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Info Las Vegas
Las Vegas , officially the City of Las Vegas and often known as simply Vegas, is a city in the United States, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, the county seat of Clark County, and the city proper of the Las Vegas Valley. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, fine dining, and nightlife and is the leading financial, commercial, and cultural center for Southern Nevada.
The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino–hotels and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, Las Vegas is the 29th-most populous city in the United States, with a population of 603,488 at the 2013 United States Census Estimates. The 2013 population of the Las Vegas metropolitan area was 2,027,828. The city is one of the top three leading destinations in the United States for conventions, business, and meetings. In addition, the city's metropolitan area has more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world, and is a global leader in the hospitality industry. Today, Las Vegas is one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
Established in 1905, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1911. At the close of the 20th century, Las Vegas was the most populous American city founded in that century (a similar distinction earned by Chicago in the 19th century). The city's tolerance for numerous forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films, television programs, and music videos.
"Las Vegas" is generally used to describe not just the city itself, but areas beyond the city limits—especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip—and the Las Vegas Valley. The 4.2 mi (6.8 km) stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Las Vegas Strip is in the unincorporated communities of Paradise, Winchester, and Enterprise, located in Clark County.
|POPULATION :||• City 583,756|
• Urban 1,314,356
• Metro 1,951,269
|FOUNDED :||Founded May 15, 1905|
Incorporated March 16, 1911
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone PST (UTC−8)|
• Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
|AREA :||• City 352 km2 (135.8 sq mi)|
• Land 352 km2 (135.8 sq mi)
• Water 0.1 km2 (.05 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||610 m (2,001 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||36°10′30″N 115°08′11″W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: |
|ETHNIC :||• White: 62.1% (Non-Hispanic Whites: 47.9%; Hispanic Whites: 14.2%)|
• Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 31.5% (24.0% Mexican, 1.4% Salvadoran, 0.9% Puerto Rican, 0.9% Cuban, 0.6% Guatemalan, 0.2% Peruvian, 0.2% Colombian, 0.2% Honduran, 0.2% Nicaraguan)
• Black or African American: 11.1%
• Asian: 6.1% (3.3% Filipino, 0.7% Chinese, 0.5% Korean, 0.4% Japanese, 0.4% Indian, 0.2% Vietnamese, 0.2% Thai)
• Two or more races: 4.9%
• Native American: 0.7%
• Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.6%
|AREA CODE :||702 & 725|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+1 702|
Situated in the midst of the southern Nevada desert, Las Vegas is the largest city in the state of Nevada. Nicknamed Sin City, Las Vegas and its surrounding communities are famed for their mega-casino resorts, often lavishly decorated with names and themes meant to evoke romance, mystery, and exotic destinations. Along the brightly-lit Strip through the center of the city, visitors will find all manner of amusements and entertainment: circuses, stage shows, thrill rides, erotica, exotic animals, fine dining restaurants, nightclubs, shopping, and elaborate fountain displays, to say nothing of the age-old allure of gambling and drinking.
The primary drivers of the Las Vegas economy are tourism, gaming and conventions, which in turn feed the retail and restaurant industries.
The major attractions in Las Vegas are the casinos and the hotels, although in recent years other new attractions have begun to emerge.
Most casinos in the downtown area are located on the Fremont Street Experience,The Stratosphere being one of the exceptions. Fremont East, adjacent to the Fremont Street Experience, was granted variances to allow bars to be closer together, similar to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, the goal being to attract a different demographic than the Strip attracts.
The city is home to several museums, including the Neon Museum (the location for many of the historical signs from Las Vegas' mid-20th century heyday), The Mob Museum, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, the DISCOVERY Children's Museum, the Nevada State Museum and the Old Las Vegas Mormon State Historic Park.
The city is home to an extensive Downtown Arts District, which hosts numerous galleries and events including the annual Las Vegas Film Festival. "First Friday" is a monthly celebration that includes arts, music, special presentations and food in a section of the city's downtown region called 18b, The Las Vegas Arts District. The festival extends into the Fremont East Entertainment District as well.
The Thursday prior to First Friday is known in the arts district as "Preview Thursday." This evening event highlights new gallery exhibitions throughout the district.
The Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts is aGrammy award-winning magnet school located in downtown Las Vegas.
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is situated downtown in Symphony Park. The world-class performing arts center hosts Broadway shows and other major touring attractions, as well as orchestral, opera, ballet, choir, jazz, and dance performances.
Compared with other American cities, even those in the western United States, Las Vegas is a relatively recent arrival. It was founded in 1905 and for many years was a fairly small settlement. However, several pivotal events in the early- to mid-20th century catapulted Las Vegas to prominence and set it on the path to grow into what it is today. First was the construction of nearby Hoover Dam from 1931 untill 1936, which brought thousands of workers to the area. Second was the legalization of gambling by the state of Nevada in 1931, which led to the establishment of casinos and speakeasies that established Downtown Las Vegas as an entertainment center for the Hoover Dam workers.
Amidst rapid growth in the local gambling industry, the luxurious El Rancho Vegas resort opened in 1941 on what would later become the Las Vegas Strip. This was followed up by Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel's Flamingo Hotel in 1946, starting the building boom and one-upmanship that continues today. This would also create a precedent of organized crime involvement in Nevada's gambling industry. While federal regulations and enforcement as well as investments by established corporations have virtually wiped out any mob involvement today, the building bonanza continues with ever-more elaborate resorts and attractions being constructed.
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 hotel-casinos, as well as the "Fremont Street Experience", a pedestrian mall lined with casinos, shops, and restaurants near the western end of Fremont Street. A couple miles south of downtown starts the "Strip" (Las Vegas Boulevard South), a north-south street lined with large casino-hotels, shopping malls, and many other attractions. The northern end of the Strip is marked by the tall Stratosphere Tower. Frequent city buses run up and down the Strip and connect the Strip to downtown. The Las Vegas monorail and the convention center sit just east of the Strip, and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) is located slightly more east of the Strip on Maryland Parkway. The airport is at the southern end of the Strip.
Perhaps the earliest visitors to the Las Vegas area were nomadic Paleo-Indians, who traveled here 10,000 years ago, leaving behind petroglyphs.Anasazi and Paiute tribes followed at least 2,000 years ago.
A young Mexican scout named Rafael Rivera is credited as the first non-Native American to encounter the valley, in 1829. Trader Antonio Armijo led a 60-man party along the Spanish Trail to Los Angeles, California in 1829. The area was named Las Vegas, which is Spanish for "the meadows," as it featured abundant wild grasses, as well as desert spring waters for westward travelers. The year 1844 marked the arrival of John C. Fremont, whose writings helped lure pioneers to the area. Downtown Las Vegas' Fremont Street is named after him.
Eleven years later members of the LDS Church chose Las Vegas as the site to build a fort halfway between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, where they would travel to gather supplies. The fort was abandoned several years afterward. The remainder of this Old Mormon Fort can still be seen at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Washington Avenue.
Las Vegas was founded as a city in 1905, when 110 acres (45 ha) of land adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks were auctioned in what would become the downtown area. In 1911, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city.
1931 was a pivotal year for Las Vegas. At that time, Nevada legalized casino gambling and reduced residency requirements for divorce to six weeks. This year also witnessed the beginning of construction on nearby Hoover Dam. The influx of construction workers and their families helped Las Vegas avoid economic calamity during the Great Depression. The construction work was completed in 1935.
In 1941, the Las Vegas Army Air Corps Gunnery School was established. Currently known as Nellis Air Force Base, it is home to the aerobatic team called the Thunderbirds.
Following World War II, lavishly decorated hotels, gambling casinos and big-name entertainment became synonymous with Las Vegas.
The 1950s saw the opening of the Moulin Rouge, the first racially integrated casino-hotel in Las Vegas.
In 1951, nuclear weapons testing began at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles (105 km) northwest of Las Vegas. City residents and visitors were able to witness the mushroom clouds and be exposed to the fallout until 1963 when the limited Test Ban Treaty required that nuclear tests be moved underground.
The iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, which was never located in the city, was created in 1959 by Betty Willis, who never copyrighted it.
During the 1960s, corporations and business powerhouses such as Howard Hughes were building and buying hotel-casino properties. Gambling was referred to as "gaming," which transitioned into legitimate business.
In 1989, entrepreneur Steve Wynn changed the face of the Las Vegas gaming industry by opening up The Mirage, the Las Vegas Strip's first mega-casino resort.
The year 1995 marked the opening of the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas' downtown area. This canopied, five-block area features 12.5 million LED lights and 550,000 watts of sound from dusk until midnight during shows held on the top of each hour.
Due to the realization of many revitalization efforts, 2012 was dubbed "The Year of Downtown." Hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of projects made their debut at this time. They included The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and DISCOVERY Children's Museum, Mob Museum, Neon Museum, a new City Hall complex and renovations for a new Zappos.com corporate headquarters in the old City Hall building.
Las Vegas' climate is a subtropical, hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification: BWh), typical of the Mojave Desert in which it lies. The city enjoys abundant sunshine year-round; it has an average of about 310 sunny days per year. It is virtually free of tornadoes and ice storms. Dewpoints in the summer are exceptionally low, ranging from 40.6 °F (4.8 °C) to 44.0 °F (6.7 °C).
The summer months of June through September are very hot and mostly dry, with a July daily average temperature of 92.5 °F (33.6 °C), while nighttime temperatures often remain above 80 °F (27 °C). There are an average of 134 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, and 74 days of 100 °F (38 °C)+ highs, with most of the days in July and August exceeding the latter benchmark, and only occasionally failing to reach the former. Humidity is very low, often under 10%.
Las Vegas' winters are short and the season is generally mild. December, the coolest month, averages 47.7 °F (8.7 °C). The mountains surrounding Las Vegas accumulate snow during the winter, but snow is rare in the Las Vegas Valley itself. Most recently, on December 16, 2008, Las Vegas received 3.6 inches (9.1 cm). Temperatures reach the freezing mark on 16 nights of the year but rarely sink to 20 °F (−7 °C).
Annual precipitation in Las Vegas is about 4.2 in (110 mm), which on average falls 26–27 days per year. Most of the precipitation falls in the winter, but even the wettest month (February) has on average only four days of precipitation.
Climate data for McCarran International Airport (Paradise, Nevada)
|Record high °F (°C)||77|
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||68.2|
|Average high °F (°C)||58.0|
|Average low °F (°C)||39.4|
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||28.0|
|Record low °F (°C)||8|
Las Vegas is situated within Clark County in a basin on the floor of the Mojave Desert and is surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides. Much of the landscape is rocky and arid with desert vegetation and wildlife. It can be subjected to torrential flash floods, although much has been done to mitigate the effects of flash floods through improved drainage systems.
The peaks surrounding Las Vegas reach elevations of over 10,000 feet (3,000 m), and act as barriers to the strong flow of moisture from the surrounding area. The elevation is approximately 2,030 ft (620 m) above sea level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 135.86 sq mi (351.9 km2), of which 135.81 sq mi (351.7 km2) is land and 0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2) (0.03%) is water.
Nevada is the third most seismically active state in the U.S. (after Alaska and California); it has been estimated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that over the next 50 years there is a 10-20% chance of a M6.0 or greater earthquake occurring within 50 km of Las Vegas.
Within the city there are many lawns, trees and other greenery. Due to water resource issues, there has been a movement to encourage xeriscapes. Another part of conservation efforts is scheduled watering days for residential landscaping. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant in 2008 funded a program that analyzed and forecast growth and environmental impacts through the year 2019.
The primary drivers of the Las Vegas economy are tourism, gaming and conventions, which in turn feed the retail and restaurant industries.
Most hotel charge a separate fee (typically $13/day) for WiFi usage. An alternative option for occasional WiFi users are Burger King joints - WiFi is free for all customers and you don't even need a password.
Las Vegas Airport has free WiFi. On the Strip some internet cafes exist with prices from 20¢/minute.
- Elysium Internet Cafe, 7875 Sahara Ave #101, . $3/hr, or connect to it for free!
Prices in Las Vegas
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$2.65|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$12.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$35.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$61.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$7.00|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$6.00|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$4.80|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$13.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$17.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$0.40|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$8.80|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$2.75|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$45.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$43.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$80.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$2.15|
67 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
257 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
McCarran International Airport (IATA: LAS) is served by most major domestic and many international air carriers. Terminal 1 serves most domestic flights, including those of dominant carrier Southwest Airlines as well as budget airlines Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air, all of which have large operations at the airport. Terminal 3 serves all international flights, with service to Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, and South Korea among other places, as well as some domestic flights. (Terminal 2 was closed in 2012 and is slated to be demolished in the near future.) The airport is one of the few in the world to have slot machines in it, meaning you can lose your entire vacation budget within minutes of stepping off the plane. The airport provides free Wi-Fi without registration. Drinking water fountains can be found throughout the airport.
Hotels owned by MGM Grand (MGM Grand, Bellagio, Aria, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, The Mirage, Vdara, Circus Circus, and New York New York) and Harrah's Entertainment (Rio, Harrah's, Bally's, Paris, Caesars Palace, and Flamingo) allow you to check in at the hotel and transfer luggage between the hotel and the airport.
For departing flights:
- Allow plenty of time for security screening, especially on those days when major conventions end. Or schedule your flight at another day/time if you can.
- Curbside check-in counters can save time, but will cost you $4 per bag + tip, and if flying an "open" ticket, you won't be allocated a seat number until boarding time...and likely to be an undesirable seat.
To travel between the airport and your Strip hotel:
- Taxis cost $10–$20 from the airport to a Strip location. The taxi line is well organized and the city taxi dispatcher will direct you to a numbered space along the curb. You need not tip the taxi dispatcher. There is some debate on whether the taxi driver should or should not be taking any Strip-destination passengers through the tunnel when exiting the airport. Most taxi drivers prefer to take the tunnel because (surprise, surprise) it produces a higher bill. The general consensus seems to be that taking the tunnel is 5–10 minutes shorter, but will cost you $5–$10 more; and not taking the tunnel is 5–10 minutes longer, but will cost $5–$10 less. Some people prefer to save the money as the time savings isn't that huge. You have the right to tell the driver if you do not want to take the tunnel. And do not let them tell you they need to take the tunnel to avoid the "big accident" if that is not your preference. If you feel you have been taken advantage of by the taxi driver, take down the driver's license number and call the Nevada Taxi Cab Authority.
- RTC Transit operated routes (see Airport Transit Routes for further details):
- Bus 108 costs $2 each way (regular Residential Route fare) and departs every 20–30 minutes from Terminal 1. The bus travels along Paradise Road to the Convention Center and the LV Hilton, taking about 20–25 minutes. At the intersection of Paradise Road and the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard), you can switch to the Deuce shuttle bus, traveling north to downtown or south to other hotel casinos.
- Westcliff Airport Express (WAX) bus runs from Terminal 1 and 3 to Tropicana and Las Vegas Blvd, the MGM Grand Casino, Excalibur, New York-New York, the Bonneville Transit Center and downtown Fourth street and Carlson. A regular one-way ticket costs $2, a 2h ticket $3 and a 24h ticket $5 (regular Residential Route fare).
- Centennial Express (CX) runs from Terminal 3 to the University of Las Vegas, Wynn resort, Palazzo before serving Bonneville Transit Center and downtown Fourth street and Carlson like the WAX bus.
- Bus 109 Southbound runs from Terminal 1 and goes to the South Strip Transfer Terminal (SSTT) where you have to change to the Strip & Downtown Express (SDX). Since this involves a non-residential bus, you should buy a Strip & All Access Pass (2h ticket for $6 or a 24h ticket for $8).
- At Terminal 1, the RTC Transit bus stop is located at 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. At Terminal 3, the bus stop is located on the west end of Level Zero. Exit the terminal from doors 51-58, turn left and follow the orange public transport signs.
- Shuttle Buses will take you to any hotel on the Strip (around $15 return) or downtown (around $18 return). Some hotels offer their own shuttle service.
- Limousines cost ~$35.
Henderson Executive Airport (IATA: HSH) is the corporate choice for aviation in Las Vegas. Located just minutes from the world famous Vegas strip, Henderson Airport is the ideal alternative to McCarran International Airport. Air taxi and air charter companies such as The Early Air Way and Jetset Charter fly a variety of private charter aircraft and jets, from charter luxury Gulfstream's down to economical piston twins for small groups and individuals.
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 I-15 restful and scenic. Attractions along the I-15 include the California towns of Barstow and Baker; the Mojave Desert; and small hotel-casinos in Nevada at Primm (at the California border) and Jean, respectively. 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, travelers typically drive on I-40 through Arizona, and then head north toward Vegas on US-93 in Kingman, before finally picking up I-15. This route will take you along the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and directly through Boulder City, near the Hoover Dam. Traffic there can 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 east 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 fuel tank is full.
- American Lion, 2055 N Las Vegas Blvd, N Las Vegas (NW of N Las Vegas Blvd & E Lake Meade), . Daily bus between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area. They also have additional stops at the Stratosphere (2000 S Las Vegas Blvd); Riviera Hotel (2901 S Las Vegas Blvd); Bally's Hotel & Casino (3645 S Las Vegas Blvd) and Excalibur Hotel & Casino (3850 S Las Vegas Blvd).
- Greyhound, (Depot) 200 S Main St (S Main St & Carson), , toll-free: . Operates buses to/from Salt Lake City (UT);Kingman (AZ); Los Angeles, (CA), San Bernardino, Denver; and Phoenix, (AZ) on multiple routes.
- Megabus, (Bus stop) RTC South Strip Transfer Terminal @ 6675 Gilespie St (RTC South Strip Transfer Terminal near Sunset Road, south of McCarran International Airport). Offers service from Los Angeles and Riverside. The bus stop offers RTC local bus service to the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas.
- BoltBus, (Bus stops) 500 S 1st St (btwn E. Bonneville Ave. & Clark Ave) and Bus Bay 10 in the South Strip Transfer Terminal @ 6675 Gilespie St., toll-free:. Offers service from Los Angeles, Ontario and Barstow.
- El Paso-Los Angles Limousines, (Depot) 1100 S Main St (SW corner of W Charleston (SR-159) & S Main. Public entrance facing W Charleston), . They go to Los Angeles via Colton & El Monte on one route and towards El Paso via Phoenix, Deming & Las Cruces on another. They also have another depot at 1410 N Eastern Ave in North Las Vegas.
- LuxBus, (Bus stops) Harrah's @ 3475 Las Vegas Blvd and California Hotel @ 12 E Ogden Ave, both in downtown, toll-free: . Operates four daily trips to and from Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Diego.
- Orange Belt Stages (Trailways), (Greyhound Depot) 200 S Main St (S. Main St & Carson), , toll-free: 1 800-266-7433. Regular scheduled service between Las Vegas, Barstow, Bakersfield, Portersville & Visalia and several other cities and towns in between. They also offer different day tours to different places and events too
- TUFESA Bus Lines, (Bus depot) 99 Martin Luther King Blvd (MLK Blvd & Mineral Ave, SW of the I-15 & US-95 junction.), . Offers bus service to Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Hermosillo (via Kingman, Phoenix, Tucson & Nogales)
Direct Amtrak service to Las Vegas was discontinued in 1997 due to budget problems. Since than there have been several proposals for renewed train service to Las Vegas ranging from an interstate Maglev (Magnetic levitation) to simply restoring Amtrak service through a state subsidy. Thus far (2015) nothing has come of it but noise made by One private company that intends to build a high speed rail connection to Victorville, California. However, there are several bus services which connect with various Amtrak trains:
- The Southwest Chief route, running from Chicago to Los Angeles, stops inKingman, Arizona, from which passengers may transfer to a bus that travels to McCarran International Airport via Laughlin. Be forewarned that the westbound train is scheduled to arrive in Kingman at approximately 12AM local time, and the bus arrives at the airport around 3AM. If you prefer to arrive/depart at a more reasonable hour and don't mind a bit of backtracking, you can also take the train all the way to the end of the route in Los Angeles and connect with a Greyhound bus instead--this will take longer, but arrives in Vegas in the late afternoon.
- The San Joaquin route travels from Emeryville, California to Bakersfield, from which an Amtrak Thruway bus travels to Las Vegas once each day.
Transportation - Get Around
If traveling along the Strip, walking is a reasonable option as the hotel-casinos are close to each other. However, note that what may look to be a short walk of only a couple hotel-casinos away may be farther than you expected as the resorts often look closer than they are due to their large size. In most cases, 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.
The Las Vegas Monorail, +1 702 699-8200, runs along 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 and $15 for a one-day pass, with 2-7 day passes also available. 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 because 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. The discounted fare can be purchased from the customer service booths located at each station.
Due to high prices, inconvenient station locations, low passenger ridership, and the fact that it does not connect to downtown or the airport, the Monorail is widely regarded as a failure. It has been operating under the supervision of a federal bankruptcy court since January 2010 while it tries to reorganize its finances under the protection of Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Buses can be an inexpensive and convenient option, especially if just traveling up-and-down the Strip, or to-and-from downtown. A bus ride is a good way to recuperate during those hot summer months after a long and tiring walk on the Strip since the buses are air-conditioned.
The city bus system RTC Transit, +1 702 228-7433, operates routes throughout the valley. Most routes operate 5:30AM-1:30AM daily, but some routes operate 24 hours per day. In addition to regular service, there is also the Deuce, a double-decker bus, and the futuristic-looking Strip & Downtown Express (SDX), both of which operate at 15-minute intervals along the Strip and connect to Downtown (the SDX also stops at the Convention Center). The Deuce runs 24 hours a day, while the SDX runs from 9AM to midnight and uses roughly the same stops as the Deuce, but skips three out of four Deuce stops, making for a faster service than the Deuce (but you might also need to walk a longer distance to and from the bus stops). Be aware that on the Strip, Deuce buses often stop at short intervals and may be there for a couple of minutes as passengers board and disembark. If traveling longer distances, it is often worth it to wait and catch a SDX.
The fare is $2 for all RTC residential routes (transfers an extra $1), and $6 for Deuce and SDX service (includes transfer). The fare for residential routes and the Deuce may be paid in cash directly to the driver (no change given). On the SDX you can't buy the ticket on board the bus, but need to purchase in advance using the ticket vending machines at the SDX bus stops. Ticket vending machines give change and accept credit/debit cards. A day pass which includes fare for Deuce and SDX service costs $8, while a 3-day pass costs $20.
One of the easiest ways to get around is by taxi. It is relatively cheap to go from hotel to hotel, but be aware that since traffic is often so congested on the strip, taking a taxi often isn't much faster than walking. Many taxis will cut off the strip to use a parallel road—this is often faster but can double your taxi fare. The taxi driver is required to use 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.
All taxis require an address for pickup and drop off. It is illegal in Las Vegas for taxis to pick up or drop off passengers on the street, especially on the Strip. It is customary to tip the hotel taxi dispatcher $1 and tip the taxi driver 15% of the meter, and about $1 per piece of luggage.
If you are traveling with a large group, consider hiring a limousine, as you will often forgo a wait and the price per person may even be lower than that using a taxicab. Limousines usually queue in front of the taxicab line and can be approached directly.
Driving Las Vegas Boulevard (the "Strip"), especially on weekends, is an exercise in frustration. Due to extremely severe gridlock, you could easily spend an hour (or more) sitting in traffic on the Strip just to travel a couple of miles. The Strip's most critically congested section is the 1.7-mile-long portion between Spring Mountain Road/Sands Avenue to the north and Tropicana Avenue to the south, which happens to be where almost all of the major hotel-casinos are located.
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. Frank Sinatra Drive (which dead ends into Industrial Road) lies just west of the Strip, runs behind the casinos, and provides another option. Koval Lane and Paradise Road provide similar access on the eastern side of the Strip. If you need to do an east or west traverse of the northern half of the Strip and I-15, consider using the Desert Inn Road superarterial, which was built specifically to provide a fast grade-separated route for east-west traffic.
Virtually all major casinos on the Strip, and downtown, offer free parking and many also offer valet parking for an additional charge. 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.
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. Some of the best sights are located just outside of Las Vegas and require that you drive to those destinations. If you need to or might go farther (e.g., out of state), ensure your rental agreement allows it and sharing of driving duties.
The base rental price for a car at McCarran International Airport is quite competitive with other major cities. Unfortunately, agencies at the airport must levy very large fees (e.g., for airport improvements) and taxes on those base prices. These can increase the modest weekly cost of a compact or intermediate size car by nearly 60 percent.
- All airport rental agencies share a single off-airport facility, the 5 McCarran Rent-A-Car Center, served by frequent free shuttle buses. Add at least 30 minutes to your schedule to pick up and/or drop off your vehicle to ensure you won't be late for meetings or departure flights.
- There are numerous car rental offices on the Strip making it 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 weekends and during major conventions. Check to see if those off-airport sites must also charge the above fees and taxes.
- Scoot Vegas Moped Rentals, . offers scooter rental, a great way to see the sites. Free delivery to all strip hotels. Must be over 18 with a valid drivers license and major credit card.
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The combined state and local sales tax in all of Clark County (meaning the entire Las Vegas metro area) is 8.10%. Only groceries and prescription drugs are exempt.
Like most U.S. states, Nevada has not implemented a tax refund mechanism for international travelers. The only retailers that can sell tax-free items to international travelers are the duty-free shops at McCarran International Airport.
Most hotel/casino resort complexes in Las Vegas have a gift shop open 24/7 that offers basic traveler supplies and sundries. Hotel gift shops are outrageously expensive and should be avoided except for emergencies.
If you are planning to not rent a car and to simply go up and down the Strip on foot or bus, the pharmacies are your best bet for basic supplies. They are all open 24/7 and accustomed to dealing with tourists from all over the world.
Like most U.S. pharmacies, they carry a very large variety of products besides pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements, including snacks, soft drinks, bottled water, cosmetics, toiletries, hats, sunscreen, maps, postcards, and so on. CVS Pharmacy has two branches on the Strip, one located on South Strip between CityCenter and Monte Carlo, and the other located on North Strip between Circus Circus and Sahara Avenue.Walgreens has one branch on Central Strip at Palazzo and another on South Strip in front of Planet Hollywood.
There are also multiple 7-Eleven convenience stores open 24/7 throughout the Strip, but their prices tend to be higher than the pharmacies and their product selection is not as broad. Souvenirs, drinks and snacks are also available at small stores along the strip; there is a cluster of them between MGM and Planet Hollywood as well as north of the Wynn. These are usually the cheapest places to shop, even if the selection is quite limited.
Importantly, there are no major supermarkets on the Las Vegas Strip near the resorts. The closest one that sits on Las Vegas Boulevard is the Whole Foods Market at Town Square (see below). Other than that, one has to travel as far west as Valley View Boulevard or as far east as Maryland Parkway to find supermarkets such as Vons, Albertsons, Food4Less, and Smith's. There is even a Walmart at Tropicana Avenue, about 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) east of the Strip. These places are however accessible by car or bus, prices are lower than on the Strip, and if you're, say a European looking for some authentic American specialties to bring home these are certainly better places to find them than 7-Eleven.
There are a handful of shopping malls that are not affiliated with casinos:
- Downtown Summerlin, Sahara Ave and 215 Beltway, , e-mail:[email protected]. Located in the western outskirts of Las Vegas, Downtown Summerlin offers 125 stores, restaurants and entertainment venues located in a 106-acre shopping district. Downtown Summerlin hosts 30 dining establishments and is in proximity of many other restaurants nearby as well as the Red Rock Casino. Plans exist to expand the area to 400 acres. Opened in 2014.
- Fashion Show Mall, 3200 S Las Vegas Blvd. Offers nearly every major and deluxe U.S. retail chain store, numerous others often associated with named designers, a large food court and several excellent restaurants, all in a fully-enclosed, air-conditioned facility. Has extensive, free covered parking that often gets quite busy by mid-day.
- Town Square, 6605 S Las Vegas Blvd. About half a mile south of Mandalay is an outdoor mall in the style of a small Mediterranean town that stands out amidst all the air-conditioned, indoor malls. The idea of open-air shopping in the summer in the desert might seem crazy at first, but an extensive network of trees, shadow alleys and water sprayers let you actually enjoy sunny afternoons outside. All shops and restaurants here have their own, distinguished one- or two-story houses. The mall centers around a square featuring trees, ice-cream and coffee stands and benches to rest.
Many of the larger casinos include high-end shopping areas with designer stores, including:
- 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.
- 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.
- Miracle Mile Shops, in the Planet Hollywood Casino. Another large shopping area with approximately 150 stores and restaurants.
- Las Vegas Premium Outlets South, 7400 S Las Vegas Blvd (a few miles south of Mandalay Bay). 120 outlet stores in an indoor setting complete with two food courts.
- Las Vegas Premium Outlets North, 875 South Grand Central Parkway (off I-15 and Charleston Blvd, near Downtown). 120 designer and name-brand outlets including Coach, Lacoste, Polo Ralph Lauren and more.
- Gamblers Book Club, 800 S Main St (at the Gambler's General Store, near Downtown). M-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 9AM-5PM. 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. This store is stacked with books that can teach you how to count cards and bet on sports. Try to visit when former owner Howard Schwartz is around for some interesting Vegas lore.
- Sin City Gallery, 107 E. Charleston Boulevard, Suite 100 (inside The Arts Factory), . W-Sa 1PM-7PM and opened until 10PM every first Thursday and first Friday of the month for First Fridays Arts Festival. Contemporary art gallery presenting sophisticated and edgy emerging artists from around the corner and around the world. Offers new exhibitions/murals every month. Sin City Gallery produces an international annual juried erotic art exhibition. Free to visit.
Large casinos will invariably offer a variety of dining options, ranging from the omni-present buffet to simple cafes to gourmet restaurants.
The most famous buffets in Las Vegas are at the Rio, Bellagio, Paris and Planet Hollywood, 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. Some buffets give "early bird" discounts, which means that if you arrive early the price is a few dollars lower.
- Le Village Buffet, Paris Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd S, .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. Lines can be long. For an extra $10 per person, patrons can go to the head of the line.
- Spice Market, Planet Hollywood, 3400 S Las Vegas Blvd, .The casino changed names, but the buffet is the same. All styles of food including good seafood. Line moves fast.
- Village Seafood Buffet, Rio, 3700 W Flamingo Rd, . Su-Th 4PM-10PM, F Sa 3PM-11PM. This buffet is one of the better buffets in Las Vegas, with an extensive seafood collection (as well as other items). Lines can be long. Note that the Rio also offers the Carnivale World Buffet, which is cheaper but does not offer a total seafood oriented buffet, but features a changing variety of dishes featuring seafood. Tables are close together, and can be noisy. $34.99 (dinner only).
- The Buffet, Wynn, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd S, . 8AM-10PM, Sa Su brunch 8AM-3PM. 16 exhibition cooking stations and a luxurious selection of extraordinary dishes. Dress is casual. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served, with champagne brunch on weekends.
- The Buffet, Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, . 7AM-10PM daily, Sa Su brunch 7AM-4PM. Arguably the best buffet on the Strip, with the dinner menu including pre-split crab legs, venison, Kobe beef, and wild boar. Gourmet Friday dinner includes 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 food. Wait to enter can be 90 minutes or more. no charge 4 and under.
On the Strip
- Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare, Wynn, 3131 S Las Vegas Blvd, . Chef Paul Bartolotta focuses on the fish, which was pulled out of the Mediterranean 48 hours before serving. Great clams, lobsters, and Sicilian amberjack. Dine al fresco alongside the manmade lagoon behind the restaurant.
- Craftsteak, MGM Grand, 3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, .Considered to be one of the best steak houses in America. $95.
- Cypress Street Marketplace, Caesars Palace, . daily from 11AM-11PM. Interesting and good for the family, with a wide variety of cuisines and mostly cheap.
- Diablo's Cantina, Monte Carlo, 3770 S Las Vegas Blvd, .Popular Mexican eatery with an excellent bar and a great menu.
- Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Flamingo, 3555 S Las Vegas Blvd. A fun tropical-themed restaurant featuring dishes named after many of Jimmy Buffett's songs (for example: the Cheeseburger in Paradise).
- , Treasure Island, 3300 S Las Vegas Blvd. Tropical island-themed restaurant with great atmosphere that serves standard fare.
- L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, MGM Grand, 3799 S Las Vegas Blvd.Sophisticated French Michelin-starred restaurant with dim lighting, ruby red furniture, and spectacular food.
- Mesa Grill, Caesars Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, toll-free: .With a brightly colored decor and festive atmosphere, chef Bobby Flay serves us some tasty Southwestern food with flair.
- Mr. Lucky's 24-7, Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Rd. Sandwiches, salads, and sundaes are popular at the rock and roll diner, but nothing compares with the people watching! Open 24 hours per day!
- Mon Ami Gabi, Paris Las Vegas, 3655 S Las Vegas Blvd, .Nice restaurant serving mostly steaks and seafood. The staff makes a tribute to the restaurant's location by talking with French accent. Mains start at $20.
- Nobu, Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Rd. A staple for Las Vegas sushi lovers, newcomers will discover a fusion of traditional Japanese cuisine with Latin spices and flavors.
- Peppermill Fireside Lounge, 2985 S Las Vegas Blvd, .1970's space-age decor and waitresses that call you 'hon'
- Red Square, 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, . Unique Russian themed restaurant featuring popular Russian and American entrées. Guests may also partake in visiting the ice-cold Vodka Vault to enjoy a wide selection of vodkas.
- Strip House, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. South (inside Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino), . daily 5PM-11PM. Prime cuts of beef, sides, an extensive wine list and desserts based on the New York Strip House. Appetizers $12-$19 Entrees $29- $55.
- Stripburger, Fashion Show Mall, 3200 S Las Vegas Blvd. 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 good-looking.
- The Steak House, Circus Circus, 2880 S Las Vegas Blvd, .Su-F 5PM-10PM, Sa 5PM-11PM. Considered to be a hidden gem, The Steak House at Circus Circus doesn't seem fit in with its surroundings; indeed, it has been consistently voted one of the best steaks in Las Vegas for over twenty years. Beautiful decor, outstanding food, and impeccable service, as well as an extensive wine list. $40-70.
- Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, Harrah's, 3475 S Las Vegas Blvd.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.
- Todd English's Olives, Bellagio, 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, toll-free: . Todd English's legendary restaurant. 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.
- Top of the World, Stratosphere, 2000 S Las Vegas Blvd, . A revolving gourmet restaurant more than 800 feet above the Strip at the top of the Stratosphere Tower.
Off the Strip
- Bahama Breeze, 375 Hughes Center Dr. 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 of people on the Strip.
- Ellis Island Casino Restaurant, 4178 Koval Ln (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 Steakhouse, 3400 Paradise Rd (in the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel).Originally inspired by Chef Richard Chamberlain, the menu includes premium quality, fresh ingredients from select purveyors around the country, featured in innovative dishes. 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.
- Golden Steer Steakhouse, 308 W. Sahara Ave (just west of the Bonanza Gift Shop), . 4:30PM to 11PM. Open since 1958, this is the oldest steakhouse in Las Vegas and boasts to be one of favorite restaurants of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. and has hosted dinners for many other celebrities from past eras. The Golden Steer is over 50 years old and honors "Old Las Vegas" style dining.
- H2(EAU), 2000 Fashion Show Dr (in the Trump Hotel & Tower), . H2(eau) features casual American favorites and offers a vibrant atmosphere in which to dine poolside.
- Hofbräuhaus, 4510 Paradise Rd, . The Hofbräuhaus replicates the world famous Bavarian Hofbräuhaus beer hall with festive German food and nightly entertainment. Patrons have an option of dining in the beer hall with live music in the evening or the quieter beer garden. Reservations recommended for quicker seating.
- Lawry's The Prime Rib, 4043 Howard Hughes Pkwy, . Juicy, succulent portions of the company namesake, Prime Rib. All prime rib dinners include original spinning bowl salad, Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and whipped creamed horseradish. If you don't want prime rib (but why 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.
- Pink Taco, Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Rd. 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.
- The Beat Coffeehouse, 520 Fremont St (at 6th Street). M-F 7AM-12AM, Sa 9AM-12AM, Su 9AM-3PM. Free Wi-Fi, salads, sandwiches. Mostly local crowd. Also features a record store. $10.
- Heart Attack Grill, 450 Fremont St. Mon-Sat 11AM - 2AM. The Heart Attack Grill has courted controversy by serving high-calorie menu items with deliberately provocative names. The establishment has a hospital theme: waitresses ("nurses") take orders ("prescriptions") from the customers ("patients"). A tag is wrapped on the patient's wrist showing which foods they ordered and a "doctor" examines the "patients" with a stethoscope. The menu includes "Single", "Double", "Triple", and "Quadruple Bypass" hamburgers, ranging from 8 to 32 ounces (230 to 910 g) of beef (up to about 8,000 calories), all-you-can-eat "Flatliner Fries" (cooked in pure lard), beer and tequila, and soft drinks such as Jolt and Mexican-bottled Coca-Cola made with real sugar. Customers over 350 lb (160 kg) in weight eat for free if they weigh in with a doctor or nurse before each burger. Beverages and to-go orders are excluded and sharing food is also not allowed for the free food deal.
- Oscar's Steakhouse, 1 Main St (in the Plaza Hotel & Casino), . Lounge opens at 4PM, restaurant at 5PM, Daily. Fine dining in the iconic Plaza Hotel and Casino. Named after former Las Vegas mayor and mob lawyer, Oscar Goodman.
- Pasta Pirate, 12 E Ogden Ave (in the California Hotel & Casino), . Closed Tu. Delicious steaks, seafood, and pasta. A romantic darkened wharf decor with a view to the chef's flaming grill. The steak and lobster special is a really great value. All dinners include a glass of house wine. Call ahead for reservations to avoid a long wait.
- Triple George Grill, 201 N. 3rd Street (across the street from the Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino), . Sa-Su 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm, Mo-Fr 11:00 am - 10:00 pm. Classic menu of seafood, chicken, steak and pasta.
Sights & Landmarks
On the Strip
- Aquarium at the Mirage.There is an impressive aquarium behind the check-in counter. Nearby, the atrium of the hotel beneath the dome has a miniature rainforest, with towering palm trees and waterfalls. Free.
- Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.M-F 11AM-6PM, Sa-Su 10AM-6PM. In the back of the Mirage Hotel is a collection of exotic animals, including white tigers, panthers, and dolphins.$20 adults, $15 children.
- Volcano at the Mirage. Eruptions begin nightly at 8PM and run every hour (with the exception of 8:30PM) until midnight. The volcano in front of the casino erupts in a terrific light show.
- Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Inside of the casino there is a tremendous flower garden, with displays changed once for every season and once for the Chinese New Year.
- Bellagio Fountains. 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.
- Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. A fine-art gallery. Not free.
- Eiffel Tower Experience, Paris Las Vegas, 3655 S Las Vegas Blvd, toll-free: . M-F 9:30AM-12:30AM, Sa-Su 9:30AM-1AM. You can take an elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower on the Strip, a half-sized replica of the one in Paris. This is a popular attraction, especially at night, for its excellent views of the Strip. Evening: $16.50 adults, $11.50 children/seniors; daytime: $11.50 adults, $7.50 children/seniors.
- The Auto Collections, The LINQ, 3535 S Las Vegas Blvd (Located on 5th floor of parking facility behind the LINQ), . Daily 10AM-6PM. Said to be the "world's largest classic car showroom" with over 250 antique, classic, and special-interest vehicles on display and available for sale. Free admission available online.
- Flamingo Garden, 3555 S Las Vegas Blvd. A 15-acre garden with flamingos and other exotic birds, as well as koi and turtles. Free.
- Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Mandalay Bay Resort. Su-Th 10AM-8PM, F-Sa 10AM-10PM; summer hours daily 10AM-10PM. The highlight is walking through a transparent tunnel with sharks, sea turtle, fish on all sides. $18 adults, $12 children.
- Madame Tussauds, 3377 S Las Vegas Blvd #2001 (at The Venetian), . Su-Th 10AM-9PM, F-Sa 10AM-10PM. The only celebrity wax attraction on the Strip, featuring wax recreations of 100+ celebrities and famous figures.
- High Roller, 3545 S Las Vegas Blvd, The LINQ. Daily noon-2AM. Opened in April 2014, this is the world's tallest Ferris wheel at 550 feet. One revolution lasts between 30 and 45 minutes in an enclosed cabin with excellent views of the Strip.Ticket options vary; $20 daytime, $35 nighttime, family/group options available.
- Stratosphere Tower. A 1,149 foot high tower, the tallest observation tower in the United States, with an indoor and an outdoor observation deck on top that offers a 360-degree view over the valley. A revolving restaurant also sits at the top, as well as a set of thrill rides (see below in "Do"). Elevator to the top: $20 adults, $12 children, $14 seniors/Nevada residents.
- In addition to the above, there are various characters you are likely to see while you visit the Strip, including Elvis impersonators.
- Fremont Street Experience, . Dusk to midnight. A pedestrian mall just outside the downtown casinos. Multimedia shows are displayed on a giant canopy over the street nightly.Free.
- The Tank at the Golden Nugget Hotel. Daily 10AM-8PM, weather permitting. A huge outdoor pool complex with a shark tank, a 3-story enclosed waterslide which passes through the shark tank, and private cabanas above the pool.$20 for non-hotel guests.
- Urinals at Main Street Station Casino. The urinals in the men's room are mounted on an actual 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.
- Container Park, 707 Fremont St, . A unique open-air shopping center filled with boutique retail shops, restaurants, and live entertainment for the whole family. Be sure to see the giant fire-breathing mantis at night.
- Discovery Children's Museum, 360 Promenade Pl, , e-mail: [email protected]. Winter: Tu–F 9AM–4PM, Sa 10AM–5PM, Su 12PM–5PM; Summer: M–Sa 10AM – 5PM, Su 12PM–5PM. A combination museum and playground, this museum lets children engage in creative play while exposing them to science concepts. Kids especially love the 70 foot tall Summit tower with 12 levels of interactive exhibits. The one drawback of the museum is lack of food; it's in a remote part of Downtown with no nearby eateries and only has a snack area with vending machines so plan accordingly. $14.50.
- Mob Museum, 300 Stewart Ave, . Su-Th 10AM–7PM, F-Sa 10AM–8PM. Extensive exhibits on the history of organized crime in the U.S., with lots of artifacts from famous mobsters and the law enforcement agencies that fought them. The museum is inside the old federal courthouse building, and includes a recreation of the courtroom where a major hearing on organized crime took place in 1950. $20 adults, $16 seniors/military/law enforcement, $14 children/students, children 10 and under free; discounts for Nevada residents.
- Neon Museum, 770 N Las Vegas Blvd, . An outdoor lot loaded with huge signs that once twinkled in front of the Silver Slipper, Stardust, and El Cortez. See the giant horseshoe made of thousands of gold-colored light bulbs. Open only by one-hour guided tours. $18.
- Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park, 500 E. Washington Ave, . Tu-Sa 8AM-4:30PM. One of the few historic attractions in Vegas is this small park which preserves the restored Mormon Fort, the first structure built by European settlers in Las Vegas. A visitor center on-site has exhibits on the fort's past.$1, children under 12 free.
- Hollywood Cars Museum, 5115 Dean Martin Dr (Located at the Hot Rod City dealership off the I-15 by the Strip, west of Luxor.), . Open daily. A 30,000 square foot car museum featuring vehicles that have appeared in over 100 films and TV shows. Visitors can see multiple James Bond cars, Knight Rider's KITT, Batmobiles, and a Back to the Future Delorean just to name a few.
- Springs Preserve, 333 South Valley View Blvd, . Daily 10AM-6PM. A large complex in the center of the city that features a Desert Living Center, interactive wildlife shows, galleries, museums, various gardens, and historical and nature trails. $18.95 adults, $17.05 seniors/students, $10.95 youth (discounts for Nevada residents and active military).
- National Atomic Testing Museum, 755 E Flamingo Rd, .M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 12PM-5PM. Artifacts, pictures, maps and video footage presenting nuclear weapons testing and development in the southwestern US. If you're interested in science and history it's definitely worth visiting, and it's also a great break if you've become tired of the Strip. Videography requires special permission. Museum $14 adults, $12 seniors/students/military/youth; Museum and Area 51 exhibit $20 adults, $18 seniors/students/military/youth.
- Las Vegas Chinatown Plaza, 4255 Spring Mountain Rd (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).A place to experience Asian culture.
- 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.
A recently released combination pass, the Las Vegas Power Pass, gives holders free admission to many of the attractions listed above, including the Stratosphere Tower Observation Deck, Madame Tussauds, Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, Springs Preserve, the National Atomic Testing Museum, and plenty of others, as well as numerous activities and tours.
Things to do
- Red Rock Canyon (on the western edge of the Las Vegas city limits). 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 remembering 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 $7 per car unless you have a National Park pass.
- The Gun Store, 2900 E Tropicana Ave, . 9AM-6:30PM daily.In addition to being a gun store, the range gives you a chance to shoot an automatic weapon. Photo ID required. Beware long lines. A 2-3 hour long wait is not unusual on weekends and busy days. $250-400 for machine gun shoots; lower for other standard gun types.
- Pinball Hall of Fame, 1610 E. Tropicana Ave (located in a white nondescript building on the north side of the street). 10AM-. Old-style pinball machines and the newest ones from Stern are there, all in very good condition. Some favorite arcade games too. Definitely worth a look. From $0.25 per game.
- Maverick Helicopters, 6075 S Las Vegas Blvd, toll-free: .Helicopter tours that will take you over the Grand Canyon or above the neon lights and mega resorts of the Las Vegas Strip, as well as helicopter tours that include rafting down the Colorado River. $114-599.
- Stripper 101, V Theater, 3663 Las Vegas Strip, . Pole dancing classes. For ladies aged 18 and over only. Advanced scheduling required.From $40.
- Vegas Indoor Skydiving, 200 Convention Center Dr, toll-free: .10AM-8PM. Fly your body in a vertical wind tunnel. No experience necessary, all training and equipment provided. Safe for all ages. $75.
- Adventuredome Theme Park, 2880 South Las Vegas Blvd. America's 2nd largest indoor theme park with 25 rides and attractions for all ages. Day pass $29.95.
- Big Apple Coaster, New York New York Hotel. A roller coaster that lifts riders up 203 feet, then drops down 144 feet, reaching speeds of 67 mph. Simulates a jet fighter's barrel roll, with a 180° turn, a section that leaving riders hanging in the air, then twists and dives. Individual tickets $14; day pass $25.
- Gondola rides, 3355 S. Las Vegas Blvd (at the Venetian Hotel), . Su-Th 10AM-11PM, F-Sa 10AM-midnight. $18.95 for 15 minutes on four-seat gondola; private two-person gondolas $75.80 (reservations may be made at the Emporio D'Gondola in the Grand Canal Shoppes).
- Stratosphere Tower rides. In addition to the observation desk on top, with its restaurant and great views of the city, there are four thrill rides on the top of the tower. Big Shot is a tower ride that makes up the mast of the Stratosphere and shoots passengers straight up 160 feet at 45 mph (over 4 Gs) until they are 1,081 feet above the ground. X-Scream is a giant teeter-totter that propels you 27 feet over the edge of the tower, 866 feet above the ground. Insanity is a massive mechanical arm that extends 64 feet over the edge of the Tower and spins riders at a force of 3 Gs. Lastly is SkyJump, a bungee jump ride that consists of an 855-foot controlled, falling descent from the 108th floor of the tower. Tower admission + Big Shot/X-Scream/Insanity rides $25-$36, depending on number of rides (otherwise, rides $15 each in addition to Tower admission); SkyJump $120 and up.
- SlotZilla, 425 Fremont St (at Fremont Street Experience), .Su-Th noon-midnight, F-Sa noon-2AM. A zip line which stands 12 stories high and resembles a giant slot machine. Riders start at the east side of the Fremont Street Experience, the Slotzilla zip line is 114 feet high and launches riders in a horizontal position flying 1,700 feet — the entire length of the Fremont Street canopy – at speeds faster than 35 miles per hour. Up to four riders can ride at once, each on parallel zip lines. $20-$30 (age and weight restrictions apply).
- VooDoo Zip Line, 3700 W Flamingo Rd (at the Rio Hotel), .M-Th noon-midnight, F-Su 10AM-midnight. Las Vegas' second and highest zip line. The VooDoo zip line extends across the towers of the Rio Hotel and Casino where riders soar 400 feet in the air between the Rio's two towers, offering 360-degree open-air views of the Vegas valley. $25-$40 (age and weight restrictions apply).
There are places on the Strip where you can buy half-price show tickets, but generally not for the really popular shows on the same day of the performance. Cash or credit card accepted.
- Circus Circus, 2880 S Las Vegas Blvd, .From 11AM, every half-hour.Aerialists, jugglers, acrobats and trapeze artists take the stage at the world's largest permanent circus daily. Free.
Las Vegas hosts 8 popular Cirque du Soleil shows. To secure the best seats, reservations well in advance is recommended. In order of opening date, the shows are:
- Mystère, Treasure Island, 3300 S Las Vegas Blvd, toll-free: . 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 psychedelic for younger children, so consider avoiding for children who are under eight. $69-$119.
- "O", Bellagio, 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, toll-free: . The stage at the Bellagio contains a 1.5 million gallon swimming pool, from which most performers emerge and retreat to. It's an incredibly impressive show.
- Zumanity, New York-New York, 3790 S Las Vegas Blvd, toll-free: . An adult show. You must be 18 or older to attend.
- KÀ, MGM Grand, 3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, toll-free: .Spectacular show that tells a tale of imperial twins on a journey to fulfill their destinies.$69-$150.
- The Beatles Love, Mirage, 3400 Las Vegas Strip, toll-free: .This recent addition to Cirque du Soleil is a show based on the music of The Beatles. The show explores the content of the songs as interpreted by performances from a cast of 60. $79-$180.
- Criss Angel Believe, Luxor, 3900 S Las Vegas Blvd, toll-free: .Based on the magic acts of Criss Angel.
- Michael Jackson One, Mandalay Bay, 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, toll-free: . A tribute to the King of Pop.
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.
- Absinthe, Caesars Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd. A carnival themed mix of comedy, acrobats, and provocative performances. Filled with blue comedy, not for the timid. Adults only. $99 and up.
- Blue Man Group, Monte Carlo, toll-free: . Nightly 7PM and/or 9:30PM. $64-289.
- Comedy Pet Theater, V Theater, Planet Hollywood, . Thursday thru Tuesday at 4PM. Extraordinary talents of performing pets. Highly entertaining for children. $35.
- Jersey Boys, Venetian, . 2 hours and 10 minutes with a pause.
- Le Rêve, Wynn. F-Sun 7PM & 9:30PM. Held in a domed stage with no seat further than 40 feet from the stage. Le Rêve takes you through a young woman's dream, and features acrobats, synchronized swimming and diving. $99-195.
- Menopause - The Musical, Luxor.
- Tony and Tina's Wedding, Windows, Bally's, . Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 6PM. From $90.
- Tournament of Kings, Excalibur. 6PM & 8:30PM except Tuesdays. A medieval themed dinner show featuring knights, horses, swordfights, and other performances.$60.
- V - The Ultimate Variety Show, V Theater, Planet Hollywood, .Nightly 7PM & 8:30PM. Iincludes magic, special effects, death-defying stunts, wild comedy, visual artists. $60.
- Vegas! The Show, Planet Hollywood, 3663 Las Vegas Blvd S, .7PM and 9PM nightly, except Su. A trip back to the swank days of Frank, Dino and Sammy features a tap dance number, a tribute to Gladys Knight and a performance of the Can-Can. $80.
- Donny and Marie, Flamingo, 3555 S Las Vegas Blvd, . $95-260 plus taxes & fees.
- Bette Midler - The Showgirl Must Go On, The Colosseum, Caesars Palace.
There are always different comedians coming to Las Vegas. Some comedians who have recently performed in Las Vegas include Howie Mandel and Carrot Top. Always a great way to get a laugh and end the night.
- Terry Fator, Mirage, .
- B - A Tribute to the Beatles, V Theater, Planet Hollywood, 3663 S Las Vegas Blvd, toll-free: . A popular Beatles tribute band. $50-75.
- Human Nature, The Venetian, The Sands Showroom. A celebration of Motown showcasing the distinctive, dynamic harmonies of members Toby Allen, Phil Burton, Andrew Tierney and Michael Tierney. This quartet is known for outstanding concert and stage performances and has toured with Céline Dion and Michael Jackson.
- Hitzville The Show, V Theater, Planet Hollywood, 3663 Las Vegas Blvd S, Ste. 360, . 5:30PM daily except Sunday. Includes the Motown hits of Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Temptations, Tina Turner, The Four Tops and Motown diva Diana Ross & The Supremes as they rock the stage. $45-55.
- David Copperfield, MGM Grand. One of the world's most famous 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).
- Mac King Comedy Magic Show, Harrah's. $25.
- Penn and Teller, Rio, 3700 W Flamingo Rd, . Daily at 9PM. $75-85.
- The Mentalist, V Theater, Planet Hollywood, . Nightly except Wednesday at 7:30PM. From $50.
- Mike Hammer, Four Queens, toll-free: . Tues thru Sat 7:00PM.Comedy and magic From $23.
- Nathan Burton Comedy Magic, Saxe Theater, Planet Hollywood, toll-free: . Daily 4:00PM. Comedy and magic, family friendly From $22.50.
- Anthony Cools - The Uncensored Hypnotist, Paris, 3655 S Las Vegas Blvd.
- Marc Savard Comedy Hypnosis, V Theater, Planet Hollywood, .Nightly except Friday 10PM. From $35.
- Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave, . Located in downtown Las Vegas, the Smith Center is a world-class performing arts center consisting of three theaters in two buildings. Visitors can attend regular concerts, popular musicals, and theatrical performances almost any day or night of the week. Online ticket reservations are recommended for better seating.
Topless female dancers
- Fantasy, Luxor. Nightly: 10:30PM. Vocalist Lorena Peril takes center stage. Steamy choreography and striking vocals fused with a touch of comedy. The high-energy production show features a variety of performances including salsa, belly dancing routine and celebrity impersonations by comedian Sean E. Cooper. From $39.
- Jubilee!, Bally's. Spectacular sets & elaborate costumes. 25 years running. See the Titanic sink right on stage.
- Pin Up, Stratosphere. Inspired by the classic pin up calendars from the 1940s, '50s and '60s. Burlesque and swing with Playboy's 2011 Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair.From $55.
- X Burlesque, Flamingo. Nightly at 10PM, 90 minutes. Showcases a variety of performances by six gorgeous dancers set to contemporary music. Combines high-energy performance with the use of props such as bathtubs, guitars, lollipops and feather boas. $45.
Topless male dancers
|If you win...|
Chances are that, if you win it big in Las Vegas and you are not a U.S. citizen your winnings will be subject to a 30% withholding tax from theIRS. 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.
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, under-age 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 regularly transport violators to a juvenile center.
It is beneficial to understand the rules, strategies, and odds of each game before you arrive. The games with the lowest house advantage if you know how to play are craps (dice) with full odds and blackjack; however, tables where a 21-blackjack pays only 6:5 or even-money instead of the traditional 3:2 give the house a big advantage, and should be avoided. Games in which the casino has the best house advantage include slot machines, roulette, and some craps bets (hardways and propositions). If a game is unfamiliar to you, just ask the dealer for advice on how to play. If you are playing during the daytime at a table that is not crowded, most dealers will be happy to explain the game to you, and even slow down the dealing.
Pre-paid gambling cards
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 facilities, but beware about the charges set by your bank and the machine operator or establishment. ATMs in casinos may charge exorbitant fees for withdrawals.
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 $1,000 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.
Texas Hold'em, 7-card stud, and Omaha can be found at almost all Las Vegas poker rooms. However, 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, and Mirage.
During June and July, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is held in Las Vegas. If you are interested in poker, this is a must see and all top poker players are present. And if you are a skilled player, you can play the sidegames taking place during the WSOP.
- Las Vegas 51s, Cashman Field, 850 Las Vegas Blvd N, .Triple-A baseball club affiliate of the New York Mets, the 51s have been in Las Vegas longer than any other professional sports team. The 51s began as the Las Vegas Stars in 1983, but changed their name to the 51s, a reference to Area 51, in 2000. They have won 2 Pacific Coast League crowns and 8 division titles.
- NASCAR, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, toll-free: . Las Vegas hosts NASCAR for a weekend every year, usually in March. The race draws about 150,000 race fans to the city. Many cheer for Kurt and Kyle Busch, natives of Las Vegas. Aside from NASCAR, the speedway hosts many other racing events throughout the year.
- National Finals Rodeo, Thomas & Mack Center. Arguably the city's most prominent sporting event is the finals of the annual Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit, held over 10 days in December just off the Strip at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus.
- Professional Bull Riders World Finals, T-Mobile Arena. Another major rodeo event is the finals of the Professional Bull Riders series, a separate circuit dedicated to bull riding. The PBR finals, held in late October/early November at the T-Mobile Arena, have more of an international flavor than the NFR—while the NFR is exclusive to the US and Canada, PBR runs national series in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and Australia, and all of these countries, especially Brazil, are represented on the U.S. circuit. The event had been held at the Thomas & Mack Center through 2015, but has moved to the newly opened T-Mobile Arena.
- UNLV Rebels, . The athletic teams of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, better known as UNLV, are also popular in the area. The Rebels are members of the Mountain West Conference, which has been expanding in recent years and now has 12 members for football and 11 members for other sports. The most famous UNLV team is the men's basketball team, known as the "Runnin' Rebels"; though not as strong as in their heyday from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, they remain solidly competitive and very popular. Most of the school's sports venues are on campus, but the football team plays at Sam Boyd Stadium in the suburb of Whitney, well to the east of campus. The central ticket office for all UNLV sports is at the Thomas & Mack Center.
- USA Sevens, Sam Boyd Stadium. From an international perspective, however, this may be the city's most prominent sporting event—at least among those who do not consider poker to be a sport. The "Sevens" refers to rugby sevens, a variant of rugby union played on a full-sized field but with seven players a side instead of 15. The USA Sevens is part of the World Rugby Sevens Series, an annual circuit of 10 events for national rugby sevens teams. Games are very fast-paced—each half lasts only 7 or 10 minutes, as opposed to 40 minutes in the full version of rugby union. This allows many games to be played in a day, and a full tournament to be completed in a weekend. The event, held at Sam Boyd Stadium in the second weekend of February, features 15 other national teams beside that of the U.S., and encourages a festival atmosphere. If you're so inclined, it can be a great opportunity to meet people from other parts of the world.
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 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. The marriage license itself is valid for one year. The minimum age to marry is 18; a 16 or 17 year old may marry if one parent is present or has given notarized permission.
Once you have a marriage license, the wedding ceremony can be performed by any priest, minister, rabbi or Justice of the Peace authorized to perform weddings within 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 chapels 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. Making a reservation also decreases the likelihood of having to wait.
Finally, you can check with the Las Vegas Better Business Bureau before making any arrangements with any wedding chapel or service provider. You may check the local BBB reports online.
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 and UNLV tournaments.
Given the very high temperatures during the summer it maybe a surprise that ice skating is popular, but at inside rinks!
- Las Vegas Ice Center, 9295 W Flamingo Rd (west of the Bellagio), , fax: . A twin-rink facility.
Festivals and events
Las Vegas continues to grow with annual events and festivals held throughout the city.
- Electric Daisy Carnival: A massive 3-night multi-stage music carnival that includes venues from the world's top artists along with rides, fireworks, and mesmerizing rave-infused light shows. $250 and up.
- Helldorado Days: With origins dating back to 1934, Helldorado Days is host to Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeos, a locals rodeo, a parade, carnival, Whiskerino (facial hair) contest, golf tournament, poker tournament, art show, art auction, exhibits, and food and beverages.
- iHeartRadio Music Festival: . A 2-day music festival that features 20 to 30 chart-topping musical artists.
- Las Vegas Greek Food Festival: . A weekend festival that celebrates the traditions and cuisine of Greek culture. Live music and dancing, along with games and rides for children. $6 - $10.
- Life is Beautiful Festival: . A very large music and food festival in downtown Las Vegas. Over 50 performers take to the stages while guests can choose to patron a very wide variety unique food vendors.
- Rock in Rio USA: . A massive music festival over two weekends. Spun off from Rio de Janeiro's festival and consisting of over 120 acts featuring some of the world's most famous artists. The first weekend is rock oriented and the second weekend is pop oriented. Other venues include Electronic and Brazilian music. The festival will be held biennially from 2015 through at least 2019. $169 and up.
- San Gennaro Feast: . Live entertainment, amusement rides, and a wide variety of food mark these weeklong festivals that honor Italian heritage.
In Las Vegas, free drinks are offered to all gamblers, even those playing 5-cent slot machines. You should tip the waitress at least $1 per drink; failure to do so will likely cost you free drink privileges.
Although it is officially NOT allowed per the lawbooks, drinking on public sidewalks and other areas on the Strip and Downtown is rarely if ever enforced. Thus it is entirely common to consume alcohol in public areas, including the public sidewalks within the Las Vegas city limits which includes all of Downtown, The Strip and close-by areas. Again, as previously mentioned, over-intoxication and disorderly conduct is frowned upon, so stay within your own limits. On special occasions (New Year's Eve and Independence Day for example) there may be bans on glass bottles and/or aluminum cans for the Strip and the Downtown area. Plastic cups and sports bottles are allowed at these times and either provided at purchase or often available at hotel/casino exit doors. When inside a casino or hotel there is seldom any restrictions on carrying drinks from one bar, restaurant or playing location to another with the exception of some showrooms and theaters where it will be clearly posted. Individual shops may also have rules about carrying in food and drink of any kind.
The towns of North Las Vegas, Henderson and other outlying areas have very DIFFERENT regulations forbidding removal of alcohol from bars, etc. so check with your host or doorman if in doubt. Many bars and liquor stores are open 24 hours a day. There are also special posted laws for convenience stores, grocery stores and other retail liquor outlets restricting consumption in the immediate vicinity. Most of all, always remember to drink responsibly and realize that the hot, dry desert air in the summer months can have very adverse health affects on people consuming alcohol such as rapid dehydration and deadly heat stroke, even after dark. Drink plenty of water as well!
- Bunkhouse, 124 S 11th St (Downtown, one block from the USA Hostel). Cheap downtown bar with live music. Friendly with travelers and frequented often by the staff and guests of the nearby hostel.
- Centrifuge, MGM Grand, 3799 S Las Vegas Blvd. Circular shaped bar/lounge; every hour the bar staff dances on the bartop or lounge tables.
- Casa Fuente Cigars, Caesar's Palace, 3500 S Las Vegas Blvd. Cuban-themed lounge offering more than 100 different cigars and a good selection of whiskeys. Try the $40 Opus X cigar.
- Cleopatra's Barge, Caesars Palace. A luxurious floating lounge in a ornate replica of the barge that transported Cleopatra down the Nile.
- Double Down Saloon, 4640 Paradise Rd, . Perhaps the finest dive bar in Vegas. A bit out of the way, but plenty of atmosphere.
- Frankie's Tiki Room, 1712 W Charleston Blvd, . Authentic tiki bar with lots of great decor and potent drinks. Look for the pink neon sign.
- Freakin Frog, 4700 S Maryland Pkwy, . Nice bar off the Strip with a very large beer selection and live music on weekends.
- Insert Coin(s), 512 Fremont St, . A video-game themed bar located in downtown Las Vegas within walking distance of the Fremont Street Experience. Guests can enjoy their favorite video games in this bar. VIP gaming booths are also available.
- Nine Fine Irishmen, New York-New York, 3790 S Las Vegas Blvd. This pub was actually constructed in Ireland and then shipped to Las Vegas. A great Irish band plays most nights starting around 9PM, the crowd is always energetic, and the Guinness and Bass flow easily. Beer: $7.
- Stripper Bar, Planet Hollywood, 3663 S Las Vegas Blvd.
- Todd English Pub, Crystals CityCenter, 3720 S Las Vegas Blvd. Sports bar with great pastrami sliders and over 30 beers on tap.
There is 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 made with cheap generic liquor, and $200 or more for a bottle of spirits. Clubs are always busy on weekends, and may also be packed during weekdays at places that have Service Industry Night (SIN), usually Tuesday to 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 look up the "Vegas" or "LV" hashtag on social media services like Instagram or Twitter. The reason is that club and event promoters alike cleverly utilize the services as a way of reaching their audiences to announce specials, celebrity appearances, and guest list availability. They usually post a flyer of the event and include their cell number, so that you can text them and let them know the male-to-female ratio in your party. Groups with higher women-to-men ratios tend to have better offers for guest list entry, drinks, etc. Most promoters usually work for specific establishments, but generally connect you to other promoters in their networks who work for the establishment you ask for.
The top clubs will charge entry of $15 or more. Exceptions may include those who have reserved a table, those who get there early, ladies, and locals. Expect to wait in a line for 10 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the night. It is usually best to arrive before 10PM; while the club may be emptier, the line will be shorter and you may avoid paying a cover charge. Sitting at a table often requires a bottle purchase and if you stop making purchases, they will ask you to vacate the table so that someone else can occupy the table. The dress code varies by club. The 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.
Note that day clubs are usually open in the months between April and September.
- Coyote Ugly, New York-New York, 3790 S Las Vegas Blvd, .Su-Th 6PM-2AM, F-Sa 6PM-3AM. Just like the movie, expect beautiful 20-something women serving you drinks and getting rowdy on the bar. Free entry for locals, $10 for all others.
- Drai's, The Cromwell, 3595 S Las Vegas Blvd (above the Cromwell)), e-mail:[email protected]. until 9AM. Beach Club by day, Night Club after sundown, the most popular place for after hours on weekends, so expect long queues especially from 5AM. Relocated in 2014 to the rooftop of newly renovated Cromwell. Two dance-floors: the main floor features trance and Euro dance (otherwise rare in Vegas), the VIP floor (extra charge) features hip hop. $20-30.
- Haze, Aria, 3730 S Las Vegas Blvd, . Thursday, Friday & Saturday 10:30PM-4AM. Designed by the Light Group. 25,500 square feet.
- LAX, Luxor, 3900 S Las Vegas Blvd. Wednesday, Friday & Saturday: Opens at 10PM. Where young Hollywood goes to party. Exclusive club with an exclusive guest list. 26,000 square feet.
- LIGHT, Mandalay Bay, 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd. Wednesday opens 10PM, Friday & Saturday opens at 10PM. A theatrical night club and the only club in Las Vegas to infuse Cirque du Soleil performers.
- TAO Las Vegas, Venetian, 3377 S Las Vegas Blvd, . W-Sa 10:30PM-close. A 10,000 square foot nightclub. There is an outside terrace with Strip views, 3 bars, two main rooms playing a variety of hip hop, house and rock.
- Vanity, Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Rd. Friday-Sunday: 10PM-4AM. 14,000 square feet, 64 VIP booths, Terrace overlooking Hard Rock Beach Club. $20 for ladies, $40 for gentlemen, local ladies free.
- Wet Republic, MGM Grand, 3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, .11AM-Dusk. A mix of a pool and a 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. Live DJ's on select days.
- XS Nightclub, Encore, 3121 S Las Vegas Blvd. Officially, this $100 million 40,000 square foot club is the most expensive nightclub ever built. Popular among NBA stars and celebrities.
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.
- Ghostbar, Palms, 4321 W Flamingo Rd, . 8PM-late. 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.
- Skyfall, Delano at Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Fwy, .Skyfall, located on the 64th floor atop the Delano Hotel at Mandalay Bay, offers guests views of the Strip and the Las Vegas Valley from its floor-to-ceiling windows and terraces.
- Pure, Caesars Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, . F-Su, Tu 10PM-early morning hours. Claims to be the hugest disco/club in Vegas, with 40,000 square foot of space. On weekends, be prepared for huge lines 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. Other areas, only open on weekends, include the Pussycat Doll Lounge and the ultra exclusive (and expensive!) VIP Red Room, frequented by many celebrities.$25+; girls may get waved in for free.
Things to know
Inside all large casinos (generally those casinos exceeding 15 slot machines), strip clubs and standalone bars not serving food, smoking is permitted. In large casinos, there are areas which are smoke-free, but they may be very close to smoking areas. Poker rooms are typically smoke-free. Smoke-free table games and slot areas are also available. Restaurants inside casinos are non-smoking. Nightclubs and lounges may allow smoking if they do not serve food.
For all other standalone restaurants, bars, convenience stores, grocery stores and airport facilities smoking is banned in all establishments which sell food other than prepackaged snacks. This ban will be obvious in most places by the absence of ashtrays and the required clearly posted signs. In most cases, smoking areas may be provided outdoors, so always ask your server since various options are almost always available. The penalty can be a $100–$600 ticket if you are caught by authorities.
In practice, there is extremely lax official enforcement in most informal off-strip locations due to a lack of enforcement personnel, and some will even offer ashtrays "at your own risk" if you ask for one. Smoking is still permitted in any stand alone bar or club (with or without gambling machines) that do not serve food other than prepackaged snacks (such as chips, pretzels, candy bars). Although a gray area, some smoking-permitted bars which do not serve food will let you carry food in from adjacent/attached non-smoking restaurants so ask. Many stand alone restaurants now also provide a physically separated (separate entry doors and separate ventilatation) non-smoking dining area and a smoking bar or gaming area to accommodate both smokers and non-smokers.
Try to avoid ATMs inside casinos and nightclubs, as they will often charge high transaction fees. If you need cash, it's a good idea to get it before going inside a casino or club. Check ahead to see if your bank has locations in Las Vegas. On the Strip, the following ATMs are safer bets:
- For Bank of America customers, there's an ATM inside the M&M's Store on the 4th floor, and a pair in the Caesars Palace Forum Shops in the long hallway between the atrium closer to the Mirage and the fork in the Forum Shops where Trevi is.
- For Chase customers, there are ATMs in both of the CVS Pharmacies on the Strip (one near the Monte Carlo, and one by the Hilton Grand just north of Circus Circus).
- Wells Fargo has plenty of ATMs at the airport.
- For Citibank customers, there are ATMs inside the local 7-Eleven convenience stores.
- If you're not a member of any of these banks, there is also a cheap ATM that charges a $1 fee located inside Casino Royale, next to the cage to the left of the bar.
Safety in Las Vegas
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 so that you are not walking out the door with a large amount of cash. If you insist on receiving all your winnings in cash, all casinos have security personnel available to escort you to your car or room upon request. Like most large tourism destinations, the Strip has its share of pickpockets, so keep your wallet in a front pocket or hold onto your purse.
Major casinos are generally very safe. Casinos take security very seriously and have cameras recording almost every square inch of their property, as well as uniformed and plainclothes security personnel patrolling at all times.
Make sure your hotel door is closed safely at night and use the deadbolt if one is provided. If there is knocking on the door at night, don't open it unless you are sure of the good intentions of the persons that knocked. Use common sense. If you are not expecting someone, do not open the door.
Street vendors selling water and other beverages do not have a permit to sell them and are frequently stopped by hotel casino. It is best to purchase water or drinks from a licensed hotel bar.
Despite the advertising slogan What happens here, stays here, Las Vegas has laws that are vigorously enforced. Contrary to popular belief, prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas and all of Clark County, although it is legal at licensed brothels in a few rural counties of Nevada outside of the Las Vegas area. Pedestrians may drink alcohol from an open container on the Strip, but not in automobiles (not even for passengers) and the alcohol must be in a plastic container.
Remain vigilant while driving. Las Vegas Boulevard ("the Strip") is notorious for fender benders and other traffic collisions as a result of the heavy stop-and-go traffic and the numerous distractions (pirates, volcanoes, fountains) offered to drivers.
Interstate 15 is routinely under construction to relieve its perennial traffic jams. The construction zones tend to have inadequate signage and poor lane markings, which combined with the large number of tourists results in frequent last-minute lane changes and in turn, many multi-vehicle car accidents. 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 near the Strip.
Heat exhaustion and dehydration
Expect extremely low humidity and temperatures above 105°F (40°C) June to September. Bring sunscreen and wear loose, light-colored clothing that substantially reflects sunlight. Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water.