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B Adventurous: Las Vegas Neon Signs & Valley of Fire

As the summer holiday season is fast approaching, at Jules B H/O this week we’ve been thinking about a sneaky alternative to a beach break. Las Vegas isn’t just a place for a stag do or a makeshift wedding. Nevada just got chic…

As the largest city in Nevada, Las Vegas certainly enjoys the nickname of ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’, as after the state legalised gambling in 1931, this desert surrounded small settlement grew steadily to the bustling neon mecca it is today. In less than 20 years, the construction of the famous Hoover Dam and Flamingo Hotel brought both workers and tourists to the area, and in turn started the building boom. But what’s modern Las Vegas actually like? Long gone is the organised crime and mob involvement that first evolved Nevada’s gambling industry before the 1990’s when federal enforcements took charge. Instead we’re left with a place full of glitz, glamour, and let’s face it, money. We’ve all seen the photo’s of the ‘strip’ (Las Vegas Boulevard to be precise), its bright signs luring us in to visit monstorous casino-hotels and shopping malls, and heard the wedding chapel marriage stories- Sinead O’Connor, Mike Tyson and Angelina Jolie to name a few. But there’s atually a lot more to Vegas than you’d first expect.

The clue’s in the titles with the famously nicknamed Neon Boneyard. The Neon Museum is dedicated to preserving the individual history of Las Vegas by caring for its elderly neon artforms. Set downtown, the museum has been saving theses snippets of quick pace Vegas life since 1996, and now has a collection of over 150 donated or rescued pieces. The Boneyard is the heart of the extensive collection, spanning over 2 acres with its inhabitants dating from between the 1930’s-1990’s from well known motels, businesses and casinos. The area is not electrified, however for some lucky pieces the Neon Signs Project is at hand to lovingly restore them back to their former glory in partnership with the City of Las Vegas, to display them down Las Vegas Boulevard. When in town, the Neon Museum is a must see and a real insight into the history of such an iconic mix of sculptural design and sign making. For more photos, click here to visit Frank McKenna’s inspirational blog.

Situated not far from Las Vegas, the Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park. Open all year round, it features 3000 year old Indian petroglyphs and areas of petrified wood scattered amongst its statuesque red sandstone formations that were created from giant shifting sand dunes 150 million years ago. Uplifting and extensive erosion has played its part, and now the whole area stands as a playground for walkers and explorers, boasting its own unique mix of flora and fauna.

The Black Canyon of the Colorado is the canyon on the Colorado River that’s home to the Hoover Dam, right at the state line between Nevada and Arizona. Impounding Lake Mead, the dam was built to control floods, provide irrigation and produce hydroelectric power.

The Luxor hotel is a mega 30 story and 20,000 sq ft casino hotel famous for its shows, exhibitions, beaming top light and unique design. Designed by renowned hotel architect Veldon Simpson and opened in 1993, it’s one of the most recognisable hotels on the strip due to the unique dark bronze glass pyramid design, and 110 foot recreation of the Great Sphinx of Giza that stands proudly outside. What’s even more impressive however, is the buildings 42.3 billion candlepower Luxor Sky Beam that shines boldly from its top and holds the title of the strongest beam of light in the world. It has been said that a person would be able to read a paper from up to 10 miles upwards, and is even visible from outer space.

With an impressive selection of permanent and touring shows mixed with world renowned exhibitions, isn’t it about time you visited the Luxor? Right now the building also houses Titanic: The Artefact Exhibitions which holds a selection or passengers possessions that were rescued from the wreck including priceless jewellery, gaming chips, passenger papers and even a section of its decorative staircase and hull. 20 million people have already been to visit, and the exhibition looks set to draw in crowds, even in its seemingly bizarre choice of venue. Not for the faint hearted, the hotel also currently plays host to the famous Bodies exhibition, which uncovers the secrets of the human body through an innovative preservation process.

With a subtropical desert climate and an average of 300 sunny days a year, at this time of year its going to be hot hot hot so pack accordingly. For the evening, dress to the nines to fit in with the glamorous crowds that flock to Vegas for dinner and cocktails. For ladies, a figure hugging Forever Unique dress is the ideal statement piece teamed with go-with-everything Sam Edelman shoes, and a flash of colour with a Aamaya by Priyanka ring. For men, base your evening look around a colourful and fashion forward pair of Acne chinos and add a simple Eton shirt, with high shine Jeffery West shoes.

Forever Unique Cindy dress, £219.99

Aamaya by Priyanka ring, £184.99

Sam Edelman Tacoma shoes, £129.95

Jeffery West Gibson shoes, £274.99

Acne Roc satin chinos, £139.99

Eton linen shirt, £129.99

Outside the famous Bellagio hotel, an 8 acre lake is transformed into a water, music and light show designed to ‘romance your senses’ with changable routines and accompaniment. From opera to classical or Broadway, there’s a mix to keep everybody happy and what’s more, these regular running shows are absolutely free!

Happy travels!

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