This grand geological park, located 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas, is Nevada's oldest state park. Its brilliantly colored sandstone formations were generated from 150 million years of weathering in the Mojave Desert. In fact, the park's name comes from the vibrant appearance of sunlight on the red rocks. Evidence of ancient trees and early man are found throughout the park in areas of petrified wood and 3,000-year-old Native American petroglyphs. Popular activities include camping, hiking, picnicking and photography. A visitor center acquaints folks to the on-site attractions. Seventy-two campsites are available for an additional fee (first-come, first served) and come equipped with shaded tables, grills, water and restrooms.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Valley of Fire State Park is filled with other-worldly rock formations, hiking trails, picnic areas and wildlife.
Terrisa's expert tip: Be sure to bring your lunch and plenty of water as there aren't any stores or restaurants near the Valley of Fire. You'll find plenty of picnic areas sprinkled throughout the park.
One of Las Vegas' premier art collections, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art features ever-changing exhibitions to give both tourists and Las Vegas residents the opportunity to see incredible works and artists. Displays rotate throughout the year and in the past have featured Impressionists, Andy Warhol, Lichtenstein, Faberge Eggs, Japanese art and Pablo Picasso. Year-long exhibits rotate in each year; check the website for information about the current artists on display. From November 2020 to February 2021, a collection of art work on loan from local collectors is on display. Look for work by Picasso, Diane Arbus, George Condo and Takashi Murakami, among others.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Exploring the collection at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts is a romantic way to spend quality time together.
Terrisa's expert tip: The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is a small space, and buying tickets ahead of time is strongly recommended. Discounts are available for military, students, seniors over 65, and Nevada residents; ID is required.
Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is a small oasis in the dry Mojave Desert. It's just a short drive down the road from Red Rock Canyon and is about 40 minutes from the Strip. The grounds are dotted with historic buildings, some dating to the 1860s. Grassy meadows, trees from a former orchard, and hiking trails surround the main ranch house. Picnic areas offer visitors a place to enjoy lunch, and in summer there are outdoor plays in the evenings in one of the meadows. The dramatic Wilson Cliffs offer a backdrop of vertical sandstone that will have you snapping away with your camera. A red one-story ranch house is the centerpiece of the park, and it has a fascinating history that includes Howard Hughes. The interior has been preserved and acts as a visitor center. Guided tours are available, and docents are on hand to answer questions.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Spring Mountain Ranch State Park offers a picturesque setting for a picnic and a leisurely stroll of the grounds.
Terrisa's expert tip: Spring Mountain Ranch is one of the few areas in the Red Rock Canyon area that has picnic areas, complete with tables and grills. If you'd like to have a picnic at Red Rock, this is the best place to do it.
Vegas Balloon Rides will show you Las Vegas from several hundred feet in the air, giving you a spectacular bird's eye view of the Las Vegas Strip, the incredible Red Rock Canyon and beyond. Drift silently over the city and desert where you can see wildlife and even talk with onlookers down below. The flight lasts about an hour, and after landing, a champagne toast is held to celebrate completing a wonderful adventure. Plan on three to four hours for the whole experience. The roomy baskets hold from eight to 12 people. Flights start early, when passengers meet the pilot 30 minutes before sunrise and are then taken to the launch location. Afternoon flights are offered for a few months in winter.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Floating through the sky in hot air balloon is a romantic adventure you won't soon forget.
Terrisa's expert tip: You won't experience a significant temperature drop when you go up in the balloon, but you will be outside for several hours. Dress in layers, in weather-appropriate clothing and wear closed-toed shoes.
Las Vegas is known for lots of things, including its wealth of colorful neon. But where do old signs end up? If they're lucky, in the possession of the Neon Museum. Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic and cultural enrichment. In addition to an approximately two-acre Neon Museum campus, which includes the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, the museum also encompasses a visitors' center housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby as well as several restored signs installed as public art throughout downtown Las Vegas.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The Neon Museum's collection of rescued and restored neon signs will take you back in time to a prior Las Vegas.
Terrisa's expert tip: The Neon Museum's new online tour permits guests to roam around a virtual Neon Boneyard, where they can explore sign descriptions and other archival content. It's perfect for additional information on the historic neon or if you can't see the signs in person; cost is $10.
One of Las Vegas' most iconic attractions is also one of the most romantic. The Fountains of Bellagio features more than 1,200 fountains spanning 1,000 feet across Lake Bellagio, choreographed to send water soaring as high as 460 feet into the air. Couples can watch the magnificent fountains "dance" to 32 different songs. The arrangements each take several months to develop, design and perfect. Romantic tracks include Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," Andrea Bocelli's "Con Te Partiro," but those are only a couple of songs in the playlist, which changes periodically. The short, free shows take place every 30 minutes Monday-Friday from 3-8 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and holidays every 30 minutes from noon-8 p.m., then every 15 minutes until midnight.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The mesmerizing Fountains of Bellagio are choreographed to move magically in time with accompanying music.
Terrisa's expert tip: Several of Bellagio's restaurants face the fountains, and some also have outdoor patios. If you'd like to enjoy a meal with the dancing fountains as a backdrop, check for reservations at Lago, Spago, Yellowtail and Prime Steakhouse.
The Eiffel Tower Experience at Paris Las Vegas recreates of one of Europe's most famous landmarks, and it's as romantic as the original. It's been the site of countless proposals over the years. The observation deck, located 46 stories above the city, offers guests a sweeping 360-degree view of Las Vegas, which is spectacular at any time of day, but even more so at night. Visitors take an elevator up to the deck where an experienced ambassador greets them, points out Las Vegas landmarks and talks about interesting historical facts. After that, you're free to walk around and take photos - or get serious and pop the big question. Couples can attach a lock and throw away the key at a fence leading up to the observation deck, memorializing their love.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The viewing deck atop Paris Las Vegas' Eiffel Tower gives couples a romantic setting and a dazzling view.
Terrisa's expert tip: A discount of $5.00 is offered to U.S. military and guests 60+; just show valid identification. Nevada residents can also get half price tickets with Nevada ID.
Las Vegas is well-known for its sizeable array of award-winning restaurants, many with celebrity chefs at the helm. For most visitors who are trying to figure out where to eat, it's often a classic case of too many restaurants, too little time. Finger Licking Foodie Tours and its sister company, Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, hope to solve that problem with walking tours that take guests to a selection of three or more restaurants, where tasting menus and VIP service await them - including zero wait times for seating. Tours encompass the most notable restaurants in Las Vegas, like Bardot Brasserie, Catch and Jean Georges Steakhouse. Tours cover eateries on the Strip, Downtown Las Vegas, the Arts District and Chinatown, with new tours and restaurants consistently coming online. Finger Licking Foodie primarily offers self-guided tours, while Lip Smacking Foodie offers more in-person guided options.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The new culinary tours at Finger Licking Foodie have an abundance of self-guided tours that accommodate a minimum of two guests.
Terrisa's expert tip: The Aria self-guided tour offers the option to add a 12-to-15-minute helicopter flight over the Strip at night. Cost is $100 per person and the flight takes place directly after the culinary tour.
More than 2,000 visitors per day flock to this chocolate production facility where truffles, cremes, cherry cordials, peanut brittle, and other sweet treats are made. If you're lucky, you'll get to watch the confectionery delights being created, and you can pick up a free sample or a hand-dipped ice cream cone. Self-guided tours are free, although it might be tough to pass up a purchase after watching the sweets being made. For the serious chocolate enthusiast, an outdoor chocolate tasting experience is offered for $20 per adult and $10 for children. A wine and chocolate tasting is available for those 21+. The cactus garden is free and is billed as the largest cactus garden in the Southwest, with over 300 species of plants displayed over three acres. During the winter holidays, the garden is lit up to create a wonderful holiday light display.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: If your idea of romance includes chocolate, a visit to the Ethel M Chocolate Factory should be on your to-do list.
Terrisa's expert tip: Some of Ethel M's signature creations are their liqueur collections, which use authentic and name brand spirits in their recipes â" enough that you must be 21+ in order to purchase.
If you can't make it to Italy for a romantic gondola ride in Venice, the gondola rides at The Venetian are the next best thing. Couples float through the vibrant Venetian streetscape of the Grand Canal Shoppes, or cruise around the outside of the hotel in an authentic Venetian gondola as a talented singing gondolier sets the mood for romance, crooning romantic Italian songs like "That's Amore!" Private two-person gondolas are available, or couples can make it a double date and book a four-person gondola. A professional photographer will also be on hand to snap a few quick photos before your voyage, although couples are encouraged to bring their own cameras along as well.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The Venetian's gondola rides are as close to the real thing as couples can get, short of booking a flight to Italy.
Terrisa's expert tip: Outdoor gondola rides may be closed during colder months, as they operate on a seasonal and weather-related basis. If you're set on an outdoor ride, check ahead to be sure they're available.