Circus Circus was the first casino hotel. Over twenty years ago it adopted the idea of providing fun activities for the whole family alongside casino facilities. An entire floor of the hotel is dedicated to circus shows that take place every fifteen minutes from 11AM to midnight. Around it are many carnival sideshow attractions where kids and adults can win stuffed toys of every shape and size. Right next to the hotel is an indoor theme park (very good for the hot summer months) called Adventuredome Theme Park. The rides are suitable for all ages. You can purchase a daily ticket for unlimited use of all the rides, or alternatively buy single tickets for specific rides.
This is one of the most beautiful hotels in Las Vegas, although in recent years it has had some competitors. The hotel may be one of the oldest in the city but a few years ago it underwent heavy reconstruction and since then it has been growing and improving every year. In the hotel there is a beautiful shopping and entertainment centre called The Forum, which is built to look like a street in Ancient Rome. Its ceiling simulates a changing sky with moving clouds, which changes from day to beautiful twilight to night according to the time of the day. The street has lovely little piazzas decorated with Roman sculptures. At its two ends are fountains, also decorated with statues. Every hour on the hour, these statues start to move and talk in a show full of stunning fire, water and lazer effects. The two fountains feature two different shows, each ten minutes long. I recommend seeing both.
The Forum is home to many impressive stores. I don’t recommend shopping here, as the shops are fairly expensive; they are, however, excellent for window shopping. Some notable stores are the Nike store, which is a huge hall containing all of the company’s latest releases, the toy store Schwartz, and many galleries.
One of the most unique shops in the Forum is the Exotic Car Showroom, where over 40 cars are on display, each worth over a million dollars. Most of them are rare collectors’ cars. The car selection changes all the time. This is in fact a store as well, and you would be surprised as how quickly these cars are sold. Scattered around the showroom are several computers that provide information about the various cars. If the prices of the cars are too steep for you, don’t worry – you can purchase affordable souvenirs such as keychains, t-shirts and baseball caps bearing the emblems of these cars. There are also remote controlled toy cars that you can play with in the showroom (and of course purchase as well). The impressive display draws thousands of visitors every day.
The Forum also features a huge aquarium with over 500 tropical fish. Twice a day you can watch the fish being fed. There are also ‘behind the scenes’ tours of the aquarium once a day every Monday to Friday (these tours are free of charge).
There is also a 3D simulator in the Forum called Cinema Ride, where several different films are screened. These change every so often. The Cinema Ride moves and jerks around and is not recommended for people with heart or back problems and pregnant women. However, these is also the more relaxed Omnimax theatre in the hotel, which screens films on a humongous screen. These films change occasionally as well.
One last interesting feature of Caesars Palace I would like to mention is the Cypress Street Marketplace, a stylized food court with nine popular and inexpensive restaurants.
The main attraction of this hotel is a needle-like tower at its top, towering 356 metres over the Strip. It is 48 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower. You can see a beautiful view of the entire city from the top of this tower. Visiting after nightfall is especially recommended, as the city is breathtakingly lit up. The Stratosphere has two viewing platforms, an indoor one and an open one.
At the top of the tower are four thrilling attractions, only for the brave: The first is the Big Shot, which launches you upwards into the sky at great velocity from the very top of the tower then drops you in a freefall back to your starting point. The second is X-Scream, a special roller coaster which hangs in the air around the top of the tower. The third ride is called Insanity, and it does require a certain amount of insanity to ride; it is a giant carousel which swings you in the air to float over Las Vegas, held only by the arm of the carousel. The fourth and newest ride is the Skyjump, a real freefall jump which will send you plummeting through the sky down 108 floors. You can purchase single tickets for each ride or combination tickets for several rides for discounted prices.
The tower features an impressive lighting system which creates a beautiful show of dancing lights every night which can be seen from nearly anywhere in Las Vegas. Stratosphere also has a restaurant with a 360 view of the city, as well as many shops and restaurants in the bottom floor of the tower.
At the entrance to the hotel is a ‘volcano’ that erupts every evening every 30 minutes, spewing lava and flames which, along with Mirage’s waterfalls, create a beautiful show of fire and water. Near the main entrance is a tropical rainforest with tall palm trees, orchids, and other tropical flowers. Inside the hotel there is a cage housing white tigers, an enormous aquarium which spans the entire reception area and a pool of dolphins which visitors can view from above or below.
One of the most expensive hotels in the world, inspired by an Italian town lakeside town. The hotel opened at the end of 1998 and features fancy and expensive furnishing and decor. The lake at the front of the hotel is filled with thousands of fountains which light up with colour every night. Every evening, once an hour, a beautiful show of light and water takes place, accompanied by classical music.
In the enormous lobby of the hotel there are impressive botanical gardens filled with colourful exotic flowers. On the ceiling are 2000 glass flowers created by the famous Italian artist Dale Chihuly. There is also an art gallery in the hotel, filled with paintings and sculptures by famous artists (There is an entrance fee for the gallery). Individuals under the age of 18 are not allowed into the hotel unless they are staying there, coming to see a (paid) show, or have a reservation at one of the hotel’s luxurious restaurants.
With 6000 rooms, the Venetian is one of the largest hotels in the world. It opened in 1999 at the very heart of the Strip, its architecture based off that of the romantic city of Venice (only cleaner and more orderly). The complex includes piazzas, gondola-filled lagoons (in which you can sail for a fee), towers, and bridges. This city within a city is amazing to simply stroll through.
The Venetian is home to the Las Vegas branch of the famous wax museum, Madame Tussauds. The focus of this branch is American pop, rock, entertainment and sports idols.
If you’ve always dreamt of having some say in the film and television industry in the US, the Venetian’s Las Vegas Preview Studios will provide you with that opportunity. You can watch scenes from new movies, new episodes of known TV shows and pilot episodes of new TV shows – for free, every day. The episodes and scenes are 15 to 50 minutes long. Afterwards, you are required to fill out an electronic questionnaire for another 15 minutes.
A Brazil-styled suite hotel just outside of the strip, a few minutes away by car. Several times a day, starting around noon, Rio holds a beautiful carnival show called Masquerade in the Sky. Big, colourful floats filled with dozens of dancers, clowns and acrobats hang from the ceiling, moving above the crowd. It is an exciting celebration of music and dancing throughout which colourful plastic necklaces are tossed to the crowd. There is no entrance fee; this show is free. Don’t miss it! This show is a favourite for children and adults alike. You can join in the parade and sit in one of the floats for a fee.
The central building of this hotel is built to look like an enormous, 40-storey pyramid. Entrance to the hotel is through a giant sphinx. The lobby is full of mummies and Egyptian-style sculptures. Three floors of the hotel comprise the Pharaoh’s Pavilion, an entertainment centre which includes a small museum, simulators and IMAX films. You can purchase a combination ticket for all of the attractions in the Pavillion or separate tickets for each one.
A powerful laser beam at the top of the pyramid lights up the sky at night.
A relatively new hotel that opened in 2005. This is the first hotel to open in Vegas in a long time which doesn’t have some sort of theme to it. Rather, it is named after its founder, Steve Wynn. Right next to the shining bronze hotel is a manmade mountain, standing 7 storeys tall and covered in greenery. You can see the mountain from the hotel, as well as a lake and several waterfalls, some up to 30 meters in height. Another attraction is the fountains of the hotels, which dance along with special effects.
The Wynn Hotel houses an impressive collection of Ferraris called the Penske Wynn Ferrari Maserati. The collection is made up of about a dozen cars, each one valued at over 700,000 dollars, including a few custom-made models. Steve Wynn’s personal 1.4 million dollar Ferrari is also on display there. This showroom attracts many visitors, but as the maximum number of people allowed inside at a time is 35 you should expect a small line at its entrance. Entry is free. The showroom is closed on Sundays. Next to the showroom is a Ferrari souvenir store which sells things like bags, mugs, toys and the like with the company logo.
The hotel also displays Wynn’s small but beautiful collection of art (Wynn is known to be one of the world’s greatest art collectors). Visitors to this little museum receive headphones through which they can hear information about each of the paintings in Wynn’s own voice. The art museum is open daily. An entrance fee is required. The hotel also has a very fancy golf course.
The second biggest hotel in las Vegas, with over 5000 rooms. Its theme is films, especially The Wizard of Oz. Dedicated television fans can test out new TV shows and upcoming episodes of existing shows at the CBS Television City Research Centre (similar to the Venetian’s Preview Studios). Participation is free and intended for anyone over the age of 10 (although children must be accompanied by an adult). Visitors are instructed how to use the testing computers while watching, then get to watch the latest productions of MTV, CBS and Nickelodeon. After watching you will be required to participate in a 15-minute concluding survey. Another attraction of the hotel is the Lion Habitat in MGM’s enormous lobby – a large glass cage in which you can see lions playing, eating and sleeping in an environment built to simulate their natural habitat. Entry to the lobby is, of course, free.
This hotel is built to look like a Caribbean pirate town at Buccaneer Bay. At its entrance is a huge pirate ship docking at the harbour. Several times a day a show called The Sirens of Treasure Island takes place at the front of the hotel, featuring song, dance and plenty of special effects. You will have to get there early to get a good spot for viewing. The one disadvantage of this show is that you will have to watch it standing in a dense crowd. The shows get cancelled in stormy or windy weather. There is a playground area inside the hotel.
A beautiful hotel inside and out. It is made up of nine 50-storey interconnected sky scrapers, creating a miniature Manhattan skyline – including the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the Statue of Liberty. A roller coaster by the name of The Manhattan Express is built around the hotel. New York New York also has an entire floor full of amusement rides.
A hotel designed to look like a medieval castle, surrounded by a moat. A knight show takes place at the entrance to the hotel every night. Excalibur is also home to the Fantasy Faire Midway, an arcade full of carnival games, video games and simulators. Next to the hotel’s main buffet restaurant is a small stage where magic shows, clown shows and the like take place every half an hour, viewing free of charge. Knights march through the hotel several times a day. The hotel also hosts a dinner show called Tournament of Kings.
This hotel opened at the end of 1999. It looks just like Paris, the city of lights. Its main attraction is of course the Eiffel Tower – 50 floors high, roughly half the size of the original tower. Visitors can go up to the top floor in a glass elevator and see the beautiful view of the strip. (This happens to be the best place from which to view Bellagio’s fountain show.) The hotel also has replicas of other famous Parisian buildings such as its opera building, the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe. The whole hotel has a very Parisian atmosphere, helped along by street performers, artists, mimes, human statues and baguette sellers on their bikes, all inside the beautiful hotel lobby.
A classy, luxurious hotel, named after an Indian bay, which opened in 1999 in the southern end of the strip (next to Luxor). The hotel houses a unique aquarium called Shark Reef, designed to look like an ancient sunken temple. It has a walk-through tunnel going through a shark tank and offers a great view of giant sea turtles and many other sea creatures (there is an entry fee to the aquarium). A fantastic waterpark is attached to the hotel, containing a huge wave pool, a tubing river and an artificial sandy beach. The pools are intended for hotel guest use only, but this beautiful hotel is worth visiting regardless.