America’s “Sin City” was built in the middle of the Nevada desert on legalized gambling, sex, and entertainment. So if you’re planning to travel to Las Vegas, expect a hot, semi-surreal vacation amid exotic, fantasy-themed casinos and hotels.
Because Las Vegas is a major travel destination, you can reach it via American national railways, airlines, and tour bus operators. Be prepared for the punishing Nevada sun and the arid desert climate, which can reach as high as 90 to 100 degrees F by day, then drops to as low as 25 degrees F at night, depending on the season.
Finding your way around Las Vegas is easy. The city streets are laid out in a grid, with north-to-south streets laid parallel to one another, beginning with Main Street in the west. That includes the famous “Strip” or Las Vegas Boulevard South, a street lined with the city’s largest casinos and hotels. It’s easy enough to get a taxi or bus, ride the monorail or rent a car, to get around Las Vegas—even by walking, you won’t get lost.
But don’t go around Las Vegas like a provincial hick. Because the city hosts plenty of gambling and sexual entertainment, it generates a high violent crime rate just as much as it brings in the tourists. Avoid walking alone in its minor side streets late at night, and stick to its well-lit, main streets and hotel-casinos.
The major casinos, anyway, are the main attractions. Travel along “The Strip” and visit any one of these famous establishments: Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon, Caesars Palace, the family-friendly Circus, the very photogenic Flamingo, the Egyptian-themed Luxor Resort and Casino, and the luxurious Mandarin Oriental. Don’t miss the Mirage hotel’s volcano, aquarium, and tropical rainforest, the replica of Venice at The Venetian Hotel, and the famous fountain at the Bellagio (featured in the film “Ocean’s Eleven”). And of course, all these hotels have gambling areas where you can choose from either the tables or hundreds of slot and poker machines.
What else to do on a Las Vegas vacation? While there are adult shows featuring topless female and male dancers (like the Crazy Horse Paris at the MGM Grand, or the world famous Chippendales at Rio), Las Vegas is also famous for much bigger productions. Check out magicians David Copperfield at MGM Grand, and Penn and Teller at Rio. There are also the avant-garde but funny Blue Man Group performances at The Venetian. Best of all, Cirque du Soleil stages seven permanent shows throughout the city, from the classic “Mystère” at Treasure Island, to the sex-themed “Zumanity” at New York-New York.