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(Understand: a few more city center facts)
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Renting a car at McCarran International Airport is very cheap and popular. In fact, so popular that if you use a "budget" agency during the Friday night rush, be prepared to wait in line an hour or more to get your car. If you can spare a few dollars, renting from one of the top tier agencies such as Hertz [http://www.hertz.com] or Avis [http://www.avis.com] is recommended. Top tier agencies not only have less wait times at the counter, but they are located closer to the airport with more frequent shuttles from the terminal to your car. Expect to pay about 50% more for your car rental due to recent tax increases.
 
Renting a car at McCarran International Airport is very cheap and popular. In fact, so popular that if you use a "budget" agency during the Friday night rush, be prepared to wait in line an hour or more to get your car. If you can spare a few dollars, renting from one of the top tier agencies such as Hertz [http://www.hertz.com] or Avis [http://www.avis.com] is recommended. Top tier agencies not only have less wait times at the counter, but they are located closer to the airport with more frequent shuttles from the terminal to your car. Expect to pay about 50% more for your car rental due to recent tax increases.
  
If you mostly plan to hang around one casino and your time in Vegas is short, you might want to forego a rental car altogether and just take taxis. On the other hand, taxi fares add up quickly, and with car rental so cheap, anyone staying a few days or longer would be better suited with the flexibility of a car. Not to mention that some of the best sights are located ''outside'' of Las Vegas and virtually require driving to.  There are numerous car rental offices on the Strip, and therefore it is very easy to rent a car from your hotel for a day trip.  Remember to rent ahead of time as it can be busy during the weekends.
+
If you mostly plan to hang around one casino and your time in Vegas is short, you might want to fore go a rental car altogether and just take taxis. On the other hand, taxi fares add up quickly, and with car rental so cheap, anyone staying a few days or longer would be better suited with the flexibility of a car. Not to mention that some of the best sights are located ''outside'' of Las Vegas and virtually require driving to.  There are numerous car rental offices on the Strip, and therefore it is very easy to rent a car from your hotel for a day trip.  Remember to rent ahead of time as it can be busy during the weekends.
  
 
Driving on Las Vegas Boulevard (the "Strip") on Thursday or Friday nights or all day Saturday is an exercise in frustration: gridlock takes over and you can spend an hour or more just going a couple of miles. Do what the locals do and avoid driving long distances on the Strip altogether. Instead take I-15, which parallels the Strip, and get off at the exit nearest your hotel and park there.   
 
Driving on Las Vegas Boulevard (the "Strip") on Thursday or Friday nights or all day Saturday is an exercise in frustration: gridlock takes over and you can spend an hour or more just going a couple of miles. Do what the locals do and avoid driving long distances on the Strip altogether. Instead take I-15, which parallels the Strip, and get off at the exit nearest your hotel and park there.   
Line 122: Line 122:
 
If you are going to gamble in Las Vegas, it would behoove you to learn and study the games before you arrive.    Gambling pros suggest playing the games with the lowest house advantage, such as craps (dice) with full odds, and blackjack (if you are a skilled player).  Bets which have the highest house advantage include slot machines, roulette, and some craps bets (hardways and propositions).  If a game is unfamiliar to you, do not hesitate to ask the dealer advice on how to play.  Most will be happy to explain the game to you, and even slow down the dealing, especially if you arrive during the daytime at a table that is not crowded.  
 
If you are going to gamble in Las Vegas, it would behoove you to learn and study the games before you arrive.    Gambling pros suggest playing the games with the lowest house advantage, such as craps (dice) with full odds, and blackjack (if you are a skilled player).  Bets which have the highest house advantage include slot machines, roulette, and some craps bets (hardways and propositions).  If a game is unfamiliar to you, do not hesitate to ask the dealer advice on how to play.  Most will be happy to explain the game to you, and even slow down the dealing, especially if you arrive during the daytime at a table that is not crowded.  
  
To facilitate gambling in machine-based games, you can use a pre-paid card to make wagers and collect winnings.  Obtain one of these from the counter, insert the card into the gambling machine you choose to play and the machine will deduct your wagers as well as add your winings to it.  You can go to another cash dispensing machine to redeem your winnings as well as reload the value.  Most casinos offer ATMs and over-the-counter cash-advance facilities but beware about the charges set by your bank and the machine operator or establishment on collecting credit card cash advances.   
+
To facilitate gambling in machine-based games, you can use a pre-paid card to make wagers and collect winnings.  Obtain one of these from the counter, insert the card into the gambling machine you choose to play and the machine will deduct your wagers as well as add your winings to it.  You can go to another cash dispensing machine to redeem your winnings as well as reload the value.  Most casinos offer ATMs and over-the-counter cash\-advance facilities but beware about the charges set by your bank and the machine operator or establishment on collecting credit card cash advances.   
  
 
One reason to gamble -- aside from the hope of winning money -- is that, by doing so, you could receive complimentary ("comp") rooms, meals, and even airfare depending on your play.  Most casinos issue free "player cards."  It is generally to your advantage to show or insert your player card every time you play a table game or slot machine.  At the end of your trip, you can ask the hotel if you are eligible for any comps, you might be pleasantly surprised.  And if you arrive at the casino prepared to lay out $1000 or more, don't be bashful: ask the pit boss to be "rated" for comps before or while you begin playing.  Seperate from comps, many hotels offer discount packages for travelers who book a Sunday-Thursday night arrival.  Most of these packages offer gambling coupons or a matching play -- see the Sleep section for details.
 
One reason to gamble -- aside from the hope of winning money -- is that, by doing so, you could receive complimentary ("comp") rooms, meals, and even airfare depending on your play.  Most casinos issue free "player cards."  It is generally to your advantage to show or insert your player card every time you play a table game or slot machine.  At the end of your trip, you can ask the hotel if you are eligible for any comps, you might be pleasantly surprised.  And if you arrive at the casino prepared to lay out $1000 or more, don't be bashful: ask the pit boss to be "rated" for comps before or while you begin playing.  Seperate from comps, many hotels offer discount packages for travelers who book a Sunday-Thursday night arrival.  Most of these packages offer gambling coupons or a matching play -- see the Sleep section for details.

Revision as of 18:51, 31 January 2007

For other places with the same name, see Las Vegas (disambiguation).
The Strip at daytime

Las Vegas [1] is the largest city in the state of Nevada. Commonly referred to as The Entertainment Capital Of The World, it is situated in the midst of the southern Nevada desert landscape. The city has giant mega-casino hotels, decorated with lavish care and attention to detail to create a fantasy-like atmosphere. The casinos have names that evoke romance and mystery - Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Rio, The Excalibur, the Flamingo. Others evoke popular worldwide destinations such as New York-New York, Paris, Monte Carlo, and the Venetian.

Contents

Understand

The Next Big Thing
Continuing the recent building spree in downtown Las Vegas, the next mega-development is rising into the Vegas skyline on the Strip between the Monte Carlo and the Bellagio. Dubbed Project CityCenter, the development includes a casino, hotel, condominiums, and retail space. Once completed this mammoth project will employ over 12,000 people. Roughly the size of New York's Rockefeller Center, SoHo and Times Square combined, the price tag of $7 billion makes the project the most expensive private construction job ever attempted.

Compared with other cities in the West, Las Vegas is a relatively recent arrival. It was founded in 1905, and for many years was merely a small settlement in the middle of the desert. However, several pivotal events would come together in less than twenty years to make Las Vegas what it is today:

  • The construction of Hoover Dam in 1928 brought thousands of workers to the area.
  • Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, and what is now downtown Las Vegas became an entertainment center for the dam workers, with casinos and speakeasies.
  • Finally, in 1941, the luxurious El Rancho Vegas resort opened on what would later become the Las Vegas Strip. Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel later opened the Flamingo Hotel in 1946, starting the building boom and one-upsmanship that would continue largely unabated for the next 50 years.

Get in

By car

Southern Californians crowd Interstate 15 every weekend going back and forth to Vegas. Expect this drive to be crowded and frustrating, unless you can come and go at off-peak hours. However, many find the 280-mile drive along the I-15 restful and scenic. Attractions along the I-15 include the towns of Barstow, California; Baker, California; the Mojave Desert; and small hotel-casinos at Stateline (Primm), Nevada and Jean, Nevada. Those who traverse the I-15 should remember that they are crossing a desert, and should carry (and drink) ample amounts of water, especially on hot summer days where temperatures can reach 120 degrees F.

From east of Las Vegas, travellers typically drive on I-40 through Arizona, and then head north toward Vegas on US-93 in Kingman, AZ, before finally picking up I-15. This route will take you along Lake Mead and directly through the Hoover Dam area. Traffic at the Dam tends to be extremely congested and slow-going; usually the slowest part of an otherwise sparsely populated desert area.

By bus

Greyhound operates buses from Salt Lake City, Utah; Kingman, Arizona; and Los Angeles, California to Las Vegas.

By air

McCarran International Airport (IATA: LAS) [2] is served by many domestic and international air carriers. Discount air carriers serving LAS include US Airways/America West, JetBlue, and Southwest. As at most US airports, you can rent luggage carts for $3. MGM Grand properties (MGM Grand, and New York New York) and Harrah's Entertainment properties (Rio, Harrah's, Bally's, Paris, Caesars Palace, and Flamingo) offer check-in desks and luggage transfers at LAS. Getting from LAS to your hotel is accomplished by airport shuttle (Bell Trans, $3.50-$10); rent-a-car; taxi ($10-20); or limousine ($35). The taxi line is well organized, the city taxi dispatcher will direct you to a numbered space along the curb. You need not tip the taxi dispatcher. As in any city, you can be taken advantage of if the cab driver thinks you are naive or new to the city. Do not allow the cab driver to take you through the I-15 tunnel (an extra $10) or tell you the story about the "big accident" enroute to your hotel, if either of these happens take down the driver's hack license number and call the Nevada Taxi Commission.

By "rail"

Unfortunately, due to service cuts back in 1997, Amtrak does not have a route through Las Vegas anymore. There is a daily bus route from Needles, California to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, with a stop in Laughlin, Nevada, is operated in concert with Amtrak's Southwest Chief [3]. Amtrak California's San Joaquins [4] route operates 2 buses daily to Las Vegas from Bakersfield, California as part of its service.

Get around

If travelling around the strip, walking is a reasonable option as hotel-casinos are found close to each other. In fact, in most cases, at least two hotels are connected to each other either by bridge or underground or in the case of Excalibur, Luxor and Malanday Bay, by a complimentary rail shuttle.

By public transit

The Las Vegas Monorail [5] runs on the east side of the strip with stops behind several of the hotels and at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). It costs $5 one-way and $15 for a one-day pass. Do the math before boarding, it could be cheaper for a small group to take a taxi. Because the monorail stops at the back entrance of the hotels, it takes a long time to wind through the maze of casinos. It often takes 30 minutes to an hour to get from one point to another on the Strip, and therefore it is often faster to take the taxi. The monorail's carrying capacity of 4000 people per hour is woefully insufficient to handle the evening exodus from the larger conventions which have as many of 150,000 attendees.

The city bus line, Citizens Area Transport or CAT, operates 49 routes throughout the valley. Most routes operate 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. seven days a week. Some routes operate 24-hours a day. The fare is $1.25 for adults and $0.60 cents for kids and seniors. for all residential routes. The Deuce [6], the London-style double decker bus operating the route along Las Vegas Blvd, costs $2 per trip. The fare may be paid directly to the driver. It is important to note that some buses no longer have fare boxes and the fare must be paid at a ticket machine at the stop (a good rule of thumb is if there's a ticket vending machine at your stop then buy your fare there as the bus may not take cash. Also it should be noted that CAT buses no longer offer transfer slips that allow you to change busses without paying the fare again, this has been replaced by a residential day pass ($2.50 for adults and $1.25 for kids and seniors) that covers all routes except The Deuce, and an "all-access pass" for $ 5.00 that covers all routes on the system. If you try to use a residential pass on the Deuce it will cost $0.50 per ride. If the buses are crowded a good way to avoid waiting for the next bus is to walk one block east from the strip and use route number 108 - Paradise Road or walk one block west to Industrial Road and use route number 105 - Martin L King Blvd / Koval - which mirrors the strip route.

Unfortunately the Monorail and CAT bus are separate and a pass from one won't work on the other.

For more information:

  • Las Vegas Monorail, +1 702 699-8200, [7].
  • Citizens Area Transport, +1 702 228-7433, [8].

Taxi

One of the easiest ways to get around is by taxi. It is relatively cheap to go from hotel to hotel. The cab driver is required to turn on the meter and to take the shortest route to your destination. There is a surcharge for rides originating at the airport, but not for extra passengers. Taxi lines (queues) are typically found at the front of hotels. You would be unwise to attempt to hail one on the street, especially on the Strip as it is illegal for a cab to stop traffic to pick up or drop off a passenger. The best way to hail a cab outside of a cabstand is to use the following method: if you are wanting to go north on the strip, stand on the east side about 20 feet before a turn off. The cab you want to wave over will have the yellow lights off. Standing like this allows the cab to turn off the road and pick you up. It is customary to tip the hotel taxi dispatcher $1, and to pay the cab driver $1 for every 3 minutes you ride in the cab (on top of the the cost on the taxi meter), and about a $1 per bag of luggage.

By rental car

Renting a car at McCarran International Airport is very cheap and popular. In fact, so popular that if you use a "budget" agency during the Friday night rush, be prepared to wait in line an hour or more to get your car. If you can spare a few dollars, renting from one of the top tier agencies such as Hertz [9] or Avis [10] is recommended. Top tier agencies not only have less wait times at the counter, but they are located closer to the airport with more frequent shuttles from the terminal to your car. Expect to pay about 50% more for your car rental due to recent tax increases.

If you mostly plan to hang around one casino and your time in Vegas is short, you might want to fore go a rental car altogether and just take taxis. On the other hand, taxi fares add up quickly, and with car rental so cheap, anyone staying a few days or longer would be better suited with the flexibility of a car. Not to mention that some of the best sights are located outside of Las Vegas and virtually require driving to. There are numerous car rental offices on the Strip, and therefore it is very easy to rent a car from your hotel for a day trip. Remember to rent ahead of time as it can be busy during the weekends.

Driving on Las Vegas Boulevard (the "Strip") on Thursday or Friday nights or all day Saturday is an exercise in frustration: gridlock takes over and you can spend an hour or more just going a couple of miles. Do what the locals do and avoid driving long distances on the Strip altogether. Instead take I-15, which parallels the Strip, and get off at the exit nearest your hotel and park there.

Casinos have low cost self-parking (often free for guests) as well as valet parking. On Friday and Saturday nights the self-parking lots fill up fast; consider splurging on the valet to avoid cumbersome delays and endless circling around.

See

Looking south along the Strip from the Venetian casino-hotel

Sights

  • Within Bellagio The Fountains of the Bellagio perform a magnificent display (set to music) every 15-minutes in the evenings and also every hour on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Show times can vary on public holidays. Inside of the casino there is a tremendous flower garden, with displays changed every month or two. The casino also offers a fine-art gallery, although fees are charged. Bellagio is also home to one of the finest buffets on "The Strip".
  • Flamingo Garden, 3555 Las Vegas Blvd S, [11], Offers a great garden with Flamingos and other exotic birds, as well as koi and turtles.
  • Guggenheim Las Vegas in The Venetian
  • MGM Grand Lion Habitat. Offers a free lion habitat, with close-up viewing of several lions during the day.
  • Within Mirage. Almost every hour in the evening the "volcano" in front of the casino erupts in a terrific light show. Additionally there is a free white tiger enclosure within the casino, an impressive aquarium behind the check-in counter, and a dolphin habitat that can be viewed for a fee.
  • Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. The Shark Reef in the Mandalay Bay hotel (about $10 per person), the highlight is walking through a transparent tunnel with sharks, sea turtle, fish on all sides.
  • Fremont Street Experience. A pedestrian mall where most of the downtown casinos are located. Multimedia shows are displayed on a giant canopy over the street nightly.
  • Golden Nugget. Aptly named, the world's largest gold nugget is on display in the back of the casino.
  • Main Street Station. The urinals in the men's room are mounted on a piece of the Berlin Wall. If you're one of the fairer sex, ask an employee to let you see it, they almost always will accomodate you.
  • Star Trek: The Experience, (Las Vegas Hilton). Includes two well themed attractions with simulator rides & live actors in Trek costumes. A Star Trek walk through museum serves as the queue to the attractions and "Quarks" bar awaits you at the finish of the attractions. Though frankly, unless you're a big Star Trek fan, it looks a little dated now.

Shows

Free Shows

  • Masquerade Show in the Sky, (Rio), 3700 West Flamingo Rd, +1 702 777-7776, [12]. One of the most popular free shows in Las Vegas, the show is a mix between Mardi Gras floats and Rio Carnival.
  • Sirens of TI, (Treasure Island), 3300 South Las Vegas Blvd, +1 702 894-7111, [13]. What was once a free family-oriented pirate show has now changed to a more adult show complete with showgirls and hunky pirates. Shows are in the evening, and visitors should plan to arrive early as it is difficult to get a good viewing spot. All MGM-owned property guests get priority viewing space, if in doubt, ask.

Production Shows

Reserve your tickets well in advance for the best available seating. The most popular shows are sold out on the weekends.

  • Blue Man Group, (Venetian)
  • Buck Wild, (Sahara)
  • Folies Bergere, (Tropicana)
  • Forever Plaid, (Gold Coast)!
  • KÀ Cirque du Soleil, (MGM Grand)
  • La Cage, (Riviera)
  • Le Rêve, (Wynn)
  • Lucky Cheng's, 3049 South Las Vegas Blvd,
  • Mamma Mia!, (Mandalay Bay)
  • Matsuri, (Riviera)
  • Mystère, (Treasure Island)
  • O, (Bellagio)
  • Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding, (Rio)
  • Tournament of Kings (Excalibur)
  • V-The Ultimate Variety Show, (Aladdin)
  • Zumanity, (New York - New York)

Headliner Shows

  • Celine Dion, A New Day..., (Caesars Palace), 3570 South Las Vegas Boulevard, +1 702 731-7110, [14]. One of the most popular shows in Las Vegas, the show is a smash hit show that can not be missed.
  • Toni Braxton, (Flamingo), 3555 South Las Vegas Blvd, +1 702 733-3333, [15]. Award winning headliner comes to the Flamingo.

Magic Shows

  • Penn and Teller, (Rio), 3700 West Flamingo Rd, +1 702 777-7776, [16]
  • Mac King Comedy Magic Show, (Harrah's)

Adult Shows

  • Chippendales, (Rio), +1 702 777-7776. The original all male review and still the best.
  • Erocktica, (Rio)
  • Zumanity, (New York - New York)

Do

Gamble

Opportunities to gamble are found in most places in the Las Vegas metro area, even at McCarran airport and small supermarkets. However, please be advised that it is state law that all gamblers must be at least 21 years of age. Even if you are at least 21 years old, you are required to bring to the casino a valid ID that shows your current age or complete date of birth (e.g. driver's licence, passport) as proof of your age. Photocopies of valid IDs are usually not considered valid. In-house security makes rounds of inspections to check compliance. If you are under age or without a valid ID to prove your age and found gambling or loitering in a gaming area, hotel staff will ask you to leave, and could ask the metro police to issue you a citation. Moreover, underage gamblers cannot collect any jackpot; such bets are void and the casino will at best return your wager before kicking you out. There is a curfew for anyone under the age of 18 and metro police are comfortable transporting violators to a juvenile center.

If you are going to gamble in Las Vegas, it would behoove you to learn and study the games before you arrive. Gambling pros suggest playing the games with the lowest house advantage, such as craps (dice) with full odds, and blackjack (if you are a skilled player). Bets which have the highest house advantage include slot machines, roulette, and some craps bets (hardways and propositions). If a game is unfamiliar to you, do not hesitate to ask the dealer advice on how to play. Most will be happy to explain the game to you, and even slow down the dealing, especially if you arrive during the daytime at a table that is not crowded.

To facilitate gambling in machine-based games, you can use a pre-paid card to make wagers and collect winnings. Obtain one of these from the counter, insert the card into the gambling machine you choose to play and the machine will deduct your wagers as well as add your winings to it. You can go to another cash dispensing machine to redeem your winnings as well as reload the value. Most casinos offer ATMs and over-the-counter cash\-advance facilities but beware about the charges set by your bank and the machine operator or establishment on collecting credit card cash advances.

One reason to gamble -- aside from the hope of winning money -- is that, by doing so, you could receive complimentary ("comp") rooms, meals, and even airfare depending on your play. Most casinos issue free "player cards." It is generally to your advantage to show or insert your player card every time you play a table game or slot machine. At the end of your trip, you can ask the hotel if you are eligible for any comps, you might be pleasantly surprised. And if you arrive at the casino prepared to lay out $1000 or more, don't be bashful: ask the pit boss to be "rated" for comps before or while you begin playing. Seperate from comps, many hotels offer discount packages for travelers who book a Sunday-Thursday night arrival. Most of these packages offer gambling coupons or a matching play -- see the Sleep section for details.

In the 90's many casinos took their Poker rooms out and replaced them with slot machines, recently Poker has made a comeback and more and more casinos offer it. Texas Hold'em can be found at almost all Las Vegas poker rooms along with 7-card stud, Omaha and others. Not all casinos have a poker room, so call the casino or ask a gaming floor attendant. Casinos with non-smoking poker rooms include:

  • Wynn
  • Bellagio
  • The Palms
  • Mandalay Bay
  • MGM Grand
  • Mirage

Get Married

Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world. To get married, first go to the County Clerk's Office and apply for a marriage license. Both parties must have valid ID, such as a driver's license or passport. The cost is $50 per couple. The County Clerk's office [17] is open until midnight seven days a week, including holidays. No blood test or waiting period is required.

Once you have a marriage license, the wedding ceremony can be performed by any priest, minister, or justice of the peace authorized to perform weddings. Numerous wedding chapels are located around the county clerk's office and on the Strip. You can choose an elaborate theme wedding - such as Elvis impersonator as officiant - or a simple ceremony.

All of the major hotels offer wedding packages for those who wish to plan a larger wedding ceremony. But don't let a lack of planning stop your nuptuals; all Vegas wedding chapels can perform immediate weddings with no prior appointment.

Rock Climbing

The natural attractions of Las Vegas. Red Rock Canyon.

Would you believe that Las Vegas has some of the best climbing in America? Red Rock Canyon [18] is located on the western edge of the Las Vegas city limits and features hundreds of traditional/gear and sport routes. Climbing is possible year around though spring and fall tend to be most comfortable. There are a couple of guide books that detail the routes. Though the area does not receive much precipitation, it is worth remember that if the sandstone becomes wet (from rain or snow) it becomes brittle and you'd be wise to avoid it for at least two day before checking if it dried out.

There is also a scenic drive through Red Rock canyon, which will take you about 30 minutes to complete, though there are opportunities to park up and get out of the car. Entry is a couple of dollars per car and includes access to the visitor centre.

Tennis

Las Vegas is a great place for tennis fans. Not only do many of the hotels offer excellent courts but public courts abound as well. Vegas is also home to many amateur tournaments, UNLV tournaments, as well as The Tennis Channel Open [19].

Other activities

  • Ride a gondola (inside or outside for $15/person for 4 minutes) and visit St. Mark's Square at The Venetian
  • Ride the Manhattan Express at New-York New-York.
  • The Stratosphere has a lot of fun stuff to do in the top, you can see the whole city from there. A trip to the top costs about $10, with rides costing extra.
  • Visit the Wynn and play golf! Note: The Wynn golf course is for hotel guests only
  • Indoor sky diving at Fly-a-way 200 Convention Center Drive +1 877 545-8093 [20] $50 and up
  • Shoot a machine gun at The Gun Store 2900 E Tropicana Ave 9am–6:30pm 7 days. +1 702 454-1110 [21] $25–$40 Photo ID required.
  • Front Sight, 1 Front Sight Road, Pahrump, NV, +1 702 897-9107, [22]. Learn to handle any firearm like a professional.

Buy

Many of the larger casinos now include high-end shopping areas with designer stores. Additionally, Las Vegas is a hub for outlet malls, with numerous offerings scattered throughout the area.

  • Fashion Show Mall, [23]. A mall located on the Strip.
  • Forum Shops, (in Caesars), [24]. A huge high-end shopping area that also offers free animatronics shows at Fountain of the Gods and Atlantis located at either end of the mall.
  • Grand Canal Shoppes, (in the Venetian), [25]. Another massive shopping area that features the tacky objets d'art shop featured in Martin Bashir's interview with Michael Jackson.
  • Las Vegas Outlet Center, (a few miles south of Mandalay Bay), [26]. 120 outlet stores in an indoor setting complete with two food courts.
  • Las Vegas Premium Outlets, [27]. At the gateway of Downtown - 120 designer and name-brand outlets including Coach, Lacoste, Polo Ralph Lauren and more.

Eat

Large casinos will invariably offer a variety of dining options, ranging from the omni-present buffet to simple cafes to gourmet restaurants.

Buffets

The most famous buffets in Las Vegas are at the Rio, Bellagio, Paris and Aladdin, though the newly opened Wynn buffet is becoming more and more of a favorite with tourists and locals alike. The best buffets typically run about $30 a person for a weekend dinner. Lunch is your best value at most buffets when they are around half price, breakfasts are cheapest and often have a great spread too. Do not forget that tipping your buffet waiter 10-15% is customary. You can leave cash on the table at the end of your meal or tip the cashier at the counter on a credit card.

  • The Buffet, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd South (Wynn), +1-702-770-7100. Short line, exotic food, especially good for sushi.
  • The Buffet, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd South (Bellagio), +1-702-693-7111. The Bellagio has arguably the best buffet on the strip, with the dinner menu including pre-split crab legs, venison, Kobe beef, and wild boar. Lines can be long, especially on weekends. Prices vary by meal and day of week, with the breakfast buffet running about $15, while the weekend dinner buffet costs upwards of $30.
  • Spice Market, 3400 South Las Vegas Blvd (Aladdin), +1-702-785-5555. All styles of food including good seafood. Line moves fast. Voted "Best Buffet in Las Vegas," by the Review Journal Best of Las Vegas.
  • Village Seafood Buffet, 3700 W Flamingo Rd (Rio), +1-702-777-7777, [28]. Open from 4:00 PM until 10:00 PM Sunday through Thursday, and from 3:00 PM until 11:00 PM Friday and Saturday. This buffet is one of the better buffets in Las Vegas, with an extensive seafood collection (as well as other items). Lines can be long. Note that the Rio also offers the "Carnival Buffet", which is cheaper but does not offer seafood items. $34.99 per person (dinner only).

Restaurants

On the Strip

  • Carnaval Court Bar and Grill, (Harrah's), [29].
  • Cypress Street Marketplace, (Caesars Palace). Interesting and good for the family, it has every cuisine and is mostly cheap.
  • Kahunaville, (Treasure Island), [30].
  • Roman Court, (Caesars Palace). Good food as well as good icy drinks.
  • Shang-hai Lily, (Mandalay Bay). Gourmet Chinese and an incredible fine dining experience.
  • Tao, (Venetian), +1-702-388-8338 (fax: +1-702-388-8308), [31]. Open Sunday - Thursday from 5:00 PM until 12:00 AM, and Friday - Saturday from 5:00 PM to 1:00 AM. A beautifully decorated Asian restaurant that doubles as a nightclub, this eatery offers very good food at moderately high prices. A dinner for two with drinks will cost between $60 and $100.
  • Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, (Harrah's).
  • The Range Steakhouse, (Harrah's).

Off the Strip

  • Antonio's Italian Ristorante, (Rio), [32].
  • Bahama Breeze, 375 Hughes Center Drive, [33]. Serves great tropical food. Large portions with a great atmosphere. Famous for their Jerk Chicken Pasta, Cinnamon Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and wide variety of hand-crafted tropical drinks such as the Bahamarita. This is a great place to get away and relax from the crowds on people on the strip.
  • Buzio's Seafood Restaurant, (Rio), [34].
  • Ellis Island Casino Restaurant, (Located one block east of Bally's at the intersection of Flamingo and Koval), [35]. The $4.95 steak special is consistently voted the best deal in Las Vegas. It's not on the menu, so ask for it specifically. If steak is not your thing the restaurant has plenty of other selections at cheap prices. In addition, Ellis Island has barbecue every night from 4-10 pm. Ellis Island also brews its own beer, and serves them in the casino bar in 20 oz. glasses for a buck.

Downtown

  • Pasta Pirate, 12 East Ogden Ave (California Hotel & Casino), +1-702-385-1222, [36]. Closed Tuesdays. Delicious steaks, seafood, and pasta. A romantic darkened wharf decor with a view to the chef's flaming grill. The steak and lobster special is a really great value. All dinners include a glass of house wine. Call ahead for reservations to avoid a long wait.

Drink

Bars

In Las Vegas, free drinks are offered to all players, even those playing 5-cent slot machines. It is customary to tip the cocktail waitress at least $1 per drink (unless you like going thirsty).

  • Cleopatra's Barge, (at Caesars Palace).
  • Nefertiti's Lounge, (at the Luxor). They specialize in 36-inch Sphinx margaritas and glasses made in the shape of mummy cases (they make nice vases after the fact).
  • Venus Lounge, (at the Venetian). Pricey but enjoyable for a couple of quick cocktails.
  • Double Down Saloon, 4640 Paradise Road, 791-5775. [37] A bit out of the way but plenty of atmosphere and out of the casinos if that's your thing.
  • Nine Fine Irishmen, (in the New York, New York casino), [38]. This pub was actually constructed in Ireland and then shipped to Las Vegas. A great Irish band plays most nights starting around 9:00, the crowd is always energetic, and the Guinness and Bass flow easily. A pint runs about $6.
  • The Bunkhouse, (Downtown) [39]. Cheap downtown bar. Located one block from the USA Hostel. Friendly with travelers and frequented often by the staff and guests of the nearby hostel.

Nightclubs

Nightlife in Las Vegas is never hard to find, with a club or lounge in nearly every hotel and casino. Most clubs remain open until 4am, with various after-hour clubs available for the truly hard-core partiers. Drink prices can range anywhere from $4 - $8 for a domestic bottle of beer, $8 - $10 for well drinks, and $200 or more for a bottle of alcohol. Clubs are always busy on weekends, and may also be packed during weekdays at places that have Service Industry Night (SIN), usually Tuesday through Thursday when locals working in the service industry have their night off.

The top clubs will charge a cover of $15 or more. Exceptions include those who have reserved a table, ladies, and sometimes locals. Expect to wait in a line, depending on the night, anywhere from ten minutes up to a couple of hours. A general rule of thumb is to get there early (before 10pm), and while the club may be emptier the line will be shorter and you may avoid paying cover. Be aware that tables in Vegas often come with a bottle purchase; unless you keep buying bottles from the hostess they will ask you to vacate the table so that someone else can occupy the table. The dress code varies by club and bar. The general rule of thumb is most of the time women know what to wear when they are going out, and men should avoid wearing tennis shoes, tank tops, hats, t-shirts, and blue jeans.

  • 3121, 3700 W Flamingo Rd (inside Rio Hotel), +1 702 777-7776, [40]. Originally Club Rio, the number one dance club for over nine years. The Rio recently announced a deal with Prince for him to play on Friday and Saturdays. With other headliners and Prince's new favorites during the rest of the week. The club is huge with over 30,000 sq feet of super clubbing of course in all purple. It is named after Prince's new album with the name coming from the number 3121 as an address at a Los Angeles home where the performer used to give private concerts. Another explanation is that the four digits add up to seven and have a spiritual significance. Either way the club is hot and the place to be if you like Prince, like the color purple, or like the funk.
  • Coyote Ugly, (New York New York). Monday - Sunday: after 8pm All - $10.
  • Empire Ballroom, 3765 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (on Las Vegas Blvd. behind the Walgreen's next to MGM Grand). Tuesday, Thursday Friday - Sunday, 10 p.m. - 6 a.m. General admission: $20.
  • Foundation Room, 3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (in Mandalay Bay at the top of the hotel). Mondays only, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Locals: $10. non-locals: $30.
  • ICE, 200 E. Harmon Ave., (on the corner or Harmon and Koval), [41]. Home of Spike TV's "The Club" the best in Electronic Music! Wednesday, Friday - Saturday, 10:30 p.m. until the party ends. General admission: $20.
  • Ivan Kane's Forty Deuce, 3930 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (in Mandalay Bay right outside the shops), [42]. General Admission: $20 (Sun., Mon., Wed., Thurs.). Front of the line: $40 (Fri., Sat.).
  • Mix, 3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (in Mandalay Bay at the top of the hotel). Beginning at 10 p.m., Sunday - Thursday, $20. Friday - Saturday, $25. Locals are free.
  • RA, 3900 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (in the Luxor), [43]. Wednesday - Thursday: Men - $20, Women - $10. Friday - Saturday: Men - $30, Women - $20.
  • Rum Jungle, 3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (in Mandalay Bay). General admission (Sunday - Thursday): $20. General admission (Friday - Saturday, Monday): $25.
  • Studio 54, 3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (in the MGM Grand), [44]. Wednesday & Thursday: $30. Tuesday, Friday, & Saturday: $40.
  • TAO Las Vegas, [45], (Venetian). TAO Nightclub is a 10,000 square foot nightclub located in Tao at the Venetian. There is an outside terrace with Strip views, 3 bars, two main rooms playing a variety of hip hop, house and rock. Wednesday - Saturday, 10:30 p.m. until Close.
  • Teatro Euro Bar, 3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (in the MGM Grand). Tuesday - Saturday, 9 p.m. - approximately 4 a.m.

Ultra Lounge

Ultra lounges is a unique term that is pretty unique to Las Vegas. A ultra lounge is a mix between lounge and a night club.

  • Ghostbar, (Palms). Located on the hotel's roof, features a section of floor that is made of thick glass with nothing beneath it -- the glass is the only thing between your feet and the ground 55 stories below.
  • I-Bar, [46], (Rio)
  • Pure, [47], (Caesars Palace) One of the most exclusive clubs in Vegas, be prerpared for huge queues unless you are an attractive woman or a wealthy man. Inside there is a 14,000 square foot open air terrace, the Pussycat Doll Lounge and the ultra exclusive (and expensive!) VIP Red Room, frequented by many celebrities,
  • Tabu, [48], (MGM Grand)
  • Voodoo Lounge, [49], (Rio)
  • OPM, (Caesars Palace). Located in the Forum Mall, Caesars Palace, OPM is one of the worlds premier RnB clubs. Located above a resturant, Budda statues, black decor and red mood lighting, gives it a slightly underground feel. Two rooms play RnB/Hip Hop and Dancehall. Regularly frequented by celebrities,
  • Tangerine, (Treasure Island). has possibly one of the best views of the strip from inside a nightclub, overlooking a huge lake and pirate ship! As the name suggests the decor is orange and the clientle rich and/or beautiful,

Sleep

The vast majority of visitors to Las Vegas arrive on Friday or Saturday nights and stay for the weekend. As such, room rates can seem ridiculously cheap from Sunday-Thursday night but zoom upwards on weekends. Travelers can plan a trip to their advantage: by staying, say, Sunday through Thursday, one can not only save a bundle on hotel rates, but also take advantage of package deals that may include a show, meals, and gambling coupons -- occasionally worth more than the cost of the hotel room itself.

Be aware that many amenities that are included for free in other cities may be quite expensive in Las Vegas; most hotels charge for use of the fitness center with rates around $20 to $40 per visit, local calls are usually billed, and wireless internet is generally at least $12 per day. In Las Vegas parlance, the words "hotel" and "casino" are interchangeable.

On The Strip

  • Aladdin, 3667 S Las Vegas Blvd, +1-702-785-5555 (toll free: +1-877-333-9474), [50]. Aladdin is currently open but undergoing renovation as it is transformed into the Planet Hollywood Casino.
  • Bally's, 3645 Las Vegas Blvd South, (toll free: +1-888-742-9248), [51].
  • Barbary Coast, 3595 Las Vegas Blvd. South, +1-702-737-7111 (toll free: +1-888-227-2279), [52]. An excellent value hotel in the middle of the strip between Bally's and Flamingo, across from Ceasar's palace and Bellagio.
  • Bellagio, 3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd, +1-702-693-7111, [53]. One of the most upscale hotels in Las Vegas, the Bellagio features an art gallery, a massive indoor flower garden, and the Cirque du Soleil show "O".
  • Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd South, (toll free: +1-877-427-7243), [54].
  • Circus Circus, 2880 Las Vegas Blvd South, (toll free: +1-877-224-7287), [55]. A cheaper and less upscale casino that caters to families.
  • Excalibur, 3850 Las Vegas Boulevard South, +1-800-697-1791, [56]. Named after the mythical sword of King Arthur, this family friendly hotel has a large pool a rides for kids.
  • Flamingo, 3555 Las Vegas Blvd South, +1-702-733-3111 (toll free: +1-888-308-8899), [57].
  • Four Seasons, 3960 Las Vegas Blvd. South, +1-702-632-5000 (fax: +1-702-632-5195), [58]. Occupying the top four floors of Mandalay Bay's main building, the Four Seasons is one of the most exclusive and high-end accommodations in Las Vegas.
  • Harrah's, 3475 S Las Vegas Blvd, +1-702-369-5000, [59].
  • Imperial Palace, 3535 Las Vegas Blvd South, +1-702-731-3311 (toll free: +1-800-634-6441), [60].
  • Luxor Resort and Casino, 3900 S. Las Vegas Blvd., +1-702-262-4100, [61]. An Egyptian-themed hotel with a massive pyramid that offers interesting room layouts. This hotel is a good option for those looking for a lower-priced but still upscale room on the Strip.
  • Mandalay Bay, 3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd, +1-702-632-7777, [62]. Located at the far southern end of the Strip next to the Luxor.
  • Mirage, 3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd., +1-702-791-7111 (toll free: +1-800-374-9000), [63]. An upscale hotel located near the middle of the Strip, the Mirage features a "volcano" that erupts every hour, a white tiger exhibit, a 200,000 gallon tropical aquarium, and a tropical rain forest. Room rates vary from $75 per night to upwards of $500 per night, depending on time of year and method of booking.
  • MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South, +1-702-891-7777, [64]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Opened in 1933, this Hollywood themed resort has 5,044 guest rooms. The rooms are nicer than what you would find at most chain hotels, but don't expect the quiet or luxuries that are offered by the high-end casinos such as Bellagio or Wynn. Standard rooms start anywhere from $80 to $300 per night.
  • Monte Carlo, 3770 Las Vegas Blvd South, +1-702-730-7777 (toll free: +1-888-529-4828), [65]. Modeled after the opulent Place du Casino in Monte Carlo.
  • New Frontier, 3120 Las Vegas Blvd South, +1-702-794-8200 (toll free: +1-800-634-6966), [66]. Rates start at $45 per night.
  • Paris, 3655 Las Vegas Boulevard South, +1-702-946-7000 (toll free: +1-877-796-2096), [67].
  • Riviera, 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. South, +1-702-734-5110 (toll free: +1-800-634-3420), [68]. Rates start at $49 per night.
  • Sahara, 2535 Las Vegas Blvd South, +1-702-737-2654 (toll free: +1-866-382-8884), [69]. One of the cheapest hotels located on the strip, also served by the monorail. Has a large casino floor, swimming pool, a buffet diner, several resturants and a NASSCAR exhibition. Rates from $41 per night.
  • Stratosphere, 2000 Las Vegas Blvd South, +1-702-380-7777 (toll free: +1-800-998-6937), [70]. The 1,149-foot Stratosphere Tower is a Las Vegas landmark. Rates from $30 per night.
  • Treasure Island, 3300 Las Vegas Blvd South, +1-702-894-7111 (toll free: +1-800-288-7206), [71]. Rates from $99 per night.
  • Tropicana, 3801 Las Vegas Blvd South, (toll free: +1-888-826-8767), [72]. Rates from $36 per night.
  • The Signature at MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd South, [73]. A Luxury suite hotel behind the MGM Grand.
  • The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd South, +1-702-414-4100. A high-end hotel located near the center of the Strip and offering everything from the Grand Canal shops to the incredible Blue Man Group show.
  • Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd South (directions), +1-702-770-7000, [74]. Built at a cost of $2.7 billion, this is the most expensive resort in the world, with the money plowed into (among other things) a private golf course, an artificial mountain with a 5-story waterfall and a million-gallon water tank for the nightly show. Rooms from $250.

Off The Strip

  • AmeriSuites Las Vegas/Paradise Road, 4520 Paradise Road, +1-702-369-3366, [75]. Located in the heart of Las Vegas, adjacent to the Hard Rock Casino.
  • Gold Coast Hotel & Casino, 4000 West Flamingo Road, +1-702-367-7111 (toll free: +1-888-402-6278), [76]. A full service hotel with a casino, eight restaurants, a seventy lane bowling alley, 711 hotel rooms. Free shuttle to the strip, free valet parking, fitness center. The hotel has views of the strip and great value.
  • Hawthorn Suites (Las Vegas Strip), 5051 Duke Ellington Way, [77].
  • Las Vegas Hilton, 3000 Paradise Rd., (toll free: +1-888-732-7117), [78]. This 3000 room hotel/casino is situated just north of the Las Vegas Convention Center, a couple of blocks east of the strip. A monorail station is located next to the lobby.
  • Hooters Casino Hotel, 115 East Tropicana Avenue, +1-702-739-9000, [79]. Located right behind the Tropicana and quick walk to the strip or monorail, this is a perfect hotel for the cheap traveler.
  • The Palms Hotel, 4321 West Flamingo Road, +1-702-942-7777 (toll free: +1-866-942-7777), [80]. A bit off the strip this hotel offers gambling and also a great view of the strip from the Ghostbar.
  • The Platinum Hotel, 211 East Flamingo Road, (toll free: +1-877-211-9211), [81]. Boutique non-gaming hotel, all guest rooms are suites with kitchen and private balcony. Two blocks from The Strip, nearby Bellagio.
  • Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, 3700 West Flamingo Road, +1-702-777-7777 (toll free: +1-800-PLAY-RIO), [82]. Home to the world famous buffet, and some of the largest standard rooms in Las Vegas.

Downtown

  • Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel, 128 Fremont Street, +1-702-382-1600, [83].
  • Fremont Hotel & Casino, 200 East Fremont Street, (toll free: +1-800-634-6460), [84]. 32,000 square foot casino and 4.5 restaurants, plus right next to the Fremont Street Experience light show.
  • Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, 129 Fremont St, +1-702-385-7111, [85].
  • Main Street Station Hotel and Casino, 200 North Main Street, (toll free: +1-800-713-8933), [86]. Hotel with Victorian theme, and the not-to-be-missed Garden Court Buffet.
  • Plaza Hotel and Casino, 1 South Main Street, +1-702-386-2110, [87].
  • USA Hostels Las Vegas, 1322 Fremont Street, +1-702-385-1150, [88]. A definite budget option. A reasonably well kept hostel with very friendly staff. Free beer and BBQ at the weekend is not to be missed. Surrounding area is not overly safe. Walking alone at night is not reccommended. The pizza parlour next door does a deal on a soda and a generous slice of pizza for around $3. Fremont Experience is roughly a 20 minute walk from the hostel.

Camping

  • Arizona Charlie's Boulder Casino, Hotel and RV Park, 4445 Boulder Hwy, +1-702-951-9000 (toll free: +1-800-970-7280, fax: +1-702-951-9211), [89]. Easy access from interstate and reasonable prices; great for overnight stays passing through Vegas.
  • Hitchin' Post RV Park and Motel, 3640 Las Vegas Blvd North, +1-702-644-1043 (toll free: 1-888-433-8402, fax: +1-702-644-8359), [90]. Sites are cramped but cheap. They take your name but don't take reservations if they are nearly full (beware!).

Contact

Las Vegas Airport has free WiFi. On the Strip some internet cafes exist with prices from 20 cent per minute.

  • Elysium Internet Cafe, 7875 Sahara Ave #101, +1 702 307-4931, [91]. $3/hr, or connect to wifi for free!

Stay Safe

Given all the gambling and its lure of easy money, Las Vegas attracts a small unsavory element. Some desperate people wind up here who are willing to to desperate things, like rob you, to get money. Be vigilant, and do not leave any valuables visible in your car. If you are lucky enough to win a large jackpot, you can ask the casino to hold your winnings in its safe, or to pay you with a check, to avoid carrying a large amount of money. If you insist on your winnings in cash, all casinos will have security personnel escort you to your car, room, etc upon request.

Major casinos are generally very safe; casinos take security seriously and have security cameras as well as uniformed and plainclothes security personnel roaming at all times.

Despite the advertising slogan What happens here, stays here, Las Vegas has laws that are enforced as in any other American city. For example, drunk driving and illicit drugs are not tolerated and will result in arrest. Prostitution is likewise illegal in Las Vegas proper -- although it is legal at licensed brothels in some rural counties of Nevada. The closest (legal) brothels to Las Vegas are located in the town of Pahrump, some 60 miles to the west.

Remain vigilant while driving. Las Vegas Boulevard ("The Strip") is notorious for fenderbenders and other collisions, due the amount of stop and go traffic and the numerous distractions (pirates, volcanoes, etc) offered to drivers. Many people are also driving intoxicated as well; Nevada has an unusually high frequency of traffic deaths with alcohol involved, and most of them happen in and near this city.

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