Looking south along the Strip from the Venetian casino-hotel in Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada, is known as Sin City. Situated in the midst of the southern Nevada desert landscape, Las Vegas in many ways epitomizes American excess. Giant mega-casino hotels are built almost overnight, decorated with lavish care and attention to create a fantasy-like atmosphere. The casinos have names that evoke romance and mystery - Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Rio, The Excalibur, the Flamingo.
Las Vegas is a playland for people from all walks of life.
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.
Greyhound operates buses from Salt Lake City, Utah, Kingman, Arizona, and Los Angeles, California to Las Vegas.
McCarran International Airport is served by many domestic air carriers. There are several shuttles that operate between the airport and the Strip. Ask at the information desk by baggage claim if any are available. If not, many taxis service the airport. A queue forms outside of baggage claim.
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. Amtrak California's San Joaquins route operates 2 buses daily to Las Vegas from Bakersfield, California as part of its service.
By public transit
The Las Vegas Monorail runs along the strip with several stops at some larger hotels and costs $3 for a one way trip and $5 for a round trip.
Currently, the monorail is closed indefinitely due to a recent accident, they are in the process of testing, and no one knows when it will be open again.
The local bus operator, Citizens Area Transport or CAT, operates a system consisting of 49 routes, thoughout 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.
For more information:
- Hoover Dam
- The Grand Canyon - numerous companies offer flights to and from the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas.
- The casino-hotels along the strip.
- The volcano in front of the Mirage.
- The free pirate show in front of Treasure Island. (Get there early, as it is hard to get a good spot, hotel guests get first priority though.)
- The fountain show in front of the Bellagio.
- Fremont Street Experience
- Star Trek: The Experience in the Las Vegas Hilton - though frankly, unless you're a big Star Trek fan, it looks a little dated now.
- Guggenheim Las Vegas in The Venetian
- Red Rock Canyon
- Mount Charleston is the local ski resort.
- Cirque du Soleil - at Bellagio, TI, MGM Grand, and 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.
- Blue Man Group - at the Luxor
- Indoor sky diving at Fly-a-way
- Fire sub-machine guns at The Gun Store on East Tropicana Avenue (http://www.thegunstorelasvegas.com/ )
- Learn to handle any firearm like a pro at Front Sight (http://www.frontsight.com/)
- Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace
- Designer shops in The Venetian, including the tacky objets d'art shop featured in Martin Bashir's interview with Michael Jackson.
- More affordable (and arguably more tasteful) gift shops in the Aladdin.
- Fashion Show Mall which is on the strip
Food in Las Vegas is good, but sometimes a little pricey.
- Roman Court at Caesars has good food as well as good icey drinks.
- Cafe' Lago at Caesars is elegant and has very good food.
- Cypress Street Marketplace is interesting and good for the family, it has every cuisine and is mostly cheap.
In Las Vegas, you can generally drink inexpensively if you also gamble. At the blackjack table of when playing slots, you can lose your shirt while drinking beer for the cost of the tip. There are, of course, bars that will happily serve you wonderful signature drinks.
- 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. A bit out of the way but plenty of atmosphere and out of the casinos if that's your thing.
- Ghostbar at The Palms
- Rain in the Desert at The Palms
- Rum Jungle at Mandalay Bay
- Seven on the Strip opposite Aladdin Casino
- Luxor Resort and Casino, 3900 Las Vegas Blvd. So., 262-4100.