Why It's Called Fabulous Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada, known with affection as Vegas, or with a wink as "Sin City", has tantalized travelers since the 1940s. As Vegas has evolved from Hollywood's weekend hangout to a global vacation destination, so have its tourism offerings come up in the world. Today, Vegas is a luxury travel destination with the best of everything -- hotels, casinos, restaurants, spas, clubs, shows, shopping. If you need more fun in your life, Vegas is the place.
Las Vegas Travel Basics
Vegas is an easy vacation.
- Location: In the southern tip of Nevada
- Driving time: Four hours from LA, five from Phoenix or San Diego, six from Salt Lake
- Flying time: Five hours from the East Coast, three and a half from Chicago, less from points west
- Car rental: Not strictly necessary; Vegas's main drag, the Strip, is manageable on foot or on the Las Vegas Monorail, and taxis abound
- Tourism information: Visit Las Vegas
Reasons to Visit Las Vegas
Whatever your travel passion, you can fulfill it in Las Vegas. This tourism magnet excels in so many ways, the only mistake you can make is not scheduling enough time here.
- Vegas is easy to get to, and McCarran Airport is set only a mile or two down the Strip from most hotels
- Vegas hotels are magnificent, with distinct personalities and clienteles
- Vegas's legendary casinos are fun for slots players and high-roller "whales" alike
- Vegas's sumptuous restaurants are an all-star lineup of celebrity chefs
- Vegas spas are alluring relaxation stations
- Vegas designer shopping is all too tempting
- Vegas is social, and pulsates with parties and places for people of all ages to meet and greet
- Vegas service is second to none. Hospitality is Vegas' lifeblood, and visitors feel loved
- Vegas shows are dazzling, from the free-admission Fountains of Bellagio to Cirque du Soleil extravaganzas
- Vegas's crisp desert weather is a getaway in itself: hot, sunny days and deliciously cool nights
- Vegas's natural surroundings -- mountains, canyons, desert -- offer beautiful and restorative escapes from the razzle-dazzle
Las Vegas' Definitive Luxury Hotels
Nowadays, Vegas sets the standards for urban luxury hotels. The current trend in Vegas is away from glitz and theme hotels, and toward "design hotels" that dazzle visitors with their refined aesthetic and design. Tasteful luxury characterizes newer Vegas hotels like:
- The vertical The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, buzzing with urban excitement
- Inside a vast casino hotel, a serene design and culinary enclave, Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace
- 15 minutes from the Strip's madness, Red Rock Las Vegas
Las Vegas' Sensational Restaurants
Not every Vegas visitor comes for the casinos of the nightlife. Plenty of luxury travelers come to Vegas to eat. This dazzling desert destination has lured just about every top chef or restaurateur in the world to open a Vegas place.
- Some are informal, like Milos, a world-class Greek in The Cosmopolitan, or Border Grill, a California-style Mexican spot at Mandalay Bay
- Some are exquisitely Japanese, like BARMASA at Aria in CityCenter
- Or fabulously French, like Joël Robuchon's twin eateries in MGM Grand.
Find out which Top 10 Vegas restaurants made it to the pinnacle of Sin City dining critics' Top Ten rankings, Eating Las Vegas >>
Meet the genius chefs behind Vegas' best dishes, and hear these Vegas celeb chefs' secrets
Las Vegas Attractions & Distractions
By day, the action in Vegas centers around casinos, glamorous spas, designer shopping, and sophisticated hotel pool complexes, which are outdoor parties with a swimsuit dress code. By night, Vegas vacationers venture to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and astounding shows of the Cirque du Soleil variety.
Vegas is a whirlwind of festivals celebrating everything from pastries to pasties. In the former category: Sin City's premier food, wine, and celeb-chef fest, rocking every May, the don't-miss-it Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appétit.
Screening Las Vegas
These Vegas-set films will get you in the mood for sun, sin, and the roulette wheel's spin.
- Ocean's 11 (the 1960 original, starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr.)
- Viva Las Vegas (1964, starring Elvis Presley)
- Diamonds Are Forever (1971, starring Sean Connery as James Bond)
- Bugsy (1991, starring Warren Beatty and Annette Bening)
- Showgirls (1995, starring Kyle MacLachlan and Elizabeth Berkley)
- Casino (1995, starring Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone)
- Hard Eight (1996, starring John C. Reilly and Gwyneth Paltrow)
- The Cooler (2003, starring Alec Baldwin, William H. Macy, and Maria Bello)
- The Hangover (2009, starring Zach Galifianakis)