icknamed the “Entertainment Capital of the World” (and also “Sin City”), glittering Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations for tourists worldwide.
Situated in the Mojave Desert of Southern Nevada, the city is an oasis featuring many mega-hotel/casino complexes designed with dramatic architecture and decorated with lavish care and attention to detail. The night panoramic effect creates a fantasy-like environment with an electrifying skyline which borders with hyper-reality, combining replicas of the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and Egyptian pyramids.
The casinos often have names and themes that evoke romance, mystery, and exotic destinations. It is virtually impossible to get bored in this sensory overload of visual madness, thousands of lights, opulent casinos, sexy and intoxicating shows, delightful dancing waters, such as the Fountains at Bellagio and the lava-spewing drama of the Mirage Volcano. Las Vegas is designed to keep you entertained, gratified and distracted from everyday reality.
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS STAYS IN VEGAS
uring nighttime, The Strip is an All-American scenic route approximately 4.2-mile long, featuring many of the largest hotel, casino, and resort properties in the world. As a matter of fact, fifteen of the world’s 25 largest hotels by room count are on the Strip, with a total of over 62,000 rooms. This road offers the best perspective to absorb the Las Vegas experience offering a visual overload of its skylines with flashy mega-resorts such as New York-New York, Paris Las Vegas, The Venetian, Bellagio, The Mirage and many other breathtaking casinos.
But venture past the flashing neon and dazzling lights and you may be surprised by what you find. Each grand building is a destination unto itself, bursting with magnificent amenities and attractions for all. As spectacular as the resorts are, the events they offer nearly nightly are just as impressive: there’s Caesars Palace and the designer boutiques at The Forum Shops. Shore lovers will adore The Beach at Mandalay Bay, which is miles away from the typical hotel pool. Sun-seekers can also soak up rays at resort pools at the Hard Rock Hotel, Palms and pretty much anywhere in between.
From world-class spas to roller coasters and more at Circus Circus or Stratosphere, each day in Las Vegas can be a whole new vacation. There are live animal exhibits to be enjoyed at many resorts, like Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage. Las Vegas comes alive at night, with such a large number of attractions which is close to impossible to describe. Cirque du Soleil’s shows are among the most sought after among visitors: LOVE is a psychedelic journey through the trends and politics of the ’60s and most importantly, The Beatles; Mystère provides a complete spectrum of awe-inducing entertainment with colorful sets, imaginative costumes and highly-skilled performers. Featuring expressions of sensuality through dance and gymnastics, Zumanity reveals a provocative new side of Cirque du Soleil.
Àis the first production by Cirque du soleil to feature a cinematic story line while maintaining flawless imagery, music, martial arts and acrobatics; combining dance, music and awe-inspiring visuals, Michael Jackson ONE brings alive Jackson’s creative genius in a new adventure. O by Cirque du Soleil is an ethereal, visually stunning show that incorporates the elements of air, fire and – most prominently – water.
A long list of legendary entertainment stars made Las Vegas their mainstay, and headliners like Garth Brooks or Céline Dion keep being extremely popular, as masquerade balls, magic shows, comedy acts, headliner concerts, theatrical performances, symphonies – the list goes on and on. Las Vegas is also the mecca of party animals: whether it’s getting past the velvet rope at a happening nightclub such as XS at Encore or Marquee at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, snagging a cabana and star-watching at the WET Republic adults-only party pool, or sashaying through a Stripper 101 course taught by exotic dancers, the fun never ends.
In spite of all this, although Las Vegas’s main objective is designed to make you forget that there is an outside world, many cultural sites continue to be additional venues of interest: Springs Preserve is a fun way to learn all about the desert surrounding Las Vegas and the Nevada State Museum also features many informative exhibits and displays.
Finally, there is a stark contrast between the artificial sights of “Sin City” and the many natural wonders, as untouched as some of the canyons, desert, and mountains that surround it. The Grand Canyon, Bonnie Springs Ranch/Old Nevada, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Valley of Fire State Park and Death valley, all readily available through a one-day excursions.
Las Vegas is in the Pacific Time zone (8 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time and 3 hours behind Eastern Standard Time).
WHAT TO WEAR
Las Vegas rests in the middle of a dry desert , and it is almost always hot year-round. Temperatures can easily reach up to 100F (45°C) with low humidity. There is a bit of relief at night, when temperatures drop dramatically, often accompanied by a desert breeze that can reach 40 mph and more. It is a good idea to bring a jacket, along with a sunscreen and a hat. Typical high temperatures are 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, 75 in the fall, 70 in the winter and 75 in the spring. The city averages over 320 days of sunshine per year. Summers can be stifling with daytime temperatures exacerbated by vehicles pollution.
From high-end shopping centers like Crystals and Via Bellagio to outdoor malls like Tivoli Village and Town Square, Vegas has it all. The city has become a symbol for premier shopping destinations in the world, with labels both brand and esoteric crowding the high-end malls. Fashion Show mall, Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood and Forum Shops at Caesars Palace have hundreds of stores at every price point imaginable.
NO SMOKING PLEASE
Smoking regulations in public areas are becoming stricter than ever. Smoking is illegal in public buildings, sports arenas, elevators, theaters, banks, lobbies, restaurants, offices, stores, most hotel lobbies, and bars.
The sales tax in Las Vegas is 8.1% and is added to food and drink bills
Suggested tipping in hotels are $1-2 per bag for porterage and $2 per day for the housemaid. Taxi drivers and restaurant staff receive an average of 15% gratuity. Casino cocktail waitresses $1 per drink and tipping for dealers should be 5%
The legal age for purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages is 21; proof of age is required
The local area code is 702