Country: United States
Currency: Dollar (USD)
Peak Season: January-October
Shoulder Season: November-December
Median Temperature: 18.60 C / 65.48 F
Main Languages: English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Bus, shuttle, monorail
Recommended Duration of Stay: 3 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $200.00/day
Tourist Passes: Las Vegas Power Pass, Las Vegas MealTicket
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Las Vegas, otherwise called “Sin City”, “The Big Easy”, or “The City of Lights” is just teeming with activity and glamorous fun. The city is situated at the heart of southern Nevada and is populated by mega-casino hotels and casino resorts. It also happens to be the most congested city in the state and the 28th most populous in the country. Unlike other US cities, Las Vegas is relatively young and only attained city status in 1911. Its earliest inhabitants were Paiute Indians who still hold tribal sovereignty in downtown.

Prior to its becoming a metropolitan area at the start of 1930’s, Las Vegas was first a railroad settlement, then slowly becoming tourist attraction because of Hoover Dam, and finally its surrounding desert being the bomb testing site during World War 2. Post-war, accompanied by the precedent proliferation of casinos, triggered yet another growth spurt, courtesy of Howard Hughes, known entrepreneur/engineer/aviator/filmmaker/producer. This renewed interest in the city incited many wealthy entrepreneurs to purchase land and renovate the city into what it is today.

No other US City comes close to Las Vegas in terms of adult crowd entertainment. The Las Vegas Strip (or simply “The Strip”) heralds the city’s premier hotels and casinos with its “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Both The Strip and downtown are the most happening places in terms of gambling and entertainment – the former’s patrons are usually the splurging affluent classes, while the latter accommodates to the middle-class population with budget accommodations, free entertainment, and low stakes gambling. The recession at the turn of the 21st century led to the foreclosure of many Las Vegas hotels and casinos, especially in Downtown. However, Las Vegas remains prospective despite the prolonged slump in profits that bulwarked many investors, contractors, and not to mention the lifeblood of Las Vegas: gamblers.

Packing List

  • Comfortable day clothing and snappy evening attire for glitzy casinos and restaurants; bring sizeable trolleys and suitcases for hiking and swimming gear, packing too light is not a good idea
  • Cash—lots of it—if you wish to survive in the casinos and for tipping too; bring credit and debit cards in case your wallet runs out of cash; coin purses are dandy for slot machine enthusiasts
  • The latest guide book of all the upcoming shows and promotions in Vegas, because the internet can only give you so much insider information on all the things happening here
  • Essential medication and toiletries—bring lots of sunscreen, moisturizer and anti-diarrheal tablets; overnight partying may take a toll on your head in the morning, so bring instant coffee pouches
  • A decent camera, zoom lenses and plenty of film and batteries; make sure your electronics are kept safe (or not brought to the city at all), since the crime rate in Vegas is higher than most US cities

Things to Do

  • Witnessing the Bellagio Fountains, a choreographed waterworks display accompanied by timeless music and dazzling lighting effects; presentations start at 3pm and each has a 30-minute interval
  • Exchanging vows (just for the fun of it) at many small chapels scattered throughout the city; Vegas weddings employ different themes (depending on the venue) and only cost a few hundred dollars
  • Evacuating the Strip for a short while and taking on the Fremont Street Experience; the FSE is a successful attempt by the city to revitalize downtown’s luster with a series of shows and malls
  • Taking a break from gambling and visiting the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, west of the city and easily viewable from the Strip; the area has desert flora and fauna and hike trails
  • Seeing a host of MGM Grand’s finest ferocious felines inside its Lion Habitat; the habitat aims to give the public education and appreciation of what is known worldwide as MGM’s trademark symbol

DON'T

  • Spend all your money inside the casinos; there are plenty of entertainment venues that will cost you money, but will surely give you a good time; also, don’t limit yourself to the Strip—visit downtown
  • Break the law, since most infractions won’t bring jail time but will come with a hefty fine; never associate yourself with “shady” people, these include: card counters, drugs addicts, and prostitutes
  • Intoxicate yourself and wreak havoc inside spas and casinos; should people tell you that being on the Strip drunk and full of bravado is cool— avoid it, be sober and don’t get thrown out by bouncers
  • Forget about gambling etiquette: no bending of cards, no touching of chips until no more bets are placed, no handing of money directly to the dealer, and definitely no cheating, else be interrogated
  • Think tickets to events and parties will be sold for cheap at the night of the event—it doesn’t work that way in Vegas; book in advance and arrive a bit early to avoid the long queues