If the prospect of another TSA-mandated search or rising gasoline prices impede your desire to try out one of our summer getaways, here are a few ways to experience each destination without ever having to leave the Valley:
The Las Vegas Walk of Stars on the Strip has a long way to go to catch the Hollywood Walk of Fame—the former, which debuted in 2005, has 71 stars; the latter, which unveiled its first star in 1960, has 2,550. But if you’re the least bit interested in our city’s history, our star walk is a good place to start, as it honors pioneers in entertainment and sports, as well as literary, humanitarian, civic and military luminaries. (Among the honorees: Wayne Newton, Liberace and Oscar Goodman.) Each 3-foot-by-3-foot star inlaid throughout the Strip is made of red Indian granite and weighs 180 pounds. … If you want to feel a part of a Hollywood studio’s decision-making process for future TV shows, the CBS Television Research Center in MGM Grand allows you to weigh in on pilot shows.
Step into Le Thai on East Fremont Street and let noodles and curries on the lovely patio transport you to the Rose City. … Walk into any farmers market to experience the faux-Portland ethos. … And if you’re all about the swoosh, check out Niketown at the Forum Shops at Caesars, an homage to all things Phil Knight (who for more than 50 years has been designing athletic apparel and marketing magic from the Portland suburb of Beaverton).
Inhale deeply, squint and sip some wine at sunset at Marché Bacchus along the shore of Lake Jacqueline in the Lakes, and you can pretend you’re not in the middle of the Mojave Desert but in wine country. The fine dining amid the requisite vegetation and wildlife complete the illusion—OK, so maybe that fourth glass helps, too. … For that true Sonoma taste, Flowers Vineyard & Winery is represented at Caesars Palace, the Cosmopolitan, Aria (at Sage), Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage and Westin Las Vegas.
As if you needed a reason to flee the heat of the Valley floor, the 90-acre visitors center on Mount Charleston opens May 30. Perched on a plateau off Kyle Canyon Road, the long-needed complex includes an education building, two small amphitheaters, picnic shelters, a kids’ play area and plenty of opportunities for cool contemplation.
There’s really no confusing Las Vegas with Aspen—except perhaps in their shared spirit of culinary adventure. At the Aspen Food & Wine Festival, June 19-21, you can rub elbows with the finest chefs of the land. … Any time of the year here, the Cooking Experience by Mise En Place (9500 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 170) is an 18-seat open kitchen where guests watch resident chefs prepare meals during live demonstrations and hands-on classes. … For an authentic glimpse of the Old West without the flight to Colorado, visit the venerable Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, which has been welcoming visitors to the frontier for more than 100 years.