What to Do in Las Vegas
Vegas also has the tallest observation wheel in the U.S. Spend a half-hour riding the High Roller (3545 Las Vegas Blvd. S.).
The “Ocean's Eleven” crew celebrated its successful Bellagio (3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) heist in front of the resort's dancing fountains—a signature Strip spectacle choreographed to lights and music. Head inside to smell the flowers at the Bellagio Conservatory, a botanical display that changes its whimsical theme with the seasons and often takes a Lewis Carroll-esque turn down the rabbit hole.
CityCenter Las Vegas (3720 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) brings contemporary architecture to the often-cartoonish Strip. Aesthetically speaking, this complex of buildings (three hotels and a residential tower) couldn't be further from outlandish Arthurian castles and chlorinated Venetian canals. Wander through crazy-expensive The Shops at Crystals mall and sleek ARIA Resort & Casino (3730 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) and decide for yourself if that's a good thing.
The original heart of town beats under a 90-foot-high canopy embedded with 12.5 million LED lights. Fremont Street Experience (425 Fremont St.) shows feature eye-popping animation synchronized to music and run nightly on the hour from dusk to midnight.
Everything from all-you-can-eat crab legs to Middle Eastern barbecue to cheesecake will threaten that taut belly at a Vegas buffet. Local restaurants include the gourmet high end ($40 and up) with super spreads at the Wynn Las Vegas (3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S.), Caesars Palace and Bellagio.
In the 1960s, mile-high marquee letters spelled out names like Sinatra, Liberace and Newton. Nowadays high-tech production shows rule the Strip. If you can't score seats for Cirque du Soleil's “The Beatles LOVE” show at The Mirage (3400 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) during your vacation, try “O” at Bellagio (3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) or “Mystère” at Treasure Island Hotel & Casino (3300 Las Vegas Blvd. S.).
Hit the casinos and roll the bones, lay chips on double-zeros or put big money on a football game. Las Vegas will thank you—or perhaps wish you'd never come to town. The downtown joints offer lower minimum bets and slightly better payout rates. If you want the full Strip casino experience, try the plush gaming floor at Encore Las Vegas (3121 Las Vegas Blvd. S.).
Jackpots come in handy at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop (713 Las Vegas Blvd. S.), the once-anonymous establishment that's become a Vegas shopping sensation since “Pawn Stars” premiered on the History Channel. Fans will likely recognize some of the merchandise—from Civil War muskets to Muhammad Ali memorabilia—the “stars” have bought from customers.
Pull a little black dress or designer dress shirt off the boutique rack and strut your stuff at a Strip nightclub. Choose a hot destination for dancing such as Tao at The Venetian Las Vegas (3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) and XS at Encore Las Vegas. And there's always the chance you'll see a celebutante behaving scandalously.
Fun things to do on the Strip for free include watching the 50-foot-high faux volcano in front of The Mirage, which erupts nightly.
Perhaps the most essential of all Sin City travel experiences is simply walking down the Las Vegas Strip at night and feasting your eyes on what is arguably the most dazzling display of neon and LED lights on the planet.
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.