It can be very overwhelming! Whenever I go I like to stay at the Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa. It is not right on the Vegas strip, but it is very close by. Green Valley is a sanctuary in the mist of all the Vegas craziness. Some of my favorite shows to see there are Cirque de Soleil, and Celine Dions, A New Day. Have a great trip!
Vegas can be intimidating because of sheer number of people and attractions. If possible spend your time there on Sundays thru Thursdays. The rooms are much cheaper than weekends, lines for everything are much shorter,the only downfall being that some shows are "dark" on weekdays.
The strip is my preferred place to stay. It is fun to walk the strip in the evening when everything is lit up for the evening,but beware that the blocks in Vegas are very long! Allow yourself plenty of time for some rest stops.
The monorail system is also a neat way to get around,although it it somewhat limited in area coverage.
The Fremont Street area downtown is also worth a visit. It is "Old Las Vegas" but has some nice hotels and is generally less crowded and less expensive than the Strip. Taxis are pleantiful but in the evening the Strip area can Gridlock and be slow going.
If you want individual recomondations on dining or party places, please let me know.
We spent a few days in Las Vegas and stayed at the Bellagio Hotel. I believe this is a LL property. The hotel was beautiful. Yes, there is a lot to do and to see in Las Vegas, but staying at a good hotel you have the choice to avail yourself of the many things the hotel offers. We loved the Pool at the Bellagio, it was a real oasis away from all the hussle and bussle outside. We also took a champagne helicotper flight, which the concierge at the hotel arranged for us, over Lake Powel and the Grand Canyon, landed on a bluff in the Grand Cannyon and were served champagne and horsd'oeuvres. Flying close to the rocks in the Grand Canyon was amazing and on the way back at dusk we saw lots of wildlife coming out, like Elk and Moose. The most amazing site was flying back into Las Vegas at night over the Strip. The lights were beautiful. It was truly an unforgettable trip.
I get to Vegas at least once a year and everytime I go back I'm always finding new things to do. Check out The Venetian , which is a great hotel with indoor gondola rides. The Bellagio has the best buffet in Vegas, totally worth what they charge for brunch and dinner. Freemont St. was mentioned and very interesting to check out , if you want a great place to eat, have dinner at Hugo's Cellar, pricy but excellent !!!
Las Vegas is a turning into a lot of fun, even if youre not much of a gambler. Since my parents now live there and Dr. Kboo and I each have 1-2 conferences a year there, we end up going quite a lot.
Heres some tips and suggestions for a trip to Vegas:
Getting there and back:
America West has the most # flights into/out of Las Vegas-McCarran (LAS).
America West (JFK), Continental (EWR) and possibly JetBlue (JFK) and Southwest all fly nonstop between NYC and LAS.
Airport tip: The gates at LAS are in a different building from the main terminal, where you will pick up bags, rental cars, etc. The only way between the two is a tram, which can get crowded during peak travel times (Sunday night departures; Thursday and Friday morning arrivals). Sometimes a tram breaks down. This can cause logjams at the waiting areas for the tram.
Upon arrival: Go directly to the tram waiting area, and walk ALL THE WAY IN toward the last doors to board the tram. You will be at the front of the tram when you arrive at the terminal. Do not pass go, do not stop at the restroom at the gates. There are restrooms in the terminal, and youll be waiting to pick up your bags anyway.
When leaving: Get to the airport 2 hours early. Really. This is no joke. I have gone through check-in, security screening and the tram in as little as 20 minutes; other times its taken over an hour. Ive gone with friends who were on flights leaving at the same time but on different airlines (and different gate areas), and we made it onto our flight with time to spare, and they missed theirs. Believe me, its not worth the gamble.
On/near THE STRIP aka Las Vegas Boulevard
If this is your first time to Vegas, a visit to the Strip is absolutely necessary, so you may as well stay at one of the hotels on the Strip and take it all in.
My personal favorite is the Bellagio, especially if you can get a Lake View room, where you get a completely different view of the fountain shows (and the music is simulcast on the hotels TV network). The fountains are still one of my favorite free spectacles in Vegas, and the conservatory, with its seasonally-changing displays of flowers and topiaries, is a must-see (and also free). Dale Chihulys lobby sculpture of stylized glass flowers is worth a gawk too. Bellagios (free) trifecta of fountains + conservatory + lobby is worth a visit even if youre not staying there. Its centrally located and has the best parking garage around. (If youve ever had to walk miles in a hotels garage just to get to the lobby, youll know what I mean.)
Paris is right across the street from Bellagio. Although the rooms are not quite as luxurious, they cost less, and with a strip view youll also have a good view of the fountains.
The Venetian is (duh) Italian-themed with indoor-outdoor gondola rides, complete with singing gondoliers. Gondola rides are around $14 (last time I looked) again, worth a gawk at the elegant cheesiness of the place, even if youre not staying there. The Venetian has some of the largest standard rooms on the Strip, because they are all at least mini-suites with a bedroom area and a living room area with a full sofa, coffee table and chairs. They are a good choice if traveling with children, since they can sleep on the pull-out couch. However, the bedroom area and living room area are open to each other (sort of like an alcove studio apartment in NYC), so theyre not a great choice for two couples traveling together. Also, while large, the furnishings are not quite as sumptuous as the Bellagio.
Although Ive not stayed there, Ive also heard very good things about THEhotel and the Four Seasons (friends who swear by both of them).
Lake Las Vegas
Lake Las Vegas is 17 miles east of the strip and is home to a new destination resort area. Styled to look like an Italian/Mediterranean seaside village (with echoes of Florences Ponte Vecchio), it offers a more relaxed but upscale atmosphere with outdoor activities such as golf, boating, and hiking. In addition to three resorts, condominium complexes and private homes and golf courses line the lake. Celine Dion lives in one of the gated communities here, and commutes to her show at Caesars Palace by helicopter. However, thats about as much spectacle as you will get at Lake Las Vegas. Its much closer to the Hoover Dam and near Lake Mead, and while there are still the casinos and shows that one expects of Las Vegas, it offers a more upscale and quieter atmosphere than being in the hubbub of the Strip.
Other Off-Strip Resorts
Two other off-strip resorts are worth mentioning: the JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Summerlin (NW of the Strip) and Green Valley Ranch in Henderson (E of the Strip). Ive stayed at both for business, and they both offer a resort atmosphere without some space, breathing room and peace and quiet. Ive found the service at both to be superb, and both offer free or low cost shuttles to the Strip as well.
The JW Marriott is close to Red Rock Canyon, and offers large, luxurious rooms around a central pool/waterfall courtyard area. Rooms will either have a view of the well-tended grounds and pool (very private) or spectacular sunset views of Red Rock Canyon. The spa facilities are worth a visit even if you dont purchase a treatment with expansive locker areas, hot and cold plunge pools, floating pools and waterfall showers.
Green Valley Ranch in Henderson is in a somewhat more suburban area, and the views from some of the rooms are not as good as the views from, say, the JW Marriott or a Lake Las Vegas hotel. (On the other hand, they are better than the non-Strip views of the Strip hotels!) The pool area of GVR is delightful there is a quieter lap pool as well as a larger pool in the center of the pool area that has a beach like area. (This is the pool that is often pictured on the LL auctions for this property.) Everything about GVR is a bit more subdued though still luxurious when compared to the Strip. The casino is smaller and easier to navigate (and I have always walked out of there a winner). There is a lovely outdoor shopping arcade that has fewer of the super-high-end stores, but a better assortment of stores youd actually browse to buy rather than just to look.
Thanks for the comprehensive Las Vegas travel log! I'll be there in late February at a professional meeting (including plenty of time to look around and gamble) and appreciate hints about where to eat and experience. I haven't been there in a few years so it's great to hear about additions to the neon. I've heard the Cirque de Solei show about the Beatles is great but mostly sold out. Any other suggestions?mmmCheers...Marolyn
The trip to Las Vegas last week was great. Thanks for the recommendations. I spent some time at the Bellagio, really enjoyed the art. A new restaurant to me was Craftsteak at the MGM Grand. It had buttery beef and wonderful wine. I recommend it to anyone. Cheers...Marolyn