Las Vegas - What do you recommend?

I’m going to be in Las Vegas (my first visit) around the end of September and start of October. Besides gambling (obviously), I’d like to get some Doper input on what’s good and what’s bad.

Regarding shows, I checked on-line for any shows I might be interested in but, except for Penn & Teller, I couldn’t find anything. For anyone whose seen the show, is Penn & Teller worth my $75? What else is worth seeing.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations.

Well, it does depend on what you like. If you are into gaming I can’t help a lot because I don’t gamble.

However, there are non-gambling activites that are really cool. If you like roller coasters there are some neat ones. The NYNY has a pretty nice coaster. The Sahara has Speed The Ride which is cool but pretty short. The Sahara also has a bunch of race car type stuff where you get to drive simulated NASCAR or IRL type races.

The Stratosphere has a couple coasters up top that are cool.

There is also a place called Fly Away which is in-door skydiving. Basically they have a big round (padded) room with a giant fan at the bottom. There is a net over the fan. You get on the net and an instructor teaches you how to fly. It’s pretty fun but I highly recommend stretching for daily a week or so before you go. Your shoulders do things that they noramlly don’t do. It’s a blast. IIRC it’s about 75 for a half hour though I could be wrong.

There is a Star Trek Experence at the Hilton. I haven’t been on it but heard it is pretty good.

The Bellagio has a neat water show that goes on every couple hours and it’s free. It’s pretty cool.

The TI has The Sirens of TI that plays a couple times a night that is also free. They revamped this show a while ago and I haven’t seen the new version yet so I don’t know if it sucks or not.


For around $250 per person you can take a helicopter past Hoover dam to the bottom of the Grand Canyon for a champagne brunch. Worth every penny IMHO.

The Flamingo has a nice “zoo” with ducks, swans, and flamingos.

If you are keen to breathe bring a face mask, allergy meds, and O2. Unless you already smoke like a chimney.

The Star Trek Experience is great per my Star Trek Club

I enjoyed the Celine Dion concert when I went.

The 3-D IMAX in the Lux was worth the trip, IMHO (I saw an animated film called, I think, Cyberworld - amazing!). Just staring at the Parisienne, especially on the outside, is a treat; get the brochure - it discusses each of the 14 Parisian buildings the various portions of the facade are representing.

I don’t gamble at all, but I spent four happy days in Vegas back in late September 2001, walking around with my mouth hanging open like a hayseed staring at everything. However, I spent money on the dinner-show at Excaliber, and I’d say that unless you’re into pro-wrestling dressed up as pseudo-knights, don’t bother.

Strictly summer clothing, btw; it’s still quite hot there at that time of year.

There’s a mountain I think “northish” of Las Vegas that’s great to camp on because of the wonderful view it affords of the city. There’s also a place called Arrow Canyon that you’d need a 4 wheel drive to get into and has vertical walls about 20 feet apart that rise several hundred feet up. In places you can walk up the tilted strata to near the top, observing wonderful fossils and beautiful petroglyphs all the way up. It’s also where some of John Wayne’s Three Godfathers was filmed. Course if you mentioned these places to anyone that asked what you did in Vegas, they’s surely look at you funny.

Almost exactly one year ago, I went to Vegas (and got married - anniversary is next Tuesday!), and we saw a show basically every night (well, except for ONE night…you can probably guess which one). So, here’s what we saw, and our opinions:

First night, An Evening At La Cage at the Riviera. It was a drag show. If you like that sort of thing, it’s a darn good one. We laughed muchly. And, it was relatively cheap, by Vegas standards; I think our tickets were about $50, and later I called back and upgraded to VIP seats, which they gave us for just $2 more. We were seated in the very front row, we got complimentary decks of playing cards, and we got a lot of attention from the performers. I recommend it.

Next night, we saw “0” at the Bellagio. To really enjoy this show, I think you need to get your tickets about 4 months in advance, so I wouldn’t recommend you do it this time out. The show was very impressive, but also very expensive, at about $130 a ticket. It was cool, but not my favorite Cirque show ever (that would be “Quidam”).

We then skipped a night, and then saw “We Will Rock You” at Paris Las Vegas. GREAT show. Funny, loud, excellent music, great performances…it helps to love and be familiar with the music of Queen.

And on our last night, we saw Penn & Teller at the Rio. I’m glad we saw them, but honestly, the show seemed short. It was just about 90 minutes, and they performed far fewer tricks than I’d hoped. But, it was still neat, and after the show Penn and Teller hang out in the lobby, meeting fans, posing for pictures, signing autographs and all that good stuff. Penn is about the nicest celebrity I’ve ever met. So, it was enjoyable, but I wish it had been longer.

The Blue Man Group is moving from the Luxor to the Venetian about the middle of September, but their tickets are in the $130 ea range.

If you like the Blue Man Group, I really enjoyed their show at the Luxor (it may have moved, however, and could be somewhere else by now). I think that tickets were spendy ($50 - $75, I forget the exact amount), but it was worth it.

Skip “The Sirens” at Treasure Island. I can’t really describe how much this sucked. Heard the old show, before they changed it, was much better. Yeah, it’s free, but the hour you wait and the 20 minute show is time well spent elsewhere.

Definitely see the Bellagio’s water fountain. Outstanding.

We also went to Hoover Dam. It’s pretty impressive, but it is just a lot of concrete in one area, so it might not be for everyone. A sight to see, however.

I’m also going to Vegas in the beginning of October for the 1st time. I’m going to keep a close eye on this thread for suggestions.

I’ve already booked shows to see the new Cirque Du Soleil (however you spell it), as well as a comedian/hypnotist. We’ve also got a reservation at that restaurant that rotates while you eat that I’ve forgotten the name of right now. Beyond that, we have no plans except to wander around.

Thanks… I was wondering about that one.

We really enjoyed the Fremont Street Experience downtown.

We saw a magician but the name completely escapes me. Lance something? Berkman? No, that’s a baseball player.

It was an enjoyable show if you enjoy the David Copperfield-ish type of magic.

I was just there last week for my second ever visit (business trip though). It is still hot - over 100 every day last week. I’d guess will be a little cooler in a month, but as others have said still summer weather for us Northerners.

I definitely third (or fourth or whatever!) the fountains at the Bellagio. Go at night. They’re every half hour until 11pm then every 15 min. Really really cool.

Also go in the Bellagio and to the Conservatory. Well, if you like flowers. Lots of flowers and more cool fountains.

Spend some time just walking around and taking it all in. It’s a very cool and very fun city.

For show tickets, there are a couple of places on The Strip that offer half price tickets on the day of the show. No, you probably won’t get tickets to Celine Dion or “O”, but if you are not that picky, half price for anything ain’t bad.

Most important is comfortable shoes. You will wind up walking 348 miles in two days without realizing it, just roaming from hotel to hotel.

And not to nay-say your attempt to make some plans, but every single person I know who has ever come to Las Vegas with a list of things to do winds up going home having done almost none of the things on the list. You just won’t have the time and it is amazing how the days just zoom by.

Buffets - Paris is my favorite, Bellagio is also good, and I have heard the Wynn is supposed to be good as well. None of the above are cheap, by any means, but they are worth the money!

Free Stuff - the fountains at Bellagio a must, the canals in Venetian worth a wander, same with shopping area at Caesars, the Paris Hotel, the new Wynn Hotel, New York New York has a great food court and a fantastic dueling piano show in the main gaming area that is free (buy a drink or two) and will keep you entertained for several hours.

I live here, so if you have any specific questions - let me know. But trust me - you won’t be bored, and don’t forget those comfortable shoes.

I’ve been there several times, so I’m fairly opinionated. Hope that works in your favor. :slight_smile: If not, just ignore my rantings.

I’ve tended to favor the Strip, for reasons that will be listed below. I’ve stayed mostly South Strip and Central Strip. I usually go with college friends, we mostly hang out, drink and gamble. I’ve never been to a strip club, so I can’t give you any advice on those if that’s what you’re looking for.

(1) Free stuff.

You will want to see (walk through) just about every hotel. Each place is kind of gimmicky, and you can kill a whole day just walking up and down the Strip.

  • Pyramid at Luxor (good one-time photo op, boring otherwise)
  • Knight show at Excalibur (mostly for kids)
  • Roller coaster at NYNY (mostly for kids)
  • Fountain show at Bellagio (3-4 different shows, rotating every 15 min)
  • Eiffel tower at Paris (photo op, you can pay money to ride up, I think)
  • Caesar’s Palace (photo ops galore)
  • Zoo at Flamingo (mostly for kids)
  • Pirate show at Treasure Island (a little skanky … you decide whether that’s a plus or minus)
  • Indoor canal at Venetian (gondola ride costs money)
  • Ferrari dealership at Wynn (costs money to see the entire showroom)

(2) Shopping.

  • Desert Passage at Aladdin ($$)
  • Northern end of Bellagio ($$$$)
  • Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace ($$-$$$$)
  • Western wing of Wynn ($$$$)

(3) The 20-something party scene

  • Ghostbar at The Palms :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:
  • Bar at The Hard Rock :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:
  • Clothing-optional pool at Mandalay Bay :confused: (must be a resident to enter)
  • Ra nightclub at Luxor :confused:
  • 54 nightclub at MGM Grand :smiley: :smiley:
  • Coyote Ugly bar at NYNY :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:
  • Light nightclub at Bellagio :smiley:

(4) Shows

  • Penn & Teller at Rio :stuck_out_tongue:
  • “O” at Bellagio :frowning:
  • Lance Burton at Monte Carlo :frowning:
  • Blue Man Group at Luxor :stuck_out_tongue:
  • Thunder from Down Under at Excalibur :confused:
  • We Will Rock You at Paris :confused: (probably :frowning: )
  • many others which I now forget … I’ve stopped going to shows because they’re really expensive now.

(5) Buffets

  • Mandalay Bay ($$$, :smiley: )
  • Excalibur ($, :dubious: )
  • Monte Carlo ($$, :dubious: )
  • Aladdin ($$$, :smiley: )
  • Paris ($$$, :dubious: )
  • Bellagio ($$$$, :smiley: )
  • Wynn ($$$$, :smiley: :D)

(6) Places to stay:

  • South Strip (Mandalay Bay - New York New York), 20-something party central
  • Center Strip (Monte Carlo - Venetian), more expensive and calmer
  • North Strip (Fremont, Hilton, Circus Circus, etc), cheap, but mostly families
  • Downtown, gambling addicts and ugly hookers

(7) Gambling:

Blackjack (price, how Nazi they are about card counting)

  • Mandalay Bay ($$$$, :mad: - mostly autoshufflers now)
  • Luxor ($$, :mad: :mad: )
  • Excalibur ($$, :mad: :mad: )
  • NYNY ($$$, :mad: )
  • MGM Grand ($$$, :cool: )
  • Monte Carlo ($$, :cool: )
  • Boardwalk ($, :mad: :mad: :mad: )
  • Bellagio ($$$$, exclusively autoshufflers)
  • Aladdin ($$$, :confused: )
  • Paris ($$$, :confused: )
  • Caesar’s ($$$$, :confused: )
  • Bally’s ($$, :confused: )
  • Barbary Coast ($$, :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :eek: :mad: )
  • Venetian ($$$$, :confused: )
  • Wynn ($$$$, :confused: - mostly shufflers)

Poker (Hold 'Em, lowest limit)

  • Luxor (1/2)
  • Excalibur (2/6 spread)
  • Monte Carlo (2/4, kill pot)
  • MGM Grand (new)
  • Bellagio (4/8) ← recommended
  • Bally’s (2/4)
  • Mirage (unknown)
  • Flamingo (1/2)
  • Wynn (4/8) ← recommended

Me too… I’m only gonna address a few of these… I DO respect your post, as a whole, so I’ll only quote what “sticks out”.

Yes. Fuck downtown… and as far as that goes, I can’t recommend highly enough Monte Carlo. It’s almost as good as the Venetian or Bellagio, for a fraction of the price. Furthermore, the “Fremont Street Experience” is TO BE MISSED. 1992 Nintendo graphics on the ceiling. BIG FUCKING YAWN.

Not worth it unless you rent one.

IF you want to shop, I would recommend Aladdin. I bought my wife a BEBE shirt that says “BEBE Las Vegas” in garnets, only $9,000 :wink: … and she likes it.

Expect to wait in line like a chump. I wanted VIP access, but when I called, I was informed that VIP requires “Bottle Service”. Bottles start at $300. We had 5 dudes, 4 chicks. The required ratio is 50/50 so we’d have needed to find another chicky. And IIRC 6 people means TWO BOTTLES.

SUCKS. Been there too many times… it ain’t that great. Best thing about it is that the bouncers will gladly accept a Grant for two people to bypass the line. Won’t affect your cover though.

UGGHHH are you fucking kidding me??? The stupid assed movie covered everything. We have idiot bartender/dancers up on the bar here in Tupelo, MS too. :yawn:

They all pretty much suck, unless a real band that you like is in town.
I say “Crazy Girls” at the Riviera.


Yes. But Monte Carlo is next door to NYNY (technically South Strip) and earns my highest recommendation, if you don’t want to blow your whole wad on the hotel.

see above


Can’t comment. It’s all basically the same on the strip.

Very good info for poker players, thanks.

Oooo, I’d like to do that. What company offers that?
As far as the OP goes, you won’t be sorry about those Cirque tickets. It was the best show I’ve ever seen.

You can go skydiving for $230 in Boulder City, only 45 minutes away. It was f*cking awesome.

The Rio has the best seafood buffet EVER. All-you-can-eat lobster. Think about that for a minute.

Also, if you get a chance to see Criss Angel doing anything there, do. The guy has an amazing talent.

Oh yeah…

I suppose it would be uncouth to not offer an alternative…

Assuming you are into high class (*read: way too expensive, pretentious, etc) clubs…

I would have to say, my favorite is Drai’s at Barbary Coast. It’s where I met Robin Leech in a private room with plush couches etc… (technically pre-planned cuz he likes young girls and I’m still sorta in the porno business, but his suggestion)
But if you really have money to spend and want the raison detra (read: Paris Hilton with her titties out), I would have to say The Foundation Room on top of Mandalay Bay. The balcony is unequalled, given it’s direct view up the strip. It is a private club, however, so you’ll need an invitation, some powerful friends, or maybe just a little enginuity (read: tip the gay guy at the bottom of the elevators a Franklin), and you can get up there, where you’ll enjoy a $15 vodka/soda.

Unfortunately, about a million, maybe two of which actually own helicopters.

I don’t remember the company’s name… but maybe you can score a better deal if you dig around. I can truly say, however, I’ll never forget it, and it was worth every penny. My wife fully agrees.

Our pilot was part American Indian, which supposedly was the only reason he was even allowed to fly over the reservation. He also claimed to fly Apaches over Iraq during Desert Storm, which helped calm my fear-of-fiery-crash-into-a-cliff phobia.

Bah I screwed up Large Marge’s quote. She said “offers”, not “does”.

Which makes my reply make more sense.

While putting myself at risk of a tripost (oops there we go)…

For our purposes, Raison Detra = raison d’être

I stayed at the Monte Carlo three years ago. I loved it for the most part, however, I had two complaints, one of which has since been solved.
(1) No tram northward. We ended up spending a lot of time at the poker room at the Bellagio, and it irked us. Since then, tram service has been restored.
(2) The blackjack rules at the Monte Carlo are … extremely favorable … for the player. The problem is if you are … too successful … then the cameras can follow you to your room, which means you give up anonymity.

My friends had an additional complaint about it which I did not share, which was that the Monte Carlo had too many families and not enough eye candy. The poker rate at the Bellagio is just as cheap as a regular room at the Monte Carlo, so we just stay there now.

This isn’t a horrendous drawback, in my opinion. Cab lines are longer than what we waited in (we got in line a little early, around 10pm on a Thursday night, and waited about 30 min).

Is this the after-hours bar? We heard good things about it, and went there on Friday night (Saturday morning, technically) at 3am. We watched the entrance for about 15 minutes, not a single person entered. We convinced the bouncer to let one person in just to scout the scene, and the report came back negative.

I am extremely disappointed that Mandalay Bay has become a hub of activity since I last stayed there (4 years ago). We actually started our migration northward because Mandalay Bay had absolutely nothing of interest, and was far from everything.

Or perhaps, we were so uncool that the secret of the Foundation Room was not revealed to us. :frowning: