Las Vegas Flights and Travel Guide

Las Vegas

General Information

Las Vegas

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36.11464600

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Las Vegas - introduction

Las Vegas is located in the US state of Nevada and is by far the largest and most populous city in the state. It lies in the middle of the Mojave Desert and was built as a giant entertainment park.

It lies close to the borders of Arizona and California. The area sees almost no rain, but nonetheless, Las Vegas boasts tended lush green spaces, blooming gardens and water channels lavishly supplied by the casinos and luxury resorts.

Nicknamed ‘the Entertainment Capital of the World’ or ‘Sin City’ Las Vegas is also known as ‘the Marriage Capital of the World’, and sees more than 100,000 weddings per year in its 50+ wedding chapels tucked amidst the entertainment behemoths.

It is hard to believe that not so long ago Las Vegas was a small forgotten town. Then in 1946 the mobster Bugsy Siegal built the Flamingo, the first luxury hotel in the middle of the Nevada desert. His crazy vision was to make a glittering city of hotels, casinos and entertainment in this uninhabited land.
Today his vision is realized and Las Vegas is an oasis of entertainment set in the middle of the desert. It is home to almost a million inhabitants and attracts approximately 35 million visitors each year and is undoubtedly the world’s best-known gambling, entertainment and shopping destination.

Strangely near to the flashing neon signs, the jingling coins in the casinos, and the world-class acts, the surroundings of Las Vegas offer an array of vastly different experiences.

The Grand Canyon, Red Rock Canyon, and the Hoover Dam are some of the most awesome man-made and natural wonders in the country. Tours and helicopter flights and rental cars are all easy to organize for any kind of trip.

Next: Las Vegas Climate »

Las Vegas - Climate

Situated in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas has hot and dry summers and mild winters.
Temperatures often rise up to 38˚ C during the summer months of July and August and can get past 40˚ C. Winter temperatures are cooler, from 16˚ C during the day to 4˚ C at night.
There is little rainfall throughout the year, most precipitation falls during the winter, but most of the time, sunny weather prevails.

January average temperature 7 deg Celsius 15 mm rainfall
February average temperature 10 deg Celsius, 13 mm rainfall
March average temperature 13 deg Celsius, 13 mm rainfall
April average temperature 18 deg Celsius, 5 mm rainfall
May average temperature 23 deg Celsius, 5 mm rainfall
June average temperature 28 deg Celsius, 3 mm rainfall
July average temperature 32 deg Celsius, 10 mm rainfall
August average temperature 31 deg Celsius, 13 mm rainfall
September average temperature 27 deg Celsius, 8 mm rainfall
October average temperature 20 deg Celsius, 5 mm rainfall
November average temperature 12 deg Celsius, 10 mm rainfall
December average temperature 7 deg Celsius, 10 mm rainfall

Next: Las Vegas Getting There »

Las Vegas - Getting There

PLANE

Las Vegas is served by McCarran International Airport (LAS) and handles many domestic and international air carriers.

Transfer

Taxis: the ride to the city costs from $10 to $20 and is well organized by the taxi dispatcher.
Bus: the CAT Bus no. 108. Services leave from Ground Level Zero every 20 – 30 minutes and the ride costs $2. Change at Paradise Road and Las Vega Boulevard intersection to travel downtown or to other hotels.
Shuttle buses: ride costs $6 to hotels on Las Vegas Boulevard or downtown.
Limousine: $35

CAR

The drive from Southern California is along Interstate 15, however, avoiding rush hour is recommended as the 450 km drive can be crowded especially during the weekends.
Otherwise the drive can be very scenic, driving past typical American desert towns like Barstow and Baker that can seem frozen in the 1950’s, and through the Mojave Desert bristling with the fantastic Joshua trees.

From the east, take the Interstate 40 through Arizona, north on US-93 and connect to I-15.

 

Getting Around

MONORAIL

Las Vegas has a monorail that runs along the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard). A one way ride costs $5, return is $9 and a day ticket costs $15. Groups are better off taking a taxi. In the evenings it can get quite crowded.

BUS

This is a convenient and affordable way of getting around in downtown and along the Strip. Buses are air-conditioned.

TAXI

Taxis provide the easiest way of getting around, however, the Strip can often be clogged with traffic and so taking a taxi is not much faster than walking. It’s all in the timing. A concierge at any hotel is a great resource for local information.

CAR

Major casinos along the Strip offer free parking. The traffic on the Strip, however, can be very congested so consider using the I-15 that runs parallel. Car rental is a sensible option for traveling to the desert or the Dam as the roads are well maintained and clearly signposted.

WALKING

It is possible to walk between hotels and casinos. Several hotels are connected via bridges, underground passages, and some even by complimentary rail shuttle.
However, during the height of the summer it is highly uncomfortable to walk around, as temperatures can climb up to 43˚ C.

 

Next: Las Vegas Activities »

Las Vegas - Activities

Gambling is the main attraction in Vegas. Entertainment is the second.

 

GAMBLING

Las Vegas is almost synonymous with gambling and there are ample opportunities for everyone to try their hand at the sport. There are too many gambling places to count and everyone is sure to find what they are looking for, either on the famed Las Vegas Strip or off, where the bargains are still to be found.

 

ENTERTAINMENT

Las Vegas offers truly vast array of entertainment options and is famous for staging glamorous, glitzy and spectacular shows.
All major casinos have at least one if not more nightly shows, many of which feature renowned names from the world of entertainment, including singers, dancers, and comedians.

 

EXCURSIONS

 

Red Rock Canyon

Web: http://www.redrockcanyonlv.org

Red Rock Canyon is located just 16 km west of Las Vegas and provides a calming respite from the neon lights and buzz of the city.
Set in the scenic Mojave Desert, the dramatic valley is an ideal place for walking, rock climbing, cycling or just taking a drive.

 

Valley of Fire State Park

Web: http://parks.nv.gov/vf.htm
Access: from Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75

Valley of Fire is located just 90 km Northeast of Las Vegas and can be easily toured on a day trip. It was established in 1935 and is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park.
Set in the Mojave Desert, its striking red sandstone formations inspired the name. The stunning natural formations were formed 150-million years ago. In the park visitors can also see petrified wood and ancient Indian petroglyphs.
It is a great place to go hiking, camping, picnicking or just exercising the camera.
The visitor center is equipped with extensive displays and is open throughout the year.

 

Grand Canyon

Web: http://www.nps.gov/grca
Access: it is possible to visit from Las Vegas as a full day excursion, but unless flying there it is better to stay overnight.

The views are truly breath-taking and the scenery amazing. The 446 km long and 29 km wide steep multicolored canyon was carved out by the Colorado River, and reaches a depth of 1.8 km. The area was one of the first national parks in the USA.
The Grand Canyon is truly a must-see for any visitor to the region, and indeed in the country. It can be explored in a variety of ways: either viewed from the air in a helicopter or airplane; or from the ground by walking or on horseback, or driving in a car or on a bus tour. For the adventurous there is also the option of riding down into the canyon on a mule.

 

Hoover Dam

Access: one hours’ drive from Las Vegas

Hoover Dam was constructed during the years 1931 through 1936 and represents a great engineering achievement for the time. It was built over the Colorado River and measures 380 meters across. Behind it, Lake Mead was formed.
The dam provides hydroelectric power for the state of Nevada, as well as for the neighboring states.
The tour to the dam is a popular day trip from Vegas and can be booked with most tour operators.

 

Next: Las Vegas Attractions »

Las Vegas - Attractions

Venetian Hotel & Casino

Address: 3355 Las Vegas Boulevard
Web:
http://www.venetian.com

Is Venice in the middle of Mojave Desert? Is it in walking distance from the Eiffel Tower and the Pyramids? Yes, anything is possible in Vegas.
The hotel even has real canals of water where guests can glide in a gondola. In front is the replica of St. Mark’s Square and the Basilica, only the pigeons are missing.
The hotel has arguably the most elegant casino in Las Vegas, featuring 2,500 slot machines and 125 gaming tables. A stay at the hotel offers 5 swimming pools, 19 restaurants, 4 bars and lounges, and a fitness center.
It also hosts various shows, including the renowned Blue Man Group, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, and Jersey Boys.

 

Bellagio Hotel & Casino

Address: 3600 S. Las Vegas Boulevard
Web:
http://www.bellagiolasvegas.com

The famous luxurious award winning hotel located on the Las Vegas Strip. In front is a 3.2 ha lake featuring the famous Bellagio Fountains, large streams of dancing water, choreographed to music. In the interior, the hotel lobby ceiling boasts a spectacular creation of the renowned glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly. Sculpted into his “Fiori di Como” are 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers, covering 190 m2.
The hotel is also home to the famous contemporary circus, the Cirque du Soleil’s aquatic production "O".
The Bellagio hosts several World Poker tournaments, and is popular with professional poker players, mainly due to the high stakes allowed.

The hotel also appeared in the remake of the film, “Ocean's Eleven”.

 

The Mirage

Address: 3400 S. Las Vegas Boulevard
Web:
http://www.mirage.com

The Mirage is a legendary hotel located on the Las Vegas Strip. The tropical surroundings and lush beauty conjures up images of an oasis in the midst of a desert. Visitors can enjoy the exotic flora that make it feel, look and smell just like a paradise island. The lobby features a 760 hectoliter salt-water tank that holds an amazing variety of fish, including sharks, stingrays, porcupine fish, eels, sea bass and puffer fish. In front of the hotel is the famous and recently renovated Volcano that shoots 30 meter high flames and smoke into the air. It erupts every 15 minutes and the heat can be felt by spectators on the sidewalk.
The hotel was a pioneer in the gaming industry and so boasts a large casino with thousands of slot machines, dozens of table games and one of the most popular poker rooms in Las Vegas.
It also has many restaurants and a rich entertainment program. The favorite is Cirque du Soleil's magical production of “Love” inspired by the music of The Beatles.

 

Roller Coasters & Thrill Rides

The best known thrill ride on Las Vegas Strip is New York New York’s Manhattan Express. It is a Coney Island style roller coaster and it loops and dives around the hotel, climbing 62 meters high and dropping 44 meters down at a mind-boggling 107 kilometers per hour!

The rides at the Stratosphere hotel include several thrilling attractions, such as the Big Shot, which catapults the visitors almost 50 meters in the air at 70 kph in just 2.5 seconds.
The Insanity spins the visitors around a tower and reaches 3G's, all while climbing to a 70 degree angle.

The Desperado at Buffalo Bills is one of the world’s tallest and fastest roller coasters, plunging riders at tremendous speed from 60 meters high amidst stomach wrenching twists and turns.

 

Next: Las Vegas Events »

Las Vegas - Events

Burning Man

Location: Black Rock Desert
Date: 30 August to 6 September (approximately)
Web:
http://www.burningman.com

The Burning Man Festival is a temporary community that grows in the midst of the Black Desert once a year. It is dedicated to ‘radical self reliance, radical self-expression and art’ and brings together artists from near and far to a week-long festival that has grown from a small group of people gathering spontaneously, to become a massive affair drawing as many as 50,000 people.
It is known for innovative sculpture, fire installations, performances, theme camps, art cars and costumes. The Festival culminates with burning the Man, a massive man-like wooden sculpture.

 

Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and R&B Festival

Date: last week in April
Locaiton: Hills Park
Web:
http://www.yourjazz.com/

The festival attracts big names from the world of jazz, from all over the country.
The annual event is held at Hills Park in Summerlin.

 

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon

Date: first week of December

The start and finish of the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1/2 Marathon is in Mandalay Bay. The runners can enjoy the live entertainment and neon lights displayed for the occasion, as well as the biggest after race party, held Las Vegas style.

 

National Finals Rodeo

Location: Thomas & Mack Center
Date: first week of December
Web:
http://www.nfrexperience.com

This is the premier rodeo championship in the USA, and is often referred to as the ‘Super Bowl of Rodeo’. It is a chance to see the best professional cowboys in action and World championship titles are given in categories ranging from bareback riding to steer wrestling, barrel dancing, team roping, and more.
Simultaneously the Cowboy Christmas (a cowboy themed gift shop) is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

 

World Series of Poker

Date: April
Location:
http://www.wsop.com/

This is a world-renowned series of poker tournaments held annually in Las Vegas.
It draws top names and the winner receives a World Series of Poker bracelet and a monetary prize based on the number of entrants and buy-in amounts that leads to the ever increasingly popular, “Main Event” - a $10,000 no-limit ‘hold'em’ game where the winner walks away with a multimillion dollar prize.

 

Fourth of July Fireworks

Date: July 4

Las Vegas celebrates Independence Day with full force. Spectacular fireworks can be seen at several venues, including Cashman Field, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Sante Fe Station Pavilion, Desert Breeze Park, Hills Park in Summerlin, Bicentennial Park in Boulder City, Morrell Park, the Stratosphere Lounge and the Primm Valley Casino.

Next: Las Vegas Etiquette »

Las Vegas - Etiquette

Tipping: tipping is widely used and expected everywhere in the United States and is an important social convention in the USA.

An appropriate tip is between 15 & 20% for good service, more for exceptional service or less for poor service. Leaving no tip means that the service was horrible. However, it is worth noting that waiters are taxed on tips they are calculated to receive whether they get them or not and most service workers only receive the minimum wage in expectation of their wages being bolsted by tips.

General tipping guidelines: (but more is always welcome)
Cocktail waitresses: $1 to $2
Concierge: $5 to $20
Dealers & Bingo/Keno: $1 and up, from time to time
Maître’d: $10 to $20
Room service: 15-20% of the order
Bellmen: $1 per bag or suitcase
Taxi drivers: 10% to 15% of the fare
Limo drivers 20% of the fare
Hotel desk clerks: $10 for free room upgrade
Valet parking attendants: $1or $2 for leaving the car and the same for picking it up.
Maids: $1 to $2 per day
Showroom Server: $5 – 10 (for a group)

Smoking in public places is highly restricted. It is banned in the indoor sections of restaurants and bars, as well as train and subway stations, outdoor stadiums, and many other places. The outside areas of sidewalk cafes and restaurants are usually exempt from this rule.

Bear in mind that Las Vegas is in the desert, and the temperatures in the summer can climb to 45 C. Nevertheless, the casinos usually have their thermostats set quite low, so light covering is usually necessary.
In the winter (November to February), it can be very cold, especially at night.

Next: Las Vegas Safety »

Las Vegas - Safety

Las Vegas is located in the midst of a desert and summers are searing hot. Fire safety is of great importance there, as is sufficient hydration. Drink plenty of fluids, water is always the best. Never drink tap water, buy bottled water instead. Avoid alcoholic beverages and soft drinks.

Due to intense heat never leave children or pets unattended in a car. Temperatures can rise very quickly and prove life-threatening.
Use plenty of sun block and wear protective clothes, hats and eyewear.

Signs of dehydration are dry mouth and dark, concentrated urine. In case of dehydration it is important to replace fluids immediately.

Heat exhaustion victims will experience dizziness, light-headedness, and heavy sweating. In this case it is vital to rest in a cool place and drink plenty of fluids.

Heat stroke victims need immediate medical attention. Call 911. Victims can faint, experience hot red skin, but the victims do not sweat. They should be moved to a cool place, their skin rubbed gently with a wet, cool cloth. DO NOT GIVE THEM ANYTHING TO DRINK and stay with them until medical help arrives.

When traveling though the desert it is essential to always carry sufficient bottled water, if the car breaks down, help can be some time and distance away.

In the city, and especially off the Strip, it is important to be aware of the surroundings at all times; walk around in pairs or groups if possible. Do not leave hotel room keys unattended and do not flash cash in public. Leave valuables, such as cash, jewelry, passport, camera, airline tickets, etc. in a hotel safe. Only use ATMs in well-lit areas.
Cars should be parked in well-lit areas and valet service is worth considering. An unattended car should be left empty of all belongings and well locked. It is advisable, however, in the summer to leave the windows slightly open to prevent them bursting, due to intense heat that builds up inside the closed car.

Hotel rooms should always be locked even if unattended for the shortest time.

Travel within the USA is generally safe but visitors are nevertheless advised to practice general precautions. Valuables should be left in a hotel safe. Expensive jewelry and watches should be kept out of sight. Avoid pickpockets and purse-snatchers by carrying a purse across the shoulder, and keeping wallets in the front pocket.

Due to the threat of terrorism, security checks at airports have been greatly increased. Allow enough time for connecting flights.

Medical facilities are excellent but very expensive. It is essential to secure good travel insurance before travel. Note that only emergencies are treated without prior payment. Treatment can be refused without evidence of insurance or proof of funds.


Emergency Phone Numbers

Emergency: 911 (includes fire, acute medical emergencies, accidents, crime, violence, person in trouble, etc)

Las Vegas Metro Police (non emergency): 795-3111

 

Next: Las Vegas When To Go »

Las Vegas - When To Go

Las Vegas is blessed with sunny weather all around the year. Summers can be very hot, but every indoor space is air-conditioned.

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