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Known as the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas, Nevada shines brightly both metaphorically and physically. From outer space, Las Vegas is the brightest city in the world, but back down on earth, it is home to some of the top star performers from Celine Dion and Criss Angel to the Cirque du Soleil and The Blue Man Group. Just like bugs attracted to the light, travelers from around the world flock to Sin City to book the best cheap hotels in Las Vegas for an unforgettable vacation.
The luminous Las Vegas lights along The Strip suggest that this stretch is where the entertainment magic takes place. Indeed, The Strip is a prime spot to reserve Las Vegas hotels to absorb the city’s flashy charm and charisma. With Expedia, visitors can land hot Las Vegas hotels deals, which offer discount tickets for top-of-the-list entertainment from the comedy shows and acrobatic performances to dance numbers and theatrical productions.
Oftentimes vacationers don’t even need to venture outside of their accommodations because much of the entertainment takes place inside the hotels in Las Vegas themselves. The best hotels in Las Vegas feature not only restaurants, nightclubs, pools, and spas, but also casinos, showrooms, bowling lanes, and even aquariums all under one roof.
Vacationers heading to the city of neon signs can score cheap flights to Las Vegas on Expedia. These flights generally fly into the McCarran International Airport, which is just a few miles south of all the excitement of The Strip and Fremont Street. The airport provides shuttles and taxis around-the-clock transporting guests to their hotels on The Strip, hotels near the airport, and even to hotels around the Convention Center.
For those who don’t mind spending several hours in the car, Las Vegas is a fairly short road trip from major western cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix. Meanwhile, visitors road tripping from destinations such as San Francisco and Reno may spend anywhere between seven and nine hours traveling to Vegas depending on traffic.
And the Las Vegas bound travelers who prefer take in the scenery on the road rather than drive themselves, Amtrak buses stop both at the airport and in downtown.
Getting AroundBecause Las Vegas has packed so many hotels and attractions along The Strip, visitors can experience many of the sites on their own two feet. While a walking tour may seem appealing, remember to stick to the crosswalks and sidewalks to avoid receiving a jaywalking ticket and to prevent holding up traffic.
Vacationers who want to expand their horizons beyond walking distance may want to consider booking affordable car rentals ahead of time. Many of the luxury hotels in Vegas feature free parking or validations, so finding a parking spot is hassle free. Additionally, driving around with your own set of four wheels prevents you from wasting precious time hailing down a taxi or waiting at a bus stop.
With that being said, however, there are numerous taxi services and buses, such as The Duece and Citizen Area Transit (CAT), which will gladly transport visitors around town. For the best luck with taxi service, flag one down at a hotel rather than hailing one straight from the street.
Things to Do
First-time Vegas vacationers often bee-line to the brilliant Fountains of Bellagio for the famous choreographed light show. Celebrated as a must-do activity and a token of any Las Vegas vacation, the fountain presentation features shooting fountains and flashing lights in time with music in front of the Bellagio, one of the Las Vegas hotels. While on the Bellagio hotel grounds, also mosey into the hotel’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, where the elaborate plant and flower displays change each season for a fresh presentation.
For a performance exceedingly more exciting than a fountain show, treat yourself to the acrobatic wonders of a Cirque du Soleil show. The animal-free contemporary circus features tight rope walking, back flipping, and somersaulting acrobats performing jaw dropping tricks and stunts, which belongs on every vacationer’s must-do list. Las Vegas presents several permanent and temporary shows, which are sure to enthrall, shock, and mesmerize audience members of all ages. For those with only one night to spare in Vegas, this attraction takes first place.
For those who have the luxury of spending more than just one day in Vegas, the Fremont Street Experience is a top thing to do in Sin City. Second only to The Strip, Fremont Street Experience is a prominent attraction perhaps best recognized for Viva Vision, which is a massive canopy with an LED display. Fremont Street features a pedestrian mall, light and sound shows, and free entertainment. The bright lights of Fremont Street lure vacationers into the excitement of concerts, street performers, shops, luxury hotels, casinos, and restaurants along the five-block row.
After witnessing the pizzazz of Fremont Street Experience, make your way back to The Strip for entertainment around the clock. For those craving a French sojourn with views of the dazzling Eiffel Tower and alluring Fontaine de Mars, Paris Las Vegas may provide you with a much more tangible and affordable Parisian getaway. The Paris Las Vegas hotel on the Strip attracts visitors with small-scale replicas of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and the Alexander III Bridge. Fool your friends back home with a photo in front of La Fontaine des Mers and delight at the hotel’s structure, which features touches reminiscent of the Paris Opera House’s architecture. Paris Las Vegas is simply one more tourist attraction and photo op to add to your list of things to do while vacationing in Las Vegas.
Arts & Entertainment
The brightest city on earth is a hub for arts and entertainment, as performers take to the various stages on The Strip every night. While there certainly is no shortage of acrobats flying through the air and drum banging Blue Men in Vegas, for visitors in search of slightly more traditional art exhibits, swing by The Arts Factory for a diverse display of artwork. The Arts Factory, located in the art district in downtown, is a warehouse featuring classic and contemporary photography, graphic design, architecture, and fine art. The art venue also hosts concerts, poetry readings, festivals, and theater performances, for an extra dose of Vegas culture.
The Allied Arts Council of Southern Nevada teamed up with the City of Las Vegas to establish the Neon Museum in celebration of Vegas’ history of signage. This unique art project presents a collection of more than 150 historic signs representing the city’s eclectic presence throughout the years. While touring the sign boneyard, look for famous flashy signs from popular spots and famous luxury hotels, such as the Moulin Rouge hotel and the Stardust.
Long before Elvis-themed weddings and scantily clad showgirls, a Mexican merchant named Antonio Armijo traveled through the Las Vegas area with his caravan and gave the land its name after the Spanish word for “meadows.” However, despite having a name, Las Vegas was not settled until the American military officer John C. Fremont led an expedition to the area to set up camp in preparation for the Mexican-American War, in which the U.S. gained rights to the territory. After the succession, Las Vegas turned into a stop for traders, and because of its water supply, it soon became a prominent water stop along the railroad routes. Thanks to these new railways, Las Vegas was officially determined a city in 1905.
Although the city expanded, a few years later the 1922 railroad strike left Las Vegas in a poor economic state. However, the Hoover Dam construction in 1930 caused a swell in the city’s population (and led to the first installment of hard hats!) as workers migrated to Vegas to work on the project. This population boom, in combination with the state’s legalization of gambling, further led to economic prosperity and tourism in the city. The late 20th century opened the doors to a ritzy resort with Las Vegas hotels and casinos, which began transforming the city into the megaresort area it is in modern day. And those watering holes the traders used back in the day? The city still relies on those underground artesian wells to supply the various magnificent luxury hotel fountains today.
If only pulling slots could count as a workout in Vegas, but alas gambling hasn’t been proven to burn enough calories. And due to this city’s infatuation with gambling, the major professional sports leagues have shied away from starting a team in Vegas due to their strict sports betting policies. Because of this, Las Vegas is one of the largest U.S. cities without an NFL, MLB, or NBA team. Though it may not have a major sports league, Las Vegas annually hosts motor races and rodeo shows.
Vegas has a history of motor racing, as it was home to the famous “Mint 400” desert races, and has since held various races at the Vegas hotels. Now the city invites various NASCAR events to take place at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and the NASCAR Nationwide Series are just a few of the fast action events held at the speedway. But the city doesn’t stop the thrill factor there; it also hosts the BigHorn Rodeo, PBR World Finals, and the National Finals Rodeo showcasing some of the finest barebacking, steer wrestling, bull fighting champions in the world. Although these rodeos sell out quicker than a barrel racer, many of the local casinos and hotels on The Strip air the live event.
There’s something about the Las Vegas environment in which the days are often confused with the nights, as they run into one another with the around-the-clock amenities. The kooky city is a fantasy land with a time-warp feel, where cocktails and slot machines accommodate breakfast. While vacationers may lose track of time in their swanky 5 star hotels, there’s a certain spark, which occurs after hours, reminding visitors of the old adage, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
Perhaps it’s the sultry burlesque shows, seductive cabaret performances, midnight pool parties, and adult playgrounds, which give this city its sinful nightlife scene. But it’s not all about sex appeal in the Vegas nightlife scene though, believe it or not, as you can catch comedy shows, sight celebrities at the clubs, and dance floors with water motes.
With its over-the-top gaudiness and spectacular glitz, glam, Eiffel Towers, and pyramids, do you really think Vegas would skim on fine dining? Absolutely not. Las Vegas puts as much effort into its dining choices as it puts into its immensely lit strip and outrageous shows. While mouthwatering steakhouses and buffets most often characterize the Vegas cuisine, the city features plenty more show stopping dining options.
Las Vegas serves up several restaurants replicating famous eateries around the globe, but the city is also quickly becoming a hot spot where celebrity chefs are turning up the heat in the kitchen. The likes of top chefs such as Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck have opened up gourmet restaurants in the Nevada city, spoiling visitors’ taste buds from appetizer to dessert. Vacationers won’t go hungry in this city, where food is available around the clock at the various Las Vas hotels, family-style restaurants, grills, and other eateries packed along The Strip.
Treating yourself to a new pair of shoes or a dress for the nightlife scene is just one way to top off an already perfect Vegas vacation package. For shopaholics looking to map out their shopping sprees, look no further than the Fashion Show Mall, Miracle Mile Shops, and the Las Vegas Premium Outlets. While these are some of the most sought-after shopping spots, with everything from designer luxury goods to the cheapest deals, there is a variety of other places for browsing additional shops. Get into the shopping frame of mind and check out the quality malls, including the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian, Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, and the Town Square.
Fashion Show Mall on Las Vegas Boulevard is regarded as one of the best places for retail therapy in Vegas as it presents 250 specialty stores to excite every fashionista. Vegas vacationers looking for some quality finds, head to Miracle Mile Shops, on the Vegas Strip, for 1.2 miles of retail heaven. Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Premium Outlets, both the North and South Vegas locations, offer some of the hottest name-brand and designer outlets, where visitors can spoil themselves to luxury items at wallet friendly prices. And there’s no need to venture far from the Las Vegas hotels and attractions as these shopping destinations are nestled in near all the Vegas favorites.
A town with the nickname “Sin City,” doesn’t receive such a reputation by turning its lights out after 9:00 pm, which means the partying in Las Vegas usually continues into the early hours of morning. So if you plan on receiving a good night’s sleep while vacationing here, we suggest packing a pair of ear plugs to cancel out the noise - especially if you book Las Vegas hotels on the strip in the middle of all the action. Also, these hotels with casinos allow smoking in the game rooms, therefore you may want to pack an extra change of clothes, if you’re sensitive to the smell of smoke on your clothing.
As for venturing outside to the other attractions on the strip, it’s best to create an itinerary. Though the stretch is only a little over four miles, you won’t want to back track or loop around all afternoon especially during the scorching summer months. Map out your route, pack your walking shoes, and remember to only cross at the designated cross walks. And if you’ve invited your four-legged friend Fido along on the vacation to walk the strip with you, check ahead of time to see which areas you can bring your furry one, and ensure you’ve booked reservations at a pet friendly hotel, as not all hotels in Las Vegas allow pets.
Personalities & Culture
If it’s one piece of advice Las Vegas regulars may pass onto first-time Vegas vacationers, it would probably be to accept the weird and wonderful characters walking the streets in this entertainment city. This city is not for the squeamish or judgmental as it welcomes show girls, Elvis impersonators, and super heroes alike. Vegas encourages visitors and entertainers to express themselves, costumed or decked out in all their glory outside of any of the Las Vegas hotels. Be open to the colorful people and characters, and expect to see some scantily clad men and women on the streets or plastered on billboards, along with some slightly sinful behavior; this is Sin City after all.
Vacationers may also want to prepare themselves for the canvassers and costumed characters who entertain and pass out fliers along the strip and Freemont Street Experience. Prepare yourself for the risqué pamphlets they tend to pass out to encourage vacationers to visit their establishments. Also expect to see characters roaming the street trying to earn a tip for posing for photos and entertainment. If you indulge in their antics, do realize they may heckle you for gratuity. These aspects may surprise or shock some visitors, but just realize this is simply the unconventional way and culture of Las Vegas.
Weather & Climate
Although palm trees and water fountains may characterize Las Vegas, don’t be fooled; this tropical paradise is in fact in the middle of the desert. And desert means scorching temperatures in the summer and chilly winter evenings. From June through August, Vegas usually sees temperatures soar between the 90 and 100F, which can make walking around under the hot sun a sweaty, muggy experience. If you do plan to visit during these summer months, pack a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water to stay hydrated. On the other hand, realize Vegas during the winter months, around December and February, can experience temperatures dropping to the 30s, so pack a jacket or sweater and brace for the cold.
Although the hotels in Las Vegas cater to the high and low temperatures ensuring guests are accommodated, the best time to visit Sin City is during the spring and fall. During these seasons, the temperatures are mild and comfortable. Both of these times are sometimes considered low season, as the crowds tend to pick up during the summer months and holidays.
Regardless of what time of year you visit the brightest place on earth, the hot entertainment is sure to warm you up while the pool parties will keep you cool. You’ll feel so comfortable in Sin City; you may even feel tempted to cancel your flights from Las Vegas back to reality!
Need some more ideas for your next trip here? Our Expedia Viewfinder bloggers have recommendations for your next visit. See some of their latest blog posts below about what to eat, where to drink, what to see, and what to do.