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Las Vegas

Las Vegas is the largest city in the state of Nevada. Nicknamed Sin City and claiming to be the Entertainment Capital of the World, it is situated in the midst of the southern Nevada desert landscape. The city has giant mega-casino hotels, decorated with lavish care and attention to detail to create a fantasy-like atmosphere. The casinos often have names and themes that evoke romance, mystery, and far-away destinations.


Compared with other cities in the West, Las Vegas is a relatively recent arrival. It was founded in 1905, and for many years it was merely a small settlement in the middle of the desert. However, several pivotal events would come together in less than twenty years to make Las Vegas what it is today:

  • The construction of Hoover Dam in 1928 brought thousands of workers to the area.
  • Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, and what is now downtown Las Vegas became an entertainment center for the dam workers, with casinos and speakeasies.
  • In 1941, the luxurious El Rancho Vegas resort opened on what would later become the Las Vegas Strip. Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel later opened the Flamingo Hotel in 1946, starting the building boom and one-upmanship that would continue largely unabated for the next 50 years and creating a precedent of Organized Crime involvement in Nevada's gambling industry that arguably persists.



  • Within Bellagio. The Fountains of the Bellagio perform a magnificent display (set to music) every 15-minutes in the evenings and also every hour on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Show times can vary on public holidays. Inside of the casino there is a tremendous flower garden, with displays changed every month or two. The casino also offers a fine-art gallery, although fees are charged. Bellagio is also home to one of the finest buffets on "The Strip".
  • Flamingo Garden, 3555 Las Vegas Blvd S . Offers a great garden with Flamingos and other exotic birds, as well as koi and turtles.
  • Guggenheim Las Vegas, in The Venetian. Showcases modern masters from the Guggenheim Collection.
  • MGM Grand Lion Habitat, . Offers a free lion habitat, with close-up viewing of several lions during the day. Garden Cafe is also worth a look.
  • Within Mirage. Almost every hour in the evening the "volcano" in front of the casino erupts in a terrific light show. Additionally there is a free white tiger enclosure within the casino, an impressive aquarium behind the check-in counter, and a dolphin habitat that can be viewed for a fee. The volcano is closed for renovation until November 2008.
  • Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. The Shark Reef in the Mandalay Bay hotel (about $16 per person), the highlight is walking through a transparent tunnel with sharks, sea turtle, fish on all sides.
  • Fremont Street Experience. A pedestrian mall where most of the downtown casinos are located. Multimedia shows are displayed on a giant canopy over the street nightly. (dusk to mid night).
  • Golden Nugget. Aptly named, the world's largest gold nugget is on display in the back of the casino. "The Tank", a $30 million complex complete with a shark tank, a 3-storey waterside and seven private cabanas has now opened.
  • Main Street Station. The urinals in the men's room are mounted on a piece of the Berlin Wall. If you're one of the fairer sex, ask an employee to let you see it, they almost always will accommodate you.
  • Star Trek: The Experience (Las Vegas Hilton) . Includes two well themed attractions with simulator rides & live actors in Trek costumes. walk through museum serves as the queue to the attractions and "Quarks" bar awaits you at the finish of the attractions. Though frankly, unless you're a big Star Trek fan, it looks a little dated now. Tickets are usually available at the discount/half-priced ticket booths located on the strip.
  • Las Vegas Chinatown Plaza. A place to experience Asian culture. Located about 1 mile west of Treasure Island. Take a westbound CAT Route 203 bus from the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road between TI and the Fashion Show Mall.
  • U.S. Route 95 at night. This route climbs gradually northwest of Las Vegas so that the Strip's neon lights remain visible for a remarkably long distance, appearing as a luminous cloud from the furthest point.


Free Shows

  • Masquerade Show in the Sky (Rio), 3700 West Flamingo Rd, +1 702 777-7776. One of the most popular free shows in Las Vegas, the show is a mix between Mardi Gras floats and Rio Carnival.
  • Sirens of TI, (Treasure Island), 3300 South Las Vegas Blvd, +1 702 894-7111. What was once a free family-oriented pirate show has now changed to a more adult show complete with showgirls and hunky pirates. Shows are in the evening, and visitors should plan to arrive early as it is difficult to get a good viewing spot. All MGM-owned property guests get priority viewing space, if in doubt, ask.
  • I LOST MY "M" in VEGAS, (M&M World), 3785 South Las Vegas Blvd, +1 702 736-7611, . M&M'S WORLD® LAS VEGAS is located in the Showcase Mall, next to the MGM Hotel & Casino. Daily, free 3–D movie, "I lost my "M" in Vegas.

Cirque du Soleil Shows

One of the hottest tickets in town is for the Cirque du Soleil shows. Las Vegas currently features five separate shows, with a sixth show, centered around Elvis, planned for CityCenter (2010). Reserve your tickets well in advance for the best available seating.

  • KÀ, MGM Grand, (877) 264-1844, . Spectacular show that tells a tale of Imperial Twins on a journey to fulfill their destinies.  
  • Mystère, Treasure Island, (800) 392-1999, . A classic Cirque show, full of amazing feats, impressive costumes, and humor. Definitely worth the time and money. Although it's family-friendly, it verges on too intense and psychadelic for younger kids, so consider avoiding it if your kids are under eight.  
  • Love, Mirage, (800) 963-9634, . This recent addition to Cirque du Soleil features fresh mixes of classic Beatles tunes. Unlike other Cirque shows, it uses dance more prominently than incredible physical feats. Still, it's an awe-inspiring feast to the eyes. Beatle fans will obviously enjoy it best.  
  • O, Bellagio, (888)987-7111, . The stage at the Bellagio contains a tremendous tank of water from which most performers emerge and retreat to. It's an incredibly impressive show.
  • Zumanity, New York-New York, (866) 774-7117,. Note that Zumanity is an adult show, you need to be 18 to attend.

Production Shows

Reserve your tickets well in advance for the best available seating. The most popular shows are sold out on the weekends. Make sure to always book your seats directly from the official hotel website..

  • Blue Man Group, (Venetian), +1 866 641-7469, . Nightly 7:30PM and/or 10:30PM. $71-132.
  • Buck Wild, Sahara.
  • Folies Bergere, Tropicana,
  • Forever Plaid, Gold Coast,
  • La Cage, Riviera,
  • Le Rêve, Wynn,
  • Lucky Cheng's, 3049 South Las Vegas Blvd, . Drag queen cabaret.
  • Mamma Mia!, Mandalay Bay, . Closing 2009-01-04  
  • Matsuri, Riviera,
  • Menopause: The Musical, Las Vegas Hilton,
  • Monty Pythons Spamalot, Wynn, . Closing 2008-07-13  
  • Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Venetian, (866) 641-7469,
  • Stomp Out Loud, Planet Hollywood,
  • Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding, Rio,
  • Tournament of Kings, Excalibur,
  • V-The Ultimate Variety Show, Planet Hollywood,
All List of Las Vegas Hotels


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