Who Doesn't Love Vegas? by Travelzoo's Debbie Kwok
Visitors have to experience Las Vegas firsthand to understand how the city earned the dual nicknames of Entertainment Capital of the World and Sin City. Many Las Vegas hotels are famously flamboyant -- replicas of New York City, Paris, Monte Carlo and Venice now jostle for space on The Strip, for example – and most have lavish pool areas that are great for people-watching.
Las Vegas shows and entertainment are also unrivaled in terms of sheer variety. Its worldwide popularity allows it to command an incredible range of performers, from Celine Dion to Elton John and Cirque du Soleil to Broadway shows. And no city comes close to Las Vegas’ huge choice of gaming options. Las Vegas casinos offer blackjack, roulette, craps, sports books, slots … they’re all there, and more.
Everybody likes to save money, so visitors should note the plethora of Las Vegas coupons available both in Vegas itself and on the Internet. They range from two-for-one show tickets or $10 in match play at the slots to buffet and cocktail discounts, for instance.
Practically every hotel on The Strip offers a spectacular theme, from the Egyptian-themed Luxor and pirate-esque Treasure Island, to the unabashed luxury of 5-star resorts like Bellagio and Wynn. Visitors seeking more budget-conscious digs will also find an array of choices.
Decadent spas are offered at many of the resorts, many of which are a destination unto themselves. Likewise, Las Vegas has transformed itself into a city with a plethora of fine restaurants, developed by famous chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Joel Robuchon. Those who prefer shopping will find dozens of the chicest shops, like Gucci, Tiffany and Cartier, to name a few.
Gaming options are virtually endless, as nearly every property offers a casino, ranging from budget-minded choices to private, high-rollers-only tables. There are also several non-gaming hotels with no on-site casino.
Entertainment-wise, no city touches Las Vegas. Famed acrobats Cirque du Soleil consistently perform to sold-out shows at theaters built just for its troupes within major resorts. Expect magic shows, music headliners, comedy shows, Broadway productions and Elvis tributes, to name just a few. And it’s no secret that Las Vegas is famous for its adult- and exotic-entertainment venues.
When to go?
In Las Vegas, weather patterns don’t affect activity much, since most of the time visitors are indoors, and most shows and attractions are available year-round. Weekends are usually the busiest time, thus tend to be the priciest for accommodations. For those who wish to avoid crowds, the off-peak season is generally summertime, and fewer tourists will be found on the casino floors on weekdays. Generally speaking, January and February also tend to be less busy. A surge of gamblers visit during Super Bowl and the opening week of March Madness. Christmas and New Year’s are two of Las Vegas’ most popular times.
How to get there?
McCarran International Airport is a few miles away from The Strip. Virtually every major airline serves Las Vegas, including an increasing number of low-cost carriers. Cheap flights to Las Vegas can be found from San Diego to New York, and everywhere in between. From the airport, it’s about a ten-minute cab ride to The Strip. Shuttle service is also available, and a few of the resorts offer their own transportation for guests.
In no particular order, among the must-sees to Las Vegas, the very best would include the fountains at the Bellagio; the “volcano” at the Mirage; the Forum shops at Caesars; the roller coaster at the top of Stratosphere; and Las Vegas’ best pool area, the Flamingo.