Las Vegas, NV: Less Buck, More Luck
You don’t have to be a gambler to enjoy this city’s spoils. Draped in neon and lined with outrageous hotels, this urban desert wonder caters to families, rat packs, and dreamers alike.
The real deal: Downtown’s Fremont Street is the original heart, spade, and club of Vegas. Pay homage to the neon cowboy sign, step into Binion’s Horseshoe (which played host to the original World Series of Poker), and drop a quarter into one of the legendary slots at the Golden Nugget.
Did we mention it’s free? You could hit the jackpot. But for something you can really count on, the pirate battle outside Treasure Island, the water show in front of Bellagio, and the Elvis show at Fitzgerald’s are just some of the many free whiz-bang ways in which this city vies for your attention without asking for your dollar.
Out-of-this-world local tipple: The Las Vegas Hilton houses the ever-popular Star Trek Experience and the adjacent Quark’s Bar, where the intergalactic space drinks run the gamut from The Mind Meld and Liquid Latinum to the Arcturian Fizz and Borg Queen martini. Chase it all down with a shot straight out of Orion’s Belt.
Best excuse for bringing your glasses: Extravagant, no-holds-barred stage productions with state-of-the-art lighting and sound are a hallmark along the Strip, and a must-see. Get your tickets to The Blue Man Group, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, and the wondrous Cirque du Soleil shows at ShowTickets.com.
Chill-out spot: For a swimming time of it, beat the Vegas heat and make a splash at the Mandalay Bay pool area, where you can roll along the lazy river, take your chances in the wave pool, and hold steady with an icy-cool drink while listening to concerts along the sandy “beach.”
A view to a thrill: Ascend the Stratosphere and try something really “X-Scream.” The highest thrill ride in the world repeatedly propels you head-first over the edge of the Tower, where you’ll dangle weightlessly while taking in truly breathtaking views of the Strip in all its glory.
Make Like a VIP: Rockers rejoice! The old Aladdin is now the Planet Hollywood hotel; pretend you’re part of the L.A. A-list at its super-sleek restaurant Koi. Rent a poolside cabana at the Wynn, party at TAO or PURE, or pretend to be one of MTV’s old Real World gang at The Palms Hotel.
Get out of dodge: Holding back mighty Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam is one of the engineering wonders of the world, and it lies only 30 miles southeast across the desert floor from the center of Las Vegas. Stock up on bottled water and sunscreen for one of the docent-led tours.
SINGLE OCCUPANT IS AT AN ADDITIONAL COST