Las Vegas was a sleepy frontier town until 1931, when gambling was legalised. The rest, as they say, is history. See the old Vegas on Fremont Street, where the world''s largest mechanical sign, Vegas Vic, recalls the city of the 1940s and ''50s. Afterward, embrace the flashy and new at neon-lit casinos all along The Strip. If you look hard enough, you can find some family-friendly venues here and there. If you need a dose of natural outdoor recreation, consider Lake Mead, just a 30-minute drive but a world away.
Las Vegas Adventure
Let''s face it: The Strip is all about gambling at the casinos, where piles of money are won or (considering the odds) lost - and, of course, bejewelled showgirls and big-name headliners. Kids of all ages, though, will enjoy the ongoing acts at Circus Circus or the hands-on science exhibits at Lied Discovery Children''s Museum. Children under 12 see glittering Cirque du Soleil for half-price and neon that lights the sky like no place else on earth for free.
Nightlife & Party with Locals
A stroll along The Strip is Las Vegas'' best entertainment. Walk through the world''s largest sound-and-light show beginning at Luxor and, if your strength holds up, ending at Circus Circus, where acrobats flit overhead. Along the way, view the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum and The Mirage''s erupting volcano. Cirque du Soleil presents Vegas'' most spectacular stage shows, while acts from Barry Manilow to Santana perform all around town.
Casino-hopping on The Strip is a great way to experience the Vegas experience. The interior of each lavish hotel-casino is more outrageous and giggle-inducing than the last. Just when you think they can''t possibly top themselves, they do. From Venice to Paris, from New York City to the ultra-luxurious Wynn Las Vegas, it is all, completely and uniquely, Las Vegas.
Gourmet Cuisine & Dining Out
The Las Vegas food scene has seen an enormous change. Virtually overnight, there was an explosion of new restaurants, most the creations of the so-called ''celebrity chef'' phenomenon. Celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse have at least a dozen restaurants in town between them; multi-Michelin-starred chef Joël Robuchon opened two restaurants in the MGM Grand; master Italian chef Mario Batali has two at The Venetian; deservedly famed chef Julian Serrano reigns at Bellagio''s Picasso; Thomas Keller, the brains behind Napa Valley''s French Laundry - considered by many to be the best restaurant in the United States - has a branch of his Bouchon bistro; legendary chef Alain Ducasse is behind Mix at THEhotel; and high-profile names such as Pinot Brasserie, Le Cirque, Aureole, Olives, Border Grill, Nobu, and others have all rolled into town.
In a city known for its buffets, Le Village Buffet at Paris Las Vegas stands out for its better-than-average offerings.
World Class Golf Courses
Las Vegas has been a favourite golf destination since the early 1950s and ''60s, with championship-caliber 18-hole courses right on the Strip. Mild weather, clear blue skies, spectacular views of The Strip and the surrounding mountains make Las Vegas the ideal choice for a golfing holiday. With more than 60 courses in the Vegas area catering to every skill level and budget, there''s no shortage of options. With moderate daytime temperatures, autumn, winter and spring are the high seasons for golf in Las Vegas. Early-morning or late-evening play will help you beat the heat of summer, when you can also enjoy lower green fees.
Strolling on The Strip after dark is an experience for the entire family. You haven''t really seen Las Vegas until you''ve seen it at night. This neon wonderland is the world''s greatest sound-and-light show. Begin at Luxor and work your way past the incredible hotels and their attractions. You''ll pass the gotta-see-it-to-believe-it New York-New York on your way, and if your strength holds out, you will end at Circus Circus, where live acrobatic acts take place overhead while you gamble. Make plenty of stops en-route to take in the Sirens show at Treasure Island, see The Mirage volcano erupt, take a photo of the full moon over the Eiffel Tower, and marvel at the choreographed water-fountain ballet at Bellagio.
You haven''t really seen Cirque du Soleil until you''ve seen it performed in a showroom equipped with state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems and a seemingly infinite budget for sets, costumes, and high-tech special effects. It''s an enchantment. The kids will love it. Visiting the dolphins at The Mirage is another treat for the kids. This is a most un-Vegas experience. Watch these gorgeous mammals frolic in their cool blue pool. If you''re really lucky, they''ll play ball with you!