Viva Las Vegas

Richard Harbourne 19 March 2010
Las Vegas justifiably deserved its name as the ‘gambling capital’ of the world – it is 24 hour round-the-clock gambling from the ‘slots’ to the ‘tables’ to the ‘poker schools’ to the TV Sports Bar where you can bet on any ‘live’ sporting event happening anywhere around the world.

Things however have changed considerably over the last few years. It is now the fastest growing city in the USA and as a result there is a lot more to Las Vegas than just gambling. It has now established itself as one of the world’s top Convention Centres. Anyone who has been to Las Vegas or seen the movie will be familiar with the ‘neon-lighted’ offers of “eat as much as you like for $10” or “Free Beer” with every meal. Beyond all that however there is a great collection of top quality restaurants that would put our ‘star’ restaurants to shame for service, quality and price. You can drink for free in most of the casino's in Vegas as long as you are either playing the slot machines or the tables. The waitresses will soon ask you, all you need to do is give a tip. Even if it is just $1.

March 2010 was my second trip to Las Vegas and I can honestly say I would go back again and again. A lot of people go to Las Vegas just for the nightlife. You can party away 24 hours in one of the many nightclubs to choose from with a majority of them actually being inside the hotels all the way along the seven mile strip.

On both of my visits I have stayed at the Circus Circus Hotel twice as it was very good value for money. Although slightly further at the north end of the strip the location was still great and only a 45 min walk to the central part of the strip. The taxis and busses run 24 hours along the strip so it is very easy to get out and around. If you are on a budget my advice would be to stay in one of the cheaper hotels on the strip as you will find you will only be in your room to sleep.

There were many highlights from ‘Venice at Night’ with real life gondolas and tenors in the Venetian Hotel, the ‘Cirque du Soleil’ show at Bellagio’s, with its magic fountain, and the unbelievable roller-coaster at New York New York. You can go inside any of the hotels and use the facilities; some of the hotels I managed to visit are The MGM Grand, The Mandalay Bay, Treasure Island, Luxor, The Stratosphere, Excalibur, Paris, The Venetian. It is worth visiting as many as you can because each and everyone has something different and is unique.

I have to go back to do the helicopter ride at night along the strip and of course to visit the Grand Canyon which is only a few hours by road from Las Vegas. I recommend these excursions are booked in advance as they are very popular. If you like shopping then make sure you go with an empty case because they have a huge shopping outlet in Vegas and you will find many bargains.

You could also combine Las Vegas which is what I did with California and visit other fantastic places such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Mexico and many other places. You could do a self drive trip and combine internal flights also which can be very cheap if booked in advance.

All in all I had a great experience and I definitely recommend.