|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. |
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.
• Cirque du Soleil at Bellagio, Treasure Island, MGM Grand, and New York-New York.
• Ride the Manhattan Express at 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 luxor
• Visit the Wynn and play golf!
• Indoor sky diving at Fly-a-way 200 Convention Center Drive (877) 545-8093 $50 and up
• Shoot a machine gun at The Gun Store 2900 E Tropicana Ave 9am - 6:30pm 7 days. (702) 454-1110 $25-$40 Photo ID required.
• Learn to handle any firearm like a pro at Front Sight
Be advised that it is state law that all gamblers must be 21 years of age. If you are under 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. 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. 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. Always play 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).
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:
• The Palms
• Mandalay Bay
• MGM Grand
There are loads of places to see in Las Vegas and its environs and some of these are listed below:
• Hoover Dam - the dam is less than an hours drive from Las Vegas and is regarded as a wonder of the modern world
• The Grand Canyon - numerous companies offer flights to and from the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. Pink Jeep tours take small groups in luxury urban SUVs, makes a great day out.
• The casino-hotels along the strip - Luxor, Excalibur, MGM, Venetian, New-York New-York, Bellagio, Mirage, Caesars, Wynn all worth a visit.
• The lions at the MGM Grand.
• The volcano and the Secret Garden (White Tigers and Dolphins) at the Mirage.
• The free show in front of Treasure Island. This used to be a family-oriented pirate show, and has now changed to the more adult Sirens of TI complete with showgirls and hunky pirates, also starts in the evening. (Get there early, as it is hard to get a good spot, all MGM-owned property guests get priority viewing space. If in doubt, ask.)
• The fountain show in front of the Bellagio.
• Ride a gondola (inside or outside) and visit St. Mark's Square at The Venetian
• 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.
Food in Las Vegas is good, but sometimes a little pricey.
• Roman Court at Caesars has good food as well as good icy 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.
• Shang-hai Lily in Mandalay Bay is gourmet Chinese and an incredible fine dining experience.
The most famous buffets in Las Vegas are at the Bellagio, Paris and Aladdin, though the newly opened Wynn buffet is becoming more and more of a favorite with tourists and locals alike. If you plan to go to only one, those are the most spectacular. 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.
When going to a buffet, try to avoid bringing a purse, backpack or other hand-held items. Asking another party to watch your property while you go up for a second helping of crab legs is inconvenient and leaving it unattended is a security risk. The risk is not only due to theft, but unattended packages and bags catch the eye of casino security quickly. Try to fit all of your belongings in your pocket when you visit a Las Vegas buffet.
- Boardwalk - Warning it is cheap 24hour buffet that is horrible, $
- Mandalay Bay - Medium line, good food, $$$
- Palms - Shorter line, good food, $$
- Paris - Foods from all parts of France, made-to-order omelet's and crepes, $$$$
- Sahara - Short line, cafeteria style food, not good, $
- Tropicana - Long line, cafeteria style food, $$
- Wynn - Short line, exotic food, especially good for sushi, $$$$
- Rio - Long line, good food $$$
• Don't forget the In-N-Out burger joint. Just four items on the menu and delicious burgers. Can fill for less than $10!
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). But remember you could lose money, perhaps more than the same drink would cost you at the bar, while waiting for your "free" drink! The bar will happily serve you wonderful signature drinks. Some examples of the hundreds of bars and nightclubs in Las Vegas include:
• 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. A bit out of the way but plenty of atmosphere and out of the casinos if that's your thing.
• Ghostbar at The 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 35 stories below.
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Welcome to Las Vegas sign, Nevada
• Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Don't miss free animatronics shows at Fountain of the Gods and Atlantis located at either end of the mall.
• Grand Canal Shoppes 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
• Mandalay Place between Luxor and Mandalay Bay
• Las Vegas Outlet Mall a few miles south of Mandalay Bay
• Premium Outlet Mall Downtown
• Fashion Outlet Las Vegas. Just to 30 minutes of strip of Las Vegas you can buy at shop top-designer outlet stores in Las Vegas Primm Casino area!
• Grand Canyon National Park is a few hours away by car.
• Lake Mead National Recreation Area is about one hour and twenty minutes north-east by car.
• Death Valley National Park is two hours to the west by car.
• Valley of Fire State Park is one hour north-east by car.
• Los Angeles is about 4 hours by car.
• Reno is about 6 hours north.
• Rhyolite is a ghost town from the gold digger era and about 1 hour north.
• Zion National Park
The City of Las Vegas
Middle of the Strip
• Las Vegas Airport has free WiFi. On the Strip some internet cafes exist with prices from 20 cent per minute.
• Elysium Internet Cafe, on Sahara at Buffalo. Phone:(702) 307-4931. $3/hr, or connect to wifi for free!