The Meadows, Bugsy Siegel, Sin City, Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton, Elvis, Fear and Loathing, Celine Dion (she's gone), Elton John, even The Beatles and Cirque du Soleil. Entertainments galore. That's Las Vegas in the 21st Century.
But, people even live here, although it's up in the air as to when they sleep. That's another story. There's a lot going on here.
Many go to Las Vegas to gamble. Others just want to see the spectacle, strolling The Strip and viewing the free shows: Bellagio’s dancing fountains, Treasure Island’s pirate show and Mirage’s faux volcano eruption, going inside to ogle the plush surroundings and drop a few quarters in the slot machines.
Top casino attractions charging admission include Hilton’s Star Trek Experience (a must for Trekkies), Mirage’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, and Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef. Paris Las Vegas' half-scale Eiffel Tower offers panoramic views of the Strip, as does Stratosphere’s 1,149-foot-tall observation tower.
In old downtown Las Vegas, ten casinos line the five-block-long Fremont Street Experience, which presents free, nightly sound and light shows displayed on an overhead canopy covered with over 12 million LED lights.
Off-Strip, popular stops include Boulder Dam, Elvis-a-Rama (featuring Elvis Presley’s personal belongings) and the Liberace Museum. Those who’d rather ramble than gamble enjoy nearby Valley of Fire State Park’s red-rock scenery.
Las Vegas Review-Journal readers rate Rio's Carnival World Buffet the city's best. Those seeking lunch with a landscape can head for Panevino, located in an unlikely but scenic spot near McCarran airport, look over the city from Summerlin's Summit or try Stratosphere's Top of the World Restaurant. Top-rated hotel restaurants include The Palms' N9NE Steak House and Bellagio's Picasso. The fame of chefs setting up in Las Vegas these days rivals that of headliners at the local casinos. Their venues include Bradley Ogden, Le Cirque and Aureole.
With over 115,000 hotel rooms, Las Vegas offers abundant lodging choices, but prices can run high on winter weekends and during frequent big conventions. Top-rated hotel/casinos include The Orleans, Mandalay Bay, Bellagio and Venetian. High-end hotels that offer a getaway from the gambling scene include JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort, Four Seasons, Renaissance Las Vegas and Fairfield Grand Desert Resort. Moderate-priced choices include Aladdin, Bally's, Flamingo and New York-New York.