Las Vegas Photowalk
Place: The wildest, craziest city in the United States, the Neon Jungle, a.k.a. Las Vegas.
Where: In the heart of the Nevada desert, 45 minutes from the California border and an hours drive from Arizona.
Why Las Vegas? Why not? The best collection of neon and wildly colorful signs you’ll see anywhere, with the bonus of giant hotels that let you get skyline shots easier than in most other cities.
Best time to visit: Summer is brutally hot, with daily temps topping 100 degrees, while winter can be nippy for those with California skin, or mild to anyone else.
Welcome to Las Vegas
This is a great place to start, in front of a tourist stop complete with Elvis impersonators and showgirls who’ll pose for a “toke” (tip.) It’s fun.
Most of the classic neon from years past is gone from Las Vegas, replaced by LED signs. The Flamingo Hilton (3555 S. Las Vegas Blvd.) still has an iconic sign, as do most of the hotels in downtown Las Vegas, including Binion’s (128 Fremont St.) and the Four Queens (202 Fremont Street.)
Waldorf-Astoria Sky Bar
Fabulous view of the Las Vegas Strip heading north, with the Aria, Planet Hollywood, Paris and Bellagio in front of your camera lens. Get there for sunset, get a drink, and have a seat by the window. Also fabulous place for a time lapse video. (See accompanying video below.) 3752 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Sky Bar
You won’t get the skyline here, just crazy, gaudy Vegas, with statues and figures to dull your senses. There’s also a pedestrian bridge right by Caesars, connecting you to the Flamingo across the street. Photos are tough here, as there’s a fence to prevent people from jumping, but there’s a slight opening on both ends of the bridge. If you have a camera lens, stick it through the opening and do your best! 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South.
Paris & LINQ
Two paid attractions will get you great overhead shots of Las Vegas, but you’ll have to work at it. The Paris hotel (3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South, $24.95) will let you take an elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower recreation, which again, is covered up in a fence, but if you’re crafty, you can stick your lens through. (As in the photo to the right, of the nightly Bellagio water show.) LINQ Skywheel (3535 Las Vegas Blvd. South, $35 for adults) across the street has a covered attraction that whisks you into the air for overhead shots, but this is best at night, as during the day, the marks on the glass are too apparent. If you had to pick one, the Paris is cheaper and gives you a more stunning overview.
All the way at the other end of the Strip, the Stratosphere (2000 Las Vegas Blvd. South) has a top floor attraction, without fences or other obstacles, to photograph the Strip to the south., looking back at the Encore, Caesars Palace, Mirage and others.