Fall Days in Sin City

Discover the offbeat pleasures of an autumn desert.

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Oh, desert. We feel for you, we really, really do. You get seasons -- of course you do! -- but too often pop culture passes you over to highlight crimson trees and golden grasses.

In fact, one of the most fun and funky spots to take in some autumnal pleasures is Las Vegas, a city that, you may have heard, has intimate knowledge of the desert and its ways. So, where to go in October and November if you're in Sin City and not on a leaf-peeping tour? You might head for...

The Bellagio: Every hotel has its own whimsical, odd, or eye-popping attractions, but the Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens go less for the bulb-blinking, over-the-top methods and more for flowers and trees. The autumn theme is up now and on through Nov. 29, which means visitors will be treated to a display of over 8,500 chrysanthemums, up to 2,500, and a 20-foot "enchanted talking tree." Okay, that's pretty classically whizbang Vegas. We think we're sweetest on the giant cider mill. How often does one see a cider mill inside a state-of-the-art casino, anyway?

The Golden Nugget: Beer festivals are a staple of the later part of the year -- holler, Oktoberfest -- but beer isn't always the first beverage that pops to mind when one thinks of Vegas. (Aside: Can you make a fancy Vegas getaway commercial *without* showing a martini? Discuss.) But fine brews are fall in a glass, so we're heading downtown to the Fall Beer Fest and Oktoberfest on Oct. 18 and 19, respectively. It's at the Nugget and the theme? American craft beer. Cheers to that.

The Neon Museum: The Sin City sign boneyard is throwing a Boneyard Bash in honor of Halloween. Please -- a giant space of former blinky signs as a scary party setting? This is the stuff that Hollywood set designers dream of. Just be warned: Zombies will be present (there's a zombie Vegas showgirl on the site to drive the point home). Date? Friday, Oct. 25.

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