Going to Vegas? Here are a few things you might want to know before you hit the pavement…
- Stay where you want to play
- Learn your hotel’s shortcuts
- Break for high culture
- Pick the perfect pool
- Score seats for a big time Vegas production
- Gamble without going broke
- Line up for the best buffets
- Get taken for a ride
- Go gondoling
- Schedule a spa day
- Take advantage of Vegas’ free spectacles
- Hang out with Abe Lincoln, Angelina Jolie, and Johnny Depp
- Splurge on one dinner at a destination restaurant
- Save your sanity with a side trip
If you want to gamble downtown, book a room off the Strip. If you think you’re going to spend most of your time at Hard Rock, look in to staying there or somewhere else on Paradise Road. If you’re not much of a gambler, go with a nongaming property like Ritz-Carlton (photo, right) or Renaissance Las Vegas.
Huge megaresorts can feel like cities within cities and be noisy, chaotic, and challenging to navigate. Avoid trekking all over your hotel by asking for a room near an elevator.
For a reprieve from the lowbrow Strip, peek into the Guggenheim-Hermitage Museum at the Venetian. The museum showcases special exhibitions as well as art pulled from three of the world’s most revered permanent collections — the Guggenheim, in New York; the Hermitage, in St. Petersburg; and the Kunsthistorisches, in Vienna.
Every Vegas resort pool has its own personality — research several to see which fits your sunning style. For hearty partying, Hard Rock’s Polynesian beach hideaway is the spot. For peace, quiet, and a lot of luxury, Four Seasons takes the cake. The Hyatt Regency Lake’s poolside kids’ programs keep the little ones entertained.
Vegas has all the over-the-top razzle-dazzle you could ever hope for. We highly recommend Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE at the Mirage for anyone with an appreciation for the Beatles’ songbook.
Newbies to the gambling world can start the day at Excalibur for lessons in roulette, blackjack, and craps. Decide before leaving on your vacation how much money you’ll spend on gambling. This is your gambling bankroll — try not to go over it. Avoid at all costs credit-card cash withdrawal machines.
Vegas is full of exciting (and not so exciting) thrill rides. For a quick adrenaline rush, muster up the courage to pay a visit to Flyaway Indoor Skydiving, Manhattan Express, and the trio of rides at the Stratosphere.
Let a gondolier “o sole mio” you down Vegas’ rendition of Venice’s Canalozzo at the Venetian. Outdoor gondola rides along the resort’s exterior waterway are also available, weather permitting.
Some tables are meant to be lied upon. Pull yourself away from the blackjack table for an afternoon massage and pampering session at one of Vegas’ stellar spas.
You might find the water ballet “performed” by the Bellagio fountain more entertaining than many $100 ticket shows.
The wax celebrities at Madame Tussaud’s Las Vegas remain crowd-pleasers. An interactive segment lets you play golf with Tiger Woods, shoot baskets with Shaq, or marry George Clooney.
When the blaring noises and glaring lights of the Strip grow tiresome, head off into the desert for a mini-adventure. The Hoover Dam and Mount Charleston are all worthy side trips. Feeling ambitious? Consider the 240-mile drive east to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
Vegas has its fans on our forums. Check out a few of their recommendations:
So you’d like to gamble your way around the world? Check out our online guides to these three gambling hotspots.
Photo Credit: LOVE Cirque du Soleil, Tomas Muscionico