Things to Do in Las Vegas
With more than 5,000 guest rooms, MGM Grand is one of the largest casino hotels in Las Vegas, and part of its draw is the gaming floor. The resort has more than 170,000 square feet of gaming space, which includes more than 2,500 slot machines and video poker. Denominations on these games range from 1¢ to $1,000. Majestic Lions and Lion’s Share are both custom machines found only at MGM Grand; a $1 million payout is the top reward.
Table games include blackjack, craps, baccarat, mini-baccarat, roulette, European roulette, Pai Gow poker, Pai Gow, big six wheel, let it ride, war, crazy for poker and three-card poker. MGM Grand’s race and sports book has seating for 104 guests with several television screens from which to watch the big game. This is also the first race and sports book to offer “skyboxes”—four rooms that host eight to ten guests in 300-325 square feet of space. Each is equipped with 42-inch plasma television, surround sound and CD systems.
Battlefield Vegas is a five-acre military-style compound just one block from the Las Vegas strip that gives visitors the chance to both interact with military history and experience the largest collection of weapons available for personal use in the United States. Everything from weapon selection and training (82 percent of employees are veterans with combat experience) is designed for an immersive experience.
On the grounds are both a 25-yard indoor firing range and a 200-acre desert training facility. Over 350 guns are on site, some of which date from World War I or were used recently by NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is also a fleet of 25 military vehicles ranging from jeeps to helicopters from both historical and present wartime. All weapon use is instructor-led, and experiences are arranged by weapon type and country or historical place of origin.
Planet Hollywood is home to about ten restaurants, a 100,000-square-foot casino and a handful of theatres including V Theatre. In addition to a few low-on-the-radar shows, Planet Hollywood usually has at least one legendary artist performing on a short residency (Meat Loaf, The Jacksons and CeeLo Green have been past artists) and is now home to pop star Britney Spears and her show “Britney: Piece of Me.”
Wrapped around Planet Hollywood is the Miracle Mile, a shopping mall with 170 stores and 15 additional restaurants. Stores feature known brand names such as H&M, Urban Outfitters, Puma, Diesel and American Apparel. Despite the fact that Bellagio is just across the street, the Miracle Mile has its own fountain show, which features lighting effects, color-changing fog and water that shoots 50 feet in the air.
Today's Las Vegas is far more family-friendly than the city used to be. A fine example of this is the new addition of a 41-acre Wet 'n' Wild water park within the city limits.
Wet 'n' Wild Las Vegas opened in 2013 and has a total of 25 attractions, including two pools and 10 water slides. These slides were largely designed for adventure seekers, with names like the Tornado and the Rattler, which may be more like a roller coaster on water than a traditional slide. There's also a kid-friendly area with less intimidating slides and wade pools.
This collection of boutique shops with unique goods was formed from leftover shipping containers. The open air shopping spot is centered around a courtyard, which has a playground for children (with a treehouse!) and a stage with frequent live entertainment and events. Dining options range from high-end restaurants to gourmet hot dog stands and a craft whiskey bar. There are even art galleries to peruse and often concerts and films.
Specialty shops vary from boutique clothing stores to home decor and smaller local goods. The emphasis is on supporting one-of-a-kind products from local Las Vegas businesses and items that cannot be found elsewhere. There are also interesting artistic designs and exhibits throughout, making this a fascinating place to explore with something for everyone.
Though once outfitted with a tropical theme, Mandalay Bay is currently undergoing a makeover that will include an update to shows, dining options and nightlife opportunities. There have also been room renovations and a rebranding of the property’s boutique hotel, soon to be Delano Las Vegas.
Mandalay Bay’s casino, which has 135,000 square feet of gaming space, will be getting new carpet, chairs and music, but the gaming opportunities will remain similar to what has been offered in the past. The property has more than 1,700 slot machines ranging from 1¢ to $100 per play. Table game favorites such as baccarat, blackjack, craps and roulette can be found throughout the casino. A variety of poker games are available as well, and free lessons are available for beginners Monday through Thursday at 2:00 p.m.
When it’s time to escape the neon and hustle of the jam-packed Las Vegas strip, the Calico Hills are the perfect location for swapping the smoke-filled gaming room parlors for a breath of fresh mountain air. Set 30 minutes west of downtown Las Vegas, the Calico Hills offer hiking and rock climbing through a dreamy sandstone landscape, where red-hued rock piles form a network of spires and summits for visitors to explore. Located inside of Red Rock Canyon, the Calico Hills are best known for the popular Calico Hills Trail, which begins just after the Visitor Center and runs 3.2 miles to Sandstone Quarry along the base of the hills. For many visitors the thrill of the hike is scrambling up on the rocks, choosing well worn side trails to navigate the boulders and get views of the Las Vegas desert. At an elevation near 4,000 feet the air is refreshingly cool, though summer temperatures can still be perilous if hiking or climbing midday.
Nothing says laid back quite like Flamingo Las Vegas’ 15,000-square-foot Margaritaville Casino. Located within the resort at Flamingo, this marriage between a Las Vegas casino and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville brand creates a uniquely fun energy. The casino includes 22 gaming tables, 220 slot machines and the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar.
Elsewhere in the resort are more than 1,600 other slot machines, including a multi-line two-cent progressive game that is a favorite with guests. The first craps roll on the Las Vegas Strip happened in the Flamingo casino, and tossing a pair of hot dice is a popular pastime here. Blackjack, mini baccarat, Caribbean stud, roulette, Pai Gow poker and other table games are also found on the casino floor. A comfortable poker room lures gamblers as well. When the casino becomes a bit too much to handle, step out into Flamingo’s wildlife habitat. This open-air courtyard is a relaxing, popular and free attraction that many visitors overlook.
Once known as the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Bally’s Las Vegas is one of the strip’s most famous hotels. With nearly 3,000 guestrooms that are 450 square feet (or larger!)—most of which were recently renovated—Bally’s is quintessential Las Vegas glitz, glam and luxury. A neon-wrapped moving sidewalk, more than 100 shops, a handful of diverse restaurants and even the long-running show Jubilee are among the features that make this Las Vegas strip hotel a favorite among travelers. Theater lovers can check out other in-hotel performances like “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding”, a country superstars musical tribute and even a new adults-only show called “50 Shades! The Parody”. Fitness buffs will love the contemporary gym facilities, championship tennis courts and pool—perfect for relaxing after a night at the casino.
Bringing sophistication and elegance to the Las Vegas Strip, the Wynn Hotel stands out against the bright lights and flashing sign. With its golden, concave structure, and perfectly groomed trees out front, you’ll forget that Las Vegas is where all of the action happens, and instead is where the relaxation happens.
Surrounded by lagoons, waterfalls, and terraced landscapes, the effect of the Wynn Hotel and Casino is a peaceful one. The inside of the Wynn is marked by boutique hotels and the finest in restaurant offerings. With restaurants with the acclaimed fare of Daniel Boulud, Masa Ishizawa, and Mark LoRusso, you’ll enjoy a feast of the senses.
A refined take on nightlife and entertainment, the Wynn Hotel offers shows by Cirque Du Soleil and secluded nightclubs like Blush and Tryst that are surrounded by lagoons. Then, there’s the window shopping at the Wynn Esplanade, offering high end clothes by designers like Chanel and Dior.
More Things to Do in Las Vegas
Modeled after the pyramids of ancient Egypt, the Luxor Hotel and Casino is pointed in the right direction - hey, it's got a Sphinx at its front! The inside of the Luxor Hotel features more than 4,000 hotel rooms, upscale entertainment, modern lounges, and an Egyptian flair for style.
Luxor has made a name for itself thanks to its nightlife and entertainment options: IMAX theatres, posh night clubs, and popular performance spaces. Exclusive nightclubs include LAX, Noir bar, and Flight, all of which are home to constant celebrity sightings. And then there’s the Atrium floor, where performers like Britney Spears have performed.
The Luxor Hotel is also a great place to kick back and relax. There are the elegant pools and spas, and of course luxury suites. With the impressive views and beautiful architecture that surround, it’s no wonder that the Luxur is considered one of the beter hotels in Vegas.
Bringing the sleek city and bright-lights aspect of New York to Vegas, the New York - New York Hotel and Casino does an admirable job transporting you to the Big Apple. With recreations of landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Brooklyn Bridge, New Yorkers will feel strangely at home.
With a Coney Island-themed amusement Park, Time Square like bar, and Central Park Casino, you’ll get a bite of New York’s biggest attractions in Vegas. Keeping in line with the diversity of NYC, New York New York features multi-ethnic restaurants, there’s something to fit everyone’s taste. From Mexican, to Italian, to Contemporary American, you won’t know if you’re in Little Italy or Little New York. New York New York is also a great place for entertainment. With live performances by Cirque du Soleil and popular nightclubs like Coyote Ugly, you’ll have plenty to keep you awake at night.
Opened in 1990, this re-creation of a medieval castle with its matching interior was a popular draw in its heyday, especially for families. As bigger, brighter and fancier resorts have opened up and down Las Vegas Boulevard, Excalibur has lost a bit of its luster, but it has managed to stand the test of time for those who are time-honored fans or traveling with kids.
Though it’s a bit rough around the edges, the 100,000-square-foot casino offers several table games and more than 1,700 slot, video poker and video keno machines. Excalibur’s casino truly excels in catering to the new gambler by offering several lessons each day (excluding holidays): poker at 11:00 a.m., roulette at 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., blackjack at 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., and craps at noon and 8:00 p.m. The resort’s race and sports book offers wagering on every major collegiate and professional sport including football, hockey, basketball, baseball, mixed martial arts, auto racing, golf and tennis.
Shopping options might seem unlimited in Las Vegas — and, if you don’t hit the jackpot, they can also seem a little unrealistic. So, when it comes to most people’s Vegas budgets, it’s the strip’s centrally located Miracle Mile Shops that will most likely fit the bill. With some 170 stores and 20 restaurants, the mall stretches 1.2 miles in length and wraps around the Planet Hollywood Casino. With a wide range of stores, the selection is ideally suited for just about anyone and for any taste, and especially for those who don’t intend to spend every last cent of their casino winnings.
It’s also a pretty great place to walk around; not only can you escape the often-hot Las Vegas weather, but the mall entertains with sights of sorts, such as its surreal outside-but-actually-inside vibe, an indoor rain storm that pours from a virtual sky, and even a fancy water fountain that, during its hourly shows, sprays water 50 feet into the air through fog and lights.
Just walking into the reception area of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, you might think you've walked into an art gallery. But the glittering Dale Chihuly glass chandelier that covers the ceiling is just the start.
Once you've gotten past the chandelier, head for the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, an actual gallery. The exhibit changes annually, giving repeat visitors something new to see each time. The collections on display aren't vast, but they're carefully curated and feature some of the most prominent artists in the world.
If there’s one thing that sets Rio apart from all other Las Vegas resorts, it’s the fact that its casino plays host to the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP). Guests are welcome to play in Rio’s poker room, the only one in the world that features 100% certified WSOP dealers, where just about every poker game is available, from classics like hold ‘em and seven-card stud to 2-7 triple draw and badugi. There are five poker tournaments held in the poker room daily, with a variety of buy-ins at different times.
Beyond the poker room, Rio’s casino floor has dozens of tables featuring popular games including blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat. The vast majority of the resort’s 1,200 slot machines are in a masquerade-themed, 100,000-square-foot space, where a series of floats glides over the crowd several times each Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening.
The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas is the star of one of the History Channel’s most popular shows, Pawn Stars. The cast members, and real life owners and operators of the shop, are Rick, the Old Man, Big Hoss and Chumlee, who are known for buying and appraising collectors items, including historic firearms, antique toys, classic cars and much more. A Pawn Stars Tour of Las Vegas is the best way to see the shop and other filming locations from the show. Tour groups can skip the line, get VIP access to the stars, and even see the show getting filmed.
Who says kids get to have all of the fun? This larger-than-life sandbox is the perfect place for adults to get back to their youth and experience the thrill of operating massive machinery in a model construction site.
After brief safety instructions, travelers choose from a variety of bulldozers or excavators and hop behind the wheel, where a professional guide offers a brief orientation before the earth really starts to move. Learn to dig the ground below, play a round of “Excavator Basketball” or ride a “Bulldozer Teeter-Totter”. This one-of-a-kind experience is one of the best ways to feel like a kid again—even on a trip to Sin City!
In the middle of the Las Vegas desert, you can find this collection of artifacts comprising the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. Everything from a whale jaw bone to a wooly mammoth tooth is on display, with the chance to learn about animals from both the past and present. There are exhibits of dinosaurs and replicas of ancient Egyptian artifacts, as well as sections dedicated to marine and African safari life. The Egyptian historical exhibit is particularly interesting, as it is focused on the life of Tutankhamun (it was formerly part of the Luxor Resort.)
Don’t miss the international wildlife gallery nor the sections focused on local Nevada plants and animals. There is also a geology gallery, a young scientist center, and an ocean discovery aquarium with sharks and rays, as well as exotic fish from around the world. Each collection has thorough descriptions and engaging, informative displays.
Sure—the items in the showroom are for sale, but Rick’s Restorations is much more intriguing than your regular shopping experience. This Las Vegas gallery is the site of the TV show, “American Restoration,” where aging items are masterfully restored into vintage pieces of art. Run by Rick Dale—who also appears on “Pawn Stars”—Rick’s Restorations is serviced by a crew of colorful Vegas characters, some of whom you might recognize from the show as you tour the warehouse. While many places solely restore cars, Rick’s finds pieces of classic Americana and loving brings them back to life, whether it’s gumball machines, jukeboxes, soda fountains, or stoplights. When visiting the shop, you can simply tour the gallery floor and shop for pieces you like, or take a tour to hear the process that goes into the restoration. There are metal workers, polishers, woodworkers, and letterers who all work together to take a clunker and infuse it with shiny new life.
Lovers of fast cars may think the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the place to be, but those in the know say it’s Count’s Kustoms in Las Vegas that’s really worth the visit. Travelers can wander the incredible showroom filled with custom hotrods, cars, choppers and more. In addition to these stunning works of automotive art, visitors have a chance to pop by the on-site tattoo parlor after touring the floor and may even have a chance encounter with Rollie, the man who heads up the entire operation and stars in one of the TV shows that’s filmed at this dynamic location.
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