Las Vegas Travel Guide
Located in the Mojave Desert in the south of Nevada about 300 miles northeast of Los Angeles, the oasis that is Las Vegas is a buzzing, thriving, exciting city and a real money magnet. It boasts the flashiest casinos and hotels in the world and is fun to visit for all.
Las Vegas is nicknamed the Sin City and is just awash with themed super-casinos and their attached mega-hotels. It has a fantasy-like look and feel to it, with its elaborate light shows, European cityscapes, mock skyscrapers, and pyramids, and that’s just the casinos.
The gambling is the main attraction to Las Vegas, and has been and always will be. The so-called Strip is where it’s at, a long thoroughfare in the center of the city with flashy casinos, hotels and restaurants. These casinos never sleep, the lights and machines are on 24 hours, and they come with a variety of side attractions.
Major sights of the Strip include the Sphinx of the Luxor casino, the Eiffel Tower of the Paris casino, the Manhattan skyline of the New York-New York casino, and the gargantuan light and fountain show of the Bellagio. The city is best seen at night and from the 1,100-foot-plus Stratosphere, which has the best views, while the Fremont Street Experience is the best free show.
In addition there is also a whole lot to see around the city of Las Vegas. The giant Hoover Dam is just to the southeast of the city and takes the credit for the city’s actual creation. In addition, the stark forms of Death Valley National Park are just west of town, while Lake Mead is in the east and the beautiful Zion National Park is northeast into Utah. Farther afield is the stunning Grand Canyon. Having a hire car is thus a bonus in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas does not scrimp on accommodation either. It features many of the world’s largest and most luxurious hotels, all of which are part of casino resorts and include the likes of the massive MGM Grand, the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, and the recent Wynn Las Vegas. Most hotels come with fantastic dining and entertainment options, to boot, and often have eye-popping specials during weekdays. For budget visitors, Las Vegas also comes with cheaper places off the Strip and even one or two hostels.
Apart from the unending allure of the gambling, Las Vegas has extensive entertainment options, both in its casinos and hotels and in downtown proper. The best bars, clubs, shows, and restaurants can be had in the casinos, while art galleries, museums and other cultural highlights also abound.
McCarran International Airport is the gateway to Las Vegas, a large airport with flights from Europe, Asia, and all over the US. It is only a mile or so south of the Strip and the larger hotels operate free shuttles, while taxis, limos and buses are also on-hand. You can also get in from cities all over the west by Greyhound bus and I-15 serves from the Los Angeles direction.
Las Vegas attractions
Gambling: Las Vegas is certainly not short on places to blow your hard earned cash with more casinos than you can point a stick at.
Bellagio: one of Las Vegas’ very best casinos and hotels, famed for its impressive sound-to-light fountain show and a quality art gallery.
Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay: featuring a giant aquarium filled with sharks, sea turtles and other exotic sea creatures, seen from an acrylic tunnel.
Free shows: of the many great shows in Las Vegas, the Masquerade Show in the Sky and Sirens of Treasure Island are free and highly recommended.
Eating: food is the second obsession in Vegas, with numerous cafés, gourmet restaurants and ever present buffet halls; the best of which are Rio and Aladdin.
Las Vegas Chinatown: for a slice of eastern culture, head for Las Vegas Chinatown.
Rock climbing: lovers of the outdoors are also catered for at Red Rock Canyon, where climbing is possible year-round.