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Why Go to Las Vegas

Sin City, America's Playground, the Entertainment Capital of the World ... all worthy names for this Nevada hotspot. Think of Vegas as a theme park rather than a city  it can awe as much as it can overwhelm, and that's part of the appeal. This is a city where inhibitions are not welcome: Every night, Las Vegas draws pleasuremongers to the brightly lit Strip like moths to a flame. While you may not want to go as far as to re-enact "The Hangover," you certainly don't want to leave without experiencing a bit of "Viva Las Vegas."

Today, Las Vegas can provide any kind of vacation you can imagine. You can opt for the traditional high-roller getaway complete with all-nighters at the blackjack table or TAO Nightclub. Or you can make it all about luxury with visits to hotel spas, high-end boutiques and gourmet restaurants. Las Vegas is also a great jumping-off point for outdoor activities, such as hiking in Red Rock Canyon or visiting the Hoover Dam. You can even bring the kids along: Underage travelers will get a kick out of a Cirque du Soleil performance, the Bellagio Fountain show and the Neon Museum.

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Las Vegas Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Las Vegas is from March to May and from September to November. While you’ll find plenty of travel deals throughout the year, the spring and fall shoulder seasons offer the most moderate weather. Sin City sees an influx of visitors during the winter months, especially surrounding New Year’s Eve, and the sweltering summers see daytime temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. No matter when you decide to visit Vegas, try to plan a mid-week trip – because this is a common weekend getaway destination, you’ll find more rooms at lower rates between Tuesday and Thursday.

Las Vegas is also home to hundreds of conventions each year, which can drive up room rates. Before setting travel dates, check the city’s tourism board convention schedule to find out which hotel are hosting what and when – this will help you secure a better deal at your choice hotel

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What You Need to Know

  • Prepare for desert weather Days in Vegas can be extremely hotel, but nighttime breezes (and casinos’ AC) can be pretty chilly so be sure to bring a jacket. Ladies should also consider whether their high heels will be comfortable walking up and down the Strip. 
  • The house always wins No matter how well your winning streak is going, it's bound to come to an end at some point. Remain both optimistic and realistic.
  • Bring the kids While the casinos aren’t kid-friendly, there are plenty of attractions (like aquariums) that are wholesome fun for the entire family.

How to Save Money in Las Vegas

  • Do your research There's no shortage of online deals on flights and hotel rooms, so be diligent about making travel plans and save the spontaneity for after you've checked in.
  • Ditch the car Traffic on the Strip can be mind-boggling; you'll be better off relying on public transportation and your own two feet. Note: If you're cabbing into the city from the airport, make sure to tell your driver to take Swenson Street  it's cheaper than using the airport tunnel.
  • Cut yourself off Winning feels amazing, but there comes a point when the tables start to turn. Decide how much you're willing to spend at the casinos before you arrive in Vegas, and make sure to stop yourself before Lady Luck robs you blind.

Culture & Customs

People tend to visit Las Vegas to release their inhibitions, win (or, most likely, lose) their money and sample the carefree life. It's a place for escapists, promising to keep your vacation secrets. Be prepared for nonstop entertainment and pure, American-style debauchery.

But that doesn't mean you can go buck-wild and get away with it. Hotels, casinos, restaurants and clubs will expect you to behave appropriately, and those who don't follow the rules won't be let off easy. If you're smart and exercise common sense, your stay in Las Vegas should remain safe and enjoyable. As far as safety is concerned, 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 alcohol, and keep your winnings to yourself to avoid attracting unwanted attention. When on the Strip, never walk alone in the evenings, be mindful of the busy road and follow all street signals and applicable laws.

You should also note that many establishments (including high-end restaurants and nightclubs) enforce dress codes that may require you to wear semi-formal attire. Be sure to check before you plan your outfit for the evening.

Believe it or not, there is more to this town than bustling casino floors and questionable decision-making: Las Vegas caters to a wide variety of travel types with its host of fine dining establishments, world-renowned entertainment and even family-friendly activities. While you're here, take some time away from the casino floor to get to know the other sides of America's Playground – learn about its history at the Neon Museum, enjoy its surroundings at Red Rock Canyon or try a different type of play at the casinos' aquariums, zoos and amusement parks.

What to Eat

One thing’s for sure: There’s no shortage of culinary choices in Las Vegas. So much so that’s it’s one of the best foodie cities in the country. You’ll find everything from high-end French fare to budget-friendly burgers. The celebrity chef craze hit Las Vegas by storm, with some of the world’s most famous chefs – including Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse – establishing kitchens in Sin City. What’s more, Las Vegas boasts more master sommeliers than Los Angeles and New York City combined. You can dine on Asian-inspired fare at Andrea's at Encore, order Kobe beef at Bazaar Meat by José Andrés in SLS, dine on Italian cuisine with views of the Bellagio's fountain show at Lago by Julian Serrano and if you stay up all night, get breakfast at the Bouchon Bistro in The Venetian. 

And while many of the big-name restaurants along the Strip come attached with high price tags, you don't need to spend a fortune to eat well here. Sin City caters to foodies of all budgets, and the city is also known as the kind of the all-you-can-eat buffet, with food lines featuring everything from pizza and Chinese to crab legs and gluten-free cuisine. There's even a flagship Taco Bell restaurant that serves beer and frozen alcoholic drinks. Whatever you're craving, you're sure to find it at one of the buffets along the Strip, so come hungry.

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Getting Around Las Vegas

The best way to get around Las Vegas is by taxi or by bus. The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) offers bus routes 24 hours a day along the Strip and downtown area, providing easy, affordable transportation. And you won't find any shortage of cabs should you wish to move around on your own schedule. If you're based on the Strip, the Monorail provides fast transportation to many of the casinos along the northern part of Las Vegas Boulevard. If you prefer to walk, you won't have an issue finding most of Vegas' top things to do, but you should arm yourself with plenty of sunscreen and water to avoid heat stroke. 

Getting from the McCarran International Airport (LAS) to the Strip is a breeze since the airport is actually right across the street from Mandalay Bay (you can access it from Wayne Newton Boulevard). Many hotels offer airport shuttle services, and the RTC buses service stops at or near the terminals. Car rentals are also available at the airport (and throughout Las Vegas), but unless you're looking to take a trip to the Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon, you should opt for another means of transportation. Traffic along the Strip is hectic and parking is both scarce and expensive.

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