At the heart of Sin City lies the six-kilometre stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard affectionately dubbed “The Strip”. The hotels and casinos it is famous for began cropping up here in the mid-1940s. One of the first to open its doors was the Flamingo, opened by mobster Bugsy Siegel in 1946 and named for his leggy girlfriend, whose nickname was Flamingo. The Strip has been featured in countless Hollywood films, and is known today for its five-star casino resorts, decedent day-spas and pools, and glamorous nightlife.
Any mental images you have of Las Vegas are almost certainly based on The Strip—from the much-photographed “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” sign, which was erected in 1959 and is now listed on the American National Register of Historical Places and neon signs, to the hotels and casinos that draw in the crowds. These are mostly themed and are icons in their own right: there’s the pyramid-shaped Luxor, the elaborately themed Treasure Island (or “the TI”) with its artificial cove, the old-world MGM Grand, glamorous Caesars Palace and Bellagio, where the illuminated fountain show attracts throngs of tourists every evening.
Visitors can tour the world without leaving The Strip for a second—ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower replica at the Paris hotel, and travel around miniature Manhattan at the New York-New York Casino, while the Venetian offers gondola rides along its authentic canals, and there’s even a lava-spewing volcano at the Mirage. Don’t forget to wander into the hotels themselves to experience the sumptuous lobbies and try your luck on the gaming floors—with their soundtrack of zinging slot machines, cards and chips slapping on tables, and both cheers and groans from the players—for the true Vegas experience.
The Strip is much livelier at night than it is by day, but families will enjoy it more. Tourists of all ages hit the many shops in the casino galleries and sample the cuisine from top-notch restaurants and quick snack bars. You can get anything from sushi, to a five-course Italian meal, down to a classic, American diner burger and shake. Vegas has it all!
And as the sun sets, get ready to do it all again. The Las Vegas Strip guarantees a wild party every night of the year.
Las Vegas’ Strip is located just outside the city limits, a ten-minute taxi ride from downtown. Traffic runs slowly and parking is expensive along this prime area of real estate. The best way to get around is by taxi, minibus or monorail. Ask at your hotel reception for day rates on bus and monorail passes.