Information on What To See and Do, Places To Stay, Dining and More

Las Vegas is often called the "Entertainment Capital of the World," and is home to resort casinos, gambling, and lavish entertainment shows. Some of the best hotels and dining also are available in Las Vegas, so even if you don't want to spend your vacation gambling or seeing the shows, you'll still enjoy your stay, since most hotels feature swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, and other activities. There are plenty of other things to do in Las Vegas besides gamble. About 25 minutes away is the Hoover Dam, a great sightseeing destination. Lake Mead is another great place to visit, with water skiing, boating and fishing as some of the activities to enjoy. It's also relatively close, about 30 minutes from downtown Las Vegas. On really hot, summer days, if you're not going to be in your air-conditioned hotel or a casino, this is the place to be. Summer temperatures hover around 100 degrees; winter temps average around 60 degrees during the day, dropping into the 40's at night. No matter what time of year you visit, you're bound to have a good time.

Getting There Is Half The Fun

Las Vegas is easily reached by car, plane, bus, and train. Airlines serving Las Vegas include United, Southwest, Frontier, JetBlue, Continental, and USAirways, among others. Check with your local travel agent or one of the online airline reservations sites such as Travelocity or Expedia, or if you are traveling on Soutwest or JetBlue, visit their web sites for ticket pricing and booking information. While you're at it, check into Las Vegas travel packages too. You can often save money on airfare and hotels by booking a package deal. You may also find that there are enough shuttle services between airport and hotels, and hotels and casinos, that you won't even need to rent a car, unless you plan on traveling to one of the nearby recreational or sightseeing places. Amtrak also services Las Vegas from many cities, and if you want to travel by bus, you'll find a number of bus services to 'Vegas as well. And of course, if you're driving, you'll find easy directions to most any place in the city. Keep in mind that it is a busy city traffic-wise: a friend who visited there a couple of years ago reported that it took her 20 minutes to drive about six blocks. Even if you drive, your hotel may provide a shuttle service to most of the casinos. Won't help the traffic, but at least you're not the one who has to deal with driving in it.

Home Away From Home

You'll need a place to stay while you're in Las Vegas, even if you plan on spending most of your time in the casinos. You should have no problems finding hotel rooms no matter what your budget. You can book hotel rooms through the same web sites as your flights, such as Orbitz or Expedia. There are other web sites which offer discount hotel rooms. Here are a few examples:

$50-$80 Per Night
At Orbitz, we found several hotels in this price range. These were hotel rooms only, but keep in mind that you will save more money on your hotel room if you book a flight and hotel package through Orbitz, or another company. These rates are per person. Bally's Las Vegas, Imperial Palace, Flamingo Las Vegas and Monte Carlo Resort and Casino all advertized prices in this range on

$80-$100 Per Night
New York-New York, Flamingo Hotel, Exalibur, and Planet Hollywood fall into this price range.

$100-$200 Per Night
If your budget can afford it, these are generally great rooms. If you plan to spend time away from the casinos, you can probably afford more in the way of hotel space, especially if you'll be enjoying some of the luxuries to be found. Hotels in this price range include Treasure Island, MGM Grand, and the Venetian Hotel.

"Money Is No Object" Hotel Rooms
If you're not on a budget, try one of these: Wynn Las Vegas, Hotel at Mandalay Bay, or the Bellagio. All have rooms priced at $200 and more per night, with no other package in conjuction with the hotel room.

I'm Hungry

Not many places will feed you so royally for so little money. You'll find lots of bargains when it comes to dining in Las Vegas. The hotels offer several fine restaurants in each one, as well as independent restaurants and buffets. In fact, buffet dining will give you the best value for your dollar. Here are a few buffet's to consider:

Circus Circus Buffet
Has breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. Breakfasts run about $10, lunch costs $12 and dinner costs $13 per person. Located in the Circus Circus hotel.

Paradise Garden Buffet
Located in the Flamingo hotel, this one costs a little more, but the reviews are good. Breakfast is $14, Lunch is $16, and dinner is $20. Dinner includes prime rib, shrimp and crab, so you will probably find it worth the extra money to eat there. Children under 4 eat for free, children 4-8 eat for dollars off the adult menu.

Sahara Buffet
Located in the Sahara Hotel, prices are lower here than at many other buffets. Breakfast buffet meals run $9, lunch is $11, and $12 is what the dinner buffet will cost.

Buffet restaurants are popular all over Las Vegas, but you may wish to be served. Here are just a few sit-down restaurants to choose from:

Luxor Steakhouse at the Luxor hotel
Strictly a dinner restaurant, you can find NY strip steak, filet mignon, prime rib; as well as chicken, pork and seafood dishes.

Non-Hotel Restaurants
If you're looking to dine outside of a hotel, try one of these places: Hikari Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar (located off the strip), Marrakech, Nevada's first Moroccan restaurant; Memphis Championship Barbeque if you're looking for barbeque or ribs.

What About Casinos and Shows and Other Acitivities?

As you can see, this is a pretty long article already and we haven't even gotten to the casinos and shows, nor have we talked much about other recreational activities. We're out of room and out of time, so please join us in separate articles on Casinos and shows, dining, and the other things to do while in Las Vegas.

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