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Las Vegas continues to build upon its reputation as a vibrant showcase for the extraordinary. This is the city that attracts more than 36 million visitors a year by offering the grandest hotels, the biggest stars in entertainment, the highest caliber of award-winning chefs and master sommeliers, and, of course, the brightest lights.
Gambling capital, vacation paradise or premier business destination; these are all definitions of the city that never sleeps. Reality takes a hike when you enter the world of glittering casinos with their 24-hour gambling excitement. The scarcity of clocks adds to the fantasy of those taking time off from the real world. As a family vacation destination, the city offers the ultimate in entertainment for all ages. As a business destination, Las Vegas wins hands down with the volume of facilities and services available for either large conventions or small business get-togethers. Multitudes of upscale eateries are at your fingertips for a business lunch or dinner and after-hours entertainment is plentiful and diverse. Whether you are planning to move here, attend a business meeting, skydive, get married or just relax and enjoy, you will find Las Vegas to be a city like no other in the world.
The Strip: Las Vegas Boulevard: View Map
The fabled three-mile area holds more hotel rooms than any other city in the world. You will find the most famous and remarkable resorts such as Bellagio with its Italian Renaissance aura and Caesars Palace, the glory of Rome, Vegas-style. Old standbys include the Flamingo Hilton and the Mirage, with its white tigers and erupting volcanoes. See the Paris Las Vegas with outstanding replicas of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and magnifique Parisian atmosphere and charm. Treasure Island offers daily live pirate battles, free of charge. The new Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is also an impressive hotel with a nice casino. At the "bottom" or south end of the strip, risen from the ashes of the Hacienda Hotel, now stands the magnificent Mandalay Bay with its tropical atmosphere and a pool with waves you can actually surf. At the top of the Strip, you will find the Stratosphere Tower visible from miles away. It is the highest free-standing building in the western half of the United States, with views from the top that are indescribable.
Downtown: Fremont Street: View Map
The original Las Vegas, where people hung out in the '30s and early '40s, is still thriving, but with a new face known as the Fremont Street Experience. Some tourists actually prefer this area to the Strip because room prices are generally lower, it's an easy walk from one casino to the next and it's reminiscent of the early, nostalgic days of Las Vegas. In addition, there are famous hotels such as The Plaza (formerly known as Union Plaza), overlooking Fremont Street, and the classic Golden Nugget. For nostalgia buffs, there is also the Golden Gate Hotel Casino, renovated to its earlier classic glory and appearance and still famous for the 99-cent shrimp cocktail.
In recent years, hotels have sprouted up near the Strip, which are conveniently accessible by shuttle bus, taxi or car. Some of the better known of these are The Orleans, the Rio Suites and the Gold Coast on Flamingo. Further north on Sahara, is the Palace Station, the granddaddy of the Station Casinos with its original approach to fine buffet dining known as The Feast. To the east, there's the Las Vegas Hilton with the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center. Further south, between Flamingo and Tropicana, east of the Strip, you will find the "must see" Hard Rock Hotel and Casino next to the original Hard Rock Cafe, each with its own fantastic giant neon guitar at the entrance.
This has become something of a phenomenon in itself. The Boulder Highway was once a sprawl of small motels and businesses, leading from Fremont Street eventually out to the city of Henderson and beyond that to Boulder City and Boulder Dam, also known as Hoover Dam. But in recent years it's become the "Second Strip" with its proliferation of large, popular hotels and casinos including the Boulder Station Hotel and Casino, one of the first properties to offer child-care at a nominal fee for children of both guests and non-guests, and Sam's Town Hotel and Casino, which has become the high standard of western-theme resorts with its Mystic Falls Indoor Park.
North Las Vegas
The city of North Las Vegas has the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a major tourist attraction in itself, as well as Nellis Air Force Base, one of the strongest military bases in the United States and home to the flying Thunderbirds. As far as accommodations are concerned, there are several popular spots including The Fiesta and Texas Station Hotel and Casino. There is also the Santa Fe in northwest Las Vegas, which is unique for its Olympic-style Santa Fe Ice Arena.
Located in the far northwest section of the Las Vegas valley, Summerlin is a planned community with homes, shops, recreational activities, festivals and concerts. A wonderful accommodation in this area is the Suncoast Hotel and Casino.
Beyond Las Vegas
For day trips that are well worth your time, check out nearby Boulder City, Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam to the east and southeast. To the west, there is Red Rock Canyon and beyond that is Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.
Thanks to a welcoming climate, this is a year-round destination, but the most comfortable temperatures come during spring and autumn. Weekdays have slightly smaller crowds, and holidays bring a tidal wave of people. June, July, the week before Christmas, and the week after New Year's are your best chances for the smallest crowds.
With virtually no rain (averaging just 4 inches annually) and blissfully free of humidity (averaging 29%), Las Vegas offers mostly fresh sunny days of 66°F, though this varies from season to season. The city basks in bright, clear skies an average of 211 days each year. Be prepared, nonetheless, for extremes of heat in high summer and downright chilliness in winter.
You'll fly into and out of McCarren International Airport (LAS).
Rentals are available at the airport. Parking and driving near the Strip is not advisable. If you rent a car, have the valet park it for you.
Tipping is a custom based on the generosity of an appreciative customer and is subject to no concrete rules. For those who are unsure, here are a few suggestions for some tipping situations you may encounter in Las Vegas.
Bartenders: 1 per round for parties of 2 to four; more for larger groups.
Bellmen: $5-$8, depending on whether you will need services or advice during your stay.
Bingo & Keno Runners: If you are playing for an extended period of time, $2 or $3 occasionally, even if you aren't winning, will be appreciated.
Change Clerks: If a machine fills up your paper cup, remember who gave you the lucky coins, please.
Concierge: $5 - 10 for help with dinner reservations or show tickets. End of the trip just be fair.
Cocktail Waitresses: $1 a round for parties of 2; more for larger groups. Drinks are generally free when you gamble which of course make you more susceptible to spend more.
Dealers: If you are losing - $0 Tip
Tips, or "tokes" as they are called in Las Vegas, either can be given directly to the dealer between hands, throws of dice or spins of wheel, or small "side bets" are permitted. These can range from $1 to, generally, half of your bet.
Craps or blackjack dealer: $5 per session.
Slots: 5% on a a jackpot, not exceed $25.
Slot Machine Mechanic: $1 or $2 when a repair is made.
Guest RoomAttendants: About $5 per day, usually left at the end of your stay.
Maid Service: $1 - $5 per day is typical, up to $10 per day depending upon the mess you left. Tip daily because there might be a different maid each day. On the side of being generous the last day - also.
Restaurant Waiters: The standard 15-20 percent rule applies.
Room Service Waiters: The standard 15-20 percent rule applies unless gratuity is included.
Swimming Pool Attendant: $2 - $3 per chair at the beginning of the first day or nothing, unless you require services such as extra seating to pool toys. Most of the hotels have chairs readily available and in this case would be nothing.
Skycaps: $2 per bag, depending on size and weight. An extra $5 - $20 if they help you get to your flight on time.
Taxi Cab Drivers: Approximately 15 percent of the total fare, but not less than $3.
Valet Parking: Handle this a few ways.
Nice car and want it left out in front of the hotel where everyone can see it like a big shot? Ask the attendant where a $20 spot will get you. Don't like the answer say thank you and leave into the building.
Normally $5 because most parking at hotels will be free and sometimes for hotel guest only on weekends. Once again, money talks if you want in the garage, they'll make room for your car for a $20.
Service was ok, had to wait? $3, fold the money in half it will look like a larger wad.
Free parking? $3 to the parking attendant.
Couples 18 and older may marry with proof of age. No blood tests are required and there is no waiting period. Couples under the age of 18 may marry with consent of a legal guardian. License fee varies and payable prior to service. Divorced couples must have a legal, final marriage divorce in the state where granted. The date of the final decree and city and state where granted are required.
Grand Canyon Tour
The Grand Canyon is more than a great chasm carved over millennia through the rocks of the Colorado Plateau. It is more than an awe-inspiring view. It is more than a pleasuring ground for those that explore the roads, hike the trails, or float the currents of the turbulent Colorado River. This canyon is a gift that transcends what we experience. Its beauty and size humbles us. Its timelessness provokes a comparison to our short existence. In its vast spaces we may find solace from our hectic lives. The Grand Canyon we visit today is a gift from past generations. Take time to enjoy this gift. Sit and watch the changing play of light and shadows. Wander along a trail and feel the sunshine and wind on your face. Attend a ranger program. Follow the antics of ravens soaring above the rim. Listen for the roar of the rapids far below. Savor a sunrise or sunset. As the shadows lengthen across the spires and buttes, time passing into the depths of the canyon, understand what this great chasm passes to us - a sense of humility born in the interconnections of all that is and a willingness to care for this land. We have the responsibility to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to form their own connections with Grand Canyon National Park.
Cirque du Soleil: Zumanity
ZUMANITY explores human sexuality, in all of its forms. From the playful to the risqué, with a dash of naughty humor, ZUMANITY is a provocative exhibition.
Cirque du Soleil: Mystere
Mystere is the surrealistic celebration of music, dance, acrobatics and comedy from the artists who brought you Cirque du Soleil.
Deluxe Hoover Dam Tour
With more masonry than the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Hoover Dam provides water, irrigation, and electrical power to over 18 million people.
Red Rock Canyon
One of Las Vegas' best kept secrets, located just minutes from the Strip, these petrified sand dunes, frozen in time, offer a unique perspective of nature.
Splash showcases ice skating, Guinness world record holding motorcycle stunts, beautiful showgirls, outrageous comedy and more. This is "classic" Las Vegas at its best!