Las Vegas Travel Guide

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Inside the Venetian

Inside the Venetian

Steven Miller

Viva Las Vegas!

In the middle of the desert, Las Vegas is like a mirage, like a fata morgana. The colors of the casinos and their neon lights, contrast sharply with the dry and barren land around.

 

What brings you to Vegas is clear: Las Vegas activities are all about having fun, more precisely having fun and gambling. Or, more truthfully, having fun, sipping on sinful cocktails at a Las Vegas hotel, gambling until dawn, dining at a five star Las Vegas restaurant, strip club hopping, and wondering "Hey, how long's the sun been up?" as they toss you to the curb because you ran out of gambling money.

And that is precisely what Las Vegas offers and what any Las Vegas travel guide will tell you: mind-boggling, out-of-this-world, oversized casinos in every size, shape and theme. Eiffel towers, Roman palaces, Egyptian Pyramids, even Mardi Gras & the Brooklyn Bridge! The sights of Europe, Africa, and the United States come to you - in one destination.

If you aren't into the Las Vegas activities such as gambling or legalized prostitution (actually, while prostitution is legal in Nevada, it's not in Las Vegas or the surrounding county), close by in Boulder City, roughly 30 minutes away, is the Hoover Dam with plenty of sights to see and tours to take. North about 80 miles is a State park called The Valley of Fire that has beautiful rock formations and petroglyphs. To the West straight down Charleston Blvd there is Red Rock Canyon for wonderful hiking and rock climbing. In the Red Rock Canyon one can see the largest Eolian sandstone cross-bedding in Nevada (see the photos in the album section).

Don't forget that Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world--they truly make it easy for wedding parties of 2 to 200--sites galore to choose from, easy marriage license requirements (better be careful!) and a plethora of new Las Vegas restaurants for celebrating afterwards.

The new Wynn Las Vegas Hotel and Casino provides a great new location to check out, even if you are not staying there for the night. Its beautiful design will have you in awe, as will the likewise styled Ferraris at the dealership located on site.

Vegas offers all of this and more - with no jet-setting necessary. And although Las Vegas is all about money, there are so many free (or at least, very cheap) shows on offer, that it is still easy to enjoy many exciting Las Vegas activities without spending too much. In fact, some of the bigger, more well known Las Vegas hotels and casinos offer guests free drinks while gambling. So, stand around near your favorite gambling table and order away; just don't forget to tip your waiter or waitress. And don't forget the kids! Las Vegas has many fine public libraries, outdoor parks, and recreation opportunities that cater to children. Simply put. Las Vegas activities for children are endless. Just contact the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce ( www.lvchamber.com) for more details.

Top Ten Things to Do in Las Vegas

Big Shot at the Stratosphere – If you have the stomach for a ride that will shoot you 160 feet straight up into the air in 2.5 seconds (at 45 mph), then the Big Shot ($13) ride at the Stratosphere is the thrill ride for you. www.stratospherehotel.com

Dancing Fountains at the Bellagio – More than 1,000 fountains (on an 8-acre manmade lake) dance to the sounds of Frank Sinatra and other artists in unison with lights and choreographed water that shoots more than 220 feet into the sky. This is an amazing sight to see right smack in the middle of the desert! Performances are Monday-Friday at 3:00 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday at 12 p.m. Performances start every half hour until 6:00 p.m. After 6:00 p.m. performances are every 15 minutes until 12 a.m. Performances are free, of course. www.bellagio.com

Gondola Rides at the Venetian – This romantic ride is the perfect for couples and it is also a relaxing ride for singles looking to take a break from the Strip. The trip travels down the Grand Canal past cafes, under bridges and balconies and past other boats. You can catch a Venetian Gondola ride just about anytime. Hours are Sunday-Thursday 10 a.m.-11 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.-midnight. www.venetian.com

Lion Habitat at MGM Grand – Yes, the MGM Grand houses a real live lion habitat and boy is it spectacular! Visitors can walk above, around, below, and through a glass-enclosed habitat to watch lions at rest or on the prowl. The habitat includes both adult and adorable baby lion cubs. Adult lions are on display from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and the baby lion cubs are on display from 11 a.m.-5:00 p.m. as 11 p.m. is way past their bedtime. Also on site is a gift shop that sells souvenirs from this wonderful experience. Admission is free! Ph: 877-880-0880 or 702-891-7777, www.mgmgrand.com. Note: The lions live on a gorgeous 8.5-acre ranch 12 miles from the MGM Grand.

Area 51 – This infamous “secret” air base is believed to house UFO’s and aliens recovered from the famous Roswell, New Mexico flying saucers crash. Located right off the Extraterrestrial Highway is the town of Rachel, Nevada, which also houses Area 51 Research Center. Area 51, also known as “Groom Lake,” is located roughly 90 miles north of Las Vegas, so this would also be an excellent day trip for curious types. www.rachel-nevada.com.

NASCAR Café – This festive café is a must for NASCAR fans and non-NASCAR fans alike. The Café features two levels of NASCAR racing competitions on giant projection screens, 20 authentic NASCAR stock cars on display (including the world’s largest stock car), the world famous Carzilla bar and tons of official NASCAR merchandise. Bring your appetite too – the menu features hearty American fare such as burgers, Buffalo wings, and pizza as well as decadent desserts that can’t be any less than 1,000 calories each! NASCAR Cafe Las Vegas is located at the Sahara Hotel and Casino on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard South and East Sahara at 2535 Las Vegas Boulevard South. Ph: 702-734-7226, www.nascarcafelasvegas.com.

M&M’s World Las Vegas - This is an excellent attraction for people of all ages -- but it is definitely a favorite for kids. The 28,000 square-foot, four-story retail-entertainment venue features M&M dispensers that can only be found in Las Vegas, a variety of M&M colors you have never seen before, and a free 3-D movie. M&M World is located in the Showcase Mall at 3785 Las Vegas Blvd South., 702-736-7611 or 706-740-2525, Cost: Free. www.mymms.com
 
The Auto Collections at Imperial Palace – More than 300 antique, classic, and special interest automobiles are on display here. The Auto Collections at Imperial Palace is located on the 5th floor of the parking structure. General admission is $6.95, Hours: 9:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m., daily. 3535 Las Vegas Boulevard South, 702-731-3311 or 800-634-6441, www.imperialpalace.com.

Madame Tussaud’s Las Vegas Wax Museum – It’s eerie, it’s weird, and it’s absolutely fascinating. Madame Tussaud’s Las Vegas Wax Museum at the Venetian features wax figures you’d swear are alive including celebrities ranging from John Wayne and Brad Pitt to Madonna, and Britney Spears. The wax museum is open from 10:00 a.m. daily and it is located on the moving walkway between The Venetian and the Strip. General Admission is $22.95. Ph: 702-862-7800, www.venetian.com.

Gaming Classes at the Las Vegas Hilton - If you really want to win big, then you may need a few lessons. Classes are 30 minutes or so and not only are they educational, these classes are fun and they are a great way to meet people. The majority of classes are free. Inquire within at the Las Vegas Hilton. 702-732-5755 or 800-457-3307, 3000 Paradise Road, www.lvhilton.com.

Contributors

February 23, 2007 change by rfujitani (1 point)

July 04, 2006 change by altobarb (1 point)

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May 21, 2008 change by mcburton

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