Why Vegas Should Be Your Next Hockey Trip
Las Vegas has long been a town for sports fans.
With the Vegas Golden Knights playing their inaugural NHL season this year, Canadians will have plenty of reasons to follow their team to Vegas in the next seven months: More than 25% of the Knights’ home games are against Canadian teams — not least, a New Year’s Eve tilt vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs.
And while diehard fans won’t need additional incentive, consider that 16 nonstop flights arrive in Las Vegas daily from five different cities in Canada (sorry, Ottawa and Winnipeg fans; you’ll have to connect). For the best deals, look at packages that bundle flights and a hotel stay; often the all-in package price will be a few bucks more than airfare alone. We regularly see strong Las Vegas package deals from WestJet and Air Canada.
Now let’s cross-check how you’ll be spending your time outside the arena.
Here, nine iconic experiences you shouldn’t miss in Vegas.
Begin where it all began.
The Fremont Street Experience pairs the vintage Vegas glitz and glam with nightly light shows, free concerts and a zip line out of a giant, 12-story slot machine. For a trip down memory lane, stop by the Boneyard at the Neon Museum, with more than 200 old neon signs from some of the city’s since-faded shining stars. Guided tours are available hourly — but they do sell out, especially the night tours, so get your tickets in advance.
Take the Grand tour
Check off a bucket list item in four hours with a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. Our suggestion: Pay a little extra for the front seats (the views are much better) and book one of the last tours of the day. You’ll fly out, hover over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam, land in the Grand Canyon for a boxed lunch and bubbly, then head home as the sun sets and finish with a bird’s-eye view of the lights of The Strip.
Dinner and a show
Just about every celebrity chef has an outpost in Las Vegas. We’re talking Michael Mina, Lorena Garcia, Joël Robuchon, Giada De Laurentiis, Saipin Chutima, José Andrés — the list goes on. Get your reservation now — weekend tables can go quickly. No reservation? Many restaurants have a lounge area that’s first come, first served. We’ve scored many a sweet meal this way without a reservation.
Many of the hockey games overlap with the performances of A-list stars such as Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, Tony Bennett and the Backstreet Boys. Rock out on your first night in town, then root for your team on day two.
Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil has a second home in Las Vegas with seven jaw-dropping shows you can only see here.
Tee it up
You’ll want to get out on the links in Las Vegas, with three area golf courses making GOLF.com’s 2017 list of Top 100 Courses You Can Play. If you can swing it, twilight rates for afternoon rounds can often be had for as little as a dollar per hole.
Rather not walk the course? Head over to Topgolf at MGM Grand for a few mulligans at this over-the-top four-story virtual golf experience. Stay all day — it opens at 9 a.m.
How about getting behind the wheel of a 600-horsepower NASCAR race car for a few laps around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway? You can with the Richard Petty Driving Experience. And though drive dates overlap with most hockey game dates, Ottawa fans, take note: The real NASCAR is using the track when you’re in town.
Settle in at a sportsbook
Picture the ultimate man cave: Walls of TVs, food and drink at your beck and call, plenty of other fans rooting by your side. Game day can start at one of the city’s legendary sportsbooks — such as Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. Don’t forget to put a couple bucks down on the night’s game.
Get ready for the game
Before the game, head over to The Park just outside of T-Mobile Arena, where you’ll find a strong lineup of shopping and dining options. Our pick? Grab an outdoor patio seat at Beerhaus for an extensive craft beer menu, people-watching and bar games.
Drink it all in
Depending on the game result, you may want to hit the clubs to celebrate — or the cocktail lounges for a pick-me-up drink. (You’ll find a lot more Caesars on Vegas cocktail menus now that hockey is in town.)
If you’ve emerged victorious, ditch the hockey sweater and sneakers at your hotel and celebrate with bottle service at XS Nightclub at Encore. If the game didn’t go your way, go directly to The Chandelier at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a three-story bar inside a massive chandelier in the middle of the casino with a dazzle factor that will make you forget about hockey (for a little while).
Slow down and relax
If game day (and the rest of the trip) has taken a lot out of you, why not unwind before catching a flight out of town. Some of the best spas in the U.S. are located in Las Vegas, including Canyon Ranch SpaClub at The Venetian, with its 90 treatment rooms and signature hydrothermal suites.
Hotel spa day passes can be the way to go if you’re on a budget. For about half the cost of one treatment, enjoy all the spa amenities — which could include juices, steam room, private plunge pool, fitness classes and light food. At some hotels, spa access may already be included in the resort fee.
Ready to go? Get more tips and insider information from VisitLasVegas.com and start planning your hockey trip with Las Vegas deals.
A Canadian Hockey Fan’s Vegas Playlist …
Friday, Nov. 10 – Winnipeg
Celine Dion is in town. So are you. Make it work.
Sunday, Dec. 31 – Toronto
This is a day game, giving you plenty of options to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Expect higher than usual prices for club admission, and hotel rooms that come with a minimum-night stay requirement.
Saturday, Jan. 13 – Edmonton
It’s Oilers star Connor McDavid’s first work trip to Las Vegas. Tip: Fly in on game day to avoid high room prices from the Consumer Electronics Show, which ends Jan. 12.
Thursday, Feb. 15 – Edmonton
The Golden Knights are in the middle of a seven-game home stand, so serious Canadian hockey fans can catch a couple of games from Feb. 15-23. Also in town: Bruno Mars, Backstreet Boys, Elton John and Lana del Rey.
Saturday, Feb. 17 – Montreal
The Canadiens come to town in the middle of what Americans call Presidents’ Day weekend. By Vegas standards, this holiday weekend tends to be less busy than some others.
Wednesday, Feb. 21 – Calgary
A rare midweek game might make this one of the most affordable games to check out; hotel rates are much more budget-friendly for midweek stays.
Friday, Feb. 23 – Vancouver
Your pick for a big concert draw: J-Lo or El-Jo (Elton John).
Friday, March 2 – Ottawa
NASCAR is also in town this weekend, so hotels might be pricier. There are racing events on March 3-4 if you want to go all-in on sports in this trip.
Sunday, March 18 – Calgary
This weekend is one of the year’s busiest in Las Vegas, with March Madness drawing big crowds to the casinos to bet on the NCAA tournament. Bottom line: Hotel prices will be sky-high until Sunday night.
Tuesday, March 20 – Vancouver
Come for Calgary, stay for the Canucks.