Las Vegas has cleaned up a bit since its mob-dominated early years. A hundred years ago the city was booming, but not nearly as glamorous as it is today. The hotel and casino building spree that began with Bugsy Siegel’s Flamingo in 1946 continues and today Las Vegas is home to more than two million people and a billion dollar tourist industry. Of the 25 largest hotels in the world, 19 are located in this desert oasis that hosts over 30 million visitors per year.
Here, where the casinos are always open and free, time seems irrelevant. The huge array of hotels and casinos ensure that any visitor will find the ultimate experience they are looking for.
Vegas, New and Old
Las Vegas is a city always searching for the next big thing, an endlessly entertaining pursuit of novelty that spawns amazing hotels and themed resorts and casinos. A taste of Old Las Vegas is available on Fremont Street, where the hotels and casinos recall the city of the 1940s and ‘50s. Casino such as the Golden Nugget and Main Street Station hark back to those glitzy early days.
New Vegas is all about the Strip and its flashy, neon extravagance. THEhotel, the Venetian the Palazzo, Wynn Las Vegas & its sister hotel, the Encore, all are located in this central area. The era of old Vegas is not forgotten, however, and the Flamingo still stands, one of the last of the ‘Rat Pack’ hotel casinos.
For visitors looking for a Vegas hotel that is classic yet up-to-date, Caesars Palace and all its statuesque glory is the place to be. Lively, modern casinos are born every year in Las Vegas and one of the top spots is Planet Hollywood, built on the dust of the Aladdin.
Vegas shows are world-famous and the variety of entertainment choices is almost mind-boggling. There are shows all over town, with traditional variety and magic shows enduring even as the big productions like Cirque du Soleil take over the Strip. The showgirls are still dancing and, occasionally, still topless, but the current trends are big-name headline music acts and Broadway productions from the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Disney.
Smaller-scale entertainment, a Vegas tradition, lingers on. Hotels usually have at least one lounge that offers lounge music, but the era of great lounge acts has passed. It is still considered an honor for a comedian to play Las Vegas, so there is always a well-known comedian plying his trade in one casino showroom or another.
Hotel shows in Las Vegas include Jubilee!, Bally’s Las Vegas-style revue; a variety of Cirque du Soleil shows at the Bellagio, the Luxor, the MGM Grand, the Mirage, New York-New York and Treasure Island; the Tournament of Kings at Excalibur; Broadway productions at Mandalay Bay and the Venetian; master magician Lance Burton at the Monte Carlo; and Penn and Teller’s wit and illusions at the Rio.
Free Fun: Casinos and More
The big draw to Las Vegas is the gambling at the casinos. Packed with acres-worth of games there is truly something for everyone, from million dollar slots and video poker to table games such as blackjack, craps, roulette, and much more.
Top Elvis Image from Moyan_Brenn