Vegas, Sin City, the Entertainment Capital of the World: All worthy names for this desert oasis of neon lights, casinos and luxury hotels. Vegas has maintained its glitzy, risqué, anything-goes attitude for decades, and the party is still going strong. This is a city where inhibitions are not welcome: While you may not want to go as far as to reenact The Hangover, you certainly don't want to leave without experiencing a bit of ... continue»
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The best time to visit Las Vegas is whenever you can afford to test Lady Luck. Deals are offered throughout the year, so cost is never really a factor when determining the best time to travel. However, recent travelers note that, because Vegas is a popular place to welcome in the New Year (and every other public holiday, for that matter), it tends to be crowded between Christmas and Jan. 1. Another tip on timing: hotel rates tend to drop during the week when the high rollers head back to their day jobs.Best Times to Visit Las Vegas»
Las Vegas Neighborhoods
When visiting Sin City, most people tend to stay along the Strip, home to most of the more notable casinos. However, if you have the time, consider checking out the Downtown area or getting out of town altogether.
Just northwest of the airport is Las Vegas Boulevard South, the glamorous, glitzy roadway famously known as The Las Vegas Strip. The Strip is home to many of the city's most famous hotels and casinos, including the Bellagio, New York-New York, Paris, Las Vegas and the MGM Grand. Just a few blocks west of the southern strip is the Palms, a popular nightlife destination for young crowds and the setting for MTV's 2001 The Real World: Las Vegas. Similarly popular with the younger set is the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, just a few blocks east of the Strip on Paradise Road.
Caesar's Palace and Mirage are on the border between the Strip's south and north ends. Traveling north on the Strip you'll find -- you guessed it -- more hotels and casinos, including the Wynn and Encore. The Las Vegas Convention Center is just east of the Strip on Paradise Road. Next to the convention center is the Las Vegas Hilton.
At the very north end of the Strip is the Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower, which features the tallest free-standing observation tower in the United States. The top of the tower features indoor and outdoor observation decks, an amusement park and a revolving restaurant and cocktail lounge.
Downtown Las Vegas
Farther north on the Strip is the Las Vegas downtown district, home to some the city's oldest landmarks, including the Golden Nugget and the El Cortez Resort and Casino. Both are on Fremont Street, the liveliest street in the downtown area. Fremont Street offers a five-block, canopied pedestrian walkway known as the Fremont Street Experience (FSE), which hosts free concerts on two sound stages. Located on the FSE is the Neon Museum, which holds many of Las Vegas' most iconic (but now retired) neon signs from old casinos and other Vegas' businesses.
Southeast of FSE is the Boulder Strip, along Boulder Highway, which is home to the historic Eastside Cannery. Also, the Sam Boyd Stadium -- home to the University of Nevada Las Vegas football team, the Rebels -- is north of LAS Airport and east of The Strip.
Outside Las Vegas
Vegas' surrounding desert area has several sights worth seeing. The Hoover Dam is about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas and offers tours everyday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tour buses from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam are widely available. About 50 miles north of Vegas on I-15 is the Valley of Fire State Park, which is known for its brilliant red sandstone formations and affords visitors picnicking and hiking opportunities.
Just about 20 miles west of Las Vegas is the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which operates tours and offers horseback riding, hiking and picnicking. Nearby Mount Charleston is another great hiking locale. All the surrounding areas are accessible by rental car or by tour bus from the Las Vegas city center.
Interactive maps from the Las Vegas Tourist Board offer extensive information on the Las Vegas area.
If you're smart and exercise common sense, your stay in Las Vegas should remain safe and enjoyable. That said, you should take some extra precautions when on the Strip or in a casino. Cash and alcohol run wild, often placing travelers in compromising situations. Don't overindulge in the free drinks at casinos; you also shouldn't flash your cash if you win big. When on the Strip, never walk alone in the evenings and be mindful of the busy road. Do not stand near the curb, and follow all street signals and applicable laws. Vegas can be a dangerous place for a pedestrian, so exercise extra caution.
The best way to get around Las Vegas is by bus or taxi. Most of the major casinos are within walking distance along the Strip, and cabs are abundant. Getting from the city's McCarran International Airport (LAS) to the Strip is a breeze, since the airport is actually located right on Las Vegas Boulevard and is a quick cab ride (approximately $20) north to the major hotels. Car rentals are also available at the airport and throughout Las Vegas, but unless you're looking to leave the city, having a car will just be a hassle.Getting Around Las Vegas»