Welcome to Las Vegas
photo by David Salafia

Las Vegas is the largest city in the state of Nevada. Nicknamed Sin City and 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 often have names and themes that evoke romance, mystery, and far-away destinations.


Compared with other cities in the West, Las Vegas is a relatively recent arrival. It was founded in 1905, and for many years it 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.

  • 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-upmanship that would continue largely unabated for the next 50 years and creating a precedent of Organized Crime involvement in Nevada's gambling industry that arguably persists.

The city is laid out as follows: Main Street as well as the numbered streets run north-south, starting with Main Street in the west. The bus station is on Main Street. Downtown has several hotels and casinos, as well as the "Fremont Street Experience", a pedestrian mall lined with casinos, near the western end of Fremont Street. South of downtown starts the "Strip" (Las Vegas Boulevard South), a north-south street lined with large casino-hotels. The northern end of the Strip's casino section is marked by the tall Stratosphere tower. Frequent shuttle buses run up and down the Strip and connect the Strip to downtown. The convention center and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas are located east of the Strip, which is where the Las Vegas Monorail runs. The airport is east of the Strip near the southern end.

Getting there

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 (450 km) 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 Primm, Nevada (at the California border) 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 110°F (43°C).

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.

From the North I-15 meets the Arizona border at the more relaxed town of Mesquite, NV and shortly goes into Utah. The junction of I-70 and I-15 is where most people driving from the Eastern US will take. Those from further north may meet I-15 from I-80 in Salt Lake City.

Those traveling from the North drive on US 95 from Reno and Tonopah. This is a two lane highway until it reaches the community of Mercury, where US 95 is a four lane highway. The route is sparsely populated and travelers should ensure that their tank is full.

By bus

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

  • LuxBus. Offers four daily trips to and from Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Diego.

  • Starline Tours. Offers transportation from Anaheim and Hollywood, California to Las Vegas.

By plane

McCarran International Airport (IATA : LAS) is served by many domestic and international air carriers. Southwest Airlines has a large hub at the airport, and USAirways has a smaller hub. Like 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 can be done by bus, airport shuttle companies, rental cars, 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 Cab Authority.

The CAT 108 bus runs from the airport along Paradise Road to right outside the Convention Center and the LV Hilton, taking about 20-25 minutes. As Paradise Road meets the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard), you can switch to the Deuce shuttle bus operating on the Strip, traveling north to downtown or south to the hotel casinos. The CAT 108 bus runs at 20-minute intervals from Ground Level Zero (take the escalator down from the baggage claim and walk towards the parking garage; the covered bus stop is on the right). One-way trips cost $1.75 and are a great deal compared to the more expensive options above.

To get to the airport, take the Deuce shuttle bus to the corner of the Strip and Paradise Road, then take bus #108 traveling east on Paradise Road.

When leaving, the 'curbside checkin' counters will save a wait, but cost you $4 + tip, and you won't be allocated a seat number until boarding time (i.e. likely to be a single seat at the back of the aircraft).

By rail

Unfortunately, due to service cut backs 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. It 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.

Traveling around

If traveling 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 Mandalay Bay, by a complimentary rail shuttle. Be aware that during the summer, the oppressive heat during the daylight hours may make walking a very uncomfortable activity.

By public transit

The Las Vegas Monorail , +1 702 699-8200, runs on the east side of the Strip with stops behind several of the hotels and at the Las Vegas Convention Center . It costs $5 one-way, $9 return 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, often taking 30 minutes to an hour to get from one point to another on the Strip - if you're in a hurry take a taxi. The monorail's carrying capacity of 4,000 people per hour is woefully insufficient to handle the evening exodus from the larger conventions which have as many as 150,000 attendees. If you are visiting with a friend from Nevada and want to ride the monorail, consider asking them to buy your fare. By showing a Nevada State ID or Clark County Work Permit Card (issued to all hotel employees) they qualify for the locals fare of $1, this can be purchased from the customer service booths located at each station.

The city bus line Citizens Area Transit (CAT), +1 702 228-7433, operates 49 routes throughout the valley. Most routes operate 5:30AM-1:30AM everyday. Some routes operate 24 hours. The fare is $2 for adults and $1 for kids and seniors for all residential routes. The Deuce, the London-style double decker bus operating the route along Las Vegas Blvd, costs $3 for adults and $1.50 dollar for children and seniors, and the fare may be paid directly to the driver (exact change). If purchasing a child or senior fare, be prepared to show some form of picture ID to prove your age to the driver. During the larger conventions (such as CES, NAB, and MAGIC) the Deuce also operates on a special one way service from the Las Vegas Convention Center. This service only operates in the afternoon from the convention center to the Strip, the bus travels southbound and services all regular stops from Circus Circus onward. It is important to note that when using this service, tickets must be purchased in advance from the ticket vending machines (located in front of the north and south halls). In addition, 2 additional ticket vending machines are located on the Strip, one at the Slots-of-fun/Circus Circus stop and one at the Showcase Mall/MGM Grand stop. It should be noted that when purchasing your fare, the buses do not give change. However, the ticket vending machines do give change, in addition to accepting credit/debit cards. Also it should be noted that CAT buses no longer offer transfer slips that allow you to change buses without paying the fare again, this has been replaced by a residential day pass ($5 for adults and $2 for kids and seniors) that covers all routes except The Deuce, and an "all-access pass" for $7 that covers all routes on the system. If you try to use a residential pass on the Deuce it will cost 50¢ per ride. If you will be staying for a long period of time (at least 8 days for adults or 4 for children and seniors) and plan to buy an all access pass, a more economic option is to purchase a 30 day bus pass. These can be purchased from either of the two bus terminals (both can be reached by riding the Deuce to Downtown terminal, or to the South Strip Terminal), or from any ticket vending machine. It is important to note however, that if you would like to purchase a child or senior fare pass, you will need to do so from the customer service agent at the terminals. These passes are valid from the first use then for 30 days after and can be used on all routes. 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.

Buying a 24 hour $5 CAT Bus ticket is a very good option but one has to be aware that on the Strip, buses may stop on close intervals and may be there for a couple of minutes as passengers board and disembark. However, it is the best way to recuperate during those hot summer months (since they provide air conditioning) after a long and tiring walk on the Strip. Buses can be an inexpensive and convenient option, especially if just traveling up and down the Strip, or to and from downtown.

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


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 or more; tip the cab driver at least 15% of the meter, and about $1 per piece of luggage.

By rental car

Renting a car at McCarran International Airport is fairly cheap and popular. The opening of the new rental car facility has increased the wait time to get your car. All the rental agencies are now located under a single roof and all use the same shuttle from the airport to the facility. There have been reports of an extra 30 min increase in the time it takes to pick up and/or drop off your vehicle, so please add this to any arrival and departure times so you won't be late for anything important. Expect to pay 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 just outside of Las Vegas and virtually require that you drive to those destinations. 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"), especially on weekends, is an exercise in frustration; gridlock takes over and you could possibly spend an hour or so just driving through the Strip. 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. Dean Martin Drive (which turns into Industrial Road) lies just west of Las Vegas Blvd and provides another option.

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.


  • Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park, Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park has over 150 species of animals and plants.


  • 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 . Offers a great garden with Flamingos and other exotic birds, as well as koi and turtles.

  • MGM Grand Lion Habitat, . Offers a free lion habitat, with close-up viewing of several lions during the day. Garden Cafe is also worth a look.

  • Within Mirage. Almost every hour in the evening the "volcano" in front of the casino erupts in a terrific light show. Additionally there is an impressive aquarium behind the check-in counter and a dolphin habitat that can be viewed for a fee. The volcano was renovated and reopened in December 2008.

  • Cloud Nine Balloon Ride , On the Strip Across from Mandalay Bay, The Cloud Nine Balloon is the World’s Largest Land Tethered Helium Balloon ride. Its custom-built circular gondola holds 25-30 passengers allowing guests to safely soar 500 feet above the City of Las Vegas. The balloon is environmentally friendly and virtually silent. Day and night flights are available. Cloud Nine is perfect for corporate events, weddings, anniversaries and children’s and adult birthday parties. 10 am - 10pm Sunday through Thursday. 10 am - Midnight on Friday and Saturday

  • Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. The Shark Reef in the Mandalay Bay hotel (about $16 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. (dusk to mid night).

  • Golden Nugget. Aptly named, the world's largest gold nugget is on display in the back of the casino. "The Tank", a $30 million complex complete with a shark tank, a 3-storey waterslide and seven private cabanas has now opened.

  • Star Trek: The Experience . Includes two well themed attractions with simulator rides & live actors in Trek costumes. 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. Tickets are usually available at the discount/half-priced ticket booths located on the Strip. Closed in September 2008, scheduled to reopen at Neonopolis Mall May 8, 2009; pushed to 2010, still closed as of February.

  • 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 accommodate you.

  • Las Vegas Chinatown Plaza . A place to experience Asian culture. Located about 1 mile west of Treasure Island. Take a westbound CAT Route 203 bus from the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road between TI and the Fashion Show Mall.

  • U.S. Route 95 at night. This route climbs gradually northwest of Las Vegas so that the Strip's neon lights remain visible for a remarkably long distance, appearing as a luminous cloud from the furthest point.

  • Erotic Heritage Museum, museum dedicated to the sexual revolution. 3275 Industrial Rd. NV 89109. (702) 369-6442

Free Shows

  • Masquerade Show in the Sky (Rio), 3700 West Flamingo Rd, +1 702 777-7776. 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. 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.

  • I LOST MY "M" in VEGAS, (M&M World), 3785 South Las Vegas Blvd, +1 702 736-7611, . M&M'S WORLD® LAS VEGAS is in the Showcase Mall, next to the MGM Hotel & Casino. Daily, free 3–D movie, "I lost my "M" in Vegas.

Cirque du Soleil Shows

One of the hottest tickets in town is for the Cirque du Soleil shows. Las Vegas currently features five separate shows, with a sixth show, centered around Elvis, planned for CityCenter (2010). Reserve your tickets well in advance for the best available seating.

  • , (877) 264-1844, MGM Grand, Spectacular show that tells a tale of Imperial Twins on a journey to fulfill their destinies.

  • Mystère , (800) 392-1999, Treasure Island, A classic Cirque show, full of amazing feats, impressive costumes, and humor. Definitely worth the time and money. Although it's family-friendly, it verges on too intense and psychadelic for younger kids, so consider avoiding it if your kids are under eight.

  • Zumanity , (866) 774-7117, New York-New York, Note that Zumanity is an adult show, you need to be 18 to attend.

Production Shows

Reserve your tickets well in advance for the best available seating. The most popular shows are sold out on the weekends. Make sure to always book your seats directly from the official hotel website.

  • V-The Ultimate Variety Show , 702-260-7200, V Theater, Planet Hollywood

  • Blue Man Group , +1 866 641-7469, Nightly 7:30PM and/or 10:30PM, Venetian

  • Buck Wild, Sahara (closed)

  • Folies Bergere , Tropicana

  • Forever Plaid , Gold Coast

  • La Cage , Riviera

  • Lucky Cheng's , 3049 South Las Vegas Blvd, Drag queen cabaret.

  • Mamma Mia! , Mandalay Bay, Closing 2009-01-04

  • Matsuri , Riviera, (no longer running)

  • Menopause: The Musical , Las Vegas Hilton

  • Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular , (866) 641-7469, Venetian

  • Le Rêve , Wynn, One of the most amazing shows in Las Vegas. Created by the same person behind O at the Bellagio and Mystère in Treasure Island. It is presented in a domed stage with no seat further than 40 feet from all of the action. Le Rêve takes you through a young woman's dream and leads her to awakening to a choice. It features incredible acrobats, synchronized swimming and diving, and dance all in a take of water. If you're in the Las Vegas area, definitely check it out.

  • Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding , 702-260-7200, V Theater, Planet Hollywood

  • Tournament of Kings , Excalibur

  • Gregory Popovich's Comedy Pet Theater , 702-260-7200, V Theater, Planet Hollywood

Headliner Shows

  • Donny and Marie , (Flamingo), 3555 South Las Vegas Blvd, +1 702 733-3333 .

  • Bette Midler - The Showgirl Must Go On, at Caesars Palace's Colosseum .

  • Sin City Comedy Show , 702-260-7200, V Theater, Planet Hollywood

Tribute Shows

  • The Musical History of the King (Sahara) . Tribute to Elvis Presley, starring Trent Carlini "The Dream King".

  • The Rat Pack is Back (Greek Isles) . Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Dean, and Marilyn.

  • Legends In Concert (Imperial Palace) . Tribute to Elvis, Dusty Springfield, John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, Cher, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Beatles, Liberace, Dolly Parton, The Blues Brothers, Liza Minnelli, Ricky Martin, James Brown and many more.

  • Little Legends (Planet Hollywood), 702 836 0836, . Tribute to Musical Legends by Las Vegas' Biggest Little Performers. Show has a rotating cast of little people singers, dancers, and other performers that pay tribute to great musical legends of our time.

  • Fab Four Live , 702-260-7200, V Theater, Planet Hollywood

  • Hitzville - The Show , 702-260-7200, V Theater, Planet Hollywood

Magic Shows

  • V-The Ultimate Variety Show , 702-260-7200, V Theater, Planet Hollywood

  • Penn and Teller (Rio), 3700 West Flamingo Rd, +1 702 777-7776 .

  • Mac King Comedy Magic Show (Harrah's).

  • Lance Burton (Monte Carlo) (702) 730-7777.

  • Xtreme Magic Starring Dirk Arthur (Tropicana), 3801 Las Vegas Blvd South, +1 800 829-9034 .

  • Anthony Cools - The Uncensored Hypnotist, (Paris), 3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd.

  • David CopperfieldLighting up the Hollywood Theater at the MGM Grand is one of the world’s greatest magicians. Some of his best known illusions are making the Statue of Liberty disappear, walking through the Great Wall of China, and flying over the audience (which he does nightly).

  • The Mentalist , 702-260-7200, V Theater, Planet Hollywood

  • Marc Savard Comedy Hypnosis , 702-260-7200, V Theater, Planet Hollywood

Adult Shows

  • American Storm, (V Theater, Planet Hollywood) . Male Revue.

  • Bite, (Stratosphere) . Topless Female Dancers. A vampire themed topless revue set primarily to popular rock songs from the 70s and 80s.

  • Chippendales, (Rio) +1 702 777-7776 . The original all male revue and still the best.

  • Crazy Girl, (Riviera) . Topless Female Dancers.

  • Crazy Horse Paris, (MGM Grand) . Topless Female Dancers. The show is unlike most other topless revues as it is presented in a more artistic manner through lighting, costumes, and set designs. Most of the females are of the same shape and size. One of the slogans for the show is "celebrating the artistry of the nude." Also features two "breaks" for the women when a male performer takes the stage first performing a magic card act, then a comedic musical number.

  • Fantasy (Luxor) . Topless Female Dancers.

  • Folies Bergere, (Tropicana) . Topless Female Dancers. One of the oldest shows in Las Vegas.

  • Jubilee!, (Ballys). Topless Female Dancers.

  • Thunder from Down Under, (Excalibur) . Male Revue.

  • X Burlesque, (Flamingo) . Topless Female Dancers.

  • Zumanity, (New York - New York). The sensual side of Cirque du Soleil.

  • Stripper 101 (V Theater, Planet Hollywood) Take home the ultimate vegas souvenir, take the Stripper 101 class and learn the art of pole and lap dancing. 702-260-7200

Things to do

  • Comedians, There are always different comedians coming to Las Vegas. Some comedians that have recently performed in Las Vegas include Robin Williams, Howie Mandel, and Carrot Top. Always a great way to get a laugh, and end the night.


If you win...

Chances are if you win it big in Las Vegas and you are a foreigner you will get dinged by the IRS 30% withholding tax. That $10,000 slot winning can dwindle quite quickly if that is taken off the top. Not to worry though you can reclaim your gambling winnings tax through a 1042-S form. You should get this from the casino so don’t lose it...it is your starting ticket to getting your gambling winnings back.

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 in the gambling premises, 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 asking you to leave the premises. 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 be of benefit if you 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), but tables where a blackjack pays only 6:5 or even money instead of the traditional 3:2 give the house a big advantage, and should be avoided. 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 winnings 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. Separate 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, but recently poker has made a comeback 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

Pro Sports

  • Las Vegas 51s, Cashman Field, . Triple-A baseball club affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, the 51s have been in Las Vegas longer (26 years) than any other professional sports team. The 51s began as the Las Vegas Stars in 1983 and were affiliated with the San Diego Padres. In 2000, the Stars cut ties with San Diego and became the affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and changed their name to the 51s, a reference to Area 51. The 51s have won 2 Pacific Coast League crowns and 8 division titles.

  • Las Vegas Wranglers, Orleans Arena, . ECHL hockey affiliate of the Calgary Flames, the Wranglers began in 2003 and are the longest active affiliate of the Calgary Flames hockey club. In their first 5 years, the Wranglers have becoming a decent ECHL team that can be fun to watch. The Wranglers have won two division titles, one Brabham Cup, and one conference title.

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 $60 per opposite-sex couple. The Las Vegas Wedding Bureau is open from 9AM-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 with in the Las Vegas area. Numerous wedding chapels are located around the Wedding Bureau and on the Strip. You can choose an elaborate theme wedding, such as an Elvis impersonator as officiant, or a simple ceremony and reception celebration.

Most major hotels and Vegas Wedding Chapel offer wedding packages for those who wish to plan a larger wedding ceremony. But don't let a lack of planning stop your nuptials; all Vegas wedding chapels can perform immediate weddings with no prior appointment, although it is recommended to make a reservation for your wedding. If you make a reservation most chapels will provide courtesy limousine transportation from your hotel to the chapel and back. Lastly, making a reservation decreases the likelihood of having to wait.

Remember your wedding is a special event and want the best regardless of how much you plan to spend. You can receive a quality service at very affordable prices in Las Vegas. It is advised to check with the Las Vegas Better Business Bureau before making any arrangements. You may check the local BBB reports online .

Mountain Activities

  • Rock Climbing. Would you believe that Las Vegas has some of the best climbing in America? Red Rock Canyon, is on the western edge of the Las Vegas city limits and features hundreds of traditional/gear and sport routes. Climbing is possible year-round, 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 five dollars per car unless you have a National Park pass and includes access to the visitor centre.
  • Dayhiking and Backpacking. North of Red Rock Canyon, the Spring Mountains have five peaks over 11,000' which is Bristlecone Pine County. At 11,918 ft (3,362 m), Mt. Charleston reaches the treeless alpine zone and is Nevada's fourth highest peak. The geology is mainly limestone which soaks up rainfall and snowmelt up high and releases it in lower canyons. Carry plenty of water for hikes along the crest. Expect snow at higher elevations October through May or June.

  • Hot Springs Day Hikes' in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Boulder City and Hoover Dam. Info on hiking available at the National Park Service Alan Bible Visitor Center, Guided hikes and info available through Desert Adventures in Boulder city (702)510-4746 or

  • Skiing. The Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort in the Spring Mountains is reached by State Highway 156, 45 minutes from Las Vegas. Brian Head Resort in southern Utah offers more vertical feet but is about a three hour drive via I-15.

  • Mountain Biking. Bootleg Canyon in nearby Boulder City provides excellent technical cross-country and downhill trails, 30 minutes south of "the Strip" by Highway 93. Blue Diamond just south of Red Rock Canyon is the location of less technical riding, but with amazing views.


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 .

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 roller coaster at New-York New-York.

  • Indoor sky diving at Vegas Indoor Skydiving(formerly known as Fly-a-way), 200 Convention Center Drive, +1 877 545-8093 . $50 and up.

  • Shoot a machine gun at The Gun Store, 2900 E Tropicana Ave, +1 702 454-1110 . Photo ID required. 9AM–6:30PM 7 days. $25–$40.

  • Rent a Scooter from Scoot Vegas Moped Rentals and see the sites. Free delivery to all strip hotels +1 702 275-2379 . Must be over 18 with a valid drivers license and major credit card.

  • Play dozens of Pinballs in the Pinball Hall of Fame, 3330 E. Tropicana Ave., (702) 434-9746, . Oldstyle machines and newest ones from Stern are there, all in very good condition. Games begin for US$ 0.25. Definitely worth a look.

  • Kayak Trips Paddle the Colorado River from the base of Hoover Dam to Willow Beach Arizona, hike to hot springs from the river. Paddle to island beaches for a swim at Lake Mead. Desert Adventures/Kayak Las Vegas 1647A Nevada Highway, Boulder City, Nevada 89005 (702)293-5026

  • New York New York Roller Coaster The Roller Coaster will lift you up 203 feet, drop you down 144 feet and leave your pulse trying to catch up to 67 mph. Simulating a jet fighter's barrel roll, you'll turn 180 degrees, hang 86 feet in the air, take the famous "heartline" twist and dive.

• Individual Tickets $14.00 • Scream Pass $25.00- includes: all day ride pass, $2.00 off 5x7 photo • Family Fun Flight for Four $60.00- Includes Four individual ride tickets & 2 (two) 5x7 close up photos

  • The Stratosphere It has a lot of fun stuff to do on the top of the hotel, you can see the whole city from there. A trip to the top costs about $10, with rides costing extra. There are 3 intense rides on the top of the tallest hotel on the strip. These rides include:

• Big Shot - Shoots passengers straight up 160 feet at 45 mph (over 4 Gs) until they are 1,081 feet above the Strip. • X-Scream - A giant teeter-totter that propels you 27 feet over the edge of the Tower, 866 feet above the ground. • Insanity, the Ride - A massive mechanical arm extends 64 feet over the edge of the Tower and spins you at a force of 3 Gs for a truly mind-bending experience. For the people who do not like rides but still want to do something at the top they have shops. It is an international marketplace, with themed streets reminiscent of Paris, Hong Kong, and New York.


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

  • Rosemary's Restaurant , (702)869-2251, 8125 Sahara Avenue, Excellent highly rated restaurant about 18 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. Wonderful ambitious menu, French-Inspired, creative American cuisine. Rated number one restaurant in Las Vegas by Zagat. The price in January 2009 for a 4 course prix fix lunch for four people totaled $120. Wonderful experience that you will not forget.


The most famous buffets in Las Vegas are at the Rio, Bellagio, Paris and Planet Hollywood (formerly 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.

  • Le Village Buffet, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South, located in Paris Las Vegas, 702-946-7000 . Featuring dishes from five French provinces, the Village Buffet offers exquisite classic French foods, some made to order, and seasonal specialties under a faux sky in a village-like setting. Patrons may, for example, choose to sit in a town square or French country home.

  • Spice Market, +1-702-785-5555, 3400 South Las Vegas Blvd, Planet Hollywood, The casino changed names, but the buffet is the same. All styles of food including good seafood. Line moves fast.

  • The Buffet, +1-702-770-7100, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd South, Wynn Las Vegas, Sixteen exhibition cooking stations and a luxurious selection of extraordinary dishes make this ultimate all-you-can-eat experience one that will redefine your notion of buffet dining. Dress is casual. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served, with champagne brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Breakfast 8:00am - 10:30am Lunch 11:00am - 3:30pm Dinner 4:00pm - 10:00pm Friday & Saturday Dinner 4:00pm - 10:30pm Sat-Sun Brunch 8:00am - 3:00pm

Bellagio Buffet: 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 Children ages 4 and under are complimentary. Gourmet Friday dinner includes items such as Beef Wellington, Rack of Lamb, Veal Ossobuco, Grilled Swordfish, and Curried Duck Legs.The Buffet has spectacular selections from Italy, China, and Japan as well as fresh seafood and traditional American delights. Breakfast 7:00a.m. - 11:00a.m. Lunch 11:00a.m. - 4:00p.m. Dinner 4:00p.m.- 10:00p.m. Friday and Saturday Gourmet Dinner 4:00p.m. to 10:00p.m. Sat & Sun Champagne Brunch 7:00a.m. - 4:00p.m.

On the Strip

  • AJ's Steakhouse , Hard Rock Hotel, Order a martini and a Filet Mignon—medium rare—and hoist one for ‘ol Blue Eyes!

  • Craftsteak , +1-702-891-7318, MGM Grand, Considered to be one of the best steak houses in America.

  • Cypress Street Marketplace, Caesars Palace, Interesting and good for the family, it has every cuisine and is mostly cheap.

  • Diablo's Cantina , Monte Carlo, Popular Mexican eatery with an excellent bar and a great menu.

  • Kahunaville , Treasure Island, Great atmosphere that serves standard fare.

  • Mesa Grill , Caesars Palace, With a brightly colored decor and festive atmosphere, chef Bobby Flay serves us some tasty Southwestern food with flair.

  • The Range Steakhouse, Harrah's, Grilled to order steaks that will satisfy.

  • Mr. Lucky's 24-7 , Hard Rock Hotel, Sandwiches, salads, and sundaes are popular at the rock and roll diner, but nothing compares with the people watching!

  • Nobu , Hard Rock Hotel, A staple for Las Vegas sushi lovers, newcomers will discover a fusion of traditional Japanese cuisine with Latin spices and flavors.

  • Pink Taco , Hard Rock Hotel, Decoration and staff are half pirate ship, half Suicide Girls, but the Mexican food (and the margaritas) are tasty and served in generous portions. Mains $12-18.

  • 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.

  • Stripburger , Fashion Show Mall, Outdoor bar serving sliders. Great for stopping in for a few mini burgers and beers that won't fill you up on the way to your next destination. Waitresses are babes.

  • Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, Harrah's, American cuisine that includes steaks, burgers, sandwiches, and even dishes like meatloaf and fried catfish. During the evening the restaurant features live country music bands.

  • Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Flamingo, A fun tropical-themed restaurant featuring dishes named after many of Jimmy Buffett's songs (for example: the Cheeseburger in Paradise).

  • Top of the World , Stratosphere, A revolving gourmet restaurant more than 800 feet above the Strip at the top of the Stratosphere Tower.

  • Olives , 866-259-7111, Bellagio, Todd English brings his legendary Olives restaurant to Las Vegas. Enjoy a Mediterranean-style experience set against the breathtaking backdrop of Lake Bellagio. House-made pastas, steaks, rotisserie dishes, brick oven pizzas and sommelier-recommended wines complement the dining atmosphere.

Off the Strip

  • DJT , 702-476-7358, 2000 Fashion Show Drive Las Vegas NV 89109, Trump International Hotel & Tower Las Vegas, DJT features a superbly crafted menu of casual American cuisine. Signature cocktails and exquisite selections can also be enjoyed at The Bar at DJT. For special occasions, a private dining room is also available to host up to ten people.

  • H2(EAU) , 702-476-7423, 2000 Fashion Show Drive Las Vegas NV 89109, Trump International Hotel & Tower Las Vegas, H2(eau) features casual American favorites and offers a vibrant atmosphere in which to dine poolside. A full bar is available featuring our indulgent signature cocktails.

  • Bahama Breeze , 375 Hughes Center Drive, 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.

  • Ellis Island Casino Restaurant , Located one block east of Bally's at the intersection of Flamingo and Koval, The $6.95 steak special is consistently voted one of the best deals 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 4-10PM. Ellis Island also brews its own beer, and serves them in the casino bar in 20 oz. glasses for $1.50.

  • ENVY, The Steakhouse , 3400 Paradise Road, Located in the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel, ENVY is the proud winner of the 2005 Las Vegas Life Magazine Epicurean Award “Best New Restaurant – Off the Strip,” as well as the Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence annually from 2005 through 2009. Originally inspired by Chef Richard Chamberlain, the distinctive ENVY menu includes premium quality, fresh ingredients from select purveyors around the country, featured in innovative dishes that redefine traditional steakhouse cuisine. Enjoy the highest quality Kobe filet, prime rib roast, Black Angus filet and prime bone-in rib eye. The walk-in wine cellar features 1,500 bottles of wine.

  • Lawry's The Prime Rib , (702) 893-2223, 4043 Howard Hughes Parkway Las Vegas, Nevada 89169, Juicy, succulent portions of the company namesake, Prime Rib. All Prime Rib Dinners include the famous Original Spinning Bowl Salad, Yorkshire Pudding, Mashed Potatoes & Whipped Creamed Horseradish. If you don't want Prime Rib ( why go eat at a place called The Prime Rib if you don't want it? ) there's always a Ribeye Steak available and a couple fish dishes.



Luv-It Frozen Custard: Hidden some two blocks north of the Stratosphere Tower and just east of South L.V. Blvd on the north side of Oaky. This family operation offers excellent frozen custards with outstanding toppings. Their blue building with white pillars and trim shares a parking lot with a convenience store.



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).

  • Stripper Bar , Miracle Mile Shops, Planet Hollywood

  • Cleopatra's Barge, (at Caesars Palace). A popular nightspot at Caesars Palace, Cleopatra's Barge is a luxurious floating barge in a ornate replica of the barge that transported Cleopatra down the Nile.

  • Freakin' Frog , (702) 597-9702, 4700 South Maryland Pkwy, Nice bar off the Strip with a very large beer selection and live music on weekends.

  • Nefertiti's Lounge, (at the Luxor). They specialize in 36-inch Sphinx margaritas and glasses made in the shape of mummy cases (they make for nice vases afterward).

  • Pink Taco, (at the Hard Rock). Pink Taco serves up the very best of Mexico with atmosphere, tequila, buckets of beer and of course, tasty Mexican food!

  • 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.

  • Nine Fine Irishmen, (in the New York, New York casino). 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 $7.

  • The Bunkhouse, (Downtown) . Cheap downtown bar with live music. Located one block from the USA Hostel. Friendly with travelers and frequented often by the staff and guests of the nearby hostel.

  • The Centrifuge, (at MGM Grand). Circular shaped bar/lounge; every hour the bar staff dances on the bartop or lounge tables.


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.

A good way to find out what places are currently hot in Vegas is to ask service staff who look like party-people. People working inside hotels are bound to recommend the hotel's institutions, so rather go for waiters or shop-assistants in restaurants or malls outside the hotels.

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 , +1 702 777-7776, 3700 W Flamingo Rd, inside Rio Hotel, 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.

  • Drais , , until 9AM, 3595 S Las Vegas Blvd 89109, inside Billy's (between Ballys and Flamingo), The most popular place for *after hours* on week-ends, so expect long queues especially from 5AM. Two dance-floors, the main floor features trance and Euro dance (otherwise rare in Vegas), the VIP floor (extra charge) features hip hop.

  • Seamless, until noon, opposite of the Orleans, 1 mile west of the Strip on Tropicana Avenue, One of the most popular independent (i.e., not in a hotel) clubs and the one to go when all other clubs are closed, i.e. for *after-after hours* and on week-days. The club consists of a strip bar with a

  • Body English, until 4AM, Hard Rock Hotel, Plays *techno/trance/house* on Wednesday nights.

  • Rock Cafe, until 2AM on weekdays, Imperial Palace, One of the hot party locations for a weekday night in Vegas. This place gets the crowd going by rock music, and also by classical 80s party pop hits. The toilet is located inside the casino, which makes every trip to the loo a temptative gambling break.

  • Coyote Ugly, (New York New York). Monday - Sunday: after 8PM All - $10. Just like the movie, expect beautiful 20-something women serving you drinks and getting rowdy on the bar.

  • Ivan Kane's Forty Deuce, 3930 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (in Mandalay Bay right outside the shops). General Admission: $20 (Sun., Mon., Wed., Thurs.). Front of the line: $40 (Fri., Sat.). The hottest new burlesque club in town, Ivan Kane's is definitely one of the sexiest clubs on offer.

  • LAX, 3900 S. Las Vegas Blvd (in the Luxor) . Where young Hollywood go to party. Exclusive club with an exclusive guest list.

  • TAO Las Vegas, (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) . Tu-Sa 9PM-4AM. Famed for offering the world's most expensive cocktail at $2,200, the Teatro Bar is where gambling winners go to party.

  • Jet, 3400 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (in the Mirage) . Friday, Saturday, Monday 10:30PM-4AM. The Light group introduces this brand new, 25 million dollar, 15,000 square ft dance club, featuring three distinct rooms, house, hip-hop, and rock, which will boast the hottest specialty D.J.'s from across the globe.

  • Haze, City Center Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (inside the City Center) . Another Light group project, featuring Kardashian at the grand openings.

  • XS, 3121 Las Vegas Blvd S Las Vegas, NV 89109 (inside the Encore) . Officially, this 100 million dollar club is the most expensive nightclub ever built in 40.000 square feet space. It is the hottest club in Vegas.

Ultra Pool

An Ultra Pool is a mix of a pool, and club all in one.

  • Wet Republic , +1 702 891-3563, 11AM-Dusk, MGM Grand, Located next to the MGM Grand, this Ultra Pool is the Ultimate Maximum Vegas Day Club. Have a blast swimming around in one of the many pools, or swim (yes, swim) up to a bar and order your favorite drink. Not into getting wet? Relax at a cabana or day bed. Bottle service is available. On select days be sure to stop by as live DJ's will spin the hottest music to cool you down on a hot day in Las Vegas.

Ultra Lounge

An ultra lounge is a mix between lounge and a night club, but the difference to "real" night clubs is tiny and vanishes completely, when the DJ pulls out hard-core dance hits.

  • Pure , +1 702 731-7873 , Fr,Sa,Su,Tu 10PM-early morning hours, Caesars Palace, Pure claims to be the hugest disco/club in Vegas with 40,000 square foot of space. On weekends, be prepared for huge queues unless you are an attractive woman or a wealthy man. The 14,000 square foot open air terrace on the 10th-ish floor is the only area open also on weekdays. It features a panorama view of the Strip glitter with all strip hotels in sight. Other areas, only open on week-ends, include the Pussycat Doll Lounge and the ultra exclusive (and expensive!) VIP Red Room, frequented by many celebrities.

  • Blush, Wynn's, On the 1st floor of Wynn's with an open-air section. Very posh, and accordingly not very energetic music and crowd.

  • Ghostbar , +1 702 942-6832, 8PM-late, Palms, Located on the hotel's roof, this bar 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.

  • Tabu , +1 702 891-7183, Th-Mo 10PM-close, MGM Grand, A small but sophisticated bar, this is a great place to linger over a cocktail.

  • OPM, Caesars Palace, Located in the Forum Mall, Caesars Palace, OPM is one of the worlds premier RnB clubs. Located above a restaurant, 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, 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.


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.

  • Holiday Inn Las Vegas , 702-473-6400, 4055 Palos Verdes, This hip new hotel recently opened so everything is brand new.Great location just off the Strip near UNLV, the Convention Center and the airport.

On the Strip

  • Bally's , +1-888-742-9248, 3645 Las Vegas Blvd South, A moderate hotel and casino, but the location at the center of the Strip and the large rooms makes it one of the best values around.

  • Bellagio , +1-702-693-7111, +1 888 987-6667, 3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd, 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

  • Caesars Palace , +1-877-427-7243, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd South, Renowned for its originality and features, Caesars Palace offers 3,300 hotel rooms, more than 26 different restaurants and cafes, and a special and unique hotel experience.

  • Circus Circus , +1-877-224-7287, 2880 Las Vegas Blvd South, A cheaper and less upscale casino that caters to families. The Manor is in poor shape, the Tower rooms are somewhat better. Scheduled for demolition and rebuilding.

  • Excalibur , +1-800-697-1791, 3850 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Named after the mythical sword of King Arthur, this family friendly hotel has a large pool and rides for the kids.

  • Flamingo , +1-702-733-3111, +1-888-308-8899, 3555 Las Vegas Blvd South

  • Four Seasons , +1-702-632-5000, 3960 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 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. Exceeding expectations, it creates new ones with its luxurious furnishings and array of personalized services.

  • Hard Rock , +1 702-693-5000, 4455 Paradise Road, A premier destination entertainment resort located on 16.7 acres on the corner of Harmon and Paradise Road, inside the Paradise Corridor.

  • Harrah's , +1-702-369-5000, 3475 S Las Vegas Blvd

  • Imperial Palace , +1-702-731-3311, +1-800-634-6441, 3535 Las Vegas Blvd South

  • Luxor Resort and Casino , +1-702-262-4100, 3900 S. Las Vegas Blvd, 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 , +1-702-632-7777, 3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Located at the far southern end of the Strip next to the Luxor.

  • Mirage , +1-702-791-7111, +1-800-374-9000, 3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd., An upscale hotel located near the middle of the Strip, the Mirage features a

  • MGM Grand , +1-702-891-7777, 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Opened in 1993, this Hollywood themed resort has 5,044 guest rooms. The theme

  • Monte Carlo , +1-702-730-7777, +1-888-529-4828, 3770 Las Vegas Blvd South, Modeled after the opulent Place du Casino in Monte Carlo.

  • New York-New York , +1-800-689-1797, +1-800-689-1797, 3790 Las Vegas Blvd. South

  • Owners Suites at Signature , +1-888-7512-4446, +1-888-7512-4446, 125-145 Harmon Avenue, Luxury condos on top of the MGM Grand.

  • Paris , +1-702-946-7000, +1-877-796-2096, 3655 Las Vegas Boulevard South

  • Planet Hollywood Resort , +1-702-785-5555, +1-877-333-9474, 3667 S Las Vegas Blvd, Facilities: 2500 rooms • restaurants • bars • 2 swimming pools • Hot new Casino • Spa • Fitness center • Shops • 24 hour Room service • Free parking.

  • Rio Las Vegas , (866) 746-7671, +1-866-746-7671, 3700 W. Flamingo Road, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Las Vegas can open the door to a world of Las Vegas entertainment. If you're seeking the best in dining, entertainment, and casino gambling for your Las Vegas trip, look no further than the Rio in Las Vegas.

  • Riviera , +1-702-734-5110, +1-800-634-3420, 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. South

  • Sahara , +1-702-737-2654, +1-866-382-8884, 2535 Las Vegas Blvd South, 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 restaurants and a NASCAR exhibition.

  • Stratosphere , +1-702-380-7777, +1-800-998-6937, 2000 Las Vegas Blvd South, The 1,149-foot Stratosphere Tower is a Las Vegas landmark.

  • Travelodge Las Vegas South Strip , +1-702-736-3443, +1-800-578-7878, 3735 Las Vegas Blvd South, The Travelodge Las Vegas has cable TV, free parking for motor coaches and buses and a heated outdoor pool that’s open all year. Rates from $59 per night.

  • Treasure Island , +1-702-894-7111, +1-800-288-7206, 3300 Las Vegas Blvd South

  • Tropicana , +1-888-826-8767, 3801 Las Vegas Blvd South

  • The Palazzo , 1-877-444-5777, 1-877-444-5777, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd South, The Venetian's sister property located right next door, The Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino has an extraordinary 50-floor luxury tower with 3,066 suites, along with a 100,000-square-foot gaming casino, and a 450,000-square-foot meeting and convention facility. It is home to over 60 international boutiques, Barneys New York, the Canyon Ranch Spa Club, the 40/40 Club, the Broadway smash Jersey Boys, and 15 incredible restaurants.

  • The Signature at MGM Grand , 3799 Las Vegas Blvd South, A luxury suite hotel behind the MGM Grand.

  • The Venetian , +1-702-414-4100, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd South, 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 , +1-702-770-7000, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd South, 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.

Off the Strip

  • Artisan Hotel from the Ascend Collection 1501 W Sahara Ave, Phone: 1-702-214-4000, Toll-free: 1-800-424-6423. This is a small non-gaming boutique hotel located just minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip.

  • South Strip Travelodge of Las Vegas , 702-736-3443, 3735 Las Vegas Boulevard S., The affordable Travel Lodge Las Vegas is close to many local area attractions on the Strip. This hotel is within walking distance to Bally’s, Paris, Caesar’s Palace and the Bellagio. The Travelodge Las Vegas has cable TV, free parking and a heated outdoor pool that’s open all year.

  • JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa (40,000 sq foot Aquae Sulis Spa & Salon) 221 North Rampart Boulevard, Phone: 1-702-869-7777, Toll-free: 1-877-869-8777. Marriott Las Vegas Resort Hotel located minutes from the Las Vegas Strip featuring the Aquae Sulis Spa with 36 treatment rooms, full service salon, fitness center and a conference facility with 100,000 sq.ft. of flexible indoor/outdoor function space.

  • Trump International Hotel & Tower , 1-702-982-0000, 2000 Fashion Show Drive, Soaring high above the Strip, the Trump International Hotel & Tower Las Vegas rises 64 stories to offer sweeping panoramic views of the city against a majestic backdrop of surrounding mountains. The Trump International Hotel & Tower Las Vegas houses 1,232 graciously furnished suites and 50 penthouse suites, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows, The Spa at Trump and Health Club, exceptional dining and well-appointed amenities.

  • AmeriSuites Las Vegas/Paradise Road , +1-702-369-3366, 4520 Paradise Road, Located in the heart of Las Vegas, adjacent to the Hard Rock Casino.

  • Clarion Hotel & Suites Emerald Springs , +1-702-732-9100, 325 E. Flamingo Rd., Only three blocks away from the Strip and less than two miles away from The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). Free complimentary airport shuttle service

  • Best Western Mardi Gras Hotel & Casino , +1-702-731-2020, 3500 Paradise Rd., Only three blocks away from the Las Vegas Monorail Convention Center stop and one mile away from the Strip. Only 3 miles to the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). Free complimentary shuttle service to the Strip

  • Comfort Inn , +1-702-938-2000, 4350 Paradise Road, Within walking distance of UNLV and the Thomas and Mack Center sports arena.

  • Westgate Flamingo Bay, 5625 W. Flamingo Road Las Vegas, Nevada 89103, . Only two and a half miles from the Las Vegas "Strip" with all the amenities of home in one and two bedroom villas equipped with a full kitchen, whirlpool tub, spacious living room and a fireplace.

  • Gold Coast Hotel & Casino , +1-702-367-7111, +1-888-402-6278, 4000 West Flamingo Road, 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.

  • The Desert Rose , +1 702-739-7000, 5051 Duke Ellington Way, .Spacious 284 condo-styled suites with the comforts of a vacation resort. Sparkling resort pool and hot tub, surrounded by lush foliage.

  • Hawthorn Suites (Las Vegas Strip) , 5051 Duke Ellington Way

  • Las Vegas Hilton , +1-888-732-7117, 3000 Paradise Rd., 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 , +1-702-739-9000, 115 East Tropicana Avenue, 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 , +1-702-942-7777, +1-866-942-7777, 4321 West Flamingo Road, A bit off the Strip this hotel offers gambling and also a great view of the Strip from the Ghostbar.

  • The Platinum Hotel , +1-877-211-9211, 211 East Flamingo Road, Boutique non-gaming hotel, all rooms are suites with kitchen and private balcony. Two blocks from the Strip, nearby Bellagio.

  • Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel , +1-702-784-5700, +1-800-750-0980, 3400 Paradise Road, Non-gaming, non-smoking hotel convenient to Las Vegas Convention Center, McCarran Airport, Monorail, and the Strip.

  • Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino , +1-702-777-7777, +1-800-PLAY-RIO, 3700 West Flamingo Road, Home to the world famous buffet, and some of the largest standard rooms in Las Vegas.

  • Super 8, Koval Lane, Cheap, clean and only 1 block away from the Strip

  • Westin Casuarina Casino & Spa , (702) 836-5900 , 160 East Flamingo Road, 826 rooms and suites offer understated style and the utmost elegance.


  • Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel , +1-702-382-1600, 128 Fremont Street

  • El Cortez Hotel and Casino , (702)385-5200, 1-800-634-6703, 600 E. Fremont Street, 300 room Hotel on Fremont St, 2 restaurants and a chinese buffet. Recently Remodeled with a great rewards program! Great place to stay for cheap if you have a rental car, but as long as you walk to the Fremont St Exp, you should be fine.

  • Fremont Hotel & Casino , +1-800-634-6460, 200 East Fremont Street, 32,000 square foot casino and 4.5 restaurants, plus right next to the Fremont Street Experience light show.

  • Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino , +1-702-385-7111, 129 Fremont St

  • Main Street Station Hotel and Casino , +1-800-713-8933, 200 North Main Street, Hotel with Victorian theme, and the not-to-be-missed Garden Court Buffet.

  • Plaza Hotel and Casino , +1-702-386-2110, 1 South Main Street


Many modest hotels, well-away from the Strip and downtown, cater to "locals"; many offer lower rates and (often) better games. Among them are:

  • The Station Casinos. Located throughout the greater LV area, to include deluxe resort properties.

  • Sam's Town. On Boulder Highway toward Henderson. Large property with considerable parking, to include excellent facilities for RVs.

  • Fiesta Henderson. At intersection of I-215 and I-515. Standard rooms, economical and tasty dining, and excellent games. Room rates for players are especially attractive.

They are complemented by plush, full-resort hotels/casinos in select locations. Examples include:

Bed & Breakfast

  • Michele's French Country Cottage, 702-454-6992, 4429 Casa Sencia, When the flashing neon lights of Vegas get too much, try this great alternative. Capturing the essence of an Alsace-Lorraine French country farmhouse, Michele and her attentive staff will charm and endear you.

  • Milo's Inn at Boulder 534 Nevada Highway, Boulder City, NV 89005 702-294-4244 Quiet bed and breakfast at Milo's Wine Bar in historic Boulder City, Nevada near Hoover Dam, newly remodeled rooms attentive staff.


  • Arizona Charlie's Boulder Casino, Hotel and RV Park , +1-702-951-9000, +1-800-970-7280, 4445 Boulder Hwy, Easy access from interstate and reasonable prices; great for overnight stays passing through Vegas.

  • Hitchin' Post RV Park and Motel , +1-702-644-1043, 1-888-433-8402, 3640 Las Vegas Blvd North, Sites are cramped but cheap. They take your name but don't take reservations if they are nearly full (beware!).

  • Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort , 800-566-4707, 2711 W. Windmill Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89123, Nice clean RV park south of the Strip, 50 amp full service hookups. Two pools and hot tubs. Need to drive or take shuttle to the Strip. Easy access from I-15.


  • USA Hostels Las Vegas , +1-702-385-1150, 1322 Fremont Street, 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 recommended. 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.

  • Sin City Hostel , +1-702-868-0222, 1208 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Hostel located near the north end of the Strip. Simple, clean, efficient. For students or foreigners only. $15 per night in a 6-bed dorm includes continental breakfast.


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 the Project City Center , 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 $11 billion makes the project the most expensive private construction job ever attempted.

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.

  • Forum Shops , in Caesars, 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.

  • The Gambler's Book Store , 1550 E. Tropicana Ave, This is the oldest gambling book store in the nation; if you need to learn how to play a game, this is where you go.

  • Grand Canal Shoppes , in the Venetian, 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, 120 outlet stores in an indoor setting complete with two food courts.

  • Las Vegas Premium Outlets , At the gateway of Downtown - 120 designer and name-brand outlets including Coach, Lacoste, Polo Ralph Lauren and more.

  • Town Square , , about 1 km south of Mandalay, is a new *outdoor mall* in the shape of a small mediterrenean town and stands out as such amidst all the other, air-conditioned indoor malls in Vegas. The idea of open-air shopping in the heat of the desert might seem crazy at first thought, but an extensive network of trees, shadow alleys and water sprayers let you actually enjoy sunny afternoons outside. All shops and restaurants have their own, distinguished one- or two-storey houses. The town actually centers around a real town square featuring trees, ice-cream and coffee stands and benches to rest. The mall has a **huge book store**,

  • Sun Buggy Fun Rentals , 702-644-2855, 7AM-7PM, 6825 Speedway Blvd. Bldg-B Ste. 101`, 15 North to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 3rd Right behind Shelby's corner cafe, Dune buggy rentals and off-roading experiences. Located at the Las Vegas dunes. Open 7 days a week.

  • Vegas Horseback Tours , 888-584-9059, Daily , 2470 Chandler Ave., Suite 11, Horseback Tours include a Sunset Dinner, Lunch or Breakfast horseback ride, an authentic cowboy meal and a visit to our cowboy town & petting zoo! Free Hotel Pick-up!


Given the city's lure of easy money, Las Vegas naturally attracts a small unsavory element. Still, robbery and muggings are comparable to those of any large American city. 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 all your winnings in cash, all casinos have security personnel available to escort you to your car or room upon request.

Major casinos are generally very safe; casinos take security seriously and have security cameras recording almost every square inch of its property as well as uniformed and plainclothes security personnel patrolling at all times.

Despite the advertising slogan What happens here, stays here, Las Vegas has laws that are vigorously enforced. Drunk driving and illicit drugs are not tolerated and will result in arrest. Prostitution is likewise illegal in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, although it is legal at licensed brothels in some rural counties of Nevada. Pedestrians may drink alcohol from an open container on "the Strip", but not in automobiles (not even for passengers).

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, women, 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.

Expect extremely low humidity and temperatures above 105°F (40°C) May through September. Bring sunscreen and wear loose, dark-colored clothing that substantially blocks sunlight. Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids.

If you want to come back from Vegas with a small fortune, you go there with a "big one". In short, you're far more likely to lose a lot of money from gambling than from being a victim of crime.


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

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

Get out

  • Brian Head nearest ski area in Utah.

  • Bristlecone Pines in White Mountains (California) via U.S. 95 and state route 168 to Westgard Pass, then paved road as far as Shulman Grove at 10,000', gravel to Patriarch grove just below treeline.

  • Cottonwood Cove on Arizona side of Colorado River. Rent motorboats that can be taken upriver through a scenic canyon to within sight of Hoover Dam.

  • Death Valley National Park is two hours to the west by car.

  • Desert National Wildlife Range , primitive camping on 1,588,459 acres of Mohave Desert. Set aside primarily for desert bighorn sheep, is 23 miles north of Las Vegas on U.S. 95.

  • The Grand Canyon is about 4 hours by car, via the Hoover Dam.

  • Great Basin National Park has Nevada's only glacier and other excellent mountain scenery, Bristlecone Pines, cave tour with stalactites etc. North on U.S. 93 to Ely, east on U.S. 50.

  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area is about one hour and twenty minutes north-east by car.

  • Los Angeles is about 4 hours by car.

  • Mesquite is a delightful little resort on the Nevada-Arizona border near Utah.

  • Mt. Charleston ski area in winter, hiking up to alpine zone in summer.

  • Red Rock Canyon, vivid red and white sandstone cliffs

  • Sedona, Arizona, New Age tourist town in red sandstone canyon.

  • Sierra Nevada Lone Pine at the base of Mount Whitney, highest U.S. peak outside Alaska. About two hours beyond Death Valley.

  • Valley of Fire State Park is one hour north-east by car. However, note that the highway is under construction and so driving north from Lake Mead will add two extra hours to go 6 km (4 miles).

  • Zion National Park is about three hours east of Vegas and offers stunning scenery in a red-walled canyon.

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