Las Vegas is an extravagant city with endless gambling, alcohol, food, and vibrant entertainment in the middle of Nevada’s massive Mojave Desert. One of the most stimulating cities in the world which blurs the line between reality and fantasy, Vegas is the perfect place to de-stress. Millions flock to the city each year - some in hope of fortune and fame, others for entertainment and just to have a wonderful time.
Las Vegas’ vast neon playground of gigantic casinos, enthralling displays, high-end shops and amusement parks with interlinked moving walkways and trams draws you into its glitzy world where you lose track of time.
The heart of the city is the Strip in Las Vegas Boulevard, a concentration of luxury hotel-casinos each with their own set of glamorous nightclubs and award-wining shows. On the far end of the strip is the Stratosphere, the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States.
Of course, the biggest reason to visit Vegas is the casinos. From the nickel slot machines to the private rooms with reserved tables, there is a venue to suit every pocket. People throng tables for blackjack and baccarat, swilling freely flowing alcohol.
Las Vegas is not called the “Entertainment Capital of the World” for nothing. It is the home of the internationally acclaimed Cirque du Soleil, the funky Blue Man Group, the world famous Las Vegas showgirls, Jersey Boys and other unparalleled theater performances. From the Rat Pack in the 1960s to Celine Dion this summer, Vegas has always drawn the best artists and performers. Illusionists such as Penn and Teller, comedians like Carrot Top are Vegas favorites for their showmanship. At the southern end of the Strip, Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino has a giant arena presenting America’s top boxing matches.
The House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay area offers the most brilliant views of Las Vegas from its Foundation Room lounge on the roof. For an opulent experience, indulge in the luxury of the Mandalay Bay’s ultra-chic Light nightclub. Probably the most popular and famous of all the nightclubs in Vegas is Hakkasan at the MGM Grand. The TAO Las Vegas at the Venetian, Pure Nightclub at Caesar’s Palace, Hyde Bellagio at Bellagio and XS in the Encore at Wynn are also a cool places to hang out and let your hair down. With so much to do late into the evening, Vegas is truly a city that never sleeps, with non-stop nighlife.
Shopping and food are two other past times in Las Vegas. Caesar’s Palace has an incredible mall that will leave you spellbound with its ceiling of painted blue sky with clouds. The Venetian also has luxury shopping with many designer labels. Most other hotels too have luzury shops inside their lobbies. Las Vegas may once have been famous for its $3.99 all-you-can-eat-buffets, but today world-renowned chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse have opened several excellent restaurants in town, and most of the prominent hotels have gourmet restaurants.
A trip to Vegas doesn’t have to break the bank. There are several free attractions to keep you entertained for the duration of your trip.
Inside the casino, take a break and view the magnificent lions. It’s a wonderful experience and there are plenty of Lion Habitat souvenirs you can buy at the gift shop.
The Bellagio on the Strip puts up a free musical fountain show. It’s better at night when the fountains are lit beautifully, creating a magical atmosphere.
- Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Past the Bellagio’s lobby are the Botanical Gardens with a wonderful seasonal display of flora.
Watch the volcano at the front of the Mirage erupt in the evening, a scintillating display with the dark sky in the backdrop.
- White Tigers and Aquarium at the Mirage
View Siegfried & Roy’s white tigers in their specially designed habitat at the Mirage, accessible to the public. Behind the front desk is a 53 foot long aquarium housing over 1,000 creatures from all over the world including Australia, Fiji and the Caribbean.
- Sirens of Treasure Island
The Sirens of TI live show presents a seventeenth century battle between attractive sirens and a group of pirates. Located at the front of Treasure Island and featuring music and dance, it’s fun and lively.
- Fall of Atlantis at Caesars
Huge animatronic statues star in this show with stupefying special effects, fire and smoke in the midst of neon lights and fountains.
M&M’s World is a lot of delicious fun. You can catch a free 3D movie “I left my M in Vegas” and explore the wonderland, which has NASCAR-themed M&M products on the 4th floor.
- Circus Acts at Circus Circus
Every half hour from 11am-12am daily, you can watch jugglers, trapeze artists and acrobats perform death-defying circus acts.
Only 15 minutes from the Strip, the Ethel M Factory offers a free self guided tour of the candy making process, viewing of the Living Machine and a stroll through the Botanical Cactus Garden to burn off the chocolate calories.
Las Vegas is also blessed with beautiful, natural surroundings. Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon, the Grand Canyon and Death Valley are close enough for day trips.
Weird, Wacky Vegas
If you can think of it, then Vegas has it. A Mob Museum showcasing the history of organized crime, Hahn’s World of Surplus selling army surplus, the Art-O-Mat dispensing cool creations, the historical Pinball Hall of Fame and a Neon Museum, to name a few.
Hotels and Casinos
The hotels in Las Vegas are truly incredible to behold, with each striving to better the next one with its own unique theme, rip-roaring casinos, grand views, delectable restaurants, and impressive entertainment. Some are obviously inspired by the greatest cities like New York, Venice, and Paris. New York, New York hotel reconstructs the lively streets of Gotham. The Venetian hotel has a huge indoor canal complete with gondolas and gondoliers. There are tributes to other themes as well, including ancient Rome (Caesar’s Palace), Hollywood (MGM Grand), pirates (Treasure Island), Arabian nights (Aladdin) and many more.
A grand resort built by Vegas hotel legend Steve Wynn, the 50-story Wynn Hotel opened in 2004 with opulent rooms, oasis-style pools, a Lake of Dreams, an 18-hole golf course, award-winning restaurants, private spa rooms and luxury stores including Ferrari and Maserati dealerships. The imposing hotel displays Wynn’s eclectic art collection, and the entertainment shows are world-class. The casino is, of course, among the best on the Strip.
The swanky Bellagio has great rooms, excellent service, botanical gardens, enthralling entertainment and a remarkable water fountain show. With swish nightclubs and a state-of-the-art casino, the Bellagio attracts the crème-de-la-crème of Vegas tourists. Steeply priced, it is well worth a stay if you can afford it.
The Mandalay Bay Las Vegas Hotel is one of the most popular spots in the city, with beautiful rooms, a sprawling casino and delectable food. The pool is awesome and the service incredible.
A swanky luxury hotel within the Mandalay Bay complex, the Four Seasons may be located at the end of the strip, but has all the trappings to keep you captivated, with the best entertainment Vegas has to offer.
- Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas
The Ritz Carlton hotel is a half-hour drive from the Strip, with a magnificent golf course and lovely environs. Adjacent to the man-made Lake Las Vegas, this Tuscan-themed resort offers a gilded experience, with suites on a special bridge built to recreate Florence’s legendary Ponte Vecchio (Bridge of Gold).
- Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
Ride down the canal on a gondola and get transported to a different world. The fine setting, elegant décor and delectable food will just take you to Venice.
The Paris hotel experience comes complete with a replica of the Eiffel Tower. With amazing service and great food, it is a true bright spot in the sometimes less than colorful strip area.
The MGM Grand is awe-inspiring, with live lions in the lobby, over 100,000 sq ft of casino space with masseurs at tables, the largest selection of slot machines in town and a Grand Poker room, and incredible guest rooms. The food at the restaurants supervised by Emeril Lagasse, are to die for.
The Monte Carlo has relatively inexpensive decent rooms, lots of stuff to keep kids entertained and is a favorite with families.
There are so many things to do, see and experience that it’s impossible to cover it all in one or even three trips. Vegas is constantly evolving and there’s always something new and exciting happening. Find out the best in Vegas on Explore Las Vegas. So let’s go to Vegas baby!