As the sun sets on Las Vegas, the slumbering city comes to life. Glittery lights blink awake, the volume of competing music from different venues increases and the sounds of laughter and slot machines fill the air. When darkness falls, Vegas rises.
That’s what makes the Las Vegas Night Strip Helicopter Tour such a great way to see the city. Or, as my girlfriends and I used it, the perfect way to get hyped up for a night out on the town. We knew we were in for a great time when we were greeted at check-in with champagne – that’s our kind of tour!
We quickly made friends with our helicopter-mates, two couples, all of us celebrating different occasions. That’s one thing I love about Las Vegas – everyone is there to toast to something! The seven of us set off in a shuttle — bubbly in hand — that dropped us off on the runway, the bright red helicopter already fired up nearby. I was lucky enough to ride shotgun with the pilot, but we all were able to communicate easily thanks to our headsets.
I had the sensation of being in a hovercraft as we lifted smoothly up into the darkness. I felt a moment of fear as we rose high above the glittering lights of the casinos and hotels, over the Bellagio, beyond The Aria, past The Venetian, over The Wynn. The jolt of adrenaline passed quickly though as I enjoyed the sensation of watching a 2D map come to life in front of me.
Our pilot provided commentary and history about Las Vegas while I daydreamed about lounging in the various pools we floated above. As we turned and soared past the observation deck of the Stratosphere, it was if we were in a video game. Then we passed the space beam of the Luxor Pyramid and I suspected we were on another planet entirely. While I was sad for the helicopter to land, I was excited to get out and play on ground level in all the places we had seen from the sky.
The flight lasts from 12-15 minutes and takes in 22 miles, covering the hotels and casinos of the Strip as well as Fremont Street and downtown Las Vegas. After the flight, transportation is provided to the Excalibur Casino. I can attest to the fact that the views from the front seat are excellent, while my assistants in the back recommend getting left-side seats (when facing the front of the helicopter) if possible. Keep in mind that there is a $15 fee payable to the tour operator when you check in for your ride.
As we set off for a night of dinner, drinks and dancing, we were more excited than ever to explore the Strip – after all, we had just had aerial views of every part of it! Knock-out views and a kick of adrenaline — this tour is the perfect way to kick off a weekend of Vegas-style adventure.
Photos courtesy of Alex Baackes.
– Alex Baackes