Las Vegas, Nevada
Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Strongly liked by Authentics, Mid-Authentics and Centric-Authentics; less so by Venturesome types
Did You Know…?
- In 1958, a room at the Stardust cost $6 a night.
- Actor Mickey Rooney was married eight times in Las Vegas.
- The 10 largest hotels in the U.S., by room count, are located in Las Vegas.
- The Vegas Strip is Highway 91.
- The local Marriage License Bureau is open 16 hours a day M-Th; 24 hours other days.
The adult’s Disneyland
Las Vegas’ most enthusiastic fans offer up this list of favorite things about the place, in order of importance: gambling, entertainment and reasonable prices for hotels and meals.
They don’t often mention the entertaining outdoor attractions nearby. Mostly they are captivated by a city where miles of neon flash 24 hours a day and where time passes unnoticed as the roulette wheels turn — and responsibilities back home can be put on hold. It is a kind of very-adult Disneyland.
This desert site belongs to the least venturesome and moderately venturesome travelers — it’s their kind of town. On the other hand, the active and venturous will be satisfied with a half-day’s session eyeballing the outlandish things mankind has planted on this spot in the middle of nowhere. This is despite the fact there are some activities available in the area for the adventurous type — and gambling large sums of money can get many a person’s heart racing!
Among destinations with casinos, Las Vegas has always been the mecca, the leader on every dimension. In good times, plan ahead because hotel occupancies can average around 90% — although admittedly an economic downturn changes this picture.
For those who like it, Vegas offers excitement 24/7. Choices include dozens of gaudy casinos, a different big-name entertainment option every night and fancy restaurants. A hotel room won’t cost an arm and a leg either.
For a time, some of the big hotel and casino owners tried to cast Las Vegas as a family resort by introducing children’s attractions. However, few who visit this city ever talk about how much fun it is to have the kids along. They see Vegas for what it always has been — a place to kick back, gamble and forget everything else.
It is worth noting, too, a darker side to this equation: This entertainment mecca is built on human weakness. Watching a new bride cry as her nest egg disappears or a man beg for bus fare home casts a shadow.
Venturesome travelers, if they hang around despite their inner voice, get bored with gaming. Shows can amuse them, but not for long.
Things to do for Venturers
- Choose kayaking or canoeing in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area or on the Colorado River.
- Check out mining tours offered by Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours, which is based in Eldorado Canyon at the Historical Techatticup Mine.
- Go horseback riding in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
- Travel over sand dunes and across desert landscape in an ATV; take a guided excursion or choose the self-guided kind.
- Go sightseeing by helicopter, day or night. In one of the more ambitious daytime options, you fly into the Grand Canyon, land and cruise the Colorado River on a pontoon boat — or in another variation, have a Champagne lunch on the canyon floor.
- Ride the Manhattan Express Roller Coaster inside the New York New York hotel. If you really like it, buy an all-day Scream Pass.
Things to do for Centrics
- Take in a couple of good shows. Las Vegas still has a bonanza of entertainment, from big-name acts to laser-light shows, from circus shows to truncated Broadway productions. There are fewer chorus lines than in other times, but you’ll always find an original version at the Tropicana Hotel (“Folies Bergere”). Catch some of the lounge acts with rising stars.
- If golf is your game, you’ve found your place. Golf ourses are attractive and reasonably priced.
- Take in the Fremont Street Experience, which offers a taste of Old Las Vegas. All the casinos are within walking distance of one another, and the entertainment is free; it is where America’s gaming capital got its start in 1905.
- Look in at the Luxor, too. Shaped as a 30-story black glass Egyptian pyramid, the eye beam at the top is the world’s most powerful. In the lobby is a life-size replica of the Great Temple of Ramses II.
- Drive to nearby Henderson to spend time in the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, home to nearly 200 bird species. The facility even offers bird-watching classes.
- Visit the Atomic Testing Museum and learn how cavalier visitors once were about the dangers of early atomic tests in Nevada.
Things to do for Authentics
- Restaurants: Try a variety. What you get for the price at some of the inexpensive “all-you-can-eat” buffets in the big hotels will amaze you. Then, go to a few of the better-known, pricier places on the Strip. Many hotels boast at least one fine-dining spot. Ask your concierge for recommendations.
- Sample the delicacies at the Jean Philippe Patisserie in the Bellagio Hotel, and watch the chocolate flow endlessly in the world’s largest chocolate fountain, located right in the pastry shop.
- The MGM Grand — with 5,034 rooms the largest hotel in the U.S. and maybe the world — has its Lion Habitat, a space set aside for viewing live lions (the lions don’t live here; they are rotated in and out).
- Go shopping, and regardless of your taste or budget, take a look at any one of these ultimate shopping spots: the Shops in Desert Passage at the Aladdin (more than 140 specialty shops and an indoor rainstorm!), the Forum Shops at Caesars (more than 150 boutiques and shops) and the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian Resort (more than 80 shops plus gondola rides).
- If your hotel is on the Strip, request a room on a high floor to avoid the noise from the casinos, shows and the Strip itself. You also can ask for a room close to the elevators. Many hotels in Las Vegas are very large, and the walk to your room can seem endless.
- Lest we forget to mention it, gamble in a grand casino. (At some hotels, take advantage of your swim-up gaming opportunity.)
For more information, consult the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority at www.visitlasvegas.com