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USATourist News Magazine

September 2007

In this issue:

Welcome to the September 2007 issue of USATourist News Magazine. This month we're taking a gamble on the City of Lights – Las Vegas, Nevada. This issue will give you tips on where you can find the great deals on food, tours in the area, and where to find the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is a magnificent city to fly into at night. When you check in for your flight request a window seat on the right side (facing forward) of the plane for a view of The Strip during landing.

From the moment you walk off the plane you will know you're in Las Vegas. The concourses are filled with slot machines and the baggage claim area is booming with Las Vegas show tunes and advertisements on huge screens.

Las Vegas Show Girls

Las Vegas Show Girls
Courtesy of the Las Vegas News Bureau/LVCVA

Once you hit The Las Vegas Strip (The Strip) it is likely you will be amazed by the excitement and attractions. The casinos are the main attraction in Las Vegas. The types of establishments vary from no-frills casinos to lavish resort casinos. Little wedding chapels and resorts offering wedding services as elegant or outlandish as the bride and groom like.

Want to get married in Vegas? You can book your wedding online with the World Famous Drive Up Wedding!

Despite rumors, prostitution is not legal in Sin City, but it is legal in parts of Nevada. Sex in Las Vegas is still an element of Las Vegas though. There are plenty of strip, swingers, and gay clubs plus the traditional Las Vegas topless shows are still performed nightly. While the stunning showgirls dressed in extravagant and revealing costumes are legendary to the city's past and present the Las Vegas shows don't stop with the gorgeous women. Today there are numerous other (non-sexual) type shows, for instance, Celine Dion, Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil and the classic Wayne Newton. You can buy show tickets in advance online.

Having a car is not necessary in Las Vegas. The public transportation is terrific and several monorails connect many of the hotels owned by the same companies. You will need to rent a car if you go to some of the other Las Vegas area attractions.

The Strip versus Fremont Street

One of the misconceptions in Las Vegas is that Fremont Street is The Strip, but the two are not the same. The four mile Strip is Las Vegas Boulevard and home to the new, enormous new hotels and casinos and some of the classic hotels. The Strip is capped by the Stratosphere on the northern end and Mandalay Bay on the southern end.

The famous Las Vegas sign and Mandalay Bay Casino

The famous Las Vegas sign and Mandalay Bay Casino
Photo by Mike Leco

Fremont Street is located downtown (also called Glitter Gulch) and continues to offer traditional casinos as well as being considered "vintage Las Vegas" with a modern spin. The street is closed to traffic and is covered by the Viva Vision Canopy to make the "Fremont Street Experience" complete with regularly scheduled light shows. Several classic, refurbished neon signs are on display in outdoor "galleries" on Fremont Street and can be viewed as a free walking tour.

Tip: The famous 1959 "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign has had several homes over the years as The Strip has expanded. This iconic landmark currently stands in the center island of Las Vegas Boulevard past the Mandalay Bay, 1.3 miles south of Tropicana Avenue. If you are driving south on The Strip keep an eye out for the sign's departing message, "Drive Carefully. Come Back Soon."

Smoking Banned at Las Vegas Airport

Due to a new Nevada state law the smoking lounges through out the Las Vegas McCarran Airport have been removed. Smoking is allowed outside of the ticketing and baggage claim areas.

Cheap Food and Free Drinks

You have probably heard you can eat in Las Vegas for practically nothing, and twenty years ago that was true. Today you might be disappointed at first glance since glitzy restaurants and pricy buffets fill the casinos. But the truth is the cheap eats are still there. Your best bet for eating cheap is moving away from The Strip. Here are a few places to find inexpensive meals:

The Super 8 Motel Ellis Island casino on Koval near East Flamingo has a great bargain 10 oz steak, salad, baked potato, vegetable, and bread all for $5. It's served 24 hours a day, but you have to ask since it's not on the menu.

The Fremont Street Experience

The Fremont Street Experience
Photo by Mike Leco

Terrible Herbst Hotel and Casino (located on Paradise and Flamingo) has a $5 breakfast buffet and a $10 dinner buffet and on Sunday evenings the main course is prime rib and shrimp.

The famous 99 cent shrimp cocktail is still in existence at the Golden Gate Casino downtown on Fremont Street.

Free drinks are normally offered to gambling patrons. To keep the cocktail waitress coming your way always tip. $1-2 a drink is average but if you tip more you are guaranteed to always have a drink in hand.

Las Vegas Tours

Thirty minutes southeast of Las Vegas is one of the largest dams in the world, the Hoover Dam. The tours are not free but you can park and walk to view points above the dam. The Ethel M's Chocolates factory is located only 15 minutes from The Strip and on the way to the Hoover Dam. The tours are free and self guided. Also on the property is the beautiful Botanical Cactus Garden filled with 300 species of desert tolerant plants.

Tip: Ethel M Chocolates has four store locations in the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. Free samples are always offered to customers browsing the store.

Many of the retired Las Vegas neon lights currently sit on a 3 acre site called the Neon Boneyard. Tours are $15 and need advanced reservations.

Here are some more fabulous Vegas area tours:

Grand Canyon Helicopter, Bus and Airplane Tours
Las Vegas Double Decker Bus Of The Stars
Ultimate Las Vegas Nightclub Hopping Package
Vegas Night Strip Helicopter Flight
Browse all tours and show tickets

Tip: Nearly every casino has a players club. The issued card is inserted into the slot machines and is the casino's way of knowing who is using the casino and how much they are gambling. Using the cards can earn you, free meals, hotel rooms, even money back on your losses.

You can always count on a memorable visit to Las Vegas. Have fun and good luck.

See you next month!

Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair

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