint has found its place in the Mojave Desert. We indulged in three different burgers: Shack Burger, Hot Chick’n, and a ‘Shroom Burger as well as two concretes and a shake. We absolutely love companies that stand for a cause and their newest concrete, Pie Oh My, donates 5% of sales to each Shake Shack’s charity partner. We tried this freshly baked pie stuffed concrete and boy was it yummy! We practically rolled out of this place and plan on doing the same next time we visit one close to home.
Recess Italian Ice
We needed to beat the desert heart and this little shop definitely hit the spot. Recess serves freshly made Italian ice that you can either customize or order one they have created. Our favorite flavor was the ube and green tea custard swirl on the cutest teddy bear cone.
Where to Caffeinate
Located just outside Las Vegas in Henderson, this coffee shop embodies the grâce belle aesthetic, making a visit necessary. Reminiscent of Los Angeles coffee shop vibes and featuring the sweetest baristas, this shop was the perfect break after a day running around Las Vegas.
We first tried this coffee shop during our Portland trip and whenever one is in sight, we must stop. We even joked our reason for driving to Vegas was solely to satisfy our never ending Dutch Bros craving. The coffee shop holds true to its original value of “spreading the Dutch Luv” by giving away over one million drinks a year. If it’s your first time, make sure to let them know and they will serve you a drink on the house! Our favorite drinks are the Annihilator and Chai Tea.
Where to Adventure
Valley of Fire
As we entered the Valley of Fire, the warm sun glowed over the mountains in the distance, giving life to its name. Located 50 miles outside of Las Vegas, a trip to this red sandstone park formed by shifting sand dunes 150 million years ago is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle. We ran around the park, taking breathtaking photos, and concluding the hour drive and 4 a.m. wake up call was definitely worth it.