Las Vegas, NV

Destination Location

Las Vegas, Nevada
Hotel reviews summary
5.0

Our guest rating from 6 reviews

Overview

Las Vegas is a world-class tourist playground that offers excitement, fun and relaxation all in one colourful region. It's a city that continually reinvents itself, so new adventures can always be found, whether you're a first-timer or a regular visitor.

Rollercoasters to high-rollers, Vegas caters to everyone

Even if you're a cost-conscious parent looking for a destination that will please the entire family, you'll find everything from gigantic swimming pools to thrill rides in Vegas. If you're a high-roller, the casinos in Las Vegas are like no others in the world.

Neon is never out of style here

In 1959, when the colourful neon sign reading "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" went up, only a few hotels dotted what's now commonly referred to as the Strip. Today, Las Vegas certainly lives up to its fabulous and famous reputation.

From airstrip to the main strip

Get your first glimpse of the high-rise resorts through the windows of your aircraft. As you taxi toward the terminal at McCarran International Airport (where more than 40 million passengers arrive annually), it feels as though you can almost reach out and touch the pyramid-shaped Luxor Hotel and Casino. When the airport was built, it was well south of the action. But just like the city's now-famous welcome sign, the airport is now in the middle of all the action.

Dive into all things Vegas

When you arrive, you'll find yourself asking, "What will we do first?" Depending on the time of day, you might want to cool off with a dive into the inviting water of your hotel pool. Or, if you're hungry, it may be time to check out the restaurant scene, where you'll find dining choices to suit every taste.

Sleep is overrated

Of course, if what you really want is a roll of the dice or a flip of a card, the glitz and glamour of the casinos here welcome visitors around the clock. In Vegas, you'll always have plenty of choices for how to spend your time and it's sure to be fabulous.

Las Vegas is a fantastic destination for:

  • nightlife
  • live shows
  • shopping and dining

Destination basics

The climate here in Las Vegas has been drawing vacationers for decades. Expect to spend plenty of time outdoors and be sure to pack sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. When you bring up the subject of heat with locals, they are usually quick to mention that despite hot temperatures, Vegas experiences little humidity. This dry heat and endless sunshine make for great weather.

But don’t let the fact that Las Vegas sits in the middle of a desert fool you into thinking shorts and T-shirts are the only thing you’ll need to pack. At an elevation of about 670 metres, this region is known as “high desert.” During the winter, overnight temperatures occasionally dip below freezing, so you’ll need to wear a sweater or a jacket. But you can leave your umbrella at home. Rain is rare here and the Las Vegas Valley averages only a mere 10 centimetres each year.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Las Vegas, NV

Non-stop gaming action and nightclubs that don’t close until the sun rises are both part of the vibrant Las Vegas culture. But this city, dubbed the Entertainment Capital of the World, can really be anything you want it to be – even if that simply means working on your tan poolside.

Las Vegas is certainly no longer a quiet little railroad town. An enormous building boom has pushed the number of hotel rooms here to almost 150,000 in 2010. About a tenth of those are in hotels on the bustling corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue. The mega-resorts host 40 million guests each year and while many visitors come for conventions, the majority come for weekend getaways and longer vacations.

Las Vegas is also the largest city in Nevada, with a growing population of 583,000 people. The surrounding Clark County is home to nearly 2 million people, many of whom work in the service industry. Forty years ago, the county’s population was a mere 273,000.

When visiting Las Vegas, you’ll want to have some U.S. cash on hand for general expenses and transit. For entertainment and shopping, your credit card will give you the exchange rate at the time of purchase. There are also numerous ATMs inside banks and public spaces where you can withdraw funds at your convenience. Just be aware that transaction fees vary by ATM.

Gambling capital, vacation paradise or premier business destination; these are all definitions of the city that never sleeps. Reality takes a hike when you enter the world of glittering casinos with their 24-hour gambling excitement. The scarcity of clocks adds to the fantasy of those taking time off from the real world. As a family vacation destination, the city offers the ultimate in entertainment for all ages. As a business destination, Las Vegas wins hands down with the volume of facilities and services available for either large conventions or small business get-togethers. Multitudes of upscale eateries are at your fingertips for a business lunch or dinner and after-hours entertainment is plentiful and diverse. Whether you are planning to move here, attend a business meeting, skydive, get married or just relax and enjoy, you will find Las Vegas to be a city like no other in the world.

The Strip: Las Vegas Boulevard
This fabled three-mile area holds more hotel rooms than any other city in the world. You will find the most famous and remarkable resorts such as Bellagio with its Italian Renaissance aura and Caesars Palace, the glory of Rome, Vegas-style. Old standbys include the Flamingo Las Vegas and the Mirage, with its white tigers and erupting volcanoes. See the Paris Las Vegas with outstanding replicas of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and magnifique Parisian atmosphere and charm. Treasure Island offers daily live "Sirens of TI" shows, free of charge. The new Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is also an impressive hotel with a nice casino that is very popular with the most trendy of visitors and celebrities. At the "bottom," or south end, of the strip, risen from the ashes of the Hacienda Hotel, now stands the magnificent Mandalay Bay with its tropical atmosphere and a pool with waves you can actually surf. At the top of the Strip, you will find the Stratosphere Tower visible from miles away. It is the highest free-standing building in the western half of the United States, with views from the top that are indescribable.

Downtown: Fremont Street
The original Las Vegas, where people hung out in the '30s and early '40s, is still thriving, but with a modern face known as the Fremont Street Experience. Some tourists actually prefer this area to the Strip because room prices are generally lower, it's an easy walk from one casino to the next and it's reminiscent of the early, nostalgic days of Las Vegas. In addition, there are famous hotels such as The Plaza (formerly known as Union Plaza), overlooking Fremont Street, and the classic Golden Nugget. For nostalgia buffs, there is also the Golden Gate Hotel Casino, renovated to its earlier classic glory and appearance and still famous for their shrimp cocktails. Downtown Vegas is also home to another monument to its infamous past with the Mob Museum.

Off-Strip
In recent years, hotels have sprouted up near the Strip, which are conveniently accessible by shuttle bus, taxi or car. Some of the better known of these are The Orleans, the Rio Suites and the Gold Coast on Flamingo. Further north on Sahara, is the Palace Station, the granddaddy of the Station Casinos. To the east, there's the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center and further south, between Flamingo and Tropicana, east of the Strip, you will find the "must see" Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. 

Boulder Strip
This has become something of a phenomenon in itself. The Boulder Highway was once a sprawl of small motels and businesses, leading from Fremont Street out to the city of Henderson and beyond that to Boulder City and Boulder Dam, also known as Hoover Dam. But in recent years it's become the "Second Strip" with its proliferation of large, popular hotels and casinos including the Boulder Station Hotel and Casino, one of the first properties to offer child-care at a nominal fee for children of both guests and non-guests, and Sam's Town Hotel and Casino, which has become the high standard of western-theme resorts with its Mystic Falls Indoor Park.

North Las Vegas
The city of North Las Vegas has the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a major tourist attraction in itself, as well as Nellis Air Force Base, one of the strongest military bases in the United States and home to the flying Thunderbirds. As far as accommodations are concerned, there are several popular spots including The Fiesta and Texas Station Hotel and Casino. There is also the Santa Fe in northwest Las Vegas.

Summerlin
Located in the far northwest section of the Las Vegas valley, Summerlin is a planned community with homes, shops, recreational activities, festivals and concerts. A wonderful accommodation in this area is the Suncoast Hotel and Casino.

Beyond Las Vegas
For day trips that are well worth your time, check out nearby Boulder City, Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam to the east and southeast. To the west, there is Red Rock Canyon and beyond that is Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.

From the talented to the absolutely amazing, Las Vegas offers the best in magic, theater, dance, song, comedy and, of course, games.  Gambling draws the majority of tourists and Las Vegas houses a variety of games in each venue. Every casino is vying for your attention and some even have creative themes that will dazzle your imagination. However, whether you want to play poker all day and night, shop until you drop, or go to a museum, Vegas has it all.

Nightlife
It's not called Sin City for nothing. Las Vegas has one of the hottest nightlife scenes in the world, so no matter where you are, there's always something to get into. The Luxor is host to a celebrity favorite. Coyote Ugly at New York-New York may not be a celebrity magnet, but it's sure to guarantee a rowdy time. Although the Strip may seem like the center of the action, there are plenty of spots off the strip to dance the night away. Ghostbar, on the 55th floor of the Palms Resort & Casino is a chic and dramatic place to let loose, either inside or on the skydeck overlooking the city.

Gaming
Las Vegas' main draw has always been the gambling, and nowhere in the world has this city beat in the gaming department. Whether you're a high roller or stick to the penny slots, Las Vegas has you covered. Caesars Palace Hotel Casino is a Vegas classic that has all kinds of gambling from high limit slots to all kinds of table games. The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino is the largest casino-entertainment complex in the world, at 171,500 square feet, providing plenty of room for whatever kind of gambling floats your boat. Harrahs Las Vegas Casino & Hotel boasts the "friendliest dealers" in Vegas. The Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino is a fun place to gamble away some time. Head downtown to visit some of Las Vegas' historic casinos. Binion's Gambling Hall & Hotel is a heaven for the hardcore gambler with their world famous poker room, which is where the World Series of Poker started and it is home of the poker wall of fame. The Golden Nugget Hotel Casino, another long time favorite has won over 40 gaming awards, including Best Casino and Luckiest Casino.

Shows
They don't call it the entertainment capital of the world for nothing. Las Vegas constantly has tons of shows, both long term engagements as well as those just passing through. One of the biggest headliners in Vegas is Elton John and his The Million Dollar Piano show at the Colosseum at Caesar's Palace, where the music legend performs some of his greatest hits from over the years. The Excalibur Hotel and Casino invites you to be King Arthur's guest for dinner where you can eat with your fingers and enjoy the Tournament of Kings. Many of Vegas' stages are technical wonders, but none can compare to the presentation area for O in the Bellagio, a 1.5 million gallon tank of water used by the performers of Cirque Du Soleil. One of the most popular Cirque Du Soleil shows is the Beatles tribute, Love at the Mirage Hotel. After the show, grab a drink at the Revolution Lounge, inspired by the show. The House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino always presents great entertainment in an intimate setting. For a show that won't even dent your wallet, there's always the free shows of the Fountains at Bellagio or the explosive volcano at the Mirage.

Shopping
Vegas really does have everything a city could offer, and this does not exclude shopping. World renowned designers have all opened shops here, making it so Vegas can rival any fashion capital in the world. The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace offers everything form gourmet food, to world class shopping, and even a moving statue show! The Miracle Mile Shops @ Planet Hollywood has over 150 specialty stores, and 15 restaurants to suit your every desire. The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian will make you feel like you've been swept off to Europe for a shopping spree. The Via Bellagio is a hotbed of famous designer brands like Chanel and Gucci. Crystals is one of the most modern and trendy malls on the strip, dominating the center of the strip with 500,000 square feet of fashion, food and entertainment. The Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, just 30 minutes off the strip bring you savings on such brand names as Coach and Kate Spade. Downtown, you'll find the Gamblers General Store, where you can buy anything that has to do with gambling to commemorate your trip.

Museums
While Las Vegas may seem like nothing but a hive of debauchery and decadence, it's not entirely culture starved. History stays alive at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum where the dinosaurs move and sharks swim up to greet you. Las Vegas history extends further back than the flashy casinos. Visit a slice of early history at the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort Historic Park, the first non-Native American structure built in the city. Modern Las Vegas history was built on neon advertising. The Neon Museum provides a look at some of those historic signs. To take a trip to the dark underbelly of the classic Vegas days, The Mob Museum downtown covers the infamous relationship between Sin City and notorious mobsters and crime organizations. The arts have always been an important part of this city's culture. The Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery shows works by local artists as well as national figures in the art world. The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art features works from such famous artists as Monet and Picasso. For live theater, check out the oldest running small theater in the valley, the Las Vegas Little Theater.  

Spas
While Vegas is certainly known for non-stop action, there is also an abundance of places you can go and experience pure relaxation. Vegas is full of luxurious spas, where you can get practically any beauty or relaxation treatment under the sun. Spa Bellagio is a classy, serene facility offering a variety of body and relaxation treatments. The Canyon Ranch SpaClub at the Venetian Hotel offers everything from a fitness club to mud baths and even healthy gourmet food. The Spa at Four Seasons is a five star spa offering all the treatments you would expect from the Four Seasons. They also have private spa rooms for those who want a little more privacy. The Spa at Wynn Las Vegas offers a number of unique, Asian-inspired treatments, utilizing everything from sake to feng shui. Qua Baths & Spa inside Caesars Palace has such features as a Roman bath, as well as a variety of treatments designed especially for men. Nurture Spa at Luxor offers you a serene, calming day with one of their many treatments or signature facials. Oleksandra Spa & Salon offers a special package for everyone, from men to expecting mothers, there's something for everyone here. Located off the strip in the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort Spa & Golf, Aquae Sulis Spa is another top choice which focuses on various water treatments, including a hydrotherapy pool.

Family Fun
Las Vegas has worked hard to reinvent itself as a family destination, so bring the kids along. There are lots of great entertainment venues built with them in mind. The first child oriented hotel-casino was Circus Circus, complete with a Circus Midway full of carnival games and trapeze acts. The Circus Circus Adventuredome is a theme park built under a large dome, so that the kids can ride the roller coaster year-round in climate-controlled comfort.The kids are sure to love The Roller Coaster and the Coney Island Emporium arcade at New York-New York too. For educational fun, visit the Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary and Orchards. Another experience sure to please everyone is the Fremont Street Experience, a light and music show covering downtown Vegas. M&M's World Las Vegas at the Showcase Mall isn't your typical museum, where kids can delight in all aspects of this candy-coated treat. The Gondola Rides at the Venetian are a fun family outing, and cheaper than taking them all to Italy. The Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage Hotel Casino is fun and exciting for parents as well as the youngsters.

Once a vast wasteland of buffets, Las Vegas has come of age when it comes to dining and drinking. Las Vegas has transformed from a mecca of 99 cent shrimp cocktails into a major international culinary destination, with a mind-blowing collection of many of the world's best restaurants and chefs all within several miles of each other. Visitors now have their choice of fine dining experiences, both on and off the strip.

The Strip
Las Vegas, and especially the Strip, has quickly become a hotbed of upscale fine dining establishments, attracting world-class celebrity chefs from all corners of the globe. If you like a fine dining experience with a spectacular view, ascend to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas for an evening at the elegant Eiffel Tower Restaurant. There is not a bad seat in the house since the room has stunning 360 degree views of the Las Vegas Strip, the fountains at the Bellagio and Red Rock in the distance. Bouchon is world renowned chef Thomas Keller's Vegas venture, offering the very best French bistro cuisine inside the Venetian Resort & Casino. Another celebrity chef who has made himself a home in Las Vegas is Bobby Flay, whose Mesa Grill inside Caesars Palace Hotel Casino brings real southwestern flavor to Sin City. Visiting the Mohave Desert does not preclude enjoying fine seafood. Chef Emeril Lagasse produces award winning lobster, fish and crab delights of the Big East at Emeril's New Orleans Fish House inside the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Awards have also been garnered by Rick Moonen's RM Seafood at the Mandalay Bay, a restaurant dedicated to sustainable seafood.

If you would rather have quantity and quality, there are some great buffets on the Strip. In fact, buffets are less expensive than fine dining and you can have all-you-can-eat lobster, steak and dessert for one price. Some of the best, though rather expensive, buffets are on the Strip. Le Village Buffet can be found at Paris Las Vegas, where you can sample as much as you can stomach, all from various regions of France. For a more upscale all-you-can-eat experience, it doesn't get much classier than The Buffet at the Bellagio, complete with a champagne brunch on weekends. The Buffet at Wynn also boasts numerous cooking stations, including sushi, risotto and of course, dessert. Spice Market Buffet, located in the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, is a contemporary buffet featuring international delicacies from Mexican to Middle Eastern and is a consistent winner of best buffet in Vegas awards. The Treasure Island Buffet is a tried and true classic, which also boasts an impressive Sunday brunch buffet. Another brunch hotspot is Sterling Brunch at Bally's Casino Resort. While it is only open for Sunday brunch, and is one of the more pricey buffets, it is well worth the effort and money.

Being one of the entertainment capitals of the world, Las Vegas has no shortage of theme restaurants. Perhaps you'd be tickled by dining with a cyborg from the Terminator, or Freddy from Friday the 13th. If so, drop in at Planet Hollywood where you will see authentic movie props and maybe a real star or two. You don't need to travel to the jungles of South America to get a taste of exotic plants and animals, instead you can just pop into the Rainforest Cafe on the Strip. Le Provencal inside Paris Las Vegas will transport you to a small European village, without ever leaving the Strip! For something a little more casual, Burger Bar serves up everything burger, right down to the dessert.

Just like the action never stops in Vegas, there's also a lot of restaurants that go round the clock with you, so no matter what the time, you can always find something to satisfy your appetite. Le Cafe Ile St. Louis, overlooking the Paris Las Vegas casino floor, has all the atmosphere of a Parisian sidewalk cafe, offering French and American specialties, and the Grand Lux Cafe at the Venetian offers over 20 desserts to satiate any late night sweet tooth yearnings. Café Bellagio is an upscale coffee shop with gorgeous views any time of day.

If you'd like to save some money for the slots and shows, there are several cheap places to grab a meal. For breakfast, dinner or anytime in between, head to Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and try Planet Dailies to experience the coffee shop of the future. There are several good dining options at the Miracle Mile Shops @ Planet Hollywood, like Ocean One Bar & Grille, which will really suit your budget. Backstage Deli at the Luxor is a New York-style deli that will make you feel like you've been transported to New York, don't miss their famous triple-decker sandwiches. At the Bellagio, Noodles can give you a taste of Asia without the cost of getting there. They also have dim sum on weekends. Ready for something sweet? Le Creperie in Paris can help, with numerous different dessert crepes, as well as savory options for dinner.

Downtown
Downtown Las Vegas has both historic and new restaurants. Although you'll still have to deal with the crowds, the prices will be more reasonable than on the Strip. If you want casual fine dining Second Street Grille is a great place to have Pacific Rim cuisine. Grotto Ristorante at the Golden Nugget Hotel Casino is a beautiful Italian restaurant that uses only the freshest ingredients. Binion's Steakhouse is the perfect place to have quality steak or seafood, make sure you try the Chicken Fried Lobster.

Off the Strip
If you don't want to deal with the crowds and the prices of the Strip or downtown Las Vegas, the restaurants off the Strip have plenty of great choices.  For a taste of south of the border, head to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to Pink Taco, where you can get tacos, burritos and other Mexican favorites.

Las Vegas has always been known for its numerous, affordable buffets. And while the days of the 99 cent all-you-can-eat prime rib are waning, there are endless quality options available. The Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino features the award winning Carnival World Buffet extremely popular with tourists and locals alike. Ports o' Call Buffet at the Gold Coast Hotel Casino is another local favorite, with seven live cooking stations.

Mr. Lucky's 24/7 Cafe at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino serves up classics like pizza and burgers with a '50's diner feel 24 hours a day.


Outside the City
If you need a break from hustle and bustle of the touristy Las Vegas, you can find the real deals outside the city. Go to Amigo's Mexican Cantina for a Mexican meal paired with a margarita. If you want an all-you-can-eat option try the international buffet is the Feast Buffet, located a little ways outside the city at the Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa & Casino.

Las Vegas

State: Nevada

Country: United States

Las Vegas by the Numbers
Population: 623,727 (city); 1,951,269 (metro area)
Elevation: 2001 feet / 610 meters
Average Annual Precipitation: 4.17 inches / 10.6 centimeters
Average January Temperature: 48.5°F / 9.2°C
Average July Temperature: 92.5°F / 33.6°C

Quick Facts
Electricity: 110 volts AC, 50Hz; round two-pin plugs are standard.

Time zone: GMT -8 (GMT -7 during daylight savings)

Country dialing code: +1

Area code: 702

Did You Know?
Las Vegas is Spanish for "the fertile valley".

More than 100,000 marriage licenses are issued in the city each year.

Orientation
Las Vegas is located in the Mojave Desert in Nevada, in the southern tip of the state. The city is located about 228 miles (367 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles and just about 23 miles (37 kilometers) west of Lake Mead and the Arizona border.

Las Vegas sits in a valley amid the vast expanse of the Mojave Desert, which covers large swaths of Nevada, California and Arizona. Nevada has the largest number of mountain ranges of any American state. Surrounding the Las Vegas metropolitan area, you will find several ranges formed long ago by volcanoes. The tallest peak, Mt. Charleston, soars to nearly 3,650 metres and is typically capped with snow from October through May. Its slopes provide refreshingly cool hiking in the summer, and snow sports in the winter.

It’s worth renting a car to explore southern Nevada’s varied geography. If you head away from Mt. Charleston, you’ll get to Lake Mead, one of the world’s largest man-made bodies of water. Covering nearly 600,000 hectares, this vast lake provides a treasure trove of recreational activities, from swimming to jet skiing and everything in between. It’s also likely one of the most beautiful spots you’ll ever see.

Lake Mead was created by the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s – a project to tame the unruly Colorado River. The dam is a 45-minute drive from Vegas and on many visitors’ must-see lists.

Just below the dam, the Colorado cuts a narrow passage through scenic Black Canyon before emptying into Lake Mohave. Both the desert floor and the mountains provide lots of opportunities to explore by four wheel drive vehicles. As you climb in elevation, the sagebrush and yucca found on the lower elevations give way to unique Joshua trees and towering pines. There are many off-road tours available, conducted by professional guides and drivers.

From its earliest beginnings, Las Vegas has catered to the traveler. A nomadic tribe of Indians called the Paiutes settled the area around the turn of the last millennium and occupied most of the area from Mt. Charleston to the Colorado River. Several traders and explorers including Jedediah Smith in 1826 and John C. Fremont in 1844 traveled through the area and made contact with the Paiutes. By 1851, Mormon president, Brigham Young, in his endeavor to create the State of Deseret stretching from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles, made Las Vegas one of his important stopovers. To this end, he sent missionaries to colonize the region and convert the Paiute. The location they selected to establish their fort was on a promontory overlooking the Las Vegas Valley, which is now the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Washington. The Old Mormon Fort still has remnants of its original building. Eventually the settlement disbanded and most of the Mormon settlers returned to Utah.

However, a mining boom at nearby Mt. Potosi fostered a new influx of travelers, mainly miners who used Las Vegas as a center for food and supplies. There was no permanent settlement there until 1865, when a group of prospectors, including Octavius Decatur Gass, acquired the rights to the Old Mormon Fort. For the rest of that decade, Gass ran a prosperous business at the Fort, rebuilding many of the structures and farming the land, offering food and shelter to the travelers on the "Old Mormon Trail" (the Salt Lake-Los Angeles wagon road), as well as offering provisions to the nearby miners. Gass was less of a businessman than a prospector at heart and eventually bad business deals forced him to turn the property over to Archibald Stewart and his wife, Helen, who had only intended to stay there temporarily. However, after a feud at nearby Kiel Ranch, which ended in the murder of Stewart, his widow stayed on to run the ranch and see it prosper. This period was from 1882 to 1902, when she sold the ranch to Montana Senator William Clark. Clark was instrumental in overseeing the establishment of the railroad from Utah to California. Acquiring the rights to the Ranch and its abundant water supply ensured that Las Vegas was to become a major stop for railroad travelers. In 1905 an ad was placed in prominent major newspapers concerning "first class inside lots" going for as little as 200 dollars a piece in Clark's Las Vegas Townsite. This encouraged squatters and investors alike, and the auction on May 15, 1905 produced a flurry of sales. Soon hotels and homes sprouted up all along the main downtown area of Fremont Street, as well as schools, a hospital and other essential businesses such as ice plants.

Las Vegas essentially thrived for the next 20 years because of the railroad; it played host to travelers by providing entertainment and liquor. The liquor was restricted to a certain area, Blocks 16 and 17. This area naturally evolved into a red light district as well. During Prohibition, this section was especially popular. During this period, the city founders realized that as the roads were improved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, this would promote more tourism and they began to build ranches to appeal to the potential visitors. Kiel Ranch became a popular dude ranch and gained notoriety as a place where people came to wait out their quicky Nevada divorces. In 1931, the combined advent of the building of Boulder Dam (later renamed Hoover), the creation of Boulder City plus the legalization of gambling, ensured a new boom in the prosperity of southern Nevada.

World War II increased the Las Vegas economy even more. In 1940, an air base was established (now known as Nellis Air Force Base) in the northeast part of town. A huge plant, Basic Magnesium, was built for the manufacture of bullets and bomb casings, etc. The plant was instrumental in the establishment of Henderson, just southeast of Las Vegas and now one of the fastest-growing communities in Nevada. In the early 1950s a new kind of entertainment was born: watching the atomic bomb testing, which took place at the nuclear test site, just 70 miles northwest of Las Vegas. A famous Life Magazine photo captured one of the mushroom clouds rising above the waving cowboy, "Vegas Vic" of Fremont Street. In fact, the opening of the now closed Desert Inn was timed to coincide with one of the blasts.

In recent decades the hotel industry has re-invented itself again and again. Just when everyone was predicting a severe depression, especially when Atlantic City emerged as a gambling destination in the early 80s, Las Vegas managed to come up with a new twist. Even today, with the proliferation of gambling in many of the 50 states, Las Vegas only seems to become more popular. Theme hotels have become abundant, starting with the Mirage in the late 80s, followed by the Excalibur, Treasure Island, Luxor and the MGM Grand. More and more soon popped up including the Stratosphere, Monte Carlo, Bellagio, Paris Las Vegas, Venetian, Mandalay Bay and many more. When will the boom end?

Las Vegas is easy to get around. Whether you’re looking to explore the Strip or downtown’s Fremont Street Experience, Vegas has so many ways to get you there.

From Hummer rentals to limos to city taxis and public transportation, you can get around Vegas in style and within your budget. The city bus (called the CAT) and monorail are also great low-cost travel options with affordable fares between 50 cents and US$1.50. Vegas’ monorail is also one of the most modern transportation systems in the world and offers single ride tickets, 1 or 3 day passes.

Or, hop on a “Deuce” double-decker bus to see the Strip from above. The Deuce operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and makes frequent stops at the best attractions on the strip.

Taxis cost US$2.20 for the first mile and $1.50 for each additional mile. Each Las Vegas Strip street (Tropicana, Flamingo, Desert Inn, Sahara and Charleston) is about a mile from the next, so keep that in mind when calculating cost.

Tip: Experiencing Las Vegas on foot is also a must. Where else in the world can you see dancing fountains (Bellagio), watch a volcano erupt (The Mirage) and be entertained by pirates and sirens on a ship (TI) within walking distance of each other? Just pack some comfortable shoes and your water bottle. The desert air is dry and these city blocks can seem to go on and on.

Arrival

After passing through security and U.S. Customs in your city of departure, you’ll be ready to enjoy Vegas as soon as you arrive.

All WestJet baggage arrives at Terminal 3. If you’ve booked transportation to your hotel with WestJet Vacations, exit out of door #12 on the baggage claim level. The local WestJet transfer vendor, Showtime Shuttle, has a booth located to the right.

If you have not pre-purchased transportation to your hotel, shuttle, taxi and limousine services are available. Please note that taxi pickups at the airport incur an additional airport fee. If you’ve rented a car, shuttle service to the main McCarran Rent-A-Car Centre is available outside the terminal, with shuttles departing approximately every five minutes.

Departures

Smiling WestJetters will be ready to assist you at our transborder check-in counters located in Terminal 3. There are also many shops and restaurants available if you have time to explore. WestJet counters open three hours prior to departure and close 15 minutes after departure time. Guests can check in or select their seats ahead of time by using the WestJet’s Web check-in service.

Once only a seasonal destination, Las Vegas is now truly a year-round vacation spot. Though temperatures often soar, there’s always a swimming pool or refreshing frozen drink close by to cool you down.

While gambling is front and centre in Las Vegas, it doesn’t wholly represent the city. Lately, gambling has accounted for less than half the money visitors spend here. When you come to Las Vegas, you’ll find plenty of other great things to do – from dining and shopping to outdoor recreation and much more.

When the Bellagio resort opened in 1998, with spectacular fountains and man-made lake, it set a new standard for Vegas properties. There are now hundreds of five-star restaurants here, numerous world-class shows (including the Cirque du Soleil show “O”) and incredible shopping promenades boasting names such as Dior, Prada and Tiffany & Co.

Once famous for its bargain-priced, all-you-can-eat buffets, the city is now home to more Michelin-starred restaurants than larger cities like Los Angeles. That said, nearly every hotel here still offers a buffet serving great food at great value. But no matter what you want to eat or what atmosphere you prefer, you’ll find a range of eateries perfectly suited to your tastes and budget.

Less than an hour’s drive from the neon lights, you’ll find Mt. Charleston. In the summer, it’s a pleasant respite from the desert heat; in the winter, it comes alive with skiers and snowboarders.

Departing from:

^Total price one-way per guest. See terms and conditions.

*Prices are per guest, based on double occupancy and are limited; may not reflect real-time pricing or availability. See terms and conditions.

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