No place in the world sparkles and shines quite like Las Vegas, Nevada. The infamous Sin City is the gambling capital of the world, visited by 36.7 million people each year. With a magnificent landscape full of treeless mountains, the desert heat creates a soft haze over the city. In the celebrated “Strip,” hundreds of hotels and resorts are compacted under a rainbow of neon glitter. With so much going on, Digital Journal presents a quick guide to get you around town.
ROUND, ROUND, GET AROUND: Traffic in Las Vegas can be very tricky, and while many tourist sites will recommend renting a vehicle, taxis and public transportation are also reliable options. The key thing to keep in mind is to leave yourself plenty of time to hail a cab and travel to your destination, even if it’s only a few blocks away.
HELP! I NEED SOMEBODY… Vegas is a busy city with many distractions. If you lose any-thing, report it immediately — especially if it’s a credit card. The Traveler’s Aid Society is a social-service organization geared to helping travellers in these sticky situations. Tel: (702) 798-1742
VALET ADVICE: With huge buildings all over the Strip, everything in Vegas looks closer than it really is. Take note that walking is not always the best way to get around. Free valet parking is one of the great pleasures of Las Vegas and well worth the dollar tip.
TIPPING POINT: Tip all dealers. They treat you much nicer, and they’ll be more patient.
JAYWALKING: It’s illegal, and they’re strict about it. Use the crosswalks, because if you get caught jaywalking it’ll cost you $95.
FOR THE THRILL-SEEKER: If you like roller coasters, check out the Big Shot and X Scream thrill rides or the High Roller. The best part about these rides: They’re on top of the Stratosphere Tower, the tallest free-standing observation tower in the United States. Tel: (702) 380-7711.
GET HITCHED: Las Vegas is one of the easiest (and sometimes cheapest) places in the world to tie the knot; more than 100,000 marriages are performed here each year. Chapels are open around the clock and located on nearly every corner and in every hotel. The cost of a marriage licence is $55 and the cost of the ceremony varies depending where you go.
CHECK OUT CHEETAH’S: Whether you’re on your honeymoon, or you want a little more spunk in your relationship, Cheetah’s is a popular destination spot. Get a signature lap dance for $20 at this bar popularized by the film Showgirls. While you’re there, keep your eyes peeled, as the VIP bar has hosted dances for many famous laps, including Sting and Drew Barrymore.
‘COPTER TOUR: Get a bird’s-eye view of Sin City. Soar over the Grand Canyon or fly above the Strip at night to see all the buildings and casinos brightly illuminated. While a helicopter tour could be a costly adventure, it’s sure to be one you’ll never forget.
For a great Grand Canyon Tour, we recommend using Silver State Helicopters. To book a flight, call (702) 616-1967.
A NEW DAY | “>www.cirquedusoleil.com
The internationally acclaimed Cirque du Soleil has various shows playing in Las Vegas at a time. In addition to new performances for 2006, Cirque is continuing to successfully run Mystere, “O”, Zumanity and KÀ at a number of theatres and casinos on the Strip, combining acrobatics, martial arts, puppetry, music, pyrotechnics and dance.
Del Frisco’s | (702) 796-0063
In a city famous for low-price prime rib specials, Del Frisco’s is an upscale steak chateau off the Strip. The generous drinks are complemented with the large portions of slow-roasted, aged rib roasts and delicious savoury steaks. Service at Del Frisco’s is tops, but prepare to wait, especially if you don’t have a reservation.
Rio Carnival World Buffet | (702) 252-7777
Following an extensive renovation, Rio Carnival World Buffet has recently reopened, maintaining high-quality buffet dining. You will find a wide and delicious selection of South American, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese and Italian cuisine to suit your palate. Unfortunately, regulars will notice that since the reno, its prices have soared, making it one of the most expensive buffets around.
Onda, Mirage Hotel and Casino | (702) 791-7111
There are so many fabulous Italian eateries in Vegas, it’s difficult to choose one. But Onda is not just a meal, it’s an experience. You enter this restaurant through a piano bar attached to the casino. The menu features traditional pasta dishes, plus many meat and seafood choices. Food is delectable and service is top-notch. Reservations are essential.
Michael Mina at Bellagio | (877) 234-6358
This elegant restaurant delivers daring approaches to fish preparation, resulting in nontraditional dishes that celebrate energy and diversity. Try the lobster pot pie, black mussel soufflé, or the phyllo-crusted Dover sole. If seafood makes you squirm like a squid, the Angus filet mignon is awesome. Too much to choose from? A five-course tasting menu is a surefire way to sample this exquisite cuisine.
Aureole at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino | www.mirage.com
Visit a tropical rainforest, check out exotic underwater creatures in a 20,000 gallon saltwater tank or get a close-up view of dolphins and Royal White Tigers, all at the Mirage Las Vegas. A highlight of this hotel is its signature attraction, Volcano. Every half-hour from 7 p.m. to midnight, the earth shakes and flames shoot 100 feet above the waters below.
THE WYNN LAS VEGAS
1-888-320-WYNN | www.wynnlasvegas.com
The Wynn Las Vegas cost about $2 billion to build and it offers pristine views of the Nevadan skyline, large spacious rooms and an abundance of prime services to suit anyone’s needs.
THE VENETIAN RESORT HOTEL CASINO
1-877-883-6423 | www.venetian.com
A stay at The Venetian Las Vegas is a sophisticated and elegant way to whisk yourself away without flying overseas. Enjoy a gondola ride, take in shopping along the cobblestone walkways and savour fine dining in impeccable restaurants.
MANDALAY BAY RESORT AND CASINO
1-877-632-7800 | www.mandalaybay.com
Don’t forget your swimsuit when you visit the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. This must-see resort has acres of waterpark fun. Guest rooms are eloquently designed to ensure that all visitors enjoy a tranquil stay.
1-877-434-9175 | www.circuscircus.com
Recommended for families, Circus Circus is full of engrossing entertainment such as the Adventure-dome — a five-acre elevated theme park and the world’s largest permanent circus.
Our rating system:
$$$$$ — Ritzy, ultra-exclusive
$$$$ — Charming and elegant
$$$ — Pleasant yet average
$$ — Clean but unimpressive
$ — Dirtbag motel
This article is part of Digital Journal’s national magazine edition. Pick up your copy of Digital Journal in bookstores across Canada and the United States! Or subscribe to Digital Journal now, and receive 8 issues for $29.95 GST ($48.95 USD)!