Vegas is where America comes to play
Play hard. Now sprawling out beyond the confines of its famous ‘Strip’, and growing faster than almost any other US city, it’s home to some of the world’s most famous casinos and larger-than-life superhotels – many of them extravagant megaresorts in their own right. Away from the city, you’re within a short drive of much of the south-west’s most spectacular natural scenery.
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If it’s high end and has a designer label, chances are it can be found in Las Vegas. The big-name resorts tend to have glittering shopping arcades of their own – prime examples being Crystals at CityCenter (3720 Las Vegas Boulevard South) and The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace (3500 Las Vegas Boulevard South) – while for those more interested in seeking out a bargain, it’s well worth heading to Las Vegas Premium Outlets (875 South Grand Central Parkway), where more than 150 name-brand stores offer large savings on goods. Also off-Strip is Masquerade Village at Rio (3700 West Flamingo Road).
Food & Drink
The food scene in Las Vegas is seriously extensive – and often seriously impressive. You’ll find more buffets and fast food outlets than you can shake a wad of dollar bills at, but among them all are a large number of choice restaurants. To cherry-pick a few, celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck and Joël Robuchon both have outlets at MGM Grand (3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South), while Roy’s (620 East Flamingo Road) has a great reputation for its Hawaiian fusion dishes. Off the Strip, the Japanese restaurant at Raku (5030 West Spring Mountain Road) is an excellent example of Vegas’ global fare.
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts a weekend of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series every March, drawing around 150,000 spectators to watch rally cars burn their way around the track amid an intense atmosphere.
Four days of wine-based festivities, centred on a grand tasting at Paris Las Vegas. It’s a fundraising event for the University of Nevada, and attracts more than 100 international winemakers. There are side events relating to champagne, sake and cocktails.
Elks Helldorado Days
A four-day festival which looks to recapture the spirit of the Wild West, Elks Helldorado Days features a carnival, a parade and a professional rodeo. It was first organised in 1934 to entertain workers at the nearby Hoover Dam site.
An excuse for the entire Strip to work itself into a fright-night frenzy, Halloween witnesses an eyebrow-raising roster of fancy dress parties, special concerts and general hedonism. If you’re in search of a memorable party, it’s a great night to be in town.
National Finals Rodeo
Enjoy 10 days of bucking, wrangling and full-on cowboy action at the National Finals Rodeo held every December. It’s the premier event of its type in the country and is incredibly popular – try hunting down tickets in advance.
Is there anywhere on earth more equipped with visitor accommodation than the mega-resorts lining the Las Vegas Strip? The Venetian Resort (3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South) gives a good example of what to expect, boasting more than 4,000 guest rooms, a colossal amount of bling and a gargantuan casino. The luxurious Wynn Las Vegas (3131 Las Vegas Boulevard South) is notable for its 18-hole golf course, while the equally sumptuous Bellagio (3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South) draws crowds with its dancing fountains. Want good value away from the Strip? Try the peaceful Platinum Hotel (211 East Flamingo Road).