Every nationwide chain in the country has a franchise in Las Vegas, and while there is nothing wrong with putting a little more cash in the pockets these corporations, there are also a number of local businesses in Vegas that are worth checking out. If you have any money left over from the expensive holiday season, consider visiting one of these locally-owned spots and throwing a little support its way.
A cafe, candy store, coffee shop, ice cream parlor and clothing boutique – Hexx Chocolate & Confexxions offers it all to visitors of the Strip. Guests are welcome inside Hexx’s chocolate kitchen to see how cocoa beans turn into chocolate bars, and you can experience the whole process during a Chocolate Tour. Vegas Seven Magazine said Hexx tours provide “some of the finest chocolates available, and an interesting education on the nature of the product”. The confexxions bar allows shoppers to help themselves to truffles, retro candy and Hexx apparel, and the cafe allows hungry visitors to indulge in Peet’s Coffee & Tea, homemade pastries, hot chocolate and High Road Craft Ice Cream. Hexx itself is a supporter of small businesses and sources cocoa beans from places like Ecuador, Madagascar, and Peru.
Location: 3655 S Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas.
The trendiest way to indulge in your smoking habit is definitely at Cigarbox – located just west of the Strip. This cigar lounge and wine bar fills 2,500 square-feet of space with an “internet table,” humidor, extensive wine list and 26-foot ceilings to keep the space well ventilated. If you’ve been saving a special cigar, you’re free to bring your own, but Michael Frey has become the go-to for local cigar purveyors and this location is no exception. The humidor houses a selection of premium cigars and guests can also find a selection of American whiskeys such as Redemption Barrel Rye and Westland Sherry Cask. To reach peak-hipster, check Cigarbox’s vintage cigarette machine.
Location: 4046 Dean Martin Dr., Las Vegas.
This sanctuary is not only great for the animals that live there, but gives you an excuse to see, feed and support some of the adorable furry friends that were once part of attractions on the Strip. It’s only a few minutes from the Strip and, beyond general admission, you can get a behind-the-scenes tour or a chance to feed lions and Ozzie – the only giraffe in Nevada. The behind-the-scenes tour lasts about 90 minutes and expert trainers will show you the cleaning, feeding, watering and bathing the animals done at the ranch. Even without the tour, you can pay $100 per pound of food to feed the lions. You have to book tickets in advance for specific times, so be sure to check it out online before you arrive. If you can’t make it down but still want to support the organization, you can purchase a custom painting by Ozzie at www.lionhabitatranch.org.
Location: 382 Bruner Ave., Henderson.
If you’re in Las Vegas to eat – you’ve come to the right place. The locally-owned Lip Smacking Foodie Tours businesses offers five options to visitors: the Afternoon Culinary Adventure, Savors of the Strip, Downtown Lip Smacking Tour, Savory Bites and Neon Lights, and Lip Smacking Boozy Brunch. The business is all about local food and tries to introduce guests to the best signature dishes and unique preparations. The Savors of the Strip tour could be called the company’s signature – taking attendees to five stops on the Strip to taste 15 signature dishes in three hours for $199. Tour guests are immediately seated at their stops and are shown around by a personal guide armed with insider knowledge and insightful tips. These are walking tours – except the Savory Bites and Neon Lights tour that includes a helicopter ride and limo trips – so you’ll be able to burn off some of your indulgences between stops. The tours have 781 five-star ratings on TripAdvisor, and one reviewer called it “delicious, informative and fun.”
Location: Various locations, Las Vegas.
Featured photo credit: Hexx Chocolate & Confexxions.
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