Las Vegas A Wondrous Playland


Las Vegas is a wondrous playland that is often overshadowed by the reputation of seedy gamblers and an excessive indulgence regarding forbidden actions and experiences. In actuality, Las Vegas is a city that caters to anyone and everyone interested in exploring a non-stop explosion of bright lights and high energy. This is a city that never seems to sleep as Elvis impersonators flash and glitter at every twist and turn.

The city serves as a 24-hour playground, where business keep odd hours to entertain and satisfy the masses. At any given time, you may find fitness centers, spas, video stores, supermarkets, bars, nightclubs open to accommodate the night owls still stirring during the wee hours after dark. When it comes to convenience, Las Vegas definitely knows how to show its guests a good time.

To enjoy the thrill of winning thousands of dollars at a Craps table to taking your time at a slot machine, the Las Vegas casinos are mainly situated on the Strip or Downtown section of town. Shuttle buses and other modes of transportation are available to usher you to your next destination, although walking from one point to another is not unheard of. Before hitting the casinos, be aware that it is a dog-eat-dog world and knowing how to play, as well as bet, will most certainly come in handy.

While the attractions and main sights of the city are enough to seal the deal, it is the hotels that also create a one-stop shop and arena of pleasure. Usually, most of the accommodations about town offer easy access to a casino, but not everyone is tempted by the lure of Jackpots and hitting Blackjack. For this reason, accompanying an entertaining stay in the city is a wide-range of extravagant themed resorts (such as the Aladdin to the Hard Rock Hotel) that pleases the likes of the mother of three to the anxious businessman to the budget traveler.

The nightlife is bustling with excitement, which can be enjoyed before or after you settle at one of the numerous all-you-can-eat buffets, filled with steak, shrimp, and other delicious cuisine. While the city is filled with enough to keep a visitor quite busy, there are also many interesting side trips to explore, including the nearby Death Valley, Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam attractions.

Exploring Some of the Main Sights of Las Vegas

Throughout the city, impressive Vegas show presentations bring can-can dancers and the Cirque du Soleil to the forefront. Magicians and spectacular animal shows entertain the masses, as dolphins jump into flight and big cats, such as white tigers fascinate the curious. At the Madame Tusand wax museum, you can view your favorite famous personalities, as life-like presentations are sure to fool to eye. Many tourists enjoy a ride aboard the Desert Princess Boat Tour, while others wish to give into a shopper’s delight, browsing about the many designer labels, kooky jewelry, and interesting souvenirs that the city has to offer. Below you will find some of the most popular sights to consider when visiting Las Vegas:

Fremont Street Experience

425 Fremont St

When visiting this attraction, you will come across two million lights, as well as an impressive sound system. If you’re lucky, you might be able to catch the filming of a major motion picture.

Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat

3400 Las Vegas Blvd South

At this site, a variety of animals can be found, including elephants, panthers and leopards. You should seek out the Mirage Hotel Casino in order to take advantage of this experience.

Gondola Rides at the Venetian

3355 Las Vegas Blvd South

Honeymooners and those who are in-love will surely enjoy a romantic gondola ride that visits sights, such as the Grand Canal Shoppes by the Venetian Hotel Casino.

Star Trek: The Experience

3000 Paradise Road

Trekkie fans may enjoy this attraction at the Las Vegas Hilton, which presents exhibits involving popular characters, as well as more than 200 Star Trek-related items.

Lion Habitat

3799 Las Vegas Blvd South

Located at the MGM Grand, you will have the chance to view the King of the Jungle as they interact with one another within their own natural habitat.

Wet ‘n Wild

2601 Las Vegas Blvd South

When traveling with the family, the children may enjoy what some consider one of the greatest water parks throughout the nation. Throughout the year, this site also holds entertaining events, such as the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Pageant.

Bellagio Fountains

3600 Las Vegas Blvd South

Bring your cameras to capture this awesome water display, which offers water jets that enter 240 feet into the air. Additional features include choreographed lights, as well as relaxing classical music.

Guinness World of Records Museum

2780 Las Vegas Blvd South

As you explore the many interesting hands-on displays, you will also learn of many individual and team record-breaking feats through a self-guided tour.

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art

3600 Las Vegas Blvd South

Art lovers will enjoy the many sculptures and paintings hailing from late 19th and 20th century artists, including original Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh works of art.

Vegas Vacation Tips 5 Tips For First Timers

First time in Las Vegas? Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world – there’s no other place like it. But if you’ve never been there before, you could end up missing the best Vegas has to offer or worse – spending more money than you’d planned.

If you’re booking your first Las Vegas vacation, the following tips will save you time, money and frustration.

Vacation Tip #1: Book Your Vegas Package Early

Try to make your reservations and ticket purchases at least 21 days before your trip. Some fares require an advance purchase of 3, 7, 14, or 21 days, while others may require no advance purchase at all.

Also, many Las Vegas hotels give you a discount incentive for booking your vacation early. As more people book the hotel rooms, there are less spots available and prices can rise.

Vacation Tip #2: Bring High Quality Running Shoes

If you’re going to be exploring the gorgeous hotels and various attractions on the Las Vegas strip – make sure you take high quality, well-fitting running shoes. Most of the surfaces you’ll be walking on are either concrete or stone.

While it’s lovely to stroll along the cobblestone streets of the Venetian or the Paris hotels – if you’re in shoes that don’t give you adequate cushioning you’ll be in pain by the end of the day. And after 3 days, forget about it.

Vacation Tip #3: If It’s Your First Time In Vegas Try To Stay On Or Near The Las Vegas Strip

The Las Vegas strip is the best place to be – especially if it’s your first time in Las Vegas. Enjoy the fountains of the Bellagio, see the lion habitat at the MGM Grande, watch the pirate show at the Treasure Island, view the white tigers at the Mirage.

When you’re on the Las Vegas strip most of the attractions and hotels are within walking distance so you don’t need to rent a car. Staying at one of the hotels on the strip will ensure you see most of the main attractions in Vegas.

Some hotels on the Las Vegas strip are the Bellagio, MGM Grande, Mirage, Ceasar’s Palace, Aladdin, Circus Circus, Treasure Island, Imperial Palace, Flamingo, New York New York, Bally’s and the Paris Hotel.

Vacation Tip #4: Bring Your Appetite & Forego Your Diet

Las Vegas offers some of the BEST buffets and restaurants in the world. Two of the most popular buffets in Las Vegas are the Buffet at the Bellagio and the Spice Market Buffet at the Aladdin. They are a must try!

The buffets offer a huge selection (so everyone in the family is happy)at mid-priced rates (depending on where you go). The food quality is extremely high so forego your diet and enjoy! After all, you’re on vacation.

Vacation Tip #5: You Don’t Have To Spend A Bundle On Entertainment

While some of the shows in Las Vegas can be expensive, there are lots of things to do (especially with your family) that are low cost or absolutely free. Some freebies include:

Lion habitat at the MGM Grande

White tigers at the Mirage

Fountain display in front of the Bellagio

M&M’s Store near New York, New York hotel (free M&M’s movie)

Pirate Show at Treasure Island

Rain Storm at the Dessert Passage next to the Aladdin

Circus Acts at Circus Circus

Human Statues at the Venetian

Various specialty displays and gardens inside different hotels – depending on the time of year

And they’re always adding more!

So those are 5 general tips for Vegas first-time vacationers. The can save you time, money and frustration (and hopefully sore feet). There’s no other place like Las Vegas – it’s like a giant playground for adults and kids. Regardless of what you choose to do, you’ll never forget your first time in Vegas!

Las Vegas – Dos And Don’ts

How long has it been since you’ve visited Las Vegas? If it’s been more than a blink of your eye, you won’t recognize it the next to you’re there!

I’ve learned to never expect the same Las Vegas that I remember. It’s a constantly evolving city that never sleeps! I know New York claims that distinction… but c’mon, you won’t see such drastic changes in NYC that you do in Las Vegas.

In Las Vegas, it’s Hotels down, followed by Hotels up. Six hotels have been imploded there in the last 10 years. And the newer hotels can hardly be classified as hotels… that term is to be reserved for other cities. So don’t expect the great “hotel bargains” and “free stuff” of the past. They disappeared with the $.99 dinners.

Las Vegas developers today, don’t build “hotels” anymore. They install mini-cities, mega-resorts, and the ultimate destinations! The new developments include: World-Class Chefs, Uber Spas, and amenities unheard of, or offered only to the super-rich not so long ago. Now, instead of the tacky diners and buffets, you are presented with the finest restaurants in the World, and the highest levels of entertainment. It’s a different Las Vegas!

However, there are some bargains to be found if you know where to look. Explore the older places. There, you’ll still find good deals on food. You can still get a $5 steak dinner at Ellis Island on Koval Lane.

One key to finding bargains is not where, but when! Don’t go at peak times. Visit in Mid-Summer for instance. You’ll need to take advantage of the AC everywhere, but the prices are lower then. Also, a good time to visit Las Vegas is during Christmas. It’s definitely an off-peak period. Don’t confuse that however with the following week; “New Years” the prices will be right back up during that period. Also, stay away during the larger conventions when Las Vegas is packed with convention attendees. During the Consumer Electronics Show in early January each year… the city is standing room only. If you don’t have to be there that week – Don’t! You should try to avoid weekends in Las Vegas too if you’re looking for a bargain. Mid-Week rates are lower.

Always plan in advance of your trip to Las Vegas. Do your research, or you’ll be overwhelmed and disappointed. All the best shows will be sold out; the restaurants will be accepting no more reservations. You must make your reservations and ticket purchases ($30 – $100+) at least 7 – 10 days before your trip. To help you, most reservation desks are open 24 hours every day!

If you plan well, you’ll be treated to gourmet meals prepared by celebrity chefs. The ubiquitous buffet is gone, (although, you’ll never find a better one than at the Aladdin); the 99¢ dinners are gone. But, as always, there is no time limit to enjoy the tasty treats of Las Vegas… If it’s 3am, you’ll find great restaurants are still serving! Let me mention two still-great bargains. Not only because of the low price, but because the steak dinners are very good at the steakhouses at the Imperial Palace, and at Circus, Circus. Try them, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the existence of remnants of the past meal deals of Las Vegas!

Did I say there are no more freebies? Not so, you can still be treated to great entertainment for free. You must see the outdoor attractions including the Volcano at the Mirage, Rio’s Masquerade Show in the Sky, and the Sirens of Treasure Island. For the cost of a drink or two, there are indoor entertainment venues that are free as well. The lounges in most Casinos have ongoing musical acts with no cover charge. Ask your concierge for a recommendation.

When you fly into Las Vegas, if you’re not fortunate enough to be met by your casino host or the hotel limo, you’ll most likely take a taxi to your hotel. Don’t let the driver take you by way of the Airport Tunnel… it’s longer by about $10.00. Tell the driver to go down Paradise Road instead.

If you’re heading for the south end of the strip (MGM Grand, Tropicana, New York, New York) you’re taxi charge should be $8 – $9. Mid Strip; $12 – $13, and north end of the strip; $14 – $15)

While we’re discussing taxis… it is illegal to hail a cab in Las Vegas. There are taxi stands and every hotel has taxi pick-up and drop-off areas. You must go to one of those. The drivers will ignore you standing in the middle of the street waving at them. Instead, get to a driveway, there, they can turn in, get out of traffic, and let you jump in. One more thing; don’t try to pay the driver with chips. They won’t take them, and they won’t take credit cards either. It’s a cash town outside of the casinos! In fact, chips are rarely used outside of the casino… for anything!

Here’s a great time saver… the Harrah’s Group will let you check in to one of their hotels… AT THE AIRPORT! Harrah’s, Caesars, Bally’s, Horseshoe, Flamingo, Imperial Palace, and Rio all offer this great service… take advantage of it!

Don’t ask for hotel amenities if you’re not registered there as a hotel guest. You’ll end up being embarrassed and worse! However, the Hard Rock Café opens their pool to everyone on Sundays (their Spa too – where you can get a massage inside or poolside for $85 – $155).

Las Vegas has become very famous for their nightlife… I’m not talking about gambling and shows… I’m referring to the nightclubs. At any one given time, you’ll find 25 of the World’s Best DJs spinning in Las Vegas. Word of caution though… don’t try to see them all! You’ll end up spending your entire evening in line – trying to get in. It’s best to reserve a spot for yourself and stay put! Especially on weekends (again) the lines are brutal! Get on the VIP list if you can (you must be well known or well connected). Tightest hours?… 10pm – 4am – Wed – Sat. Dress codes enforced. And guys… bring a girl (or more) or you’ll likely see ONLY the outside of the place – period!

If you drive to Las Vegas, or rent a car while there, always use Valet Parking… it’s free with a tip! And when trying to get your car, remember the peak times include immediately following the end of a show when the lines at VP are longest. For the downtown properties, use the parking garages, and get your ticket validated. You might want to rent a car to see the dam and Lake Meade. But other than that… there really is no need. I remember one of the last times I rented a car in Las Vegas. The agency delivered the car to me at the airport, it was a Cadillac with 4 miles on it! Yep only four! I drove it to Caesars Palace and unloaded it, had it parked, and when I turned it in to the agency 9 days later, it had 14 miles on it. What a waste! I tell you this to save you the money. It is not necessary to have a car in Las Vegas!

It gets windy in Las Vegas… and often without warning. It’s not important unless you’re at the top of the Stratosphere, or the Eiffel Tower. They both close down in high winds. If there’s a 25mph wind, the elevators in the ET move at half speed… at 35mph they evacuate the tower, and at 40mph, they shutdown. The winds also will cause cancellation of the “Sirens of Treasure Island”.

You simply cannot do “The Strip” from one end to the other by car. There’s so much traffic on Las Vegas Blvd that it makes it virtually impossible. Again, there is a peak time: 2p – 6:30pm.

Can you walk it? Hmmm, are you nuts? It’s 120 degrees out… I told you to come here mid-summer, but I also said to use the Air Conditioning everywhere! There are many alternatives to walking the strip. But for the little jogs between hotels, always use the crosswalks. You’re one of 30 Million visitors all heading to different places. The chaos is confusing and frightening – for you and for drivers! Always use the crossovers too. They are very convenient (most with elevators) and provide the fastest way to cross the busiest streets in America! By the way, if you “Jay-Walk” you’re risking your life and a fine of $150 – $250!

While you’re walking here, you can be drinking too! The “open container law” states that you can walk and drink ON the sidewalks, crosswalks, and crossovers… BUT, don’t throw empties, and don’t take that open container into a car… that’s illegal! A bus is OK!

Ten Cool Las Vegas Wedding Options

If you are planning a wedding in Las Vegas, you may not be aware of all the opportunities that you have available to you. Here are ten interesting Las Vegas wedding options. Although they may not be as famous as the many wedding chapels Las Vegas has, they will certainly leave the same lasting impression.

1. Helicopter Weddings – Many Las Vegas wedding chapels, as well as Papillon Helicopter Tours, offer helicopter weddings. The ceremony can take place as you fly above the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip or you have the option of flying to the Grand Canyon and saying your nuptials there.

2. Red Rock Canyon – Many wedding locations offer wedding packages at this canyon location. Red Rock Canyon is located just west of Las Vegas and offers stunning scenery making it an ideal site for wedding ceremonies.

3. Yacht Weddings – You can have your wedding on a 60 foot private yacht as it floats around on beautiful Lake Las Vegas.

4. Gondola Weddings – Weddings can also take place on a gondola at Lake Las Vegas. The Venetian offers gondola weddings as well. They take place on a canal at the Venice themed hotel.

5. Mount Charleston – Mount Charleston is located less than an hour from the Las Vegas Strip. It is a popular Las Vegas getaway, especially in the summer months when temperatures are usually thirty degrees cooler than in the Valley. The hotel and lodge up on the mountain both offer wedding packages.

6. Lake Mead Weddings – You can get married on a two level Mississippi style paddlewheel boat while it floats around on this famous man made lake.

7. Stratosphere Roller Coaster – If you are really adventurous, say I do on this roller coaster which is located near the top of an 1100 foot tower.

8. Bonnie Springs Old Nevada – This replica of an 1880’s Old West mining town is located just west of Las Vegas, in the Red Rock Canyon area. The town includes a western style chapel where ceremonies can be performed. BBQ dinners are available for wedding receptions.

9. The famous Las Vegas sign – A few Las Vegas chapels can arrange a wedding ceremony at this famous Las Vegas landmark.

10. Hot Air Balloon Weddings – What could be more cool than becoming husband and wife as you soar above the earth in a hot air balloon?

So if you want to get married in Las Vegas, know that you are not limited to having a ceremony in a wedding chapel. Las Vegas wedding locations provide plenty of opportunities to let your imagination run wild when planning your big day.

Las Vegas Downtown Vs The Strip

I have visited Las Vegas quite a few times over the last several years, and one of the most asked questions I received is whether people should stay on the Strip or Downtown. After I tell them they will enjoy their vacation in Las Vegas no matter where they stay, I tell them the differences between Downtown and the Strip.

Downtown (Old School Vegas)

Downtown is for the budget minded and the serious gambler who do not like all the glitz, glamour, of the strip. All of the casinos downtown are close together and you can easily walk to all of them. Table games like blackjack, roulette, craps, and others also have lower bet minimums than the Strip. Slot machines, and video poker are everywhere and you can always find nickel machines. Free cocktails are always available when you gambling downtown.

The rooms downtown are comfortable, clean, and less expensive than their Strip counterparts. The Golden Nugget is the most opulent casino downtown. Outside of the Downtown casinos step outside at night and look up and see a light show called the Freemont Street experience, which connects most of the casinos. If you like a laid back, block party atmosphere then downtown may be the place for you. If you do want to see the casinos, or catch a show on the strip it’s only a cab ride away.

The Strip

Las Vegas Boulevard is the actual street name of the Las Vegas Strip and it is one of the most famous streets in the world. If you drive down the strip starting at the airport the first casino you will see is Mandalay Bay and thirty casinos or so, later you will see the Stratosphere, which has a roller coaster on top. The Bellagio, Wynn, Venetian, and Mandalay Bay set the standard for luxury in Las Vegas.

If you are a sightseer then you might prefer to stay on the strip, there are hotels for every budget and you will be close to all the new casinos, which are an attraction themselves. The table limits on the Strip can be higher, but you can look around and find lower limits, especially during the week. Of course the cocktails service is always free for gamblers.

Off Strip Properties

We should not forget the off strip properties that range from the budget minded to luxury, and specialty hotel casinos. You can have luxury at places like Green Valley Ranch, which was also the subject of a television show. The Rio Suites are also off strip and where the world series of poker is played. Another favorite is Sam’s Town, which offers a large RV park and comfortable rooms at very good prices, you can even go bowling at their fifty six alley bowling lane.

In summary whether you prefer the mega resort casinos on the strip or the smaller budget minded casinos of downtown you should have a great time. Always check the web for Las Vegas vacation packages. Good deals are always available in Las Vegas, so enjoy your vacation.