We try and do an update on Las Vegas at least once each year because there is usually so much change in this dynamic city. Like everywhere else, Vegas has been hit with a downturn in tourists and its economy for the last year and a half, but it continues to dish out more and more spectacular shows, hotels and events.
Over the past three years, an exciting addition to the downtown area has risen named City Center. Here are a cluster of new, exiting hotels, restaurants, clubs and spas. The Vdara Hotel is 1,495 suites, spas, and the Silk Road Restaurant. There’s no gaming here, but that’s minutes away. Opening the end of this year is The Harmon Hotel with 400 rooms and more luxury. Aria Hotel has 4,004 rooms and 16 restaurants, but no gaming.
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel is a 47-story structure with six restaurants and more luxury. Crystals is a very high-end brand shopping structure with dynamic restaurants, pubs, clubs and more.
The hotels located in City Center are priced from around $250 on up to more than $400 per night per room. Pricing depends on the month, week and day you wish to visit. Often there is a rather wide range of rates depending on the number of rooms that are already booked on the dates you wish to reserve.
Of course, there are the hotels you have read so much about that and they have been catering to tourists for many years. They can be exciting also. Bugsy Segal would never believe what he started many years ago — a hotel and gaming center in the middle of the desert; and world famous!
So much happens here around the clock. The sheer number of things to do can be overwhelming. Play at casinos, enjoy pools, health spas, golf courses, shows and fine dining, and you can even get married.
More than 122,000 couples obtain a marriage license each year in Las Vegas, making it the marriage capital of the world. No blood tests or a waiting period make it easy to tie the knot. The legal age is 18 for both men and women (proof of age is required) and the license costs $60. Civil ceremonies can be performed at the Marriage Commissioner’s office, 309 S. 3rd St. Chapel fees vary depending on the services provided. For more information, phone the Clark County Marriage License Bureau at (702) 671-0600.
The shows are many and varied — from stars of stage and screen doing their live acts on stage to comedy and magic shows. It’s all there. You usually need to book the big name acts before you go — and it’s not cheap anymore. However, if this next trip to Vegas is to celebrate a special occasion, why not blow the budget and see the best. Shows run from $35 to more than $200 now. Go to the Web for shows available when you plan to be in town. If you are there Dec. 26 and 27, Jerry Seinfeld will entertain.
Some of the best selling shows now are: KA Cirque du Soleil, Criss Angel Believe, Disney’s The Lion King, Penn & Teller, Zumanity, Le Reve, Mystere, Viv Elvis Crique du Soleil, Donny & Marie. Others are Phantom, the Las Vegas Spectacular, Love, Matsuri, Menopause the Musical and Nunsense.
If you like magic, check out not only Penn & Teller, but Amazing Johnathan, David Copperfield, Dirk Arthur’s Wild Magic, Mac King Comedy Magic Show, Nathan Burton Comedy Magic, The Magic and Tigers of Rick Thomas and Zen Magic.
Comedy is celebrated in many locations. Among the shows are Vinnie Favorito with his audience-driven comedy, Andrew Dice Clay, Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club, Carot Top, Defending the Caveman, Fear and Laughing in Las Vegas featuring Todd Paul, Fitz of Laughter, Four Queens L.S. Comedy Club, George Wallace, Improv at Harrah’s, Las Vegas Comedy Show and Louie Anderson with his own theater at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino. Many of the actors go to Anderson’s show and he has fun with them in the audience.
There are tribute shows such as American Superstars BeatleShow, Country Superstars Tribute, Echoes of the 60s, Greg London Impressions that Rock, Hitzville The Show, Larry G. Jones — Singer Impressionist, Legends in Concert, Liberace Music & Memories, Rat Pack is Back, The King Lives, The King starring Trent Carlini and more.
Hypnosis and mind reading and psychic shows available include: Marc Savard Comedy Hypnosis, Anthony Cools — The Uncensored Hypnotist, Dr. Scott Lewis Outrageous Comedy, the Mentalist and even more in this vein.
Old Freemont Street still exists in a different form than it began. It is now a covered mall featuring the old reliables you once new in the earlier days of Vegas. Many gamers prefer the casinos here as well as the well-priced dining options.
The best indulgent breakfast on the Strip is Payard Patisserie & Bistro at Caesar’s Palace. It’s even better than when it began. Try it! The breakfast bonanza that unfolds in the cozy, bistro-in-the-round is not one of Vegas’ over-the-top buffet brunches, but rather a small, classy affair that features Payard’s luscious almond croissants, silky smooth quiche and baked Brioche French toast. The Continental buffet is priced at $22 and typifies the emphasis on quality over quantity.
Try Mr. Lucky’s 24/7 at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. It’s worth the short trip off the Strip to this hipster hangout, where savvy diners who order the Gambler’s Special receive an 8-ounce flatiron steak, three grilled shrimp, whipped potatoes and dinner salad for $7.77. It’s not on the menu so you have to request it.
The best Japanese on the Strip is Yellowtail at Bellagio. Here is quality and presentation of Chef Akira Back. You’ll love it! You can have sushi, tempura, Alaskan king crab, rock shrimp hand roll, grilled walu and melt-in-your-mouth Kobe beef. Take me with you!
Perhaps the best premium room under $50 is the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino. I am not recommending it, but this is what some experts tell me. Take a look at the rooms before you book.
There are so many hotels of various flavors you will easily find one that suits your mood and budget. Take the cash, be careful and have a wonderful time.
Hope you strike it rich!