AAA Editor Notes
Flamingo Las Vegas is at 3555 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (just n. of Flamingo Rd.). Today's Las Vegas Strip would be unrecognizable to the crowd who attended the Dec. 26, 1946, ribbon-cutting at Bugsy Siegel's showplace, the fabulous Pink Flamingo Hotel & Casino. The hotel towered a whopping four stories above the desert floor. The opening night headliner was Jimmy Durante, who demolished a $1,600 piano onstage. Top that spectacle, Gaga.
The third hotel built on the Strip is now its most senior citizen, although decades of tearing down, rebuilding and remodeling mean that not one of the original buildings survives. Three massive hotel towers form a horseshoe around the sprawling central pool and garden area, where you'll find a bronze plaque commemorating the site of Siegel's original structure. The casino doesn't have the pizzazz of, say, Planet Hollywood, but it's easily accessible from the street, and more importantly, easy to find your way out of.
Before moving on, Parrotheads will want to try their luck at the front-of-house Margaritaville Casino at The Flamingo, which expands the hotel's Jimmy Buffet-themed bar and restaurant to the gaming floor. Banks of slot machines are named after Buffet tunes (“One Particular Harbor,” etc.), decorated with ceiling-mounted fiberglass sharks, and lit by chandeliers resembling margarita lime wedges. Upbeat dealers in Hawaiian shirts flip cards and rake chips while “Fins” and other Buffet fan-faves play over the sound system.
Food is available.