This post at Rocks in my Dryer actually inspired me to write a Las Vegas Must See List for anyone who’s visiting Las Vegas for the first time. I’m a local, and will skip certain Strip attractions, because I either do not visit them, or do not have anything positive to report.
First, let me get some common misconceptions cleared up; we do not all live in casinos. We have churches, schools and houses, just like other cities. Not everyone gambles. No, we do not teach children to gamble in school. Also, we dress like regular human beings. The tourists dress like wackos and give us a bad name.
The most popular part of the Strip, located on Las Vegas Blvd., is the section of the Blvd. that runs from roughly the airport at the south end to the Stratosphere Tower at the north end. Las Vegas Blvd. extends beyond these two points a good distance. If you go further north you eventually end up in downtown. If you go a lot further south, you may come visit me.
Locals do not frequent the Strip. It’s too crowded, there are too many tourists, etc. Do not visit Las Vegas and skip the Strip. There’s nothing quite like it, and it must be experienced at least once.
For our tour of the Strip, I will start at the south end, across from the airport, and work my way north to the Stratosphere Tower.
Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur are all connected by shop filled walkways. These are the children friendly stops. Mandalay Bay houses an Aquarium, the Shark Reef. If you have children with you on your visit, this is a must see. The Luxor is a Pyramid shaped Hotel/Casino. The Excalibur is a medieval themed, castle shaped Hotel/Casino. On the first floor is a board walk with carnival games and on the third floor there are a variety of restaurants, shops, and free shows.
The New York New York is a, you guessed it, New York themed Hotel/Casino. Make sure to stop for pictures in front of the Statue of Liberty, and you can walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. For the adventurous, there is a roller coaster that travels around the perimeter of the Resort.
Across Las Vegas Blvd. from the New York New York, is the MGM Grand. You can’t miss the green building. Inside there is a Lion Habitat near the Rain Forest Cafe. Next to the MGM, still moving south, is M&M World and the Coca Cola World. If you collect either or just like either, make sure to stop by. Also, in this same complex is GameWorks, a massive arcade. They also have a climbing wall.
Moving south you come to the Planet Hollywood and the Miracle Mile Shops. The shops are literally a mile long (in a circle). There is a section of the shops that thunder, lightening and rain every 15-30 minutes. It’s worth seeing.
Next to the Planet Hollywood is the Paris, marked by the 1/3 scale Eiffel Tower out front. There is an upscale restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. Romantic, but pricey. Also, all tables have a view across the street of the Bellagio.
Back across Las Vegas Blvd. is the Bellagio. They have an outdoor water show choreographed to different tunes, that goes off every 15 minutes after dark. Absolutely free. While you’re at the Bellagio, wander inside and visit the Conservatory (gardens) also free, and worth the visit. The theme changes every couple months. That’s the only thing I say you CAN’T miss.
Caesar’s Palace is next to Bellagio. The Forum Shops, read high end shopping, are a real attraction as are all the fine dining they added. Within the Forum is FAO Schwartz (three story toy store) and circular escalators.
Continue past Caesar’s Palace and you come to the Mirage and TI (formerly Treasure Island). There is a volcano that erupts in front of the Mirage every 15-30 minutes. This is worth seeing. There is also a show at the TI, the Sirens of the TI, very sexy and really stupid in my opinion. I would pass.
Crossing back over Las Vegas Blvd. is the Venetian. Inside there are indoor canals and gondola rides. (The rides can get pricey). Also, there is the new Palazzo attached to the Venetian featuring upscale shopping.
The Wynn is worth a visit for something that’s too classy. Stop outside the Parasol Up to see another free show every 15-30 minutes. If you want to go outside to see it, you must reserve a table at Parasol Down. They only offer drink services.
Back across the Blvd. is the Fashion Show Mall. More shopping.
Then there’s a little bit of a walk to the Stratosphere Tower. The Top of the World Restaurant, located, guess where, the top of the Stratosphere, rotates so diners see a 360 degree view of the Las Vegas valley while they dine. The restaurant upscale, and pricey. If you want a romantic date, I would go here, or the Paris.
If you want shopping, there are a dozen places to choose from right on the Strip, including Fashion Show Mall, Miracle Mile Shops (in Planet Hollywood across the street from the Bellagio), and the Forum Shops in Caesar’s Palace to mention a few.
Warning, there are solicitors trying to pass out x-rated material to everyone who walks by, even women and children. You will recognize them because they wear backpacks, headphones, and slap their literature together to get your attention. I usually say no thank you and continue walking. They are very pushy.
Also, occasionally, we have a visit from the Church of Christ. They too are pushy and may be recognized by their huge banners that say you’re going to hell. I also say no thank you to them.
We attract all kinds. Again, the Strip is definitely worth visiting. Most people just walk one end to the other. Keep in mind, this is probably 3ish miles one way and it is a desert, so hydrate and wear comfortable shoes.
Finally, if you aren’t into the Strip, nightlife, etc., there are other places to visit around Las Vegas including Red Rock Canyon (state park), Mt. Charleston (complete with a ski resort), and Lake Mead. There are an abundance of dining and shopping opportunities as well. You will need to rent a car to visit because our public transportation is not the best method for travelling beyond the Strip.