If you’re new to Vegas, there’s more to life than re-enacting the Hangover movies. Don’t leave Las Vegas without checking off these definitive experiences. Have you tried all of these? Which one did you prefer? Let us know in the comments!
Caesars Palace remains an icon of classic Sin City decadence — few casinos can match it for atmosphere. Apart from Caesars, some of the best poker games can be found at the legendary Golden Nugget in Downtown, whose residents can actually shed their shirts in a pool area where waterslides run though a central shark tank. Casino Royale provides the cheapest fun you can have round the roulette wheel. Killers fans who like a spot of the Old West with their 20x-odds craps should make for Sam's Town.
Many of the more preposterously themed resorts in Vegas pay tacky homage to other world cities. You want Paris, and the Eiffel Tower? Try Paris Las Vegas. Venice? There are gondolas and a St. Mark’s Square at the Venetian. The Big Apple? New York New York has the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park and much, much more.
The Venetian, which recreates the city of canals in the desert, may be the world’s largest hotel, but the Egyptian vibe evoked by the glass pyramid of the Luxor is more suited to the topography, and it’s enjoyably silly. The high-intensity lights that shoot from its top at night can be seen from space and attracts bats during warmer months.
The most impressive difference between watering holes in the rest of the world and those on the Strip is the sheer number of bottles. Single malt enthusiasts can boggle at the vast scotch collection at Craftsteak. Cognacs to knock your socks off reside at chef André Rochat's restaurants — André's and Alizé.
Connoisseurs must visit the Downtown Cocktail Room, where specialty drinks are rated on a level of 1 (“very approachable”) to 5 (“advanced palate”). Wine drinkers should set their sights on Aureole, where the bottles are housed in a four-story wine tower that requires harnessed "wine angels" to retrieve them.
The Atomic Testing Museum, a one-of-a-kind, often terrifying, insight into the Nevada Test Site, once the country’s principal weapons testing facility, pulls back the curtain on the state’s history as nuclear guinea pig. Downtown, organized-crime buffs will flip for the Mob Museum, which details the mob’s involvement with Las Vegas’s rise.
Maverick mogul Steve Wynn designed his Wynn Las Vegas resort from the inside out, which means you have to remain cocooned inside his casino to appreciate its signature attraction. From outside, the visitor can see a small hill covered with huge trees, but to get the full effect, you have to go in, then take the spiral staircase down to the terraces at the SW Steakhouse or Lakeside Seafood. The faux mountain fuses light, water, horticulture and architecture into a diverting multimedia experience.