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Las Vegas Travel Guide

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las vegas travel

Las Vegas, USA

Introduction

Las Vegas is the largest city in the state of Nevada with a population of over 500,000 people. The city has become a stand-alone holiday destination in its own right with many amazing hotel and casino complexes located along the famous Las Vegas Boulevard or The Strip. Many of the hotels have created a fantasy-like atmosphere with names and themes that evoke romance, mystery, and far-away destinations. The spectacle of the lights, neon signs, casinos and the fabulous luxury themed hotels have to be seen to be believed, especially from the top of the Stratosphere Tower which is more than 110 levels high.

Las Vegas boomed following the construction of the Hoover Dam in 1928, which brought thousands of workers to the area, and provided electricity and water for the city. In 1931, when Nevada legalised gambling, downtown Las Vegas became an entertainment center for the dam workers with casinos, hotels, bars and restaurants.

Today, Las Vegas has become an international center for gaming, tourism and corporate conventions. The Entertainment Capital of the World also boasts some of the biggest names and stage productions in entertainment including music stars, magicians and the Cirque du Soleil productions. And just a few hours away there is one of the natural wonders of the worldthe Grand Canyon.

Even if you are not a gambler there is a lot to do in Las Vegas!


Las Vegas Getaway

4 Days / 3 Nights from US$48 per person

per person US$
TwinSingle

Stratosphere Casino Hotel & Tower

4895Stratosphere Casino Hotel

Luxor Hotel & Casino

105210Luxor Hotel Las Vegas

Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino

190380Venetian Hotel Las Vegas


Travel to Las Vegas

Las Vegas Travel

McCarran International Airport (LAS) is the main airport and is located close to the southern end of Las Vegas Boulevard (The Strip). The airport has two terminal buildings with 95 aircraft gates and many retail shops, restaurants, lounges and bars.

Airport Shuttle Bus services are available outside the west side of the baggage claim area. Tell the driver the name of your hotel. A seat on a shuttle bus to your hotel costs about $7 for Strip hotels, $8 for Downtown & Off-Strip hotels.

Taxis are available right outside the baggage claim area and are inexpensive to reach most hotels as the airport is very close to the Las Vegas Strip hotels.

Limousines are available 24 hours to anywhere in the city for about $50. This is the best option for a group of persons or after midnight when taxis have a surcharge.

Car - Many people drive to Las Vegas especially Southern Californians who drive the 280 miles (450 km) along the I-15 highway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. This highway can be crowded on the weekends but the desert scenery is beautiful. If travelling on the I-15 motorway remember that you are crossing a desert and should carry water and ensure the car has a full tank of fuel at the start of the journey.


Coaches to/from Las Vegas

LuxBus America operates daily trips between Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Diego.

GotoBus operates coach services from all around the USA to Las Vegas..

Greyhound operates coach services from all around the USA to Las Vegas.

Starline Tours offers transportation and tours from Anaheim and Hollywood, California to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Weather

Las Vegas is pleasantly warm during the spring and fall, very hot (40C) in July and August, and can be surprisingly cold in the winter (5C) but still warmer than most of the US capitals. Las Vegas summer weather is typical of the desert southwest - dry, hot and windy. Las Vegas temperatures normally vary 10-20 C in a typical day from daily low to daily high, all year round.

Las Vegas Transport

Walking is the best way to get around and view this exciting city. As there is a lot to see in Las Vegas, the best way to traverse the city and its sights is to walk and take taxis.

Taxis in Las Vegas are clean, safe, reasonably priced and always use the meter. Note that many drivers will avoid driving along the Las Vegas Boulevard (The Strip) due to traffic congestion. Taxis are typically found at the front of hotels and should not be hailed on the street, especially on the Strip as it is illegal for a taxi to stop traffic to pick up or drop off a passenger.

Las Vegas Monorail runs on the east side of the strip with 7 stops from the MGM Hotel (at the southern end of the Strip) to the Sahara Hotel (the northern end) and at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Stations are at the MGM Grand Hotel, Ballys/Paris Hotels, Flamingo/Caesars Palace Hotel, Harrahs/Imperial Palace Hotel, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas Hilton, Sahara Hotel. To get to the Rio Hotel, ride the Las Vegas Monorail to Harrah's/Imperial Palace Station and take the Shuttle service that operates every half hour from 10am to 1am. [Monorail operates 7am to 2am, costs $5 one-way, $12 for a one-day pass]

The Deuce is a London-style double decker bus operating the route along Las Vegas Blvd and costs $2 for adults and $1 dollar for children and seniors. The fare may be paid to the driver (need exact change) or purchase a ticket from the vending machines located at the Slots-of-fun/Circus Circus stop and at the Showcase Mall/MGM Grand stop. This service operates in the afternoon from the convention center to the Strip, the bus travels southbound and services all regular stops from Circus Circus to MGM Hotel.

Bus services run along The Strip 24 hours every day operating to/from Downtown to the southern end of the Strip. The bus fare is $1.25 for adults and 60 for children and seniors. Purchase a one-day $5 CAT bus ticket if wanting to use the bus service multiple times along the strip or going to downtown. There are two Strip bus services, one bus stops at every stop which can be slow, the express bus stops at every second stop. Most other routes operate 5.30am-1.30am everyday.

Car rental is popular and reasonably priced in Las Vegas. Most of the car hire companies are located at the airport or book a car from your hotel. Driving in Las Vegas is easy except driving along the Las Vegas Boulevard (The Strip) where there is traffic congestion. Parking is plentiful at most hotels. Hiring a car is a great way to explore the suburbs and scenic areas outside of Las Vegas. USA drives on the right side of the road.

Las Vegas Attractions

Sirens of TI is a free show featuring a spectacular pirate battle between two galleons right on the Las Vegas Blvd (the strip) outside the Treasure Island Hotel. The shows are performed a few times each night but visitors need to arrive early for a viewing space as there are many tourists wishing to see the show.

Mirage Hotel Volcano is a free show, on the strip outside the Mirage Hotel, that erupts almost every hour in the evening in a terrific light show.

Mirage Hotel has a free white tiger enclosure within the hotel where visitors can view these amazing animals and view the impressive aquarium behind the check-in reception counter.

MGM Grand Lion Habitat - MGM Grand Hotel and Casino has created a one-of-a-kind Lion Habitat as a showcase for public education and appreciation for this majestic creature of nature. [Free Admission, open daily 11:00am - 7:00pm]

Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas Bellagio Hotel has a magnificent fountain show performed to music every 15 minutes in the evenings and every hour on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The fountain is huge and located outside the hotel on the strip. A great place to view the fountain is from the top of the replica Eiffel Tower across the road at the Paris Hotel. Inside the Bellagio hotel, behind the reception and check-in lobby, there is the conservatory and botanical gardens, a huge indoor flower garden with displays changed every month or two.

New-York New-York Hotel offers the Manhattan Express roller coaster that twists its way around and through the Manhattan skyline of this amazing hotel.

Eiffel Tower Experience at the Paris Las Vegas hotel immerses visitors in a complete Parisian experience. Take an elevator ride to the top of the replica Eiffel Tower that soars 50 stories into the sky. Its observation deck offers a spectacular view of the Las Vegas Valley.

Madame Tussards Wax museum is located at the Venetian Hotel. Featuring life-like wax creations of your favorite celebrities such as George Clooney, Hugh Hefner, Cameron Diaz. Madame Tussauds makes you an instant celebrity - encouraging you to kiss and hug your favorite movie stars, musicians, sports heroes and Las Vegas legends. Take pictures and show everyone you hung out with the stars while in Vegas! Relive man's first steps on the moon alongside Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, saddle up beside America's classic cowboy hero, John Wayne, or shake hands with respected leaders including presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy as well as George W. Bush.

Gondola Ride at the Venetian Hotel is a graceful and romantic glide down the Grand Canal in an authentic Venetian gondola. Float beneath bridges, beside cafes, under balconies and through the vibrant Venetian streetscape as your singing gondolier sweeps you down the Grand Canal. A relaxing and romantic gondola ride reveals all the charm, excitement and passion that is Venice, and The Venetian. [Open daily at 9am 11pm for the indoor ride and 10am 11pm for the outdoor ride, USD64 per gondola (or 4 persons $16 each), reservations must be made in person, same day only]

Stratosphere Hotel and Tower is popular for the spectacular view of the Las Vegas Valley from the observation decks more than 100 floors above the Strip. Soaring 1,149 feet into the Vegas skyline, the Stratosphere Tower is the tallest observation tower in the U.S. and one of the most exciting attractions among Vegas Strip hotels. The Tower Shops are an international marketplace, with themed streets reminiscent of Paris, Hong Kong, and New York. The tower offers thrill rides you can't find anywhere else, including: Big Shot - Shoots passengers straight up 160 feet at 45 mph (over 4 Gs) until they are 1,081 feet above the Strip. X-Scream - A giant teeter-totter that propels you 27 feet over the edge of the Tower, 866 feet above the ground. Insanity, the Ride - A massive mechanical arm extends 64 feet over the edge of the Tower and spins you at a force of 3 Gs for a truly mind-bending experience. .

Fremont Street Experience is the world famous pedestrian mall in the downtown area of Las Vegas. This is the birthplace of Las Vegas and was the first paved road in Las Vegas. Rising 90 feet above the street and stretching almost a third of a mile, an open-air canopy features music and lights in a multimedia presentation that incorporates the biggest screen on the planet. The light and sound shows begins every night at dusk and continues on every hour until midnight.

Hoover Dam Hoover Dam Las Vegas is one of mankinds great engineering accomplishments and very popular with visitors. The construction of the Hoover Dam, one of the largest concrete dams in the world, in 1928 brought thousands of workers to the area and provided electricity and water for the city of Las Vegas. The dam bridges the Colorado River and is one of the road ways between the states of Nevada and Arizona. Lake Mead, resulting from the construction of the dam, is the second largest man-made lake in the world.

Atomic Testing Museum is located a few minutes east of the Las Vegas Strip. This museum displays very interesting and educational exhibits of the history of American nuclear testing in the Pacific and in the Nevada desert. Underground nuclear tests were carried out at the Nevada desert test site during 1967 and 1968. The permanent collection concludes with a piece of the Berlin wall, a symbol of the end of the cold war. [Open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 1pm-5pm, Adults $12, 755 E. Flamingo Road]

Outdoor Activities - Las Vegas provides visitors with the opportunity to engage in many outdoor activities. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, 22 miles away, provides rock climbing, biking and hiking trails, and scenic drives. The Lake Mead National Recreational Area, 31.5 miles away, offers fishing, boating, swimming and hiking. Mount Charleston, 43 miles away, has biking and hiking trails, horseback riding, skiing and snowboarding in winter.

Golf is popular as there are many international standard golf courses such as the South Seas-themed Bali Hai Golf Club, Desert Pines Golf Club and Royal Links Golf Club.

U.S. Route 95 at night is a spectacular sight as the road gradually climbs northwest out of Las Vegas so that the Strip's neon lights remain visible for a remarkably long distance, appearing as a luminous cloud before finally disappearing in the distance.

Gambling is everywhere in Las Vegas, even McCarran airport has poker machines. The state law of Nevada requires that all gamblers must be at least 21 years of age. You are required to bring to the casino an original valid ID that shows your date of birth (e.g. driver's licence, passport) as proof of your age.

Conventions are everywhere in Las Vegas. Whether it's a sap training course or new product launch it can be hosted in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Accommodation

The vast majority of visitors to Las Vegas arrive on Friday and Saturday nights and stay one or two nights for the weekend. This leaves many hotels with high vacancy rates for the rest of the week. As a result, hotel room rates are inexpensive (usually half the weekend rate) from Sunday to Thursday night. Visitors can save a lot of money by planning to stay Sunday through Thursday nights. Some hotels offer package deals that may include a show, meals, and gambling coupons to entice visitors to stay during the week. However, hotel amenities, such as gyms, internet access and local phone calls may not be included in the room rate.

The most popular hotels (and most expensive) are located at the southern end to mid-section of the Strip. Hotels at the northern end of the Strip and in the Downtown area tend to be less expensive. Hotels off the Strip tend to be smaller, less expensive but still offer a good quality of accommodation. Many of the Strip hotels are famous or very well known and are based on a unique fantasy theme.

Strip Hotels from south (2km from airport) to north are:

Luxor Hotel (Egyptian theme with hotel built as a Pyramid)

Excalibur Hotel (Castle theme)

MGM Grand Hotel

New York New York (hotel built to resemble the New York skyline)

Monte Carlo Hotel

Paris Hotel (Parisian theme with an Eiffel Tower, Opera house and Arc de Triumphe)

Bellagio Hotel (Italian theme)

Caesars Palace Hotel (Roman theme)

Flamingo Hotel

The Mirage Hotel

The Venetian Resort Hotel (Renaissance Venice theme)

Treasure Island Hotel

Wynns Hotel

Riveria Hotel

Circus Circus Hotel (casino building resembles a circus tent)

Sahara Hotel

Stratosphere Tower Hotel

Nightlife and Entertainment

Luxor Hotel & Casino features LAX the latest club experience brought to you from the creators of Pure Nightclub. Catering to a young, sophisticated audience, LAX is the destination of choice for club-goers, A-list celebrities and the social jet set. [Opens at 10 pm, Wed-Sat]

Bellagio Hotel & Casino features Fontana Bar which is a great place to witness the spectacular dancing fountain show that comes to life on the 8-acre lake. Whether inside the Bar itself or out on the patio, you'll be in awe of this aquatic escapade that erupts through the day and evening. Fontana Bar features live entertainment and a large dance floor. The Bank is a world class nightclub destination at Bellagio.

New York New York Hotel features Coyote Ugly bar themed as in the movie with beautiful 20-something women serving you drinks and getting rowdy on the bar.

Venetian Hotel features TAO NightClub a high energy, DJ driven atmosphere boasting an outside terrace with stunning views of the Las Vegas Strip, gorgeous go-go dancers, state-of-the-art audio and lighting systems, and two main rooms each featuring varying music formats. This ultimate nightlife facility also offers eight private skyboxes with mini-bars, espresso machines, and banquettes featuring secured purse drawers, as well as European Bottle Service. [Opens Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 10pm]

Caesars Palace features PURE Nightclub which has beennamed the No. 1 Club in the Country by E! Entertainment. Pure is four distinct venues in one, each featuring its own DJ, sound system and sexy style. Party in the main room, enter the ultra exclusive (and expensive!) VIP Red Room frequented by many celebrities, ascend to PUREs dramatic 14,000-square-foot Terrace, a hidden enclave offering incredible panoramic views of The Strip or experience The Pussycat Dolls Lounge (inside PURE Nightclub) featuringtwolive seductive performances every Tuesday,Thursday,Friday, and Saturday night, at10:45 pm and11:45 pm! On weekends, be prepared for long queues unless you are an attractive woman or a wealthy man. Shadow Bar at Caesars Palace features contemporary designs and eclectic furnishings. The sensual atmosphere is enhanced by provocative shadow dancers, whose silhouetted performances bring the experience to the next level.

Palms Casino Resort features Playboy Club where gorgeous playboy bunnies are waiting to serve you drinks while you gamble at the two gaming pits offering table games or why not try the playboy-branded slot machines. [open 7 nights 8pm to late]. Ghostbar is a sophisticated indoor and outdoor lounge and sky deck located on the 55th floor of the Palms Resort. [open 8pm to late].

Wynns Hotel and Casino has the very posh Blush nightclub on the 1st floor overlooking the casino and has an open-air section. XS at Encore is an up-market club where guests can sit at an indoor table or enjoy bottle service poolside in one of the outdoor cabanas. Tryst is a luxuriously appointed 12000 square-foot nightclub with European bottle service and a dance floor that extends into a 90-foot waterfall that cascades into a secluded lagoon. Wynns has a number of casually elegant lounge bars B Bar, Cabana Bar, Botero Bar, Parasol Up/Down to get your evening started.

Stratosphere Hotel and Tower has Romance at The Top of the World bar which is great for an intimate evening from the 107th floor. C Bar is open 24/7 and is the hot spot in the center of the casino featuring the hottest music videos, as well as DJs and live bands on the weekends.

Las Vegas Dining

The Las Vegas buffets are famous for great food and good value. Many hotels have a buffet and the most popular are at the Bellagio, Paris, Wynns, Rio and Bally hotels. Less expensive buffets, but still great food, can be found at Circus Circus, Riveria and Stratosphere Hotels.

Bellagio Hotel & Casino has a superb range of casual restaurants such as The Buffet, Caf Bellagio, Noodles and Olives and up-market restaurants including Sensi, Yellowtail (Japanese) Prime Steakhouse, Jasmine (Cantonese), Circo (Italian), Le Cirque and Picasso (fine French cuisine).

Stratosphere Hotel has the Top of the World revolving gourmet restaurant serving exceptional gourmet fare. This award-winning restaurant, situated 800 feet above ground level, revolves 360 degrees to offer magnificent panoramic views of Las Vegas. The Buffet has something for everyone, every day of the week including a Vegas-style champagne brunch on Sundays.

Las Vegas Shopping

Grand Canal Shops Venetian Hotel Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel offers a unique shopping experience featuring an elegant collection of apparel, swimwear, jewelry and accessories to put the final touch on an extraordinary experience. Enjoy all that life has to offerstroll along a cobblestone walkway, take a relaxing ride in an authentic Italian gondola, enjoy world class dining, shopping and elegance in an atmosphere of sophistication and refinement. There are talented performers that serenade shoppers as they stroll along the Grand Canal and performances are held at various times throughout the day, seven days a week. The Venetian Living Statues perform daily in St. Marks Square.

Caesars Palace Hotel offers up-market shops in two elegant settings. The Forum Shops and Appian Way house the world's best designers of men's and women's fashion, accessories, furnishings, dining and so much more. The Forum Shops at Caesars is Las Vegas' premier retail, dining and entertainment destination, featuring more than 160 boutiques and shops (such as Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari, Versace, Gucci, and more) as well as 13 restaurants and specialty food shops. The Appian Way is a quiet shopping arcade, graced by a life-size replica of Michelangelo's David. Here you can browse through the finest apparel, gifts, art and jewelry including Caesars logo items.

Las Vegas Outlet Center is located just 2.5 miles south of the Strip and offers 130 outlet stores in an indoor setting complete with two food courts. Take The Deuce, a double-decker bus, southbound on the Strip to the Outlet Center. The Deuce stops at nearly every hotel and casino along Las Vegas Blvd.

Beyond Las Vegas

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is 10 miles wide and 1 mile deep and is the USAs most famous natural attraction. Carved by the mighty Colorado River, the majesty and scale of the Grand Canyon is testimony to the awesome power of nature. The Grand Canyon is 276 miles or about 4 hours by road, via the Hoover Dam, from Las Vegas. However, the best way to see the canyon is from the air. Explore the Canyon floor or try white water rafting down the Colorado river.

Zion National Park is about two hours east of Las Vegas by road. The park offers visitors stunning scenery in a red-walled canyon and is famous for its gigantic and magnificent white, pink and red rocks. Zion is an ancient Hebrew word meaning a place of refuge or sanctuary. Once a refuge for Mormon pioneers, Zion National Parks striking landscapes of steep canyons and stone towers have been carved out of rock by rushing streams over millions of years.

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is famous for its unique geology. Erosion has created bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins and spires. Tinted with numerous colours, these rocks create a wonderful and picturesque landscape.