Las Vegas Vacation Ideas, Restaurants & Free Attractions
Las Vegas is an easy city to visit. There are many different transportation options, easy parking and walkways. If you were to walk down the length of the Strip, it would take around three hours at a fast pace (from the Stratosphere to Mandalay Bay). In some areas, especially in the middle of the Strip, walkers cannot simply follow the road, but are lead over bridges and walkways so you end up traveling a longer distance on foot than you would in a car.
Save money on your vacation by knowing where to go for free entertainment. In the center of the Strip, watch the Fountains of Bellagio and then head north toward the Mirage volcano and the Sirens of TI, a free show at the Treasure Island hotel (about a 15-minute walk). See a free circus performance at Circus Circus Las Vegas on the northern end of the Strip and visit the lions on the casino floor at the MGM Grand on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip. Spend your savings on luxuries like massages, dining at a famous restaurant and Las Vegas golf.
Circus Circus Las Vegas is home to Adventuredome, a five-acre theme park home to the Canyon Blaster, the world's largest indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster in America. Other rides include: Rim Runner, a wet ride that takes you on a gentle stream on your way up and drops you down a 60 foot waterfall. Sling Shot is a new towe ride with 4G's of acceleration up an down a pole. Chaos spins you around unpredictably in three ranges of motion. Inverter is a screem ride with endless flipping at high speeds. Lazer Blast, SimEx Theater SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D Ride. Most rides have a 48" height requirement.
2. The Brooklyn Bridge at the New York-New York Hotel Las Vegas is one fifth the size of the original
Did you know that 15 million people cross the Las Vegas Brooklyn Bridge every year? That's 15 times as many as traverse the original Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan. Perhaps the size has something to do with it - the Las Vegas replica is a fifth of the size of the original, measuring 300 feet in length and 50 feet in height.
The Las Vegas Brooklyn Bridge is located outside the New York New York Hotel and has views of the MGM Grand across the Strip. Once you reach the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue, walk north along the Strip and you'll bump into the bridge.
You can go any time. The bridge is located on the Las Vegas Strip - there is no admission and it's open 24 hours per day. After you cross the bridge, stop for lunch or dinner at the Irish pub which has outdoor tables just steps from the bridge.
3. The Arc de Triomphe Replica
For several skilled replicas of famous French landmarks, head to Paris Las Vegas, located on the Strip across from the Fountains of Bellagio. The Arc de Triomphe at Paris Las Vegas is a two-thirds replica of the original monument to the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Austerlitz. The names and dates of Napoleon's victories are inscribed on the replica.
The Arc de Triomphe can be seen 24 hours per day right from the Las Vegas Strip. There is a celebration on Bastille Day (July 14th) at the Paris Las Vegas replica, just like at the real monument in Paris, France. By day and by night, you won't be able to miss the replica of the Eiffel Tower replica towering above the Strip. The Fountains of Bellagio are just across the street from Paris Las Vegas.
4. Earn Points at the MGM Mirage Players Club
Joining a players club can earn you valuable rewards at the casino. The MGM Mirage Players Club points are redeemable for cash, complimentary rooms and show tickets at the following Las Vegas casinos: Bellagio, The Mirage, Treasure Island, MGM Grand and New York-New York Hotel.
Points can be accumulated on slot play. Comps are based on both slot and table games play. Players Club membership is free. You can sign up online at www.playersclub.com and pick up your card on your next trip to a participating MGM Mirage resort. If you prefer to enroll by phone, call 866-800-4668.
5. Picasso Restaurant
The Picasso restaurant at the Bellagio in Las Vegas was named for a great painter of the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso. The restaurant draws its inspiration from the villages of the Mediterranean, featuring a beam and brick ceiling and gesso-covered burlap walls.
The restaurant decor consists of Picasso's paintings, ceramics, tiles and sculpture. Claude Picasso, the son of Pablo, designed the carpet and the furniture for the restaurant.
Before being seated for dinner, guests can enjoy a cocktail on the outdoor patio along the water's edge. The restaurant serves French-Mediterranean cuisine featuring master Chef Julian Serrano, the first Las Vegas chef to be honored with the James Beard Award for "Best Chef, Southwest." Serrano showcases his seasonal cuisine in two special menus: a four-course tasting menu and a five-course Chef's Degustation.
The restaurant is open for dinner from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and is closed Wednesdays. For reservations, call 702-693-7223. Read more about the Bellagio Hotel, browse pictures and plan your Las Vegas vacation.
6. The Stratosphere Tower
The 1,149-foot Stratosphere Tower at the Stratosphere Hotel Las Vegas rises high above the Strip, offering spectacular views and the world's four tallest rides. Try the Big Shot, High Roller coaster, X-Scream and the new Insanity. The Insanity ride extends out 64 feet over the edge of the Tower and spins passengers at up to three G's.
The Stratosphere Las Vegas features the tallest free standing observation tower in the United States. Enjoy indoor and outdoor observation decks with 360 degree views of Las Vegas.
The Tower features the Top of the World Restaurant & Lounge which rotates 360 degrees while you eat. For private parties, the restaurant offers private dining rooms that can accommodate groups of ten or more guests. The Chapel in the Clouds is available for marriages and wedding vow renewals.
7. Shopping at Monte Carlo Las Vegas
offeMonte Carlo Las VegasMonte Carlo Las Vegasrs several shops selling items that range from magic tricks and t-shits to bath and beauty products. The following shops can be fount at Monte Carlo Las Vegas. Monte Carlo Boutique, open 24 hours, sells jewelry, gifts, Monte Carlo logo merchandise,flower arrangements, wine and cigars. If you forget to pack your bikini, Monte Carlo Beach Club sells bathing suits, sunglasses and even sunscreen.
Monte Carlo Pub & Brewery Shop offers beer brewed on-site, T-shirts, sweatshirts and souvenir items. If you are looking for gaming merchandise, you can find it at Club Casino Royale. Visit the Lance Burton Magic Shop for unique magic tricks and t-shirts.
For inexpensive items, try Bijoux Terner $10 Boutique which has everything priced at $10, including jewelry, handbags, pashminas, watches and men's accessories. Bubbles features luxurious bath and beauty products, including Gilchrist and Soames. LeliaSea sells bath and body products featuring a unique blend of minerals and salts found exclusively in the Dead Sea.
8. Las Vegas Strip Bus Service
Taking the bus is a good option if you are not in a hurry. You won't have to worry about parking and it's cheaper than taxi. Citizens Area Transit (CAT) Bus 301 travels the length of the Strip and to Downtown Las Vegas.
From the Stratosphere on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip to Mandalay Bay in the south, the bus takes about 45 minutes. During the rush hour, travel times double. The bus stops around Paris Hotel and Bellagio take the longest because many people get on in the center of the Strip.
Tickets are sold when you board the bus. The cost is $2 for one ride and exact change is required. A one-day pass is available for $5. We saw the bus pass along the Las Vegas Strip every 10 minutes or so during the day.
9. The Fremont Street Experience
Located in Downtown Las Vegas near The Golden Nugget, Fremont Street features the world's largest LED screen which projects images 90 feet above the ground. A pedestrian mall under the screen features hotels, casinos and shops. The Golden Nugget, famous for its display of the largest single nugget of gold in the world, has an entrance on Fremont Street. The Four Queens hotel is also located on Fremont Street. Alternatively, you can stay at one of the resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and drive to Downtown Las Vegas, take a bus or a taxi.
Watch the Light & Sound Shows when it gets dark. During the day, there is shopping, dining and the Neon Museum which displays historical neon signs. Neonopolis is an open-air restaurant, shop and entertainment complex with a 14-screen Crown Theaters movie theater.
10. Nine Fine Irishmen, an Irish Pub in Las Vegas
An Irish pub in Las Vegas? It just proves that there are very few things Las Vegas doesn't have. Nine Fine Irishmen at New York-New York Hotel serves traditional Irish food and drink with views of Brooklyn Bridge and the Strip. The pub was inspired by the story of nine from the 1800s. The interior measures 9,000 square feet in size and was designed by the Irish Pub Company. In an effort to make the pub as authentic as possible, Nine Fine Irishmen was built by Ireland's craftsmen with Irish materials.
Irish song, dance and storytelling create an Irish pub ambiance. Late night entertainment includes modern dance club music. Nine Fine Irishmen is open daily for lunch (11am to 4pm), dinner (4pm until 11pm) and drinks. Private dining rooms are available. Remember to confirm the opening times before you go as they may change. Read more about the New York-New York Las Vegas. Be one of the 15 million visitors who cross the Las Vegas Brooklyn Bridge every year. The bridge is just steps from the pub.
11. Shark Reef at the Mandalay Bay Resort
Shark Reef at the Mandalay Bay Resort is a unique aquarium in the heart of Las Vegas, Nevada. Visitors can walk through a tunnel surrounded by water and watch live sharks. Shark Reef at the Mandalay Bay Resort is open daily from 10 am until 11 pm. Last admission is at 10 pm. There is a $18 admission charge for adults and $12 for children (free for kids under 4).
12. Riviera Comedy Club
The comedy club at the Riviera Hotel features an intimate design and neon-studded walls. Performers at the Riviera include comedians, ventriloquists, hypnotists, shock comedians and others. Comedy shows take place in the Mardi Gras Entertainment Complex which seats 350 guests.
Tickets start at $17.95 plus taxes. Dinner and show combos are offered for an additional $13.19 for World's Fare Buffet, and for $16.25 for Kady's Dinner Specials. There are two show times: at 8:30 pm. and 10:30 pm. For more information, call the Riviera Hotel Las Vegas Comedy Club box office at 702-794-9433.
Getting From the Airport to the Hotel
Taxis are available at the airport, but if you are arriving in the afternoon you may have to wait in line with other visitors. Cab fare from the airport to a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip is about $15. If you are going Downtown, cab fare is about $25. Alternatively, you can rent a car at the airport. Having a car in Las Vegas is convenient because Las Vegas hotels and casinos are quite spread out. Traffic is heavy at night along the Strip, but hotels offer free valet parking so at least you won't be circling around the block looking for parking on the street.
Driving and Walking Distances in Las Vegas
Hotels in Las Vegas are located along the Las Vegas Boulevard (also known as the Strip), a few blocks off the Strip, or in Downtown Las Vegas. If there is no traffic, you can drive from the Stratosphere on the northern end of the Strip to Mandalay Bay in the south in 15 minutes. During rush hour, the trip may take 45 minutes or more.
There are many bridges, walkways and other detours along the way, especially in the center of the Strip. In hot summer weather, walking is not practical. At night, the sidewalk are filled with people walking up and down the Strip to view the attractions. Here are some examples of walking times along the Strip: From the Venetian to the Bellagio: 20 minutes; From the Venetian to the Stratosphere: about one and a half hours; From the Venetian to MGM Grand Hotel: around one hour.
Public transportation is available in Las Vegas in the form of two monorail lines, bus and trolley service. If you want to see the whole length of the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas on your vacation, take the Bus 301.
On a vacation in the desert you'll need a lot of water. It seems that every business on the Strip is trying to take advantage of that. Hotels and casinos have their own branded bottled water which costs $3 for a small bottle. Avoid paying such prices by knowing where to find a local drugstore. There are two places along the Strip: a drugstore across the street from the Sturdust hotel on the northern end and a drugstore near the MGM Grand. If you are in Downtown Las Vegas, there is a drugstore near the entrance to the Fremont Street Experience.
Bring Your Sunglasses
Don't leave your home without a good pair of sunglasses. The sun is very strong in Nevada and you'll need a good pair if you plan to do any sightseeing.