Las Vegas Production Shows
Casino venues are technically showrooms, but hardly anyone calls them that anymore; these days the emphasis is on state-of-the-art extravaganzas and extended residencies by show business superstars. Of course, every show eventually runs its course and gets replaced by what the casino is betting will be the next hot ticket.
Scoring Tickets on Your Trip
For show tickets at discounts of up to half off, try Tix4Tonight, a ticket discounter with nine locations on the Strip (including the Fashion Show Mall and Bally's Grand Bazaar) and one booth downtown at the Four Queens. Production shows release unsold seats for that night's performances to Tix4Tonight, which then sells those tickets to customers on a first-come, first-serve basis. Discounts range from about 25 to 50 percent off. Tickets are typically released in mid- or late afternoon; on weekends lines begin forming as early as 9:30 a.m. Phone (877) 849-4868 for general inquiries. Information on specific ticket availability can be obtained only at the ticket booths.
If you’re looking for fun things to do, try perusing promotional tourist magazines—found in your hotel room and taxi backseat pockets—as they're also good sources for show ticket discounts. Though you'll never see a half-off coupon for the big headliner shows, the mags are flush with admission deals for mid-tier shows (think Legends in Concert).
Following is a representative sampling of current production shows that are scheduled to run for the foreseeable future. For show times, ticket prices, reservations, venue policies and other information, contact the hotel box office.
A Provocative Show for Those Not Easily Offended
“Absinthe” (Spiegeltent, Caesars Palace). Risque. Raunchy. Ribald. Like the show's opening acrobatic act featuring a tower of precariously balanced chairs, Absinthe teeters on the edge of seriously bad taste. And if you're easily offended, stop reading now and go see Donny and Marie instead. Since 2011, well over a million guests have been alternately shocked and amazed by this wonderfully demented Cirque du Soleil parody staged in an intimate European-style circus tent fronting Caesars. From tightrope walkers and strong men to burlesque dancers and an explicitly sensual trapeze act, the performers are introduced by a rude, tuxedoed MC named The Gazillionaire, who rattles off crude one-liners and often makes audience members the butt of his off-color jokes. Put simply, you'll either love this show or walk out early. Seating is in the round on cramped metal folding chairs. If you’re looking for things for couples to do, be sure to reserve a back-row table for leg room and a comfortable buffer zone between you and The Gazillionaire. You've been warned. Note: Due to strong adult language and partial nudity, ages 17 and under are not permitted. Phone (855) 234-7469.
All You Need is LOVE
“The Beatles LOVE” (The Mirage) Fans of the Fab Four may want to put this show on their list of things to do. This show combines the innovative performances of world-class Cirque du Soleil artists with the timeless songs of the Beatles. The band's lyrics are interpreted through a series of scenes involving aerial acts, extreme sports and urban dance. The production's original score was created by using the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios, creating some ingenious song mash-ups in the process (imagine a fusion of “What You're Doing” and “The Word” for starters). You'll experience the Fab Four in a whole new way in a custom-built theater that features in-the-round seating and high-definition video projections. Phone (702) 792-7777 or (800) 963-9634.
Performance Art and Celebrated Singers
“Blue Man Group” (Luxor Hotel and Casino) is a wild and weird combination of performance art, highbrow humor and percussive music centered around three bald men in blue greasepaint. The trio silently creates a theater experience that is, despite the lack of dialogue, quite loud, thanks to their homemade instruments and a 16-piece band. Phone (702) 262-4400.
Drag Strip Entertainment
“Jabbawockeez” (MGM Grand Hotel & Casino) showcases the talents of an eight-man, hip-hop dance crew. Jabbawockeez won the first season of the MTV reality show “America's Best Dance Crew” and ever since have been busting their choreographed moves around the globe. Sporting their signature white masks and gloves, the Jabbas dance and pantomime to tunes by the likes of LMFAO, Chris Brown and Bruno Mars—all amid colorful lighting and special effects. Phone (702) 531-3826.
Legends Come to Life
“KÀ” (KÀ Theatre, MGM Grand) is storytelling at its best. The show combines martial arts, acrobatics, puppetry, multimedia and pyrotechnics to chronicle the adventurous but perilous journey of separated twins—a boy and a girl—to fulfill their destinies. Ages 5-16 must be with an adult; under 5 are not permitted. Phone (702) 531-3826.
“Legends in Concert” (Tropicana Las Vegas) has been wowing Vegas audiences since 1983, first at the Imperial Palace (now LINQ Hotel + Experience), then at Harrah's, at the Flamingo and now at Tropicana. Celebrity impersonators offer remarkable imitations (singing, not lip-syncing) of Lady Gaga, Rod Stewart, Michael Jackson and a host of others, backed by a live band in a full-stage production. The lineup changes every few months, although you can count on Elvis making an appearance. Phone (702) 253-1333.
“Michael Jackson ONE” (Michael Jackson Theatre, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino) is Cirque du Soleil's tribute to the King of Pop. Packed with music, dance, pyrotechnics and acrobatics galore, the 90-minute, state-of-the-art extravaganza spotlights MJ's biggest '80s and '90s hits (“Billie Jean,” “Bad,” “I Just Can't Stop Loving You,” etc.), and interprets them for a 21st-century audience. During the “Thriller” number, zombies run amok through the audience. And for “Man In The Mirror” there's even a hologram of a dancing/singing Jackson performing with the Cirque troupe. Since the moonwalk made its Vegas debut in July 2013, the show has become one of the hottest Cirque tickets on the Strip. Beat it to the box office as soon as you get to town. Phone (877) 632-7400 or (800) 745-3000.
Aquatics and Theatrics
“Mystère” (Mystère Theatre, Treasure Island) is still one of the most distinctive shows in town. Although it takes place within a single ring, “Mystère” in no way resembles a traditional three-ring circus. For one thing, the audience becomes intimately involved with this show. The music and lighting effects are ethereally beautiful, and the international cast of acrobats, clowns, jugglers, trapeze artists, dancers and musicians are uniformly superb. Suitable for all ages, this is a must-see. Phone (702) 894-7722 or (800) 392-1999.
“O” (“O” Theatre, Bellagio) is Cirque du Soleil's venture into aquatic theater. An international cast of 81 performs in, on and above a 1.5-million-gallon tank of water. By combining circus art, drama, choreography, aerial acrobatics and synchronized swimming, this innovative show pays tribute to the age-old magic of theater. International music performed by a 10-piece orchestra accompanies the 90-minute show. Phone (702) 693-8866 or (888) 488-7111.
Magic With a Bite
“Penn & Teller” (Penn & Teller Theater, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino) have been staging their bad-boys-of-magic act at the Rio since the early years of this century and show no sign of letting up anytime soon. If you enjoy optical illusions with a generous side of acerbic wit and biting social commentary, this is the show for you; the easily offended should stay away. Phone (855) 234-7469.
Daring Dance and Bold Acrobatics
“V—The Ultimate Variety Show” (V Theater, Planet Hollywood) incorporates a broad range of entertaining talents, ranging from aerialists, acrobats and gymnasts who do amazing thing with their bodies to magicians who do amazing things with their minds (and some sleight of hand). Also entertaining are masters of percussion, comedians, and a fun and fascinating juggler who slings one-liners almost as quickly as juggling pins. Phone (702) 260-7200 or (866) 932-1818.
More Acts and Celebrity Headliners
The hotel showrooms that don't feature ongoing productions continue the Vegas tradition of presenting celebrity headliners, along with rock concerts and occasional sporting events. During your vacation, you might catch a show at the David Copperfield Theater at the MGM Grand, which regularly presents its namesake illusionist and rounds out its events calendar with musical acts. For more fun things to do with friends, the Planet Hollywood Showroom at Planet Hollywood primarily books comedians and magicians. At the Tropicana, the Laugh Factory is an intimate spot to catch stand-up comics nightly.
During your travel, don't forget to hit downtown's Fremont Street. In addition to the gaudy neon displays of the casinos, Fremont is lit up with classic signs from the 1940s, '50s and '60s that have been restored and installed at various locations.
Las Vegas, NV
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
Clark County's sales tax is 8.25 percent. The county also imposes a 12 percent tax on lodgings, with an additional 1 percent tax for properties within the city of Las Vegas boundaries.
311, or (702) 828-3111 (also valid for TTY)
Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center, (702) 733-8800; MountainView Hospital, (702) 962-5000; Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center, (702) 853-3000; Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, (702) 961-5000; University Medical Center, (702) 383-2000; Valley Hospital Medical Center, (702) 388-4000.
3150 Paradise Rd. Las Vegas, NV 89109. Phone:(702)892-0711 or (877)847-4858
McCarran International Airport (LAS) is about 10 miles south of downtown Las Vegas via Las Vegas Boulevard and 3.5 miles south of the Las Vegas Convention Center via Paradise Road, just a few minutes' drive from the Strip's southern end. One of the nation's busiest airports, it serves most major airlines.
Hertz offers discounts to AAA members; phone (702) 262-7700 for the airport, (800) 654-3131 for the Strip.
Greyhound Lines Inc., 200 S. Main St., is the major bus company serving Las Vegas; phone (702) 384-9561.
Major cab companies include Desert Cab, (702) 386-9102; Yellow Checker Star Transportation, (702) 873-2000; and Whittlesea Blue Cab, (702) 551-5151. Base activation fee is $3.50 and $2.76 for each mile, plus 54 cents for every minute the cab is waiting or traveling under 8 to 12 mph. Trips to the airport incur a $2.40 surcharge. Payment by credit card incurs a fee of $3.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) provides bus service to most parts of the city. The most useful to visitors are the Deuce double-decker buses serving the Strip. The buses operate 24 hours daily, run every 7-10 minutes and stop at nearly every Strip hotel property.