Casino Destroyer System

Casino Destroyer

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Casino Destroyer Summary

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Contents: Online Platform
Creator: Jason Nash
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Casinos Other Indoor Pursuits

The casinos of Laughlin, Nevada, just across the Colorado River from Bullhead City, Arizona, are known for having liberal slots that is, the slot machines pay off frequently. Consequently, Laughlin is a very popular weekend destination for Phoenicians and other Arizonans, who have limited gambling in their own state. In addition to the slot machines, there's keno, blackjack, poker, craps, off-track betting, and sports betting. All of the hotels in Laughlin offer live entertainment of some sort, including an occasional headliner, but gambling is still the main event after dark as far as most people are concerned.

Arriving At The Las Vegas Airport

Las Vegas is served by McCarran International Airport, 5757 Wayne Newton Blvd. (& 702 261-5211, TTY 702 261-3111 www.mccarran.com), just a few minutes' drive from the southern end of the Strip, where the bulk of casinos and hotels are concentrated. This big, modern airport with a relatively new 500-million expansion is rather unique in that it includes several casino areas with more than 1,000 slot machines. Although these are reputed to offer lower paybacks than hotel casinos (the airport has a captive audience and doesn't need to lure repeat customers), it's hard to resist throwing in a few quarters while waiting for the luggage to arrive. We actually know someone who hit a 250 jackpot there on his way out of town, thereby recouping most of his gambling losses at the last possible moment. Getting to your hotel from the airport is a cinch. Bell Trans (& 800 274-7433 or 702 739-7990 www.bell-trans.com) runs 20-passenger minibuses daily between the airport and all major Las Vegas...

Gambling in Central City and Black Hawk

In 1990, a statewide referendum legalized gambling in Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek (west of Pikes Peak). At the time, Black Hawk and Central City were dilapidated remnants of what was once called the richest square mile on Earth. Today, a few casinos have moved into the historic brick buildings in downtown Black Hawk and Central City, and other buildings have been revamped and repaired. Central City and Black Hawk are 34 miles west of Denver. Take I-70 west to exit 243 to Central City Parkway. This new, four-lane road makes the trip to this region much safer and faster than ever. You can self-park in the lots at some of the casinos others require valet parking. Free 24-hour shuttles regularly run between the two towns. Some of the casinos also run buses to Denver. If you take a casino bus, you usually get your fare back in vouchers for free food and drink and gambling tokens. A Black Hawk city employee told me there was nothing to do in town but gamble. A closer look...

Getting to Know Las Vegas

Located in the southernmost precincts of a wide, pancake-flat valley, Las Vegas is the biggest city in the state of Nevada. Treeless mountains form a scenic backdrop to ARRIVING AT THE LAS VEGAS AIRPORT Las Vegas is served by McCarran International Airport, 5757 Wayne Newton Blvd. (& 702 261-5211, TTY 702 261-3111 www.mccarran.com), just a few minutes' drive from the southern end of the Strip, where the bulk of casinos and hotels are concentrated. This big, modern airport with a relatively new 500-million expansion is rather unique in that it includes several casino areas with more than 1,000 slot machines. Although these are reputed to offer lower paybacks than hotel casinos (the airport has a captive audience and doesn't need to lure repeat customers), it's hard to resist throwing in a few quarters while waiting for the luggage to arrive. We actually know someone who hit a 250 jackpot there on his way out of town, thereby recouping most of his gambling losses at the last possible...

The Dakotas Gambling Scene

Thanks to its 80 licensed casinos dating from 1989, the long-dormant town of Deadwood looks as bustling as it must have in 1876, when 25,000 miners came looking for gold, and Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok were an item. Today, at least that many tourists are still looking for gold, an early lunch, or a T-shirt that reads My grandma went to Deadwood and all I got was this lousy T-shirt. The casino was put in place on the premise that the gambling would generate funds to restore the deteriorating town, a National Historic Landmark. (Old-timers have some lively ongoing discussions about what is and isn't historic.) Gambling originally went on in Deadwood until 1947, its proponents pointed out, and brothels did discreet business until 1980. Gambling was restored in 1989, and now summer visitors gamble as much as a million dollars a day, which should be enough to gold plate the historic buildings in a few years. A lot of restoration has already been completed. Day and evening variety...

What to See Do in Las Vegas

You aren't going to lack for things to do in Las Vegas. More than likely, you've come here for the gambling, which should keep you pretty busy (we say that with some understatement). But you can't sit at a slot machine forever. (Or maybe you can.) In any event, it shouldn't be too hard to find ways to fill your time between poker hands.

About Casino Gambling

What You didn't come to Las Vegas for the Liberace Museum We are shocked. Shocked. Yes, there are gambling opportunities in Vegas. We've noticed this. You will, too. The tip-off will be the slot machines in the airport as soon as you step off the plane. Or the slot machines in the convenience stores as soon as you drive across the state line. Let's not kid ourselves Gambling is what Vegas is about. The bright lights, the shows, the showgirls, the food it's all there just to lure you in and make you open your wallet. (The free drinks certainly help ease the latter as well.) You can disappoint them if you want, but what would be the point This is Las Vegas. You don't have to be a high roller. You would not believe how much fun you can have with a nickel slot machine. You won't get rich, but neither will most of those guys playing the 5 slots, either. Of course, that's not going to stop anyone from trying. Almost everyone plays in Vegas with the hopes of winning The Big One. That only a...

Las Vegas Specialty Stores

Gambler's Book Shop Here you can buy a book on any system ever devised to beat casino odds. Owner Edna Luckman carries more than 4,000 gambling-related titles, including many out-of-print books, computer software, and videotapes. She describes her store as a place where gamblers, writers, researchers, statisticians, and computer specialists can meet and exchange information. On request, knowledgeable clerks provide on-the-spot expert advice on handicapping the ponies and other aspects of sports betting. The store's motto is knowledge is protection. Open Monday through Saturday from 9am until 5pm closed Sunday. 630 S. 11th St. (just off Charleston Blvd.). & 800 522-1777 or 702 382-7555. www.gamblersbook.com. Gamblers General Store A gambler's paradise stocked with a massive book collection, both antique and current slot machines, gaming tables (blackjack, craps, and so on), roulette wheels, collectible chips, casino dice, classic Vegas photos, and a ton of gaming-related souvenirs....

Las Vegas Specialty Bookstores

Gambler's Book Shop Here you can buy a book on any system ever devised to beat casino odds. Owner Edna Luckman carries more than 4,000 gambling-related titles, including many out-of-print books, computer software, and videotapes. She describes her store as a place where gamblers, writers, researchers, statisticians, and computer specialists can meet and exchange information. On request, knowledgeable clerks provide on-the-spot expert advice on handicapping the ponies and other aspects of sports betting. The store's motto is knowledge is protection. Open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm, closed Sunday. 630 S. 11th St. (just off Charleston Blvd.). & 800 522-1777 or 702 382-7555. www.gamblersbook.com. Gamblers General Store fjp This is a gambler's paradise stocked with a massive book collection, both antique and current slot machines, gaming tables (blackjack, craps, and so on), roulette wheels, collectible chips, casino dice, classic Vegas photos, and a ton of gaming-related...

Las Vegas Calendar Of Events

You may be surprised that Las Vegas does not offer as many annual events as most other tourist cities. The reason is Las Vegas's very raison d' tre the gaming industry. This town wants its visitors spending their money in the casinos, not at Renaissance fairs and parades. Listed below are Las Vegas's major annual conventions with projected attendance figures for 2007 believe us, unless you're coming for one of them, you probably want to avoid the biggies. Since convention schedules frequently change, contact the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (& 800 VISIT-LV or 702 892-7575 www.visitlasvegas.com) to doublecheck the latest info before you commit to your travel dates.

The Best of Las Vegas

1 Frommer's Favorite Las Vegas 2 Planning Your Trip to Las Vegas Las Vegas Advisor 21 What Things Cost in Las Vegas . . . .23 Las Vegas Calendar of Events 25 Major Convention Dates for 2007 . . .26 New Year's Eve in Las Vegas 28 3 Getting to Know Las Vegas Las Vegas Movies 37 Fast Facts Las Vegas 55

Planning Your Trip to Las Vegas

We also suggest that you check out chapter 8, Las Vegas After Dark, before you leave home if you want to see the most popular shows, it's a good idea to call ahead and order tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment. (Ditto if you want to dine in one of the city's top restaurants head to chapter 4, Where to Dine, for full reviews and contact information.) For advance information, call or write the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 3150 Paradise Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89109 (& 877 VISIT-LV or 702 892-7575 www.vegasfreedom.com). They can send you a comprehensive packet containing brochures, a map, a show guide, an events calendar, and an attractions list help you find a hotel that meets your specifications (and even make reservations) and tell you if a major convention is scheduled during the time you would like to visit Las Vegas. Or stop by when you're in town. They're open daily from 8am to 5pm. Another excellent information source is the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce,...

Whats New in Las Vegas

Gee, what isn't new in Las Vegas That they want to take your money and will do so by any means necessary. Cynical Hardly. That is, after all, why this town was built, and don't, for a minute, think anything else. Otherwise, everything is new in Las Vegas. This town is afflicted with terminal restlessness and must keep finding new ways of attracting visitors who can then be relieved of their money. Heck, by the time we've finished writing this, everything we've written, everything in the whole town, will be outdated, changed, or somehow different. of Las Vegas. (We aren't sure exactly how they calculated it, but it has something to do with the moment land leases were signed.) A Vegas-style blowout (and we mean that in terms of both size and absurdity) never quite materialized, though there were parades and fireworks, and the city brought back Helldorado, the Wild West-themed day that was observed for 60 years but dropped some time ago. Various 100-year-themed exhibits are still on...

To Get Married in Las Vegas

Jesse Garon has appeared in numerous Las Vegas productions as Young Elvis. He arrives at any special event in a 1955 pink, neon-lit Cadillac, and does weddings, receptions, birthdays, conventions, grand openings, and so on. For all your Elvis impersonator needs, call & 877 ELVIS-35 or visit his website, at www.elvis-vegas.com. 7. Wedding bells ring for you everywhere you go. They just sound like slot machines. 2233 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (at Sahara Ave.). & 800 233-2391 or 702 735-6803. www.chapelofthebellslasvegas.com. Mon-Thurs 9am-10pm Fri Sat 9am-1am. Open as late as needed on holidays. 827 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (between Gass and Hoover aves.). & 800 543-2933 or 702 598-4444. www.cupidswedding. com. Weddings by appointment only, hours vary. 619 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (at E. Bonneville Ave.). & 800 824-5732 or 702 382-0091. www.gracelandchapel.com. Sun Thurs 9am 9pm Fri Sat 9am midnight. 1717 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (at E. Oakey Blvd.). & 800 843-2410 or 702 735-4331. www.littlechapel.com....

To Recapture Old Las Vegas

The welcome to las vegas sign south of the Strip 10. The Huntridge Theater at 1208 E. Charleston Oscar B. Goodman is the Mayor of Las Vegas through 2007. Note also that the Rio All-Suite Hotel (p. 99) has an affiliated golf course. Also, Wynn Las Vegas (p. 102) has a state-of-the-art course, but we aren't including it for two reasons as of this writing, it is for guests only and they mean it. If anyone in your party is not also staying at the hotel, they can't play. And the greens fees A mere 500 a person. Call when you get to town to see if they've come to their senses. Angel Park Golf Club (Stff This 36-hole, par-70 71 public course is a local favorite. Arnold Palmer originally designed the Mountain and Palm courses (the Palm Course was redesigned several years later by Bob Cupp). Players call this a great escape from the casinos, claiming that no matter how many times they play it, they never get tired of it. The Palm Course has gently rolling fairways that offer golfers of all...

Where To Stay In Las Vegas

Most motels are on US 85 (Grand Ave.), the main north-south highway through downtown Las Vegas. (An exception is the Plaza Hotel, below.) restaurant, Blackjack's Grill, in Where to Dine in Las Vegas, below. The outdoor pool, open seasonally, is lovely. Ask about regional cultural events that the inn helps organize. 1133 Grand Ave., Las Vegas, NM 87701. & 888 448-8438 or 505 425-6791. www.innonthesantafetrail.com. 42 units. 79 double. Rates include continental breakfast. Extra person 5. AE, DISC, MC, V. Pets accepted 5 fee. Amenities Restaurant (see below) heated outdoor pool. In room A C, TV, coffeemaker. 230 Plaza, Las Vegas, NM 87701. & 800 328-1882 or 505 425-3591. Fax 505 425-9659. www.plazahotel-nm.com. 36 units. 96- 116 double 138- 146 suite. Rates include hot cooked-to-order breakfast. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Amenities Restaurant bar. In room A C, TV, coffeemaker, wireless Internet. There's plenty of camping available in and around Las Vegas. I recommend the Las Vegas KOA (& 800...

RVing in the California Desert Las Vegas

A lazy loop around California's deserts can be made in one long haul or on a series of shorter drives from a central base. From the Palm Springs area, the route fans south and east as far as the Arizona and Mexico borders. From San Bernardino, it radiates east to the Colorado River, northeast to Las Vegas, and north to Death Valley. From Lancaster Palmdale, it runs north into the Owens Valley east of the Sierra Nevada. The whole circuit is about 1,000 miles, plus side trips, but can be divided into a number of shorter trips.

Where To Dine In Las Vegas

Blackjack's Grill STEAKS SEAFOOD Las Vegas needed a fancier restaurant for a long time, and now it has one. The main dining room at Blackjack's is small and cozy, done in brilliant colors with mood lighting. In the warmer months, diners can sit on a patio under white cloth umbrellas. As befits the area, it's a fairly informal restaurant that does fill up, so try to make reservations. Each night the chef serves some special dishes. Most are fairly traditional. I've enjoyed beef medallions in wine sauce served with garlic mashed potatoes. The pasta dishes, such as fettuccine Alfredo, can also be good. A variety of dessert specials are available. Beer and wine are served.

Shipboard Casinos

For all you high-rollers out there, all but the smallest, adventure-oriented ships have casinos. Not surprisingly, the megas have the biggest, flashiest, Vegas-style casinos, full of neon, with literally hundreds of slot machines and dozens of blackjack, poker, and craps tables as well as roulette. Smaller ship lines, like Windstar and Seabourn, have casinos as well, albeit scaled-down ones, with maybe a dozen slots and a couple of blackjack and poker tables. European ships tend to have smaller casinos than American ships (it's a cultural thing). Stakes aboard most ships are relatively low, with maximum bets rarely exceeding 200. Average minimum bets at blackjack and poker tables are generally 5 the minimum at roulette is typically 50i or 1. Children are not allowed in onboard casinos.

Gambling

Many of the larger hotels offer gambling casinos with slot machines and gaming tables. The Gran Hotel has a small casino and the huge pink Hotel Del Rey (Av 1 and Calle 9) has one of the more popular casinos, with a sideshow of middle-aged fishermen in Hawaiian shirts and young ladies of the night. The casinos in the Aurola Holiday Inn and Barcelo Amon serve free buffets for gamblers, while the Gran Hotel and Del Rey will feed you at your table. On several slow evenings we've played blackjack with a one-dollar minimum, feeling rich if we won 3,000 colones and saying, well it's only 10, if we lost. Remember, the house always wins. Rommy is their name for blackjack, and Tute is a kind of poker.

Casinos

As of late 2007, Macau had 27 casinos. Most of them are located at big hotels on the 'casino strip' along Avenida da Amizade, and provide frequent free shuttle service (S 9.30am-midnight) to and from both the ferry terminal and Portas do Cerco. All casinos are open 24 hours. The legal gambling age in Macau is 18 years (21 for Macau residents). Photography is absolutely prohibited inside the casinos. Men cannot wear shorts, even relatively long ones, or a singlet (undershirt) unless they have a shirt over it. Women wearing shorts or sleeveless tops are refused entry, the same for anyone wearing thongs (flip-flops). Though the Mandarin cannot compete with the other casinos listed here, in terms of size and riches, its gentility earns it a name. Run by the consortium from Vegas leading Macau's gambling business renaissance, it has a spacious atrium allowing natural lighting together with a fantastic array of crystal lights. Only high rollers with US 10,000 minimum bets are invited to...

The Casinos

Some like to find their lucky place and stick with it, while others love to take advantage of the nearly endless choices that Vegas offers. Everyone should casino-hop at least once to marvel (or get dizzy) at the decor spectacle and the sheer excess of it all. But beyond decoration, there isn't too much difference. You've got your slot machines, your gaming tables, and your big chandeliers. Don't be a snob, and don't be overly dazzled by the fancy casinos. Sometimes you can have a better time at one of the older places Downtown, where stakes are lower, pretensions are nonexistent, and the clientele is often friendlier. Frankly, real gamblers and by that we don't necessarily mean high rollers, but those who play to win regardless of the amount of said win head straight for Downtown (and most often, straight for Binion's) for these precise reasons, caring not a whit about glitz and glamour. Even if you don't take your gambling as seriously as that, you...

Fast Facts Las Vegas

American Express There is an Amex Travel office located at The Fashion Show Mall, 3200 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV 89109 (& 702 739-8474). Area Code The area code for Las Vegas is 702. Banks Banks are generally open from 9 or 10am to 5 and sometimes 6pm, and most have Saturday hours. ATMs are plentiful all around town. When the banks are closed, note that most casino cashiers will cash personal checks and can exchange foreign currency. See also Money in chapter 2. Business Hours Casinos and most bars are open 24 hours a day, nightclubs are usually only open late at night into the early morning hours, and restaurant and attraction hours vary. Car Rentals See Renting a Car under Getting Around, earlier in this chapter. Conventions Las Vegas is one of America's top convention destinations. Much of the action takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center, 3150 Paradise Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89109 (& 702 892-7575), which is the largest single-level convention center in the world. Its...

Las Vegas Advisor

Professional gambler and longtime Las Vegas resident Anthony Curtis, author of Bargain City Booking, Betting, and Beating the New Las Vegas, knows all the angles for stretching your hotel, restaurant, and, most importantly, gaming dollar. His 12-page monthly newsletter, the Las Vegas Advisor, is chock-full of insider tips on how to maximize your odds on every game, which slot tournaments to enter, casino promotions that represent money-making opportunities for the bettor, where to obtain the best Fun Books (coupon books full of freebies and discounts), which hotel offers a 12-ounce margarita for or a steak dinner for 3, what the best buffet and show values in town are, and much, much more. Subscribers get more than 3,400 worth of coupons for discounts on rooms, meals, show tickets, and car rentals, along with free slot plays, two-for-one bets, and other perks. A subscription is 50 a year, a single issue 5. To subscribe, call & 800 244-2224 or send a check to Las Vegas Advisor, 3687 S....

Las Vegas After Dark

Las Vegas is a town that truly comes alive only at night, and you won't lack for things to do. In addition to the free street shows (see What to See & Do, above), the hotels all have lounges, usually featuring live music, and you haven't truly done Vegas if you don't hit at least one showroom. For up-to-date listings, call the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (& 877 VISITLV) and ask them to send you a free copy of Showguide or What's On in Las Vegas (one or both of which will probably be in your hotel room). You can also check out what's playing at www.visitlasvegas.com. It's best to plan well ahead if you have your heart set on seeing one of the most popular shows.

Las Vegas Environs

Once known as the gateway to New Mexico, Las Vegas (jftjp, a pleasant town in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, was founded by a land grant from the Mexican government in 1835. A group of 29 Spanish colonists planted crops in the area and built a central plaza, which started out as a meeting place and a defense against Indian attack but soon became a main trading center on the Santa Fe Trail. Las Vegas boomed with the advent of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway in 1879 almost overnight, the town became the most important trading center and gathering place in the state. It was one of the largest towns in the Rocky Mountain West, rivaling Denver, Tucson, and El Paso in size. Settlers who arrived by train in the late 19th century shunned the indigenous adobe architecture, favoring building styles more typical of the Midwest or New England. They put up scores of fancy Queen Anne and Victorian-style houses and hotels, and the town is noted to this day for its...

Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a true original there is nothing like it in America or arguably the world. In other cities, hotels are built near the major attractions. Here, the hotels are the major attractions. You can also enjoy great works of art, world-renowned chefs, and rock clubs and arenas that attract major acts. With so many different options available, you don't have to gamble at all As if. Vegas is first and foremost a gambling destination. And though the hotels aren't undercharging for everything anymore in an effort to lure you into gambling round the clock, they still do their best to separate you from your cash. The cheap buffets and meal deals still exist, as do some cut-rate rooms, but both are likely to prove the old adage about getting

Rips Size Counts Sort Of

For those who desire a more informal environment in which to play baccarat, casinos offer minibaccarat, played on a normal-size table no larger than a blackjack table. There is no substantive difference between baccarat and its little brother. It's simply a matter of size and speed the size of your bankroll and the speed with which you may build it (or lose it). Table stakes in minibaccarat tend to be lower, and the hands proceed at a much faster pace.

East Of The Strip

Casino MonteLago We are including this casino in case you find yourself staying in Lake Las Vegas (it's the only casino near the Ritz) or simply in the neighborhood, admiring the lake, or eating at the Ritz (all excellent uses of your time). It's only half the size of Strip casinos, but with exposed wood beams and stonework (in keeping with the location's Italian village theme, it's meant to evoke a 17th-century Tuscan winery PR stuff like that makes us laugh), it has its own style. The very high ceiling gives this an especially low claustrophobia rating, and overall, the absence of neon light madness continues to support the belief that this general area is for grown-ups. Also, we won a truckload of money here twice, so you know we might be a tad biased. There are all the latest slots and video poker, plus the usual mainstay tables, staffed by a sometimes friendly, sometimes surly staff. 8 Strada di Villaggio, Henderson. & 702 939-8888. www.casinomontelago.com. Green Valley Ranch...

Three Questions to Ask Before You Book a Room

Your two main choices for location are the Strip and Downtown. The Strip, home to many of the most dazzling hotels and casinos in Vegas, is undeniably the winner, especially for first-timers, if only because of the sheer, overwhelming force of its Vegas-ness. On the other hand, it is crowded, confining, and strangely claustrophobic. We say strangely claustrophobic because the hotels only look close together In reality, they are situated on large properties, and it's a long (and often very hot or very cold) walk from one place to the next. Contrast that with Downtown, which is nowhere near as striking but is more easily navigated on foot. Within 5 minutes, you can reach more than a dozen different casinos. The Fremont Street upgrade and the Neonopolis entertainment-and-shop-ping complex have turned a rapidly declining area into a very pleasant place to be, and the crowds reflect that They seem nicer and more relaxed, and a calmer atmosphere pervades. Hotels certainly aren't...

By Public Transportation

Or you can hop aboard a classic streetcar replica run by Las Vegas Strip Trolley (& 702 382-1404 www.striptrolley.com). These old-fashioned, dark-green vehicles have interior oak paneling and are comfortably air-conditioned. Like the buses, they run northward from Hacienda Avenue, stopping at all major hotels en route to the Sahara, and then loop back from the Las Vegas Hilton. They do not, however, go to the Stratosphere Casino Hotel & Tower or Downtown. Trolleys run about every 15 minutes daily between 9 30am and 1 30am. The fare is 2 for a single one-way ride or 5 (free for children under age 5) for an all-day pass, and exact change is required. There are also a number of free transportation services, courtesy of the casinos. A free monorail connects Mandalay Bay with Luxor and Excalibur, and a free tram shuttles between The Mirage and TI at the Mirage. Given how far apart even neighboring hotels can be, thanks to their size, and how they seem even farther apart on really hot (and...

Travelers With Disabilities

On the one hand, Las Vegas is fairly well equipped for travelers with disabilities, with virtually every hotel having accessible rooms, ramps, and other requirements. On the other hand, the distance between hotels (particularly on the Strip) makes a vehicle of some sort virtually mandatory for most people with disabilities, and it may be extremely strenuous and time-consuming to get from place to place (even within a single hotel, because of the crowds). Even if you don't intend to gamble, you still may have For more information on safety, see Fast Facts Las Vegas, in chapter 3. Women should also see Women Travelers, later in this chapter. to go through the casino, and casinos can be quite difficult to maneuver in, particularly for a guest in a wheelchair. Casinos are usually crowded, and the machines and tables are often laid out close together, with chairs, people, and such blocking easy access. You should also consider that it is often a long trek through larger hotels between the...

Fore Great Desert Golf

Angel Park Golf Club This 36-hole par-70 71 public course is a local favorite. Arnold Palmer originally designed the Mountain and Palm courses (the Palm Course was redesigned several years later by Bob Cupp). Players call this a great escape from the casinos, claiming that no matter how many times they play it, they never get tired of it. The Palm Course has gently rolling fairways that offer golfers of all abilities a challenging yet forgiving layout. The Mountain Course has rolling natural terrain and gorgeous panoramic views. In addition to these two challenging 18-hole courses, Angel Park offers a night-lit Cloud 9 Course (12 holes for daylight play, 9 at night), where each hole is patterned after a famous par-3. You can reserve tee times up to 60 days in advance with a credit-card guarantee. 5150 Las Vegas Blvd. S. & 888 397-2499. www.waltersgolf.com. Greens fees 155- 325.

Fun Fact When Downtown Ruled

Fremont Street was the hub of Las Vegas for almost 4 decades, before the first casino hotel, El Rancho, opened on the Strip in 1941. In Paris Las Vegas, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. S. & 702 946-7000. Admission Mon-Thurs 9 adults, 7 seniors over 65 and children 6-12, free for children 5 and under Fri-Sun 12 adults, 10 seniors over 65 and children 6-12. Daily 9 30am-12 30am, weather permitting. The Fremont Street Experience is a 5-block open-air landscaped strip of outdoor snack shops, vendor carts, and colorful kiosks purveying food and merchandise. Overhead is a 90-foot-high steel-mesh celestial vault at night, it is the newly revamped Viva Vision, a high-tech light-and-laser show (the canopy is equipped with more than 12.5 million lights) enhanced by a concert-hall-quality sound system that takes place five times nightly. But there's music between shows as well. Not only does the canopy provide shade, but it also cools the area through a misting system in summer and warms you with radiant...

Your Guide To The Best Of Everything

HO Las Vegas Area by Area This Top 10 Travel Guide to Las Vegas divides the exciting city into three areas the Strip, Downtown, and Beyond the Neon. Areas of natural beauty surrounding Las Vegas are divided into two chapters Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and Laughlin and Parks and Preserves. All of these chapters are color-coded the color bands are shown on the map opposite. Almost every place mentioned in the book has a map reference, referring to the large maps of Las Vegas opening out from the flaps. North Las Vegas

The Stcentury Traveler

Anthony Zuiker's Top Seven Las Vegas Movies_ A graduate of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas who's lived in Vegas for 35 years, Anthony Zuiker worked for The Mirage as a graveyard-shift tram driver, bellboy, and ad writer before he was inspired to create CSI, currently the number-one-rated TV show in the country. Here are Zuiker's seven favorite Las Vegas flicks and what he thinks about them Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas It epitomizes the surreal journey of coming to Las Vegas, and it captures the hyper-reality very well. Viva Las Vegas To me, this was the first movie to put Las Vegas on the map, with the King of rock 'n' roll, no less, exemplifying what Vegas was all about, in its true glory days. Back then, times were good, it was all about the gambler, and it was amazing. Leaving Las Vegas It's one of my top five films of all time. The concept of an alcoholic going to Vegas because they never close the bars was a genius dramatic idea. And the way that director Mike Figgis shot...

Tips Inexpensive Hotel Alternatives

Tropicana Ave. & 702 889-1700 Budget Suites of America, 3655 W. Tropicana Ave. & 702 739-1000 Travelodge, 3735 Las Vegas Blvd. S. & 800 578-7878 Paradise Road & Vicinity Econo Lodge, 1150 S. Las Vegas Blvd. & 800 553-2666 East Las Vegas & Vicinity Motel 6 Boulder Highway, 4125 Boulder Hwy. & 800 466-8356 Super 8 Motel, 5288 Boulder Hwy. & 800 825-0880 West Las Vegas & Vicinity Motel 6, 5085 Dean Martin Dr. (South Las Vegas) & 800 466-8356 5111 Boulder Hwy. (at Flamingo Rd.), Las Vegas, NV 89122. & 800 634-6371 or 702 456-7777. Fax 702 454-8014. www.samstownlv.com. 646 units. 50 and up double 140 and up suite. Extra person 10. Children under 16 stay free in parent's room. AE, DC, DISC, MC,V. Free self- and valet parking. Amenities Casino showrooms 18-screen movie theater 56-lane bowling center 5 restaurants plus a food court outdoor pool day-care center for children 3-12 (for a fee) video-game arcade tour desk car-rental desk shuttle to airport Strip...

Reservations Services

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority runs a room-reservations hot line (& 877 VISIT-LV or 702 892-0711 www.visitlasvegas.com) that can be helpful. They can apprise you of room availability, quote rates, contact a hotel for you, and tell you when major conventions will be in town. Other reputable online reservations services that book rooms in Las Vegas are listed in Planning Your Trip Online in chapter 2. so forth. The North Strip gets you Wynn Las Vegas, The Riviera, Sahara, Stardust, and Circus Circus, though with a bit more of a walk between them. For this reason, if mobility is a problem and you want to see more than just your own hotel casino, the South and Mid-Strip locations are probably the best bets.

The Major Production Shows

This category covers all the major Las Vegas production shows and a few of the minor ones as well. In addition to the following, we recommend Rita Rudner's stand-up comedy at Harrah's and Louie Anderson's comic stylings at Excalibur, but we urge you to stay away from the musical family the Scintas at the Sahara a fossilized Vegas act full of near-parody-level lounge singing and jokes at the expense of every ethnicity, handicap, and sexual orientation out there. There is also a new trend of major headliners doing semipermanent but irregular stints in the big showrooms. If you are in town when Elton John is performing The Red Piano on Celine's off days at Caesars Palace, you owe it to yourself to see it (even if the top 275 ticket prices are way over on the ridiculous side it's such a good show that it's worth saving up for). Similarly, Reba McEntire is doing a bunch of shows at the Las Vegas Hilton when Barry Manilow isn't there. There are rumors of everyone from Cher to Bette Midler...

Hotel Shopping Arcades

Just about every Las Vegas hotel offers some shopping opportunities. The following have the most extensive arcades. The physical spaces of these shopping arcades are always open, but individual stores keep unpredictable hours. For addresses and telephone numbers, see the hotels' listings in chapter 5. BALLY'S Bally's Avenue Shoppes consist of around 20 emporia offering, you know, stuff (kitschy card-shop knickknacks and the like). In addition, there are several gift shops, art galleries, and a pool-wear shop. There are blackjack and slot tournaments right in the mall, as well as a race and sports book. You can dispatch the kids to a video arcade here while you shop (or gamble). A recent addition of a walkway to neighbor Paris Las Vegas features more stores and restaurants. EXCALIBUR For the most part, the shops of The Realm reflect the hotel's medieval theme. Dragon's Lair, for example, features items ranging from pewter swords and shields to full suits of armor, and Merlin's Mystic...

Memories of a Longtime Dealer

Lou has been a part of the gaming industry for 40 years, the first 20 of which he spent as a dealer in Las Vegas. Years ago, you had great entertainment. You could go to a lounge and catch better acts than in the showroom. Major stars were in the lounges, or they would come in and sit in with the acts after the showroom closed. Don Rickles Sinatra would get up with him once in a while. Sinatra gave me my first 100 tip. He was playing blackjack. Then he said, 'Do you want to play it or keep it ' I wanted to be polite, so I said, 'Bet it.' And he lost. In those days when the stars would appear on stage, between shows they would come out into the casinos. Sinatra and Sammy would deal. They would blow money, but the casinos didn't care. It was a fun, fun place. The casinos were run the way they were supposed to be run for the customer, not so corporate-minded. In those days, you could go to Vegas, get your room very reasonable, your food was practically free, your shows were practically...

Funeral Directors Look Back at Vegas No Tomorrow

Orthodontists go there, as do architects, computer geeks and gynecologists, TV preachers and township clerks, postal workers and pathologists. There's an abundance of good hotel rooms, cheap eats, agreeable weather. Coming and going is reasonably painless. There's golf and gambling and ogling of girls showgirls of unspeakable beauty and, of course, the mountains, the desert, and the sky. Las Vegas seems perfect for the mortuary crowd a metaphor for the vexed, late-century American soul that seems these days to run between

O Low Cost Food Entertainment

Six light and sound shows, Heartbeat of a Planet, Las Vegas Legends, Dancing In the Street, Odyssey, Kickin' Country, and Classic Rock appear overhead on the hour until midnight in the arcade (see p79). There are street performers and live music on mobile stages, too. Map K4 This free hotel-lobby museum includes bats swung by top baseball players and aerial views of major stadiums. Las Vegas Club, 18 Fremont Street Map K4 The penny slot machines of the early casinos have disappeared from all but a few places such as the Four Queens - you're more likely to spend 45 or even 90 cents with every pull. Four Queens, 202 E. Fremont St Map K4

Valley of Fire State Park fifi

60 miles NE of Las Vegas Most people visualize the desert as a vast expanse of undulating sands punctuated by the occasional cactus or palm-fringed oasis. But the desert of America's Southwest bears little relation to this Lawrence of Arabia image. Stretching for hundreds of miles around Las Vegas in every direction is a seemingly lifeless tundra of vivid reddish earth, shaped by time, climate, and subterranean upheavals into majestic canyons, cliffs, and ridges.

Tips A Breath of Fresh

Las Vegas is one of the few cities in America that welcomes smokers with open arms. Smoking doesn't just exist in the casino hotels, it runs rampant. (Would you like some air with your smoke ) Which is why we were pleasantly shocked when Bellagio's poker room and The Mirage's keno lounge and poker room went completely smoke-free. It seems the hotels are doing their darnedest to attract those most rabid of antismokers Californians. (Right across the border, California is one of Sin City's biggest markets.) satellite equipment that can pick up the broadcast of virtually any sporting event in the world.) The domed VIP slot arena of the Forum Casino (minimum bet is 5, but you can wager up to 1,500 on a single pull ) is a plush, crystal-chandeliered precinct with seating in roomy, adjustable chairs. Gamblers can accumulate bonus points toward cash back, gifts, gratis show tickets, meals, and rooms by joining the Total Rewards players' club, also valid at sister properties like Harrah's,...

Moments A Dining Room or Two with a View

As we keep noting, the Strip at night is a dazzling sight, which is why hotel rooms with Strip views come at such a premium. Regardless of whether you were able to get the proverbial room with a view, consider dining at either the chic Eiffel Tower Restaurant, in Paris Las Vegas, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (& 702 948-6937 daily 11am-3pm and 5 30-10 45pm), located on the 11th floor of said Mid-Strip hotel, or the Stratosphere's Top of the World, in Stratosphere Hotel & Casino, 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (& 702 380-7711 www.topoftheworld lv.com daily 11am-3pm, Sun-Thurs 5 30-10 30pm, Fri-Sat 5 30-11pm), which is almost at the top of the North Strip's Stratosphere Tower, the tallest structure west of the Mississippi. Both offer fantastic views. The latter even revolves 360 degrees, while the former also looks down on the Bellagio fountains. Both, however, also match sky-high views with sky-high prices, and, unfortunately, neither has food worth the price. Go for a special night out, or see if...

Tips on Accommodations

For information on the various types of accommodations that you'll find in Las Vegas, and suggestions for saving on your hotel costs, see chapter 4, Where to Stay. Somebody has to get the best room in the house. It might as well be you. You can start by joining the hotel's frequent-guest program, which may make you eligible for upgrades. A hotel-branded credit card usually gives its owner silver or gold status in frequent-guest programs for free. In the case of Las Vegas, joining a casino hotel's players club may net you upgrade privileges. Always ask about a corner room. They're often larger and quieter, with more windows and light, and they If you aren't happy with your room when you arrive, say so. If another room is available, most lodgings will be willing to accommodate you. And while it may seem hopelessly outdated, the fact is that tipping a desk clerk in Las Vegas if you In Las Vegas, asking the following questions is also useful before you book a room What's the view like...

Where to Stay East of the Strip

Fiesta Henderson 14 Green Valley Ranch Resort 14 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 11 Hawthorn Suites 13 La Quinta Inn 7 Las Vegas Hilton 1 Marriott Suites 3 Motel 6 12 Residence Inn by Marriott 2 Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas 14 Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall 15 Sunset Station 14 Terrible's 8 There are several fine restaurants, including AJ's Steakhouse, a tribute to original owner Peter Morton's dad, who brought us the legendary Morton's. You'll also find Nobu, a branch of highly famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa's wildly popular Japanese restaurant. Kicky and funky Mexican food can be had at lunch and dinner in the Mexican, folk-art-filled Pink Taco (p. 162), while three diner-type meals a day are served at the 22-seat Counter. The Hard Rock's premier restaurant, Mortoni's, is a beauty that serves vast portions of Italian fare. Mr. Lucky s 24 7 (p. 140) is the hotel's 'round-the-clock coffee shop, displaying rock memorabilia and old Las Vegas hotel signs. And the Hard Rock Cafe (p. 137) is...

What To Do If You Get Sick Away From Home

We list hospitals, urgent care centers, and emergency numbers under Fast Facts Las Vegas in chapter 3. For physician referrals, call Desert Springs Hospital (& 702 388-4888) Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and Saturday from 9am to 3pm, except holidays, or 24 hours a day online at www.desertsprings hospital.net.

Landing The Best Room

Somebody has to get the best room in the house. It might as well be you. You can start by joining the hotel's frequent-guest program, which may make you eligible for upgrades. A hotel-branded credit card usually gives its owner silver or gold status in frequent-guest programs for free. In the case of Las Vegas, joining a casino hotel's players club may net you upgrade privileges. Always ask about a corner room. They're often larger and quieter, with more windows and light, and they If you aren't happy with your room when you arrive, say so. If another room is available, most lodgings will be willing to accommodate you. And while it may seem hopelessly outdated, the fact is that tipping a desk clerk in Las Vegas if you

Suggested Itineraries

Spend most of the day casino-hopping. These are buildings like no other (thank goodness). Each grandiose interior tops the last. You'll want to see Wynn Las Vegas, the newest thing going, but also be sure to see The Venetian, Bellagio, The Mirage (including the white tigers), TI at the Mirage (aka Treasure Island), Paris Las Vegas, Caesars Palace (including The Forum Shops and the talking statues), New York-New York, MGM Grand, Luxor, and Excalibur. Then at night, take a drive (if you can) down the Strip. As amazing as all this is during the day, you just can't believe it at night. Aside from just the Strip itself, there are Bellagio's water fountains, which perform to various musical numbers, the dreadful (and even though it's free, still not worth the money) sexy sirens vs. pirate battle at TI at the Mirage, and the volcano explosion next door, at The Mirage. Eat at a buffet (see chapter 5 for details and options) and have a drink at the top of the Stratosphere, goggling at the view...

Buffets Sunday Brunches

Lavish, low-priced buffets are a Las Vegas tradition, designed to lure you to the gaming tables, and to make you feel that you got such a bargain for your meal you can afford to drop more money. They're a gimmick, and we love them. Something about filling up on too much prime rib and shrimp just says Vegas to us. Of course, there is quite a range. Some are just perfunctory steam-table displays and salad bars that are heavy on the iceberg lettuce, while others are unbelievably opulent spreads with caviar and free-flowing champagne. Some are quite beautifully presented, as well. Some of the food is awful, some of it merely works as fuel, and some of it is memorable.

Accommodations East of the Strip

Best Western Mardi Gras Inn 2 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 6 Hawthorn Suites 7 La Quinta Inn 3 Las Vegas Hilton 1 Motel 6 8 Super 8 Motel 5 Terrible's 4 3000 Paradise Rd. (at Riviera Blvd.), Las Vegas, NV 89109. & 888 732-7117 or 702 732-5111. Fax 702 732-5805. www.lvhilton.com. 3,174 units. 49 and up double. Extra person 30. Children under 18 stay free in parent's room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free self- and valet parking. Amenities Casino showrooms 13 restaurants outdoor pool golf course adjacent 6 tennis courts (4 night-lit) health club and spa Jacuzzi car-rental desk business center shopping arcade 24-hr. room service laundry service dry cleaning nonsmoking rooms executive-level rooms. In room A C, TV w pay movies, dataport, hair dryer, iron and board.

Never Do in a Vegas Magic Show

The show's fans (and they are legion) will doubtless yowl, but they survived the movie adaptation, while the rest of us might be a little happier with some of the fat trimmed away, though somewhat befuddled by the plot. The low-down There's a guy in a mask, and he loves a girl who sings, and she loves him, but she also loves another boy, and there are caverns and canals and romance and tragedy and mystery and murder and light opera. Staged on the former site of the failed Guggenheim museum (transformed into a 40-million theater), the musical is even more high-tech than the original Broadway staging, with increased special effects and whatnot (like anything can top that chandelier crash). Phantom is over the top, but then, so is Vegas, and this seems like a good fit. Thursday and Sunday at 7pm and Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 7 and 10pm. At The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S. & 866 641-7469 or 702 414-7469. www.venetian.com.Tickets 82- 157 (plus...

About Red Rock Canyon

In the latter part of the 19th century, Red Rock was a mining site and later a sandstone quarry that provided materials for many buildings in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and early Las Vegas. By the end of World War II, as Las Vegas developed, many people became aware of the importance of preserving the canyon. In 1967, the secretary of the interior designated 62,000 acres as Red Rock Canyon Recreation Lands under the auspices of the Bureau of Land Management, and later legislation banned all development except hiking trails and limited recreational facilities. In 1990, Red Rock Canyon became a National Conservation Area, further elevating its protected status. Its current acreage is 197,000.

Red Rock Canyon

19 miles W of Las Vegas If you need a break from the casinos of Vegas, with their windowless, claustrophobic, noisy interiors, Red Rock Canyon is balm for your overstimulated soul. Less than 20 miles away but a world apart this is a magnificent unspoiled vista that should cleanse and refresh you (and if you must, a morning visit should leave you enough time for an afternoon's gambling). You can drive the panoramic 13-mile Scenic Drive

Family Travel

Family travel can be immensely rewarding, giving you new ways of seeing the world through smaller pairs of eyes. That said, Vegas is hardly an ideal place to bring the kids. For one thing, they're not allowed in casinos at all. Because most hotels are laid out so that you frequently have to walk through their casinos, you can see how this becomes a headache. Some casino hotels will not allow the children of nonguests on the premises after 6pm and this policy is seriously enforced. Note also that the Las Vegas Strip is often peppered with people distributing fliers and other information about decidedly adult entertainment options in the city. Sex is everywhere. Just walking down the Strip might give your kids an eyeful of items that you might prefer they avoid. (They don't call it Sin City for nothing ) If you choose to travel here with the children, see the Especially for Kids section in chapter 6, and the Family-Friendly boxes in chapters 4, 5, and 9 for suggested hotels,...

The Major Games

Before you put your money on the line, it's imperative to know the rules of the game you want to play. Many casinos offer free gambling lessons that include low stakes games, so you won't lose much while you learn. During those instructional sessions (usually held only on weekdays), and even when playing on your own, dealers in most casinos will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Remember, the casino doesn't need to trick you into losing your money . . . the odds are already in their favor across the board that's why it's called gambling. Another rule of thumb Take a few minutes to watch a game being played in order to familiarize yourself with the motions and lingo. Then go back and reread this section things will make a lot more sense at that point Good luck Note In this section we give you some basic tips and explanations for a few of the major games you'll find in Vegas. It's by no means comprehensive, so if you're a novice and plan on sampling all of the...

Free Transportation

There are a number of free transportation services, courtesy of the casinos. A free monorail connects Mandalay Bay with Luxor and Excalibur, another connects Bellagio with the Monte Carlo (though it's out of commission for all of 2004 due to renovations), and a free tram shuttles between The Mirage and Treasure Island. Given how far apart even neighboring hotels can be, thanks to their size, and how they seem even farther apart on really hot days, these are blessed additions and the more tourists who take them, the less traffic there might be on the Strip. FAST FACTS Las Vegas_ American Express There are about a dozen offices in town, but the closest one to the Strip is located inside the MGM Grand Hotel at 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (corner of Tropicana & 702 739-8474). Area Codes The area code for Las Vegas is 702. Babysitters Contact Around the Clock Child Care (& 800 7986768 or 702 365-1040). In business since 1987, this reputable company clears its sitters with the health...

Downtown

Avenue, including the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, the Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor, and many more hotels and casinos. Mid-Strip is a long stretch of the street between Harmon Avenue and Spring Mountain Road, including Bellagio, Caesars, The Mirage and TI at the Mirage (formerly Treasure Island), Bally's, Paris Las Vegas, The Flamingo Las Vegas, and Harrah's, among other hotels and casinos. The North Strip stretches north from Spring Mountain Road all the way to the Stratosphere Casino Hotel & Tower and includes Wynn Las Vegas, Stardust, Sahara, The Riviera, and Circus Circus, to name a few of the accommodations and attractions. This area has grown up around the Las Vegas Convention Center. Las Vegas is one of the nation's top convention cities, attracting around 3 million conventioneers each year. The major hotel in this section is the Las Vegas Hilton, but in recent years, Marriott has built Residence Inn and Courtyard properties here, and the Hard Rock Hotel is a major draw....

Sports Books

Most of the larger hotels in Las Vegas have sports-book operations, which look a lot like commodities-futures trading boards. In some, almost as large as theaters, you can sit comfortably, occasionally in recliners and sometimes with your own video screen, and watch ball games, fights, and, at some casinos, horse races on huge TV screens. To add to your enjoyment, there's usually a deli bar nearby that serves sandwiches, hot dogs, soft drinks, and beer. As a matter of fact, some of the best sandwiches in Las

Traveling With Pets

Las Vegas is not a very pet-friendly town, at least not for visitors. The Four Seasons (p. 71) is the only hotel on the Strip that allows pets, and because it's one of the most expensive hotels in town, you may find it more economical to leave Fluffy or Fido with a sitter. With the exceptions of helper-animals for persons with disabilities and Chihuahuas owned by Paris Hilton (which can apparently go anywhere they darned well please), pets are also not allowed in most public places, like casinos and restaurants. But if you can't bear the thought of leaving Snookums at home, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (& 877 VISIT-LV or 702 892-0711 www.visitlasvegas.com) can provide you with a list of pet-friendly lodgings away from the Strip, or you can check out the following websites petswelcome. com (www.petswelcome.com), PetTravel. com (www.pettravel.com), and Travel Pets (www.travelpets.com).

Inexpensive

Circus Circus Hotel Casino & Kids It's a last bastion of family-friendly Las Vegas, but still isn't what it ought to be, thanks to a reconfiguring a few years ago that took the pervasive Jumbo the Clown decorating scheme and turned it into somewhat more tasteful, more The thousands of rooms here occupy sufficient acreage to warrant a free Disney World-style aerial shuttle (another kid pleaser) and minibuses connecting its many components. Tower rooms have newish, just slightly better-than-average furnishings. The Manor section comprises five white three-story buildings out back, fronted by rows of cypresses. Manor guests can park at their doors, and a gate to the complex that can be opened only with a room key assures security. These rooms are usually among the least expensive in town, but we've said it before and we'll say it again You get what you pay for. A renovation of these rooms added a coat of paint and some new photos on the wall, but not much else. All sections of this vast...

Blackjack

The dealer starts the game by dealing each player two cards. In some casinos, they're dealt to the player faceup, in others facedown, but the dealer always gets one card up and one card down. Everybody plays against the dealer. The object is to get a total that is higher than that of the dealer without exceeding 21. All face cards count as 10 all other number cards, except aces, are counted at their face value. An ace may be counted as 1 or 11, whichever you choose it to be.

Staying Active

You need not be a slot-hypnotized slug when you come to Vegas. The city and surrounding areas offer plenty of opportunities for active sports. In addition to many highly rated golf courses (described above), just about every hotel has a large swimming pool and health club, and tennis courts abound. All types of watersports are offered at Lake Mead National Recreation Area there's rafting on the Colorado, horseback riding at Mount Charleston and Bonnie Springs, great hiking in the canyons, and much, much more. Do plan to get out of those smoke-filled casinos and into the fresh air once in a while. It's good for your health and your finances. South Coast, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. (& 702 796-7400), opened in 2006 and features a 64-lane facility with a similar divided layout to its sister at Suncoast. It has all the latest gee-whiz scoring and automation plus the usual facilities. Open 24 hours. ROCK CLIMBING Red Rock Canyon , just 19 miles west of Las Vegas, is one of the world's most...

The Possible Bets

FIELD This is a bet for one roll only. The Field consists of seven numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12. If any of these numbers is thrown on the next roll, you win even money, except on 2 and 12, which pay 2 to 1 (at some casinos 3 to 1). HARD WAY BETS In the middle of a craps table are pictures of several possible dice combinations together with the odds the casino will pay you if you bet and win on any of those combinations being thrown. For example, if double 3s or 4s are rolled and you had bet on them, you will be paid 7 to 1. If double 2s or 5s are rolled and you had bet on them, you will be paid 9 to 1. If either a 7 is rolled or if the number you bet on was rolled any way other than the Hard Way, then the bet is lost. In-the-know gamblers tend to avoid Hard Way bets as an easy way to lose their money. ANY CRAPS Here you're lucky if the dice crap out if they show 2, 3, or 12 on the first roll after you bet. If this happens, the bank pays 7 to 1. Any other number is a loser. PLACE...

General Index

Babysitters, 55-56 Baccarat, 213-214 Bali Hai Golf Club, 206 Bally's Las Vegas for disabled travelers, 32 Car travel, 43-44, 49-54 highway conditions, 57 Cashman Field Center, 56 Casino gambling, 3-4, 210-238 bookstores, 246 dealer's tips, 227 games, 213-224 Lost Vegas Gambling 223-224 tipping, 62 Casino MonteLago, 234 Casinos, 224-238 Downtown, 235-238 East of the Strip, 234-235 Mid-Strip, 228-232 North Strip, 232-234 South Strip, 225-228 CAT (Citizens Area Transit) Las Vegas), 243 Cupid's Wedding Chapel, 198 Curfew law, 249 Currency and currency Shuttle, 50 Double Down Saloon, 18, 271 Downtown (Glitter Gulch), 49 accommodations, 66, 116-120 casinos, 235-238 restaurants, 170-174, 180-181 Drai's After Hours, 276 accommodations, 108-116 casinos, 234-235 restaurants, 158-165, 179-180 Echelon Place, 3 Echo Bay, 289 sights and activities, 202-204 Fashion Outlets Las Vegas, 240-241 Fashion Show, 239-240 Fax machines, 61 Fitzgeralds, 237 The Flamingo Las Vegas casino, 230 Gambler's Book...

Staying Healthy

By and large, Las Vegas is like most other major American cities in that the water is relatively clean, the air is relatively clear, and illness-bearing insects and animals are rare. However, in a city with this many people coming and going from all over the world, there are a couple of specific concerns worth noting. Over the past few years, there have been a few outbreaks of norovirus at Las Vegas hotels. This virus, most commonly associated with cruise ships, is rarely serious but can turn your vacation into a very unpleasant experience of intestinal illness. Because it is spread by contact, you can protect yourself by washing your hands often, especially after touching all of those slot machines. Food preparation guidelines in Las Vegas are among the strictest in the world, but when you're dealing with the sheer volume that this city is, you're bound to run into trouble every now and then. All restaurants are required by law to display a health certificate and letter grade (A, B,...

Dance Clubs

Pinball, and various other arcade games plus slot machines, video poker, and a sports book. Other neat touches include tarot-card readings by the stairs and hot-pizza vendors. And let's not forget those Jell-O shot contests where club-goers try to eat shaky cubes of alcohol-spiked gelatin off each other's partially bared bodies. cigar lounges off the disco, draped VIP booths, and plenty of little nooks and crannies. Current dance music (mostly techno) is on the soundtrack. The later you go, the more likely the mid-to-upper-20s clientele will be entirely local. Open Wednesday through Saturday from 10pm until 4am. In Luxor Las Vegas, 3900 Las Vegas Blvd. S. & 702 262-4000. Cover 5- 15. dinner is a good deal. Then dance it all off all night long (the club is open 'til 2am on weeknights, 'til 4am Thurs-Sat night). In Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S. & 702 632-7408. Cover 10- 20. Utopia (Finds According to the old Scope magazine, Utopia was less a discotheque and more a revolution...

Moderate

Bally's Las Vegas With all the fancy-pants new hotels in town, it's hard to keep up with the Joneses, or the Wynns, as the case may be. And here's poor Bally's, with a perfect location, and it's got no big fountain or Eiffel Tower or anything to make a passerby think Gotta go gamble there, much less a tourist booking long distance to think Gotta stay there. And we aren't really going to make you change your mind, though lately, we might give you a reason to consider it. After all, you can get a room for a ridiculously low rate these days, and those rooms, which are larger than average, have been redone to an admirable degree, with some swell touches, including modern curvy couches, big TVs, wireless Internet access, and marble this and that. The public areas still feel a little dated, but the hotel is connected to its sister property, Paris Las Vegas, which is swanky and modern enough. Also, it's a stop on the monorail system, so you'll be able to go just about everywhere by foot or...

Very Expensive

Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas kir-k Kids Various mammoth Vegas hotels attempt to position themselves as luxury resorts, insisting that service and fine cotton sheets can be done on a mass scale. But there is only one true luxury resort in some people's eyes, the luxury resort in town (see later in this chapter for two more luxury options in Henderson), located on the top five floors of Mandalay Bay, though in many ways, the Four Seasons is light-years away. A separate driveway and portico entrance, plus an entire registration area, set you up immediately. This is one fancy hotel in town where you are not greeted, even at a distance, with the clash and clang of slots and the general hubbub that is the soundtrack to Vegas. 3960 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV 89119. & 877 632-5000 or 702 632-5000. Fax 702 632-5195. www.four seasons.com. 424 units. 200 and up double 400 and up suite. Extra person 30. Children 17 and under stay free in parent's room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free self- and...

Driving Safety

Because driving on the outskirts of Las Vegas for example, coming from California involves desert driving, you must take certain precautions. It's a good idea to check your tires, water, and oil before leaving. Take at least 5 gallons of water in a clean container that can be used for either drinking or the radiator. Pay attention to road signs that suggest when to turn off your car's air conditioner. And don't push your luck with gas it may be 35 miles, or more, between stations. If your car overheats, do not remove the radiator cap until the engine has cooled, and then remove it very slowly. Add water to within an inch of the top of the radiator.

Visitor Information

All major Las Vegas hotels provide comprehensive tourist information at their reception and or sightseeing and show desks. Other good information sources are the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 3150 Paradise Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89109 (& 877 VISIT-LV or 702 892-7575 www.vegasfreedom.com), open daily from 8am to 5pm the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, 3720 Howard Hughes Pkwy., 100, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (& 702 735-1616 www.lvchamber.com), open Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm and, for information on all of Nevada, including Las Vegas, the Nevada Commission on Tourism (& 800 638-2328 www. travelnevada.com), open 24 hours.

City Layout

There are two main areas of Las Vegas the Strip and Downtown. For many people, that's all there is to Las Vegas. But there is actually more to the town than that Although maybe not as glitzy and glamorous as the Strip and Downtown okay, definitely not Paradise Road and east Las Vegas are home to quite a bit of casino action, Maryland Parkway boasts mainstream and alternative-culture shopping, and there are different restaurant choices all over the city. Confining yourself to the Strip and Downtown is fine for the first-time visitor, but repeat customers (and you will be) should get out there and explore. Las Vegas Boulevard South (the Strip) is the starting point for addresses any street crossing it will start with 1 East and 1 West (and go up from there) at its intersection with the Strip.

List of Maps

Las Vegas & Environs 7 Las Vegas at a Glance 48 Where to Stay on the South Strip 73 Where to Stay Mid-Strip 87 Where to Stay on the North Strip 103 Where to Stay East of the Strip 109 Where to Stay Downtown 117 Where to Dine on the South Strip 131 Where to Dine Mid-Strip 141 Where to Dine on the North Strip 155 of the Strip 167 Where to Dine Downtown 171 Las Vegas Attractions 185 Henderson 201 Excursions from Las Vegas 285 Lake Mead & Vicinity 289 Area 51 301

Where to Dine

Among the images that come to mind when people think of Las Vegas are food bargains so good the food is practically free. They think of the buffets all a small country can eat for only 3.99 All that is true, but frankly, eating in Las Vegas is no longer something you don't have to worry about budgeting for. The buffets are certainly there no good hotel would be without one as are the cheap meal deals, but you get what you pay for. Some of the cheaper buffets, and even some of the more moderately priced ones, are mediocre at best, ghastly and inedible at worst. And we don't even want to think about those 69 beef stew specials.

Entry Requirements

For information on how to get a passport, go to Passports in the Fast Facts Las Vegas section of chapter 3 the websites listed there provide downloadable passport applications as well as the current fees for processing passport applications. For an up-to-date, country-by-country listing of passport requirements around the world, go to the Foreign Entry Requirement Web page of the U.S. State Department, at http travel.state.gov. For information on how to get a visa, go to Visas in the Fast Facts Las Vegas section of chapter 3. WHAT YOU CAN BRING INTO LAS VEGAS WHAT YOU CAN TAKE HOME FROM LAS VEGAS Canadian Citizens

Passports

For information on how to get a passport, go to Passports in the Fast Facts Las Vegas section of chapter 3 the websites listed there provide downloadable passport applications as well as the current fees for processing passport applications. For an up-to-date, country-by-country listing of passport requirements around the world, go to the Foreign Entry Requirement Web page of the U.S. State Department, at http travel.state.gov.

Accommodations

Bally's Las Vegas, 14,101 Barbary Coast Hotel & Casino, 101-102 Bellagio, 12-13, 86-89 Best Western Mardi Gras Inn, Excalibur, 80, 82-83 Fairfield Inn by Marriott, 113 Fiesta Henderson, 74, 91 Fiesta Rancho, 75, 91 Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel, 118 The Flamingo Las Vegas, 94-95 Four Queens, 118-119 Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, 13, 108,110 Harrah's Las Vegas, 95-97 Hawthorn Suites, 113-114 Henderson & Boulder Highway La Quinta Inn, 112 Las Vegas Hilton, 10-11,14, 110-111 Luxor Las Vegas, 80, 83-84 Main Street Station, 14,120 Mandalay Bay, 12,13, Casino, 13, 14, 77-78, 81 Northwest Las Vegas JW Marriott, 90 Orleans, 86 Palace Station, 91 Palms Casino Resort, 13,98 Paris Las Vegas Casino Casino, 78-79 Red Rock Resort, 122-123 Residence Inn by Marriott, 112 Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, 99 Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas,

Especially for Kids

Like much of the rest of the world, you may be under the impression that Las Vegas has evolved from an adults-only fantasyland into a vacation destination suitable for the entire family. The only explanation for this myth is that Las Vegas was referred to as Disneyland for adults by so many and for so long that the town became momentarily confused and decided it actually was Disneyland. Some of the gargantuan hotels then spent small fortunes on redecorating in an attempt to lure families with vast quantities of junk food and a lot of hype. They now vehemently deny that any such notion ever crossed their collective minds, and, no, they don't know how that roller coaster got into the parking lot. To put things simply, Las Vegas makes money lots and lots of money by promoting gambling, drinking, and sex. These are all fine pursuits if you happen to be an adult, but if you haven't reached the magical age of 21, you really don't count in this town. In any case, the casinos and even the...

Factory Outlets

Las Vegas has a big factory-outlet center just a few miles past the southern end of the Strip (see below). If you don't have a car, you can take a no. 301 CAT bus from anywhere on the Strip and change at Vacation Village to a no. 303. You can see from the review below that it doesn't do much for us, which is why we usually head to Primm to drop more money than we do at the tables (Williams-Sonoma outlet, how we love you). Fashion Outlets Las Vegas Dedicated bargain hunters (we stop here every time we drive by) may want to make the roughly 40-minute drive along I-15 to this big outlet complex, right on the border of California and Nevada. (There's also a shuttle from the MGM Grand or the mall at Planet Hollywood. Round-trip fare is 15 and includes a savings book for discounts at the outlets. Also, check the website for a shuttle discount coupon.) On your left is a large factory outlet with some designer names prominent enough to make the trip worthwhile Kenneth Cole, Coach, Gap, Banana...

When to Go

Most of a Las Vegas vacation is usually spent indoors, so you can have a good time here year-round. The most pleasant seasons in this area are spring and fall, especially if you want to experience the great outdoors. First of all, Vegas isn't always hot, but when it is, it's really hot. One thing you'll hear again and again is that even though Las Vegas gets very hot, the dry desert heat is not unbearable. This is true. (We know this because we spent a couple days there in 104 F weather and lived to say, It wasn't all that bad, not really. ) Still, the humidity averages a low 22 , and even on very hot days, there's apt to be a breeze. Also, except on the hottest summer days, there's relief at night, when temperatures often drop by as much as 20 F. Las Vegas's Average Temperatures ( F C) & Precipitation But this is the desert, and it's not hot all year round. It can get quite cold, especially in the winter, when at night it can drop to 30 F (-1 C) and lower. Although rare, it does snow...

Sahara

The ultimate excursion from Las Vegas. Whether their trip is by airplane, bus, or automobile, most visitors say the experience is unforgettable (see pp 16-19). Las Vegas National Golf Course Las Vegas National Golf Course Nowhere are the glitz and glitter of Las Vegas, or its ambivalence, so apparent as along the Strip. This 4-mile (6-km) long thoroughfare (actually a section of Las Vegas Boulevard) is the entertainment capital of the world and home to many of the largest hotels and casinos on the planet The extravaganza of both its adult entertainment and family favorites makes Las Vegas a city of superlatives. The Strip is a master of reinvention, selling itself on seemingly contradictory values hedonism one decade, family fun the next You're on vacation -why not have doughnuts for breakfast Delicious Krispy Kreme doughnuts, current food fad of the western USA, are on sale at Excalibur, at the entrance to Treasure Island, and in other Strip casinos. Map M3-R2 General information Las...

The Strip

The Strip is probably the most famous 4-mile stretch of highway in the nation. Officially called Las Vegas Boulevard South, it contains most of the top hotels in town and offers almost all the major showroom entertainment. First-time visitors will, and probably should, spend the bulk of their time on the Strip. If mobility is a problem, we suggest basing yourself in a South or Mid-Strip location. Las Vegas at a Glance

By Monorail

The first leg of a high-tech monorail opened in 2004, offering riders their first and best shot of getting from one end of the Strip to the other with a minimum of frustration and expense. The 4-mile route runs from the MGM Grand at the southern end of the Strip to the Sahara at the northern end, with stops at Paris Bally's, The Flamingo, Harrah's, the Las Vegas Convention Center, and the Las Vegas Hilton along the way. Note that some of the actual physical stops are not as geographically close to their namesakes, so there can be an unexpected and sometimes time-consuming additional walk from the monorail stop to wherever you intended to go. Factor in this time accordingly.

The Weather

First of all, Vegas isn't always hot, but when it is, it's really hot. One thing you'll hear again and again is that even though Las Vegas gets very hot, the dry desert heat is not unbearable. This is true. (We know this because we spent a couple days there in 104 F weather and lived to say, It wasn't all that bad, not really. ) Still, the humidity averages a low 22 , and even on very hot days, there's apt to be a breeze. Also, except on the hottest summer days, there's relief at night, when temperatures often drop by as much as 20 F. Las Vegas's Average Temperatures ( F C) & Precipitation But this is the desert, and it's not hot all year round. It can get quite cold, especially in the winter, when at night it can drop to 30 F (-1 C) and lower. Although rare, it does snow occasionally in Las Vegas. (The winter of 1998-99 dropped nearly 2 inches of snow on the Strip. There's nothing quite like the sight of Luxor's Sphinx covered in snow.) The breeze can also become a cold, biting,...

Expensive

Bally's Las Vegas With all the fancy-pants new hotels in town, it's so hard to keep up with the Joneses, or the Wynns as the case may be. Poor Bally's, with a perfect location, has no big fountain or Eiffel Tower or anything to make a tourist booking long distance to think right, gotta stay there. And we aren't really going to make you change your mind, though lately, we might give you a reason to consider it. After all, you can get a room for a ridiculously low rate these days, and those rooms, which are larger than average, have recently been redone to an admirable degree, with some swell touches including modern curvy couches, big TVs, wireless Internet access, and marble this and that. The public areas still feel dark and dated, but the hotel is connected to its swanky sister property, Paris Las Vegas, which is modern enough. Also, it will be a stop on the new monorail system, so you'll be able to go just about everywhere by foot or train, and, thanks to those nice new rooms,...

Souvenirs

If you prefer your souvenirs to be less deliberately ironic, head over to the Bonanza Gift and Souvenir Shop, 2460 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (& 702 384-0005). We looked, and we felt the tackiest item available was the pair of earrings made out of poker chips. If you like your souvenirs with more style (spoilsports), Cirque de Soleil's O has a gift shop in Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (& 702 693-7444), with Cirque-specific articles, but also fanciful pottery, masks, and other curiosities.

Comedy Clubs

Comedy Club The Riviera's comedy club, on the second floor of the Mardi Gras Plaza, showcases several comedians nightly. They are usually nobody you've ever heard of, and the place tends to draw a breed of comic that goes for the gross-out, insult-every-minority brand of humor instead of actual humor. Daily 8 30 and 10 30pm. In The Riviera Hotel & Casino, 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. S. & 800 634-6753 or 702 734-9301. Tickets 18. Comedy Stop Similar to the other comedy clubs in town, the Comedy Stop features several of what they call nationally known comedy headliners nightly, although let's just say you shouldn't expect to see Jerry Seinfeld performing here anytime soon. Daily 8 and 10 30pm. In Tropicana Resort & Casino, 3801 Las Vegas Blvd. S. & 800 468-9494 or 702 739-2411. Tickets 20 (includes tax, tip, and 1 drink). The Improv (Stff This offshoot of Budd Friedman's famed comedy club (the first one opened in 1963 in New York City) presents about four comedians per show in a 400-seat...

Headliner Stadiums

Two arenas are worth a special mention since they often feature major entertainers. Sam Boyd Stadium, the outdoor stadium at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), has been host to such major acts as Paul McCartney, U2, the Eagles, and Metallica. Thomas and Mack Center, the university's indoor arena, has a more comprehensive concert schedule, including such names as Van Halen and Michael Bolton, as well as such shows as Disney on Ice and the Rin-gling Bros. Circus. Both are located on the UNLV campus at Boulder Highway and Russell Road (& 702 895-3900). Ticketmaster (& 702 474-4000) handles ticketing for both arenas. Vary, but usually 8pm. Reservations You can buy tickets as soon as shows are announced lead time varies with each artist. In Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S. & 877 632-7400 or 702 632-7600. www.hob.com. Center for the Performing Arts In the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (& 877 333-WISH 333-9474 or 702 785-5555) Las Vegas Hilton...

Coffeehouses

It could be a sign of how stagnant local Vegas culture is that there aren't very many coffeehouses in town. There may be others open by the time you read this, and if you are looking for a break from the usual Vegas glitter, it would be worth dropping by one to see what passes for local alt-culture. They should offer live music and or poetry readings check the listings in Las Vegas Weekly and City Life for details (or just call the place in question).

Hoover Dam Lake Mead

30 miles SE of Las Vegas This is one of the most popular excursions from Las Vegas. Hoover Dam is visited by 2,000 to 3,000 people daily. Why should you join them Because Hoover Dam is an engineering and architectural marvel, and it changed the Southwest forever. Without it, you wouldn't even be going to Vegas. Kids may be bored, unless they like machinery or just plain big things, but expose them to it anyway, for their own good. (Buy them ice cream and a Hoover Dam snow globe as a bribe.) Obviously, if you are staying at Lake Mead, it's a must. Excursions from Las Vegas

Value Quick Bites

Food courts are a dime a dozen in Vegas, but the one in New York-New York, 3790 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (& 702 740-6969), deserves a mention for two reasons It's the nicest setting for this sort of thing on the Strip, sitting in the Greenwich Village section of New York-New York, which means scaled replica tenement buildings, steam rising from the manhole covers, and more than a little (faux, naturally) greenery, a nice change from unrelentingly shrill plastic mall decor. The selections are the usual, with one exception listed below (Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdom), but it's a better-than-average food court, with Chinese food and pizza (as befitting an ode to NYC), and excellent if expensive (for this situation) double-decker burgers, plus Schraft's ice cream. The Monte Carlo, 3770 Las Vegas Blvd. S., between Flamingo Road and Tropicana Avenue (& 702 730-7777), has some surprisingly good options, too. Sure, there's the always-reliable McDonald's, and for sweets there is Haagen-Dazs, but...

Downtown Moderate

Golden Nugget Buffet BUFFET This buffet has often been voted number one in Las Vegas. Most of the seating is in plush booths. The buffet tables are laden with an extensive salad bar (about 50 items), fresh fruit, and marvelous desserts, including the famous bread pudding made from the secret recipe of Zelma Wynn (Steve's mom). Fresh seafood is featured every night. Most lavish is the all-day Sunday champagne brunch, which adds such dishes as eggs Benedict, blintzes, pancakes, creamed herring, and smoked fish with bagels and cream cheese.

Getting Married

This is one of the most popular things to do in Las Vegas. Why It's very easy to get married here. Too easy. See that total stranger standing next to you Grab him or her and head down to the Clark Country Marriage License Bureau, 200 S. 3rd St., at Briger Avenue (& 702 455-3156 open daily 8am-midnight, 24 hr. legal holidays), to get your license. Find a wedding chapel (not hard You can also call Las Vegas Weddings and Rooms (& 800 488-MATE), which offers one-stop shopping for wedding services. They'll find a chapel or outdoor garden that suits your taste (not to mention such only-in-Vegas venues as the former mansions of Elvis Presley and Liberace) book you into a hotel for the honeymoon arrange the ceremony and provide flowers, a photographer (or videographer), a wedding cake, a limo, car rental, music, champagne, balloons, and a garter for the bride. Basically, they can arrange anything you like. Theme weddings are a specialty. be pleased to know the cupids are only in the lobby.)...

Getting There

Everybody knows Las Vegas is the best town by a dam site. Masthead slogan of the Las Vegas Review-Journal If you would rather go on an organized tour, check out Gray Line (& 800 6346579 www.grayline.com), which offers a Hoover Dam package that includes a buffet lunch and a side trip to the Ethel M Chocolate factory. When you're in Las Vegas, look for discount coupons in the numerous free publications available at hotels. The 7 4-hour Deluxe Hoover Dam Tour departs daily at 7 30am the price is 49, and admission to the dam's Discovery Tour is an additional .

Rips Bathroom Break

Be the enormous outdoor patio lounge, where personal space is at a premium, and you know what that means . . . well, that, plus an up, party-vibe atmosphere, provided that the sight of dancing female pirates (it still overlooks the renamed Sirens of TI) doesn't ruin your groove. Open Tuesday through Saturday 6pm until late, shows start at 10 45pm. In TI at The Mirage, 3300 Las Vegas Blvd. S. & 702 894-7111. Cover varies. Tommy Rocker's Cantina & Grill Tommy Rocker is the owner surely he wasn't born with that name and he plays his club every Friday and Saturday night, mixing bar-band standards with '80s and '90s hits. It's a one-man show, with Strip musicians dropping by after their own shifts are done. (Occasionally, local bands are permitted to play, as well.) The place got a makeover in 2005 2006, changing from a Parrothead-style party bar to a more upscale lounge feel, and more changes are on the way Rocker received approval to build a 46-story condominium tower on the site but...

Finds Worth a Trip

A true foodie in Las Vegas should make a point of finding the nearest moving vehicle that can get them to Rosemary's Restaurant fflfXH, 8125 W. Sahara (& 702 8692251). A 15-minute (or so) drive west on Sahara (hardly anything) is all it takes to eat what may well be the best food in town. The brainchild of Michael and Wendy Jordan, both veterans of the New Orleans food scene, Rosemary's Restaurant shows more than a few NOLA touches, from the food to the service, in a room that's warmer and more inviting than most others in Vegas. bread, which is then pressed and flattened out) is huge and tasty. For only 3.50, the latter makes a fine change-of-pace meal. 1145 Las Vegas Blvd. S. & 702 388-1906. Reservations not accepted. Main courses 6.50 10, paella (for 3) 20.AE, DISC, MC,V. Tues Sun 11am 9 30pm.

Grand Canyon Tours

Generally, tourists visiting Las Vegas don't drive 300 miles to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon, but dozens of sightseeing tours depart from the city daily. In addition to the Gray Line tours described in chapter 6, a major operator, Scenic Airlines (& 800 634-6801 or 702 638-3300 www.scenic.com), runs several tours, including its most popular a deluxe, full-day guided air-ground tour for 279 per person ( 249 for children 2-11) the price includes a bus excursion through the national park, a flight over the canyon, and lunch. All scenic tours include flightseeing. The company also offers both full-day and overnight tours with hiking.

Sweet Sensations

Jean-Philippe Patisserie (in Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S. & 702 6938788) makes us swoon, not just because it has the world's largest chocolate fountain (20 ft. high Though only 11 ft. are on view, and they won't let us drink from it. Darn.), but perhaps, more to the point, it's the home of World Pastry Champion Jean-Philippe Maury. (Yes, you can win gold medals for pastries.) Each visit causes us to spin around distractedly, trying to take in all the choices, both visually and gastronomically. From perfect gourmet chocolates to ice cream (diet-conscious folks will be relieved to learn the sorbets are excellent) to the eponymous pastries (each a little work of art), we hit greed overload. For us, this is true Vegas decadence if only what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas applied to calories. Our current favorites include a witty-looking version of lemon meringue pie that was proclaimed by one aficionado of same her favorite ever, to a chocolate hazelnut bomb with so many layers of...

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