Shannon Did What / Travel + Lifestyle Blog

las vegas

The Rise Festival

TravelShannon Guerrero2 Comments

Do you remember that scene in the movie Tangled where Rapunzel dreams about going to see the “floating lights” that only appear on her birthday?  Then Flynn takes her to see the floating lanterns from the water and it’s absolutely magical?  Well, guys this actually exists in real life.  And you can witness this dream in person.  You don’t even need to go to Thailand to see it.  Even though that would be the ultimate dream.

The Rise Festival happens every year just outside of Las Vegas where 10,000 people release lanterns into the sky all at once.  I’ve been trying to get tickets for the past two years and finally landed the coveted tickets this year.  Disclaimer, it was pretty challenging to get tickets only because they sell out so quickly.  This is definitely not one of those events you can wait to buy tickets to.

The festival starts in the afternoon where you can come and see live local music.  They have food trucks and people come to enjoy the atmosphere.  You don’t start releasing the lanterns until 8:30 or so, once its completely dark.  I would definitely recommend getting there during daylight.  We got there just as the sun went down and just felt a little rushed to grab food, a torch to sit by (to light the lanterns) and write on your lanterns.

I don’t even think I could describe the feeling of seeing that many lanterns being released into the sky at the same time.  I really almost cried because it was such a beautiful moment.  People personalize and write on their lanterns with their hopes and fears, dreams, resolutions, prayers.  It’s a moment where everyone comes together with such a positive energy that is indescribable.  Honestly, these pictures don’t do it any justice.  You really need to experience it for yourself.  Fair warning, you use open flames to light your lanterns (that are made of paper), it does seem a little dangerous.  It gets hot and sometimes tricky releasing the lanterns since the lanterns are not small.  Try to have a group of at least 3-4.  Either way, it was only my friend and I and we still released 8 lanterns by ourselves.  It made for a really fun and funny experience.

Check out Rise, here.

I will most definitely be going next year, anyone else up for one of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring experiences you’ll ever have?

Yours Truly // Shannon

Seven Magic Mountains

TravelShannon GuerreroComment

Finding art installations on the side of the road is something that I’m increasingly loving to do.  There’s a new installation on the way to Las Vegas (from Los Angeles, that is) that you can’t miss.  It is just about halfway between Las Vegas and Primm, Nevada off of the 15 freeway.  It’s called the Seven Magic Mountains and boy is it magical.  It just opened this May and will be there for the next two years.  Created by the artist Ugo Rondinone, the “mountains" are 7 giant rock formations that are as colorful as they are awe-inspiring.  Think a modern Stonehenge but neon.

I don’t think there’s much to say about this stop, except that you need to see it for yourself.  You won’t believe the scale and size of this piece.  Visiting them is really easy, as well.  You can’t miss them off the side of the road.  On the right if you’re headed north.  There’s a little parking lot nearby, but it is a short walk to get to them.  It was extremely hot when I was there, obviously.  It is the desert after all.  There was a pretty strong breeze though, which is definitely really nice.  Unfortunately, they have been graffitied already, so hopefully you’ll be able to see them before they’re gone or even ruined.  I don’t understand the draw of defacing another person’s property or even worse art.  You can probably see some of the markings in the pictures above.  Regardless, it still a great place to visit.

Let’s face it, you’re probably going to make it out to Vegas at some point this summer.  You might as well get cultured along the way!

Yours Truly // Shannon

The Valley of Fire

TravelShannon GuerreroComment

If you find yourself with time to kill in the Vegas area or are driving across Nevada to Utah, I've found the perfect place to stop through.  And it will literally feel like you've stepped foot onto Mars.  Like many of the other stops we made on our cross country road trip, I, too, found the Valley of Fire on Pinterest.  Trust me, search it on Pinterest and you'll see what I mean.  It's a gorgeous places filled with a landscape so vibrant and colorful that even these photos don't convey.

The Valley of Fire is only about an hour outside of Vegas.  The rock formations are something that you feel couldn’t be part of this world.  It makes you wonder how they came to be.  It obviously is in the desert so the temperatures can get extremely hot.  If at the very least you take the drive through the Valley making occasional stops without actually hiking I feel like you can definitely still feel like you’ve experienced the beauty of it. The picturesque wave formations created in the rocks aren’t visible, unfortunately, from the road.  You have to hike a little to get to those areas. It was probably over 100 degrees already at 8am when we were there so we didn’t do the hike.  Thus, no pictures of the cool wave formations.  Bummer, I really wanted to see them.  Maybe I’ll be able to visit again in the future!

For photography sake, I’d suggest going at magic hour, either in the morning or in the evening.  I feel like the colors will really come out with the great lighting during those two hours.  There are plenty of cool things to see in the Valley of Fire, besides the amazing red rock formations.  There are hieroglyphics, petrified logs and plenty of native desert plants and animals.

Whether you’ve heard of the Valley of Fire or not, it’s definitely a place to add to your travel bucket list.


Yours Truly  // Shannon