About Us...
and this website

Las Vegas Overview

Vegas Here We Come

Where to Stay & Why

Getting Around the City

Attractions & Sightseeing

Entertainment & Shows

Dining in Las Vegas


Four Day Walking Tour

Sensible Gambling

Heading Back Home



Chapter 5: Attractions & sightseeing
5.1: Things to do on the Strip
5.2: Promotions and coupon books
5.3: Downtown Las Vegas
5.4: Other attractions nearby
5.5: Sightseeing tours
5.6: Side trip to Laughlin 
Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours 

5.5 Sightseeing tours

Various tour operators offer visitors a wide selection of sightseeing and activity options. The two tours most people want to see is Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. But there are many others. We are listing the major ones.

Hoover Dam

During the depression, more than 20 thousand of men and their families came to Black Canyon to tame the Colorado River ...about half were from California and Nevada. Black Canyon is about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Boulder Dam was renamed Hoover Dam The Union Pacific built a standard gauge railroad line between the dam site and Las Vegas which went through Boulder City where most of the workers lived. Needless to say, the influx of these pioneers in 1931 – the year gambling was legalized in Nevada – had a huge impact on the future of Las Vegas.
Actually, the growth of the entire Southwest can be tied directly to the electricity that comes from the dam.

The lowest wage paid dam workers was 50 cents an hour, and the highest was $1.25.
The average for all of the workers at the dam was about 62.5 cents an hour or $1,825 a year. Actually, this compares very favorably to what other people were making at that time.

Hoover Dam is named after Herbert Hoover, the U.S. President when construction began on September 30, 1930. It was finished in 1935, two years ahead of schedule and under budget. In 1933, Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt came into office and the name of the dam was switched from Hoover to Boulder Dam. It was switched back in 1947.

To this day – some 80 years later, it still is the biggest and produces more hydroelectric power than any other dam in the United States. It contains enough concrete to pave a strip 16 feet wide and 8 inches thick from San Francisco to New York City. At its base, Hoover Dam is as thick (660 feet) as two footballs fields measured end to end. It generates more than four billion kilowatt-hours a year -- that's enough to serve 1.3 million people!

It took less than five years, in a harsh and barren land, to build the Hoover Dam. Now, decades later, Hoover Dam still stands as a world-renowned structure. It is a National Historic Landmark, one that you definitely should see on your trip to Las Vegas.

Hoover Dam impounds the waters of Lake Mead, one of the world's largest artificial lakes. It has more shoreline than the state of California and took 6½ years to fill!

Due to the Sept., 11th terrorist attacks, bags, purses, cases, backpacks or fanny packs are not allowed inside the Visitor's Center and the tours are now more restricted.  Check out
this government website for more Hoover Dam information.

Today, close to 1 million visitors a year take the Hoover Dam tour and millions more drive across it from Arizona to Nevada. But large trucks and vehicles pulling trailers are still prohibited and many others are subject to inspection.

Here are some of the better priced Hoover Dam tours operating from Las Vegas. (There are others, but they are more expensive.) TO GET THESE PRICES, YOU MUST EITHER BOOK ONLINE, OR CALL THE TOUR OPERATOR AND MAKE A RESERVATION. Due to sales commissins, these prices are not available at your hotel or through a ticket agency. (If you call, be sure to ask for the special Internet pricing listed below.)

Tour operators generally offer two Hoover Dam tours. A 4 to 5 hour “Mini” bus tour costs about $40 and the 7 to 8 hour full bus tour (about $70.) Price includes free pickup and return to your hotel. Be sure to bring your camera.  May or may not include National Park Service tour while at Hoover Dam.

The National Park Service’s new Powerplant Tour - Includes 30-minute guided tour and admission to the Visitor Center & Powerplant (for a detailed description of the tour, click here).  Adults (Ages 17-61): $11.00; Seniors (62+): $9.00; Juniors (ages 4-16): $9.00.  You gain entrance into the internal Visitor's Center, indoor/outdoor observation decks, exhibits, a 10-minute film about the dam's construction and lectured presentations by professional guides who are located at various points of interest. It's worth seeing.

4½ Hour Hoover Dam Mini Tour  - by Look Tours, Phone: (702) 233-1627 - Toll Free: (800) 566 5868 - Regular price: $59.99 – Special $20.00 off Internet rate ($39.99.) Leaves at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Free pickup from most Las Vegas hotels approximately 1 hour before departure time. Tour with buffet lunch; Ethel M Chocolate Factory & Botanic Gardens $10.00 additional. ($49.99)  The 7 hour deluxe tour includes deli-style lunch; Ethel M Chocolate Factory & Botanic Gardens and 90-min Lake Mead cruise: ($72.99.)

Hoover Dam Deluxe Bus Tour - by Best Las Vegas Tours  – Toll-free Tel.: (866) 688-2378 – Now includes free tickets for the optional escorted Government Interior Hoover Dam Tour!! - Regular (casino) price: $89.99 - Special price: $49.97. Leaves approximately 9:30 a.m. Tour duration: 7 hours. - You will be served a delicious buffet lunch and have time to visit Las Vegas' famous Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and world famous Desert Botanical Gardens.

Original Mini Hoover Dam Tour by Gray Line Las Vegas Sightseeing Tours - Tel: (702) 384-1234 -(800) 634-6579 - Approx. 4½ hours – 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Price Per Person: $60.00. Gray Line's Mini Hoover Dam Tour takes you along the winding and breathtaking road to Hoover Dam where you'll have two hours to explore and plenty of time to take in the Power Plant Tour included in your tour price. Gray Line provides complementary hotel pick-ups about 45 minutes prior to the tour departure.

Hoover Dam Express Tour by Las Vegas Tourist Bureau - (5191 Las Vegas Blvd.) Tel: 1-(800) 777-VEGAS - When you see how this magnificent structure was built into the walls of Black Canyon to hold back the Colorado River and create Lake Mead, you'll know why it is considered one of the "modern wonders of the world." You'll have 2 hours to explore. Departs 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. - Approx. 5 hrs hotel to hotel. Cost: $50.00. Deluxe tour includes lunch and Ethel M Chocolate Factory tour. Approx 9 hrs hotel to hotel - Departs 8:15 a.m. daily. Cost: $60.00.

4½ Hour Mini Tour by Hoover Dam Tour Co. – Tel. (888) 512-0075 or (702) 361-7628. – Tour Includes: Free courtesy hotel to hotel service - Deluxe bus with restroom. - Free Hoover Dam Power Plant Tour with access to the theater, exhibit rooms, generator room, observation deck as well as the Visitor's Center and the museum. Includes: Stop at Ethel M. Chocolate Factory (free samples). - Tour: Daily at 10:00 a.m. Cost: $59.99. Premium Deluxe Bus Tour: $79.99. (Fuel surcharge may apply.) 

Grand Canyon

More than 4.5 million people visit the Grand Canyon National Park annually. The park is huge ...some 1.2 million acres. The Grand Canyon is located solely in Arizona approximately 80 miles northwest of Flagstaff at about 7,000 feet above sea level.
Visitors can enjoy this greatest of national parks in a variety of ways. Most tours from Las Vegas are by bus. But helicopter and airplane tours are available at a much higher cost (...from $200 to $400 from Las Vegas. See below.)

Most visitors from Las Vegas take the bus tour to the South Rim which is open every day year round. Be prepared for a long bus trip. (It is 278 miles from Las Vegas to the South Rim.)
 Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
There are many overlooks that offer spectacular views of the canyon. The Colorado River flows along the bottom of the canyon, 5000 feet below the rim.  Trivia:  Except for a Navajo indian reservation, Arizona is on Mountain Standard Time year-round.  Check out this U.S. Government website on the Grand Canyon.  And the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce also has an interesting website here.

You must either book online or call the tour operator and make a reservation.

Due to sales commissions, these prices are not available at your hotel or through a ticket agency.

Grand Canyon South Rim National Park with Luxury Motor Coach Tour by Look Tours - (Tel. 800-566-5868 or 702-233-1627) - Operates Daily with free pickup from most Las Vegas hotels at approximately 6:00 a.m. - Tour duration: approximately 16 hours returning about 10:00 p.m. Product code: LAS-B0001. Restroom onboard luxury motorcoach. - A box lunch is included - Stops at pedestrian walkway along the new Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. Cost: $79.99 plus additional $10.00 per person processing fee. (Optional IMAX movie: $10.00) Free hotel pickup and return.

Grand Canyon South Rim Tour by Best Las Vegas Tours – Toll-free Tel.: (866) 688-2378 – Grand Canyon Luxury Bus Tour with guide. - Fully narrated tour. - 11 hours long (Departs 7:30 a.m., Returns 6:30 p.m.) – Special price: $91.88 - (Regular price: $159.99 each) – Free snacks, beverages, movies and bathrooms on Coach. Stops at all three major lookout spots. Highly rated tour. Park entrance fees included. Free hotel pickup and return. Also makes short stop at Hoover dam.

Grand Canyon Deluxe South Rim Bus Tour with brief Hoover Dam Photo Stop by Gray Line Las Vegas Sightseeing Tours - Tel: (702) 384-1234 (800) 634-6579 – Price: $135 each - Duration : 14 Hours - Product Code : LAS-GCS - Leaves your hotel at 7:30 a.m., returns about 8:30 p.m. Includes box lunch. - Pick-up & drop-off at Strip hotels - Grand Canyon & Visitor’s Center Admission - Pedestrian "Skywalk" option.

Grand Canyon National Park South Rim Bus Tour by Grand Canyon Tour Company - Tel: (800) 2-CANYON (800-222-6966) or 702-655-6060 – Includes Hoover Dam Photo Stop - Price: $79.99 per person - Includes all taxes, tour fees, entrance fees, fuel surcharges, booking fees and permits. - Sit down lunch at Grand Canyon Railway and five different Canyon stops - Pedestrian "Skywalk" option. Includes hotel pickup at: 6:30 a.m. with return about 9:30 p.m. - Motorcoachs have restrooms and flat screen TV.

Deluxe Grand Canyon West Rim MotorCoach Tour by Las Vegas Tourist Bureau – Tel. (800) 777-8342 or (702) 739-1482. - Includes free continental breakfast & lunch. – Brief stop at Hoover Dam - Approx 12 hours hotel to hotel – Special price: $139.00 per person. - Includes barbeque lunch prepared by members of the Hualapai Tribe or a Cowboy Cook-Out (subject to change and availability). - The admission to the pedestrian "Skywalk" is an additional $25 - Pickup approx 6:00 a.m. - Return drop off approx 6:00 p.m.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters 

offers one of the better tours of the Grand Canyon. Tour costs are in the $150 to $300 range per person, but you can save $50 to $70 by booking the flight yourself rather than by going through one of their commission dealers. Papillon has frequent special "price off" deals: check their website; then call them. Reservations: Telephone (toll free) 888-635-7272 or (local) 702-736-7243 for the best rate. Tours depart morning, noon and afternoon from the McCarran Executive Terminal. The tours are approximately 2.5 to 3.5 hours long, hotel-to-hotel. The flights are approximately 1.5 hours long with a short landing on the Canyon Floor. Complementary hotel shuttle service is included with your tour and cover most major hotel properties. The Golden Eagle Air Tour is probably the best. ($235 per person.)



 Death Valley National Park  Red Rock Canyon
 Grand Canyon  Valley of Fire State Park
 Hoover Dam  Lake Mead Recreation Area

Las Vegas Daytime & Nighttime Guided Bus Tours
Las Vegas city tours by bus Want to save a lot of walking? Take a narrated tour in an air conditioned motor coach of Las Vegas during the day ...or see the glitter of the city at night.

Here are some of the better tours. Includes hotel pickup and drop-off. Tours the Las Vegas strip, downtown, wedding chapel row ...and much more.

Tours are approximately 4 to 6 hours long.
TO GET THESE PRICES, YOU MUST EITHER BOOK ONLINE, OR CALL THE TOUR OPERATOR AND MAKE A RESERVATION. Due to sales commissions, these prices are not available at your hotel or through a ticket agency.
Las Vegas City Double-Decker Bus Tour – (Look Tours) – Special Internet price: $39.95  each – Operates daily – Tel. (702) 233-1627 or Toll Free: (800) 566 5868 – 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Las Vegas Champagne Night Tour – (Look Tours) – Special Internet price: $29.89 each – Mon-Sun – Tel. (702) 233-1627 or Toll Free: (800) 566 5868 – 5:30 to 11 p.m.

Las Vegas Neon Lights City Tour – (Grayline) – Price: $55.00 - Sun-Fri – 6:30 to midnight. - Hotel Pick-up from Strip Hotels - Motor Coach and Walking Tour with Live Guide. - Product Code : LAS-NL 
Las Vegas City "Discovery" Bus Tour - (Anywhere Tours) - Special price: $49.99 - Mon-Thur - 5 to 11 p.m. - 6 hours hotel to hotel. (Free pickup & return.
Vegas Nights Helicopter Strip Tour - (Maverick Tours) - (Tel. 888-261-4414) - Enjoy the "City of Lights" from the best view possible... the sky! Flight lasts approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Departs from Las Vegas terminal (Tour includes complimentary transportation to and from hotels within five miles of the Strip) - Price: $114.00 - ($109.00 + $5.00 fuel surcharge)

Factoid:  More than 5,000 workers relocated to Southern Nevada in 1931 to begin building the Hoover Dam. The city fathers decided the only way Las Vegas would survive was to make money off of the people who came to build the dam and those would later come to see it.

Factoid:  Nevada's answer was gambling which was re-legalized in 1931 after being banned in 1910. Glitter Gulch got its start in 1934 when the first big neon sign: "Legalized Gambling" appeared.

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