This city of neon lights and 24-hour entertainment beckons regardless of what time of day you arrive for your stay. Assuming you’re staying on The Strip, take a stroll and acquaint yourself with the immediate vicinity. Try your hand in your preferred casinos or complete your weekend plans with the assistance of your hotel concierge.
Saturday morning, you’ll need to decide how to balance your time between gaming – the city’s largest attraction – and both resident and touring shows. But gaming and Celine Dion aren’t the only things to see and do in Las Vegas. Some of the lesser-known attractions are worth a visit, as well, and will usually cost less than a weekend of gambling. Consider the Neon Museum and its colorful maintenance of the city’s neon history; the Mob Museum and its distinct connection to Las Vegas history; or Vegas Indoor skydiving for the brave. That evening, choose from the endless lineup of shows, from numerous Cirque du Soleil incarnations to shows featuring aging rockers (and even a few in their prime), to shows featuring hypnosis, comedians and even those of the interactive variety. Enjoy dinner theater, or take in one of the many celebrity-manned restaurants from the likes of Gordon Ramsey, Bobby Flay and Hubert Keller, to name a few. Finish your night with a drink at the elegant Mandarin Bar.
Sunday presents the same challenge to balance interests. For thrill-seekers, consider Eli Roth’s Goretorium, a year-round haunted house, or the well-traveled BODIES The Exhibition for an up-close look inside the human body. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is another favorite. Dine in less celebrity-driven but favored restaurants such as The Barrymore, Michael’s Gourmet Room or Verandah. By the time you are ready to end your trip, you’ll have experienced both the glitz and glamour and the local sites and tastes for which the city is eternally famous.
Bellagio Las Vegas belies old stereotypes about Vegas – namely kitsch and $5 buffets. Instead, Bellagio offers AAA Five Diamond opulence and similar recognition for both of its Five Diamond award-winning restaurants, Picasso and Le Cirque. Cirque du Soleil’s resident production of “O” is just one of the facets that elevates the exquisite hotel. Concierge and spa services, pools, courtyards, gym and gorgeous outdoor enclaves lend both indulgence and uniqueness. www.bellagio.com
The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas lives up to, or surpasses, the expectations one has of Mandarin Oriental’s international properties. Stunningly designed and beautifully appointed, Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas brings modern style and unbeatable service to The Strip. Exquisite comfort, top-notch service and amenities and some of the better views in town pair with a hotel property that has the feel of an oasis in the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas’ most trafficked area. www.mandarinoriental.com
The Mansion at MGM Grand is the way to see Vegas as only celebrities and heads of state might see it. With fewer than 30 rooms and rates beginning in the $5,000 range, it is a world unto itself – virtually completely removed from the bright lights of the big neon city. Imagine an enclave of privacy and pleasure where the sensual riches of Tuscany reach their fullest expression. Imagine an architectural gem inspired by an 18th-century villa in the countryside not far from Florence. That is the environment fostered at this unique, gorgeous oasis. www.mgmgrand.com
Access: McCarran International Airport is serviced by many domestic and international carriers and numerous charter buses routinely travel between Oklahoma cities and Las Vegas.
Population: Approx. 1.9 million in the metro area
Climate: Las Vegas has an arid climate with sunny, dry and extremely hot summers.
Main Attractions: Gaming, live performances, theater, cultural and historic attractions and in recent years, family-oriented entertainment as well.
Plan ahead: While there are always a million things going on in Las Vegas, the options change frequently. To avoid being overwhelmed, do your homework on everything from accommodations to shows and must-see sites, particularly those off of The Strip.
Gaming: Las Vegas casinos offer far more gaming options than some of the nation’s other gambling venues. Don’t be afraid to try games with which you might not have experience – often they offer better odds than the tried-and-true. But study rules and tips in advance.
Erotic: For something unusual even by Las Vegas standards, consider a visit to the Erotic Heritage Museum, which is dedicated to the Sexual Revolution.