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USATourist News Magazine by Elizabeth Blair
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USATourist News Magazine

March 2012 - Las Vegas, Nevada

In this issue:

Welcome to the March 2012 issue of USATourist News Magazine. This month we're traveling to the great state of Nevada to one of the liveliest cities in the United States. Las Vegas is one city that always has something new going on. This month we're going to cover some of the newest attractions and some of the classics.

Fremont Street Experience

The light show on Fremont Street are one of the many free entertainments that visitors to Las Vegas can take advantage of.
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More than Gambling

Las Vegas has a reputation for gambling, glitzy shows and endless buffets. Today that still holds true, but there are also plenty of fun attractions to keep you busy between your visits to the Black Jack table.

Jumping out of plane might seem a little daunting, but in Las Vegas you can experience the thrill without actually taking the leap at cloud level. With the help of a vertical wind tunnel, Indoor Sky Diving offers a sky diving experience minus the sky.

PBR Rock Bar and Grill opened at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino a couple of years ago. In addition to being a bar and restaurant it has non-stop action including 115 flat screen televisions, a mechanical bull, a Custom made Jumbotron (a large-screen television), a stage for hosting live performances, a live DJ Booth and tire swings that hang from the ceilings.

As they say, everything is hot in Vegas, except this place. Minus5° is an ice bar where the walls, bar, sculptures, seats (covered in deer skin) and even the glassware is made of ice. There are two locations: Mandalay Bay and Monte Carlo. The in-house ice carver changes the bars and sculptures every 6-8 weeks. Las Vegas is one of the warmer destinations in the United States, so you probably won't be packing for the cold, but keep in mind that Las Vegas can get chilly during the winter. Regardless of the time of year Minus5° guests are issued Eskimo-like ice gear: insulated jackets, gloves and boots during their visit.

If you prefer a warmer ambiance, the new Margaritaville-themed casino is adjacent to the Margaritaville restaurant at the Flamingo Las Vegas. The casino keeps the tropical spirit alive with Jimmy Buffet tunes.

Free things to do in Las Vegas

What used to be an affordable vacation, as long as you could keep your gambling under control, has become a rather expensive experience. Years ago the hotels of Las Vegas offered free meals and extra hotel stays to low and moderate gamblers. This is no longer the case. Today, the casinos know exactly who the big-spenders are and they focus on them.

The good news is that there is plenty more to do besides gamble. Almost every major casino features some type of free show or attraction. You can start by sitting in a window seat if you fly in at night. The World's Largest Light Beam at the Luxor Casino offers a fun welcome to Las Vegas.

Other popular attractions include: Dancing Waters at Bellagio Casino, Fountain Festival Fall of Atlantis Fountain Show at Caesar's Palace, Treasure Island Casino's Sirens of Treasure Island, and Rio Masquerade Show in the Sky. Mirage Casino has the Volcano and the White Tigers. At the Venetian Casino, the Gondola Canals are a hit, while at the MGM Grand the Lion Habitat brings the crowds.

Outside of the casinos, Hawaiian Marketplace on the Las Vegas Strip (The Strip) is just a block from MGM Grand with an animatronic bird show and Hawaiian dancers. Also on the strip, Ethel M Chocolates offers a free chocolate factory tour with free samples!

Gambler's Tip: Casinos like to reward their customers and one way they do this (and monitor their customer's loyalty) is to offer player's clubs. Be sure to sign up before gambling!

Luxor Hotel Casino

The Luxor Hotel Casino is conveniently located near the Las Vegas Monorail.
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The Best Places to Stay

Choosing a hotel in Las Vegas can be tough. There are thousands of rooms throughout the city running from the basic motel to high-end luxury suites. My favorite hotels are the mid-range hotel-casinos that have easy access to the Monorail. The monorail system operates on a route approximately four miles long, between Sahara Station to the MGM Grand Station. The entire route takes 15 minutes and saves on long walks. Visitors have a choice of purchasing a single, daily or three-day pass.

If you're on a budget you will find better rates at condos and non-casino hotels that are located off the Las Vegas Strip. Your best bet is to price compare.

Nearby Attractions

The Hoover Dam, only a short 45-minute drive from Las Vegas, has always been a popular tourist attraction but what has made the news recently is the opening of the Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge (Colorado River Bridge). This Hoover Dam bypass bridge is the highest and longest arched concrete bridge in the Western Hemisphere and the second-highest bridge of any kind in the United States (14th in the world). Driving over the four-lane bridge offers spectacular views of the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.

Twenty miles west of Las Vegas, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area takes visitors away from the glitz and into the scenic desert. Opt for an 18-mile scenic car ride or explore the desert trails on foot or bicycle. Also within driving distance is the Grand Canyon, a natural wonder that everyone should see!

LAS Airport News

June 2012 will mark another expansion for Clark County's McCarran International Airport (LAS). Terminal 3 will open and be able to accommodate up to 53 million people per year. The airport was desperately in need of an upgrade considering Terminal 2 had restrictions on aircraft arrival and deplaning. According to news sources, Terminal 3 will be much more efficient now since the new space will allow 1,200 passengers, or three full 747s, to simultaneously deplane through seven international gates. The customs and passport check areas will also be more spacious making a more pleasant experience for workers and passengers.

We hope you've enjoyed this month's issue of USA Tourist News Magazine!

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Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair

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