Las Vegas: My Second Home

Vegas is awesome, but even more so if you know where to stay, where to gamble, and some cool things to do


Las Vegas: My Second Home

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jim on June 15, 2000

You can always live beyond your means in Vegas (especially if you don't count gambling as an expense or you gamble a pretty nice sum of money). Plus, everyone lets their guard down a little and you are sure to have a good time.${QuickSuggestions} Make sure you get a gambler card at whichever hotel/casino you are staying. You may not be a big gambler, but your time adds up at the table. At the end of your trip when you check out, you can ask to be comped for some of the things you otherwise would have to pay for. Also, don't be hesitant to separate where you stay from where you gamble. Some of the nicest casinos are not necessarily the best places to gamble. You get much better odds/payouts (i.e. craps, sports book) by going to some of the smaller casinos (of course the crowd is a bit older and more 'hardened'). When you win big, splurge big. Make sure you come away from Vegas with at least one or two crazy stories (something out of character). ${BestWay} I usually walk, but it takes quite awhile to walk up and down the strip. Lately, I have actually used the buses. They are cheap and easy and if you are just going from one end of the strip to the other, you can't get lost. Finally, cabs are great and not too expensive, but the lines can be long.

Bellagio

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

The Bellagio is one of my favorite hotels / casinos in Las Vegas. Everything is done in a first-class manner and the attention to detail is amazing. Named and themed after a real Italian village, you will walk around and continually be amazed at the different parts of the hotel. Outside is a lake where an interesting fountain show performs to music every ten minutes or so. The shopping area looks like a village from the outside, and features some pretty high-end retailers (not many I could afford). Inside, you will find some beautiful areas including a world-class Art display, an atrium with hand-blown glass flowers stretching across the ceiling, a garden courtyard (and you will appreciate the breath of freshness and aroma in this room after being in a smoky casino all day), a pool that is simply awesome, and all the other amenities and services you would expect from a world-class hotel. As for the rooms themselves, they are very large with luxurious adornments and marble bathrooms. I think they are worth the little bit extra you will pay. Finally, you will find some of the best restaurants in town. As for the gambling, you will find lots of quality tables and a good crowd. However, the odds are not as good as at other casinos and you will be frustrated by the crowds at times (everyone wants to see the Bellagio).
Bellagio
3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 693-7111

Caesar’s Palace

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

I got a nice room for a relatively good price compared to all of the other “high-end” casinos. The restaurants are very good, and I really liked the attached Forum shops for both eating and shopping. Also, the location is very convenient and near some of my favorite casinos (i.e. the Bellagio). I haven’t done this, but I’ve been told you can pay a little extra and get a much nicer room (larger, four post bed, suite). As for the gambling, Caesar's has a great sports book and plenty of tables. It is difficult to find your way in and out of the casino, but this is a decent place to gamble if you don't care about getting the best odds.
Caesars Palace
3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 731-7110

Flamingo Hilton

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

Supposedly, the Flamingo has a storied past tied to some famous mobsters. I didn’t really care about all that, I just wanted a decent room near all of the other casinos (and that’s what I got). The times I have stayed at the Flamingo, I typically go across the street to other casinos like Caesar’s, the Bellagio, Paris, etc. even though the Flamingo has a perfectly fine casino. It also has a a really big pool, surrounded by “lagoons” with real live flamingos and fish. The hotel is a little bit tacky and ostentatious, so if you don’t like a lot of pink, look elsewhere.
Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
3555 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
702-733-3111

Bally’s

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

The rooms are solid, but not great (and that is the theme throughout). You’ll find everything you would expect from a large hotel in Vegas, but nothing really distinguished itself in my eyes. But I have always gotten a good price on the rooms, pretty good service and plenty of gambling time in the casino. Speaking of the gambling, Bally's has a solid sports book and plenty of tables. It is not the nicest environment nor does it have the best odds, so you can probably find a better place.
Bally's Las Vegas
3645 Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 967-4111

MGM Grand

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

If you like big, then the MGM is a good choice. The largest hotel in the world, caters to the large crowds it attracts. You will have lots of choices of restaurants and you always get a pretty good room for the price. They even have an amusement park behind the hotel. However, you may not like some of the lines (i.e. check-in) and you may feel a little like cattle. The same applies to the gambling, lots of tables and lots of people. My last room at the MGM was part of the Gone With the Wind themed portion of the hotel which I found a little cheesy having grown up in Atlanta.
MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 891-7777

New York-New York

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

I get a real kick out of New York-New York (since I live in the real thing). This hotel / casino is one of the most architecturally impressive buildings in Vegas, with a New York skyline that includes imitations of buildings like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Statue of Liberty and more. Plus, a roller-coaster winds its way around the whole complex. New York-New York has decent rooms (although a little smaller than many of the other casinos I have stayed at). But I didn’t stay here for the rooms (it was neat to just walk around and see the different New York “neighborhoods). Plus, this casino is not so large that it is difficult to find your way around and it only takes a couple of minutes to get anywhere in the hotel.
New York New York Hotel & Casino
3790 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 740-6969

Mandalay Bay

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

The Mandalay Bay is my favorite place to stay in Vegas. The rooms are exceptionally nice and everything is done in a first class manner. Plus, I really like several things about this place. One, the restaurants (i.e. the Rumjungle, China Grill) are awesome and you have lots of choices. Second, it has a great spa and workout facility (plus this is a good place to start a run down the strip). Third, the pool area (flowing river and wave pool) is awesome. Finally, it is a little less hectic and crowded than many of the other casinos. By the way, this is also the biggest negative since it is a hassle to get from the Mandalay Bay to some of the other casinos and activities (the Mandalay Bay is basically the last hotel on the strip). If you want a first-class experience and the opportunity to step out of the glitz/neon of Vegas, this is a great choice. Note: Ask for a room with a view of the strip. As for the gambling, I like going here because the crowds are smaller. However, the odds are similar to other big, flashy casinos and I have always had terrible luck at these blackjack tables.
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89119
(702) 632-7777

Monte Carlo

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

I had always gotten the impression that the Monte Carlo was one of the finest casinos on the strip. The rooms are nice (albeit a little overpriced) and the location is pretty good. Plus, the impression is one of luxury. However, this all changed once I had stayed at the Bellagio and Mandalay Bay. For the price of the Monte Carlo, you can stay at one of these other hotels and they are much better (bigger rooms, nicer restaurants, better experience, better service). The Monte Carlo does attract a more upscale gambler (and a higher quality gambler) which can be nice when you are at the tables.
Monte Carlo Resort and Casino
3770 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(800)-311-8999

The Imperial Palace

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

I will never forget my room in the Imperial Palace. I paid around $50 and got a very large room. But most memorable was the huge Jacuzzi whirlpool in my room. Coupled with the mirrored ceilings, the extensive selection of x-rated movies and the general feel of the hotel, I definitely had some “bad” thoughts (which I didn’t act on). This would be a cool place for a bachelor party except I didn’t like gambling here.
Imperial Palace Las Vegas
3535 Las Vegas Blvd. SO
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 731-3311

The Desert Inn

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

The Desert Inn provided one of the more civilized stays in Vegas. This place feels more like a resort/spa than a casino and is bit more conservatively adorned than most of the other casinos. You will be very impressed by the entranceway and the rooms. The rooms are very spacious and the bathrooms are especially nice. If you are lucky, your room will look out over the golf course that is part of the Desert Inn complex. Also, the spa / workout facilities were very nice (and I really enjoyed getting a massage here). This is a nice respite from all of the glitz and cheesiness of much of the rest of the strip. As for the gambling, it is more of what I have already said. The clientele tends to be a little more reserved and the crowds are never a problem. Also, the casino is fairly compact and easy to get around.
The Desert Inn
1140 East Desert Inn Road
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 654-4780

Circus Circus

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

Of all the places I have stayed in Vegas, Circus Circus was one of the most disappointing. I had been here as a kid (this place has been around awhile and it shows) and had fond memories. I guess that is what happens when all you can do is watch circus acts and play in arcades as a kid. However, as an adult, the experience was the opposite. I got the impression that I was one step away from a trailer park- kids running around, old worn out looking carpet, long lines and more. The location was also inconvenient and away from most of the newer casinos. I quickly checked out of this hotel after one night and headed to some of the newer hotels on the other end of the strip.
Circus Circus Las Vegas Hotel and Casino
2880 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 734-0410

The Mirage

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

I have always enjoyed my stay at the Mirage. The rooms are solid and there is plenty of gambling space. Also, you definitely feel like you are in Vegas with the jungle theme in the casinos, the white tigers, the volcano, the big pool, the crowds, etc. I've also gotten some really good rates during the week (and been generously comped for my gambling time). Finally, the Mirage has one of the nicer workout facilities I have seen in Vegas (you don't have to be a guest, so if you really want to workout I would recommend this facility). As for the gambling, you have plenty of tables to choose from and the crowd is usually pretty fun. I always get comped a good bit at the Mirage (at the very least I usually get the casino rate for my room which is about 1/3 - 1/2 of the normal price).
Mirage Hotel and Casino
3400 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(800) 374-9000

THEhotel (at Mandalay Bay)

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by jim on May 9, 2004

I am not easily impressed, but THEhotel is a fantastic hotel. It is extremely stylish in an Ian Schrager hotel kind of way. Everything from the lobby, the cafe, the halls, the gym and the rooms are very cool and hip. I couldn't believe how much better this hotel was than the regular Mandalay Bay hotel. The best part, every room is a very spacious suite.

Regarding the suites, they are amazing. My suite had a very large separate sitting area / living room. There was a desk, a couch and a separate bathroom for this area of the suite. The bedroom was also very large and the beds were very comfortable. Consistent with the theme of spacious, the bathrooms are enormous. Amazingly, each suite has three flat screen televisions (in the sitting room, the bathroom and the bathroom). Everything about the suite was well done and I was very impressed.

The cafe and bar are also very nice. The cafe was a nice change of pace from the typical casino cafe in that it had a sense of style consistent with the rest of THEhotel. The service was a little slow (perhaps this is all part of the stylish motif), but the food was pretty good.

The spa and fitness center is excellent. You pay an additional fee, but you get your money's worth. The pools are also fantastic at the Mandalay Bay. It gets a little crowded (particularly with the two hotels feeding the one pool area), but it is just that many pretty people to look at.

THEhotel has now become my favorite hotel in Vegas. I still like the Bellagio and the Venetian, but for the money, THEhotel is hard to beat.

THEhotel Tower Rooms and Suites at Mandalay Bay
3950 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89119
(702) 632-7777

Venetian

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by jim on May 9, 2004

I was very impressed by the Venetian. I had heard about the suites and how large they are, but I didn't expect the Venetian to be as nice as it was. Everything about the hotel was elegant and extremely well done.

The suites were enormous. I think the suite was larger than my apartment in New York city. And it wasn't just large; it was also very comfortable (it had two televisions and a separate area to sit and do your work). The room also had high-speed internet access (there was a $9.95 charge per 24 hours) and a very large bathroom.

I really appreciated the attention to detail throughout the hotel and casino. The art, the fixtures, the décor, and everything else were consistent with a fine hotel. I also really enjoyed the canals and shopping area. You can ride a gondola or just walk through the streets of Venice (or at least a cleaner approximation of the real thing). It is typical Vegas, but done well. The shopping and dining options are excellent.

Having given the Venetian a super strong endorsement, there are a few things to consider. One, the Venetian does not have a poker room. I think this is to help maintain the high-end image of the hotel. Second, the pool is fine, but there are no umbrellas. This is important when it is as hot as it is in Vegas. Finally, the Venetian is not the most generous with comps. I did a good bit of gambling, but did not receive the type of comps I would have received elsewhere.

The Venetian has now cracked my top three recommended accommodations in Vegas. I put the Venetian in the class of the Bellagio and THEhotel at Mandalay Bay.

Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 414-1000

Red Square

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by jim on June 17, 2000

Red Square is a very cool, trendy restaurant. The decor is really neat with things like a solid ice bar top and a statue of Lenin with his head cut off. You will see lots of beautiful people (some obviously for hire) and will enjoy a good vodka martini.

The food itself is good but not great, so you may be disappointed given the price. My meat was overcooked the first time, but the waiter corrected that and brought me another steak despite my protests to not worry about it. On another visit to the restaurant, I had the tuna tartar and it was excellent.

If you want to do something really fun, go into the vodka room. You have to buy a bottle of vodka (which can cost around $250), but when you do, you go into a freezer to drink it. Normally, this wouldn't be that interesting, but the freezer is really cool. It has the head of Lenin in a frozen block of ice in the center. You are given Russian hats and fur coats to keep warm. Everyone looks ridiculous, but it is an experience.

I would recommend this restaurant if you have tried the other nice restaurants in Mandalay Bay, but not before then.

Red Square
3950 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89119
+1 877 632 7800

P. F. Chang's

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by jim on June 17, 2000

I really enjoy going to this restaurant because I like the food (even though I know it is not the highest quality Chinese and it is chain restaurant). P.F. Chang's is basically nothing more than a trendy version of your corner Chinese restaurant. The dishes are a little fancier, the decor is flashier, and the people watching is better. I always come away satisfied and actively seek certain dishes like the lettuce wraps. Don't go here expecting gourmet cuisine, but if you want a solid Chinese meal in a fun environment, this is a nice alternative to the restaurants on the Vegas strip. The biggest down side is that the restaurant is usually crowded and wait times are a pain.
PF Chang's China Bistro
4165 South Paradise Road
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 792-2207

Rumjungle

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by jim on June 17, 2000

The Rumjungle is a high concept restaurant that is something you don't easily find outside of Las Vegas. Surrounded by a really cool waterfall / fire wall you walk in and wonder if it is a restaurant, a bar or a club. Actually it is a little of both and you will dine to the sound of Latin music (dancing kicks in later in the evening). The drinks are tropical and very good and the food is very interesting (South American inspired). I ordered an all you can eat meat special that involved them slicing pieces of meat (up to six kinds) as I requested them. We all left very full, and a little drunk. The people at the Rumjungle tended toward the pretty side and we enjoyed the experience very much. It was a great way to get into the swing before hitting the town.
Rumjungle
3450 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89118
+1 877 632 5300

Drai's

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by jim on June 17, 2000

If you are looking for a fancy place to eat, Drai's fits the bill. Wood paneling, nice couches, lots of cigars and fine food describe my recollections. We also saw a lot of couples that we thought were definitely only together for the night (although I may have unfairly branded a few women ladies of the night unfairly). As for the food, it was very nice, but I was a little disappointed for the price (my meat was a little tough and my girlfriend's fish was simply okay). Having said that, our appetizers, desserts and side dishes were great and the atmosphere was amusing. The service was a little abrupt (but we were obviously not big rollers). This spot was recommended by the concierge at the Desert Inn.
Drai's Restaurant
3595 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
+1 702 737 0555

The Attic

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jim on June 17, 2000

A lot of people have seen this store in the credit card ads on TV from a year or so ago. That's what inspired me to go check it out and I wasn't disappointed. You will find tons of vintage clothing and furniture as well as some newly made funky stuff as well. The prices aren't great, but I've been twice and both times came away with several items. You can't help but laugh at some of the things in the store and its fun trying stuff on. Have a few drinks and go with a couple of friends. There is a $1 admission fee, which is funny for a store, but it's worth it. A bigger problem is transportation to and from. We took a taxi which was no big deal, but it took a while to get one to come back out. Make arrangements for a return taxi ride with the driver you go out with.
Attic
1018 S. Main St.
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89101
(702) 388-4088

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by jim on June 17, 2000

If you want to see a lot of pretty (young) people, then definitely go to the Hard Rock (yes, it is the same company as the Hard Rock Cafe that is really famous). This is what I consider a beginner casino. Since most of the people there are relatively young, they don't have a lot of gambling experience. This is extremely frustrating if you take your gambling seriously. Also, the odds on the craps tables and the rules at the Blackjack tables are the worst I have seen in Vegas. It was fun sitting next to Minnie Driver for a couple of hours (yes, she is very beautiful in real life and no, she is not a good gambler).
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
4455 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 693-5000

Fashion Show Mall

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jim on June 17, 2000

This is one of the nicer malls I have been to which makes sense given the amount of money flowing through Vegas. You will find all of the large stores you would expect (i.e. Neiman Marcus), the brand names in every good mall (i.e. Banana Republic, and a variety of specialty stores all in a very clean, upscale environment. Plus, it is very easy to get to given it is on the Strip.
Fashion Show Mall
3200 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 369-8382

Forum Shops at Caesar's

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jim on June 17, 2000

The shops themselves are not why I like this shopping area. The environment is the reason. A combination of Roman architecture under a blue sky (which is a really neat effect), plus things like a huge fish aquarium make the walk through the shopping area pretty cool. The shops are mostly upscale and beyond my price range (i.e. Gucci, Prada, etc.), but you will also find a lot of brand-name stores that are more affordable (but why shop at these when you can find them in any mall).
The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
3500 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 893-4800

O, at Bellagio (one of my all time favorite shows

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jim on June 16, 2000

Hard to describe and even harder to do it justice, this was in every regard a fantastic, remarkable experience. O is a Cirque du Soleil production that was designed specifically for this stage. The stage allows for different depths of water in a matter of seconds. You will see a multitude of divers, water performers, trapeze artists, contortionists, and props & effects brought together in some truly amazing ways. There is supposed to be a plot, but I didn't notice (or care that I didn't notice) because everything was so cool. The highlight of the show for me was being pulled on the stage by the clowns. I was in the front row (which is a great place to view the action up close) and clowns came into the audience looking for volunteers. Several people refused, but I jumped at the chance. Next thing I knew I was on stage trying to be funny in front of thousands of people. I then got sent on an iceberg that eventually floated back stage. I saw hundreds of people running around as they moved from scene to scene and was glad to see that perspective. I was then escorted back to my seat by a lovely Eastern European performer. I will go see this performance again, and this time I think I will sit on the mezzanine to see what that view is like.
"O" by Cirque Du Soleil
Bellagio Casino, 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(888) 987-3456

Hiking Red Rocks Canyon

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jim on July 16, 2000

Red Rocks National Park was absolutely breathtaking. These canyons were very cool and unlike anything I had ever seen before. It is also as opposite as the city of Las Vegas as you can get (uncrowded, all nature, nothing man-made, authentic). It is located about 15 miles from the heart of town and is a great break from gambling.

I had been to Vegas probably 15 times without checking this out, but now realize what a mistake that was. Stop at the ranger station and ask the best trails to go on. They are very helpful and won't steer you wrong (although I think they are a little over protective and assume non-desert people can't handle the heat).

The park is easily accessible via the park loop road (about 15 miles around). Several areas are setup for cars to pull over and take pictures or for you to park and go for a hike.

We chose to hike into Ice Box Canyon on the advice of the park ranger. It was a little too easy overall, but very cool nonetheless. The route starts out flat but about 2/3 of the way in you begin to encounter big rocks that you have to climb over. Finally at the end, you come to the inside of the canyon and have to turn around. Undaunted I foolishly climbed much farther than I should have and had a very hard time getting down. The echoes from the canyon, the isolation, the occasional screech of a hawk, and the towering presence of the canyons make this a very cool place (even kinda spooky because you feel like someone is always watching you).
Red Rock Canyon
Highway 159 at Scenic Drive
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89124
(702) 363-1921

Paiute Golf Resort

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by jim on May 7, 2004

I played at this course in a golf tournament for the convention I was attending. I don’t usually play golf when I go to Vegas, but I was glad to be getting away from the casinos. The course is about 20 minutes outside of town at the Paiute Indian reservation. There are three 18-hole courses. I played the Sun Mountain course.

The scenery surrounding the course is very interesting. It felt like I was looking out at the crater of the moon or Mars from an ecosystem. The course was green, lush and full of water, while the landscape around the course was barren, dry, and rocky. It made for many interesting views. The scenery on the course was also quite nice. There are several water hazards, flowers, and other various other scenic features on the course that made for a very pleasant round of golf.

Regarding the play, it was a challenging course (but not too challenging for the typical golfer that heads to Vegas for a convention) that I enjoyed very much. If you hit good shots, you were generally rewarded. None of the holes had any circus features that punished steady play. There were several water hazards, some pretty interesting sand traps and tons of trouble in the rough (which was mostly desert shrubbery and barren ground).

My only complaint was the greens. They were in pretty bad shape. It was very difficult to get a true straight line on a putt because of all the imperfections and patches of messed up grass. There were several putts that hit a chunk and veered off course. I was told that the other courses at Paiute had better greens.

All of the carts had a GPS system that diagramed the holes. You always knew how many yards to the pin. Further, the practice facilities were excellent. Allow a few extra minutes to warm up because the practice tees aren’t right next to the first hole of all of the courses. There is a nice clubhouse for anything you want.

Despite the greens, I had a thoroughly enjoyable day of golf. I probably will try a different course next time I am in Vegas, but I did have a good time. The scenery alone makes this course worth trying at least once. I asked in the clubhouse and they mentioned that the greens are not normally in such bad shape. I would check with them before making a tee time if you are particular about every aspect of the course.

Paiute Golf Resort
10325 Nu-Wav Kaiv Boulevard
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89124
(702) 658-1400

A General Note on Gambling

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jim on June 17, 2000

If you want to win money and that's all you care about, stay away from the large, new casinos on the strip. The odds on the craps table are not that good, the rules on the blackjack table are not as liberal, and the lines for the sports book are not as favorable. Having said all that, the crowd is a bit younger and less hardened at the new casinos and the overall experience is more enjoyable. Also, the amenities are nicer, the waitresses are prettier and the food is better.

The Rollercoaster at New York-New York

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jim on June 17, 2000

When you walk down the strip and you see New York-New York, you can't miss the rollercoaster. It is a really fun ride and one of the better rollercoasters I have been on. Plus you get a really cool view of the casino and the strip. It is worth the $5 and the wait in line.

The Sports Books

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jim on June 17, 2000

My favorite sports book is at the Bellagio. They have really nice leather chairs and the atmosphere is pretty relaxed. You also have a lot of big screen tvs to watch the games. Caesar's Palace is another great sports book. It is one of the biggest and most active in Vegas. Other sports books that I enjoy include Bally's and Mandalay Bay. One sports book I found to be funny was at the Luxor. It is very manual and the lines are handwritten on a white board.

Skyscreamer at MGM

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jim on June 17, 2000

The Skyscreamer is an awesome diversion and a great way to get an awesome adrenaline rush without having to bet tons of money on one hand. You are basically hoisted up several hundred feet in the air and when at the top, you pull a release cord that sends you plummeting to the earth (hence the name Screamer). Just before you hit the ground you swoop upward just like on a giant swing. This is one of most memorable experiences in Vegas and it was totally wholesome.

Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay - (surprisingly cool)

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jim on July 16, 2000

I wasn't really expecting much more than a big tank with a lot of fish. However, the Shark Reef is considerably better than that. First you get a brief warm-up looking at alligators, lizards and the like. But the real fun starts when you get to the aquariums. You'll see everything from jellyfish, to tropical fish, to sting rays and most impressively sharks. The shark tank at the end is super cool as some really big sharks swim under, around and over you. The admission price of $12.50 was a little steep, but I was glad I did it. Take one of your chips and spend it on this attraction before you blow it on a hand of blackjack.

An Elvis Experience

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jim on July 20, 2000

Even to this day, Elvis's influence is still felt in Las Vegas. You can see Elvis impersonators at several places and in my case at a wedding. My friend had just gotten married in Acapulco and decided to renew his just spoken vows in his home town of Vegas. 'Elvis' gave the wedding vows interspersed with four of his classic hits. And believe me he took it seriously (a little too seriously). The ceremony was topped off by an Elvis cake (see photos).

More Hiking at Red Rock

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jim on July 20, 2000

We tried to get a climbing guide (we love to climb and we didn't have any gear), but didn't have any luck on short notice. Apparently, not as much climbing takes place during the summer when it is burning hot. Having said that, I wanted a little bit of a climbing fix so I scaled a few easy areas. I realized that going up is not necessarily the hard part. (see photos)

Some more photos of Vegas

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jim on July 20, 2000

This entry is just a catch-all for some photos of Vegas. I have hundreds, but these were some I thought people might find interesting / informative.

http://www.igougo.com/journal-j294-Las_Vegas-Las_Vegas_My_Second_Home.html

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