Saturday, October 2, 2010
Las Vegas is the most populous city in Nevada, the seat of Clark County, and an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping and fine dining. Las Vegas, which bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, is famous for the number of casino resorts and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, it is the 28th most populous city in the United States.
Located in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas is hot and dry during summer with mild winters, and plenty of sunshine all year round. In the height of summer, during July and August, the mercury often soars above 100ºF (38ºC). Winters are cooler and bring winds and cold nights, with daytime highs of around 60ºF (16ºC) and chilly nights averaging 40ºF (4ºC). What little rain there is usually falls in winter, between January and March. In summer though there are sometimes late afternoon thunderstorms that move in from Mexico.
How to reach?
Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport is centrally located between many of the major natural attractions in the US Southwest, and it offers a wide variety of competitively priced flights from most major cities in the USA. With over 500 flights per day coming from nearly every major city in the USA and from several foreign cities, it offers convenient access to the Southwest at competitive prices. If you wish to visit the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park or any of the great scenic attractions in the Southwest, consider flying into Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Shows
The top Las Vegas shows can be quite spectacular and very entertaining, but they are relatively expensive. Some of the lesser-known shows may not be quite as spectacular, but they can be just as entertaining for half the cost. Even better bargains can be found in the discount ticket shops at various locations along the strip. They normally offer surplus tickets to the less popular shows on the day of performance for discounts of up to 50%.
The best bargains of all are the free performances offered at some of the casinos. Rio provides a free sky show above its main concourse several times each evening. Sam's Town produces a Western Stampede Show and the outdoor concourse at Fremont Street offers its spectacular ceiling light show every hour in the evening until midnight. Strolling along the strip, you can see the fountain show at Bellagio, the erupting volcano at Mirage and the Pirates Cove Show at Treasure Island. Free musical and disco performances are available at numerous bars and clubs throughout the various casinos.
Las Vegas Local Attractions
There are a number of interesting natural attractions in the vicinity of Las Vegas or within a few hours drive. You can take commercial tour to most of these attractions. The tour operators will pick you up right at your hotel in early morning, take you to the attraction, and then return you to your hotel the same day. If you have a car, you can drive to the local attractions.
Red Rock Canyon is less than an hour from the strip. It is a great place to see the unspoiled desert landscape or to hike in some of the mountain canyons. The Valley of Fire is within a two-hour drive. It offers some strange volcanic geology. Death Valley National Park is within three hours and provides a glimpse of a most extreme desert landscape. The Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular natural wonders in the world, and you can drive to the South Rim Visitors’ Center in less than five hours or to the slightly less spectacular West Rim in less than three hours. Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Sedona and the largest preserved sections of old Route 66 are all within a half-day drive of Las Vegas.
Shopping in Las Vegas
Nearly every casino in Las Vegas offers an array of shops selling a variety of merchandise. The Forum Shops in Caesar’s Palace and the International Market in Planet Hollywood have a wide selection. Many of these shops offer high-priced luxury items. You can even buy a Ferrari in the Wynn Casino. For bargain selections, visit one of the larger shopping malls. The Fashion Show Mall and the Palazzo Mall are located along the strip while Las Vegas Premium Outlets is located adjacent to the north end of the strip and Town Square Mall is located along Las Vegas Boulevard a bit south of the strip.
If you prefer something a bit more unique, you can visit the Gambler’s General Store on South Main Street for everything from a selection of thousands of different varieties of poker chips, cards and dice to a full sized roulette wheel or a slot machine. For the ladies, a visit to Strings, the Rainbow Feather Company, or Serge’s Showgirl Wigs can help you achieve your fantasy of dressing as a Las Vegas showgirl.
Best Time to Visit
October is a great time to visit Las Vegas. You can have a helicopter tours to the Grand Canyon to a Vegas bus tour, a night flight over the Vegas Strip to a Lake Mead cruise.