A weekend in Las Vegas is never dull. Here are four must-see attractions, and tips on how to make the most of each
Las Vegas is one of the most incredible places in the world. It has risen out of the dusty Nevada desert, first as a place to drink and gamble and now as an adult wonderland and entertainment mecca. Vegas is a town where the impossible is possible, where people can fulfil their wildest dreams and desires – often in the height of luxury.
Sin City offers so much that it is impossible to see everything in one visit. But there are some experiences that can’t be missed, even if staying for a night or two. Below are the four must-do things for any Vegas visitor, and how to make the most of each.
Play a game of blackjack:
No trip to Las Vegas is complete without a night at the casino. For those seeking a luxurious gambling experience, Wynn offers stylish and sophisticated environments in which to spin the reels or play a hand of blackjack. There are several gaming areas across the resort – from its dedicated casino to poolside – manned by impeccably dressed croupiers and waiting staff.
Some visitors will be attracted to the flashing lights and attention-grabbing sounds emitting from the banks of slots machines, but when it comes to enjoying an authentic casino experience you can’t beat a game of blackjack. While requiring a level of skill, it is easy for new players to pick up, and for veterans to test their abilities against the dealer.
But before you order a Vodka Martini and take a seat at the table, there are a few things you should know that will increase your chance of winning. Online casino site 888casino.com has developed an in-depth guide to blackjack strategy that teaches players about the rules and etiquette of the game, the different variations offered on the casino floor, and how to understand the house edge and use it to your advantage.
When it comes to blackjack etiquette, 888casino recommends you don’t hand money to the dealer, don’t touch the cards or hold the cards in two hands. It’s also important not to hold the cards below the table. When it comes to the chips, don’t touch them after placing a bet, and certainly don’t place a larger denomination chip on top of a smaller denomination chip.
The guide also explains the house edge – the theoretical advantage the casino has over the player – and how it can be reduced in the favour of the player by learning strategies for when to hit and stand, as well as the proper doubling and splitting of cards. All told, it is possible to reduce the house edge from 8% to 0.2%, putting the power back into the player’s hands.
That said, a trip to the casino is all about having a fun and enjoyable evening. Make sure to only wager what you can afford to lose, don’t chase your losses and above all else, soak up the atmosphere. Casinos are unique environments and a pleasure to be in if approached correctly. What’s more, by following 888casino’s simple guide, you may even walk away with some winnings.
Take a seat at an all you can eat buffet:
Vegas has become a hot spot for some of the most incredible restaurants in the world, with top-flight chefs setting up shop along The Strip. The likes of Gordon Ramsey, Joël Robuchon and Nobu Matsuhisa are just some of the culinary masters that have restaurants in town. But while fine dining is now very much part of any visit to the City of Sin, there is another foodie must – the all you can eat buffet.
For those looking to combine high-end dining with the buffet experience, look no further than The Buffet at the Bellagio. It promises to take diners on a culinary journey through the cuisines of Italy, Japan, China, America and more. Its skilled chefs use only the finest and freshest ingredients available, and perform live cooking demonstrations in front of guests.
Six different buffet options are available – Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, Gourmet Dinner, Weekend Brunch, Unlimited Weekend Champagne Brunch and Chefs Table. Prices range from $23.99 per person for Breakfast all the way up to $69.99 for the Chefs Table. But with so much food available, it is vital that diners first learn how to ensure they eat sensibly and make the most of all the dishes on offer.
Online food resource, Spoon University, recommends the following buffet strategy:
Browse: Before you eat, walk around the buffet and see what food is available. Take your time, and don’t become overwhelmed.
Have a plan: Before you start piling food on your plate, decide which dishes you like the look of the most.
Eat slowly: Enjoy the food. Keep portion sizes small, and allow time for what you have eaten to digest in between trips to the buffet.
Keep moving: Keep walking around the buffet as it will aid digestion.
Throw the towel in: It is important to know when to stop. As soon as you feel full, it’s time to throw the towel in.
One of the best ways to take in the sights and sounds of Las Vegas is to slip on a pair of comfortable shoes, and walk up and down The Strip. Once the sun has set, it comes to life; a neon glow is cast over showgirls performing routines on the pavement, the fountains at the Bellagio erupting towards the sky, and the strange and wonderful characters that shuffle in and out of the casinos.
But for a totally different perspective, and for those who don’t fear heights, there is the option to absorb the unique atmosphere of Sin City from above. There are several helicopter tour operators offering flights at different times of the day and to different locations, such as the Grand Canyon. The best, however, is the night tour, showcasing The Strip in its full glory.
Maverick offers a 15-minute flight from McCarran International Airport and taking in all the mega resorts, casinos and attractions, as well as the historic Freemont Street. Passengers are offered complementary transportation from their hotel to the airport, as well as a glass of champagne prior to departure. Prices for night flights start at $124 per person, but are often reduced.
To make the most of your flight, it is important to use your eyes and ears to and absorb what you are seeing and hearing. While it is tempting to take lots of photographs during your flight, this often means you don’t make the most of the experience. Sure, take a couple of snaps, but to really maximise your flight, just sit back, relax and enjoy the view.
For those worried about flying in a helicopter for the first time, remember that flying is one of the safest forms of travel. Pilots are highly trained professionals, and will have flown the route hundreds of times before. If you are feeling anxious pre-flight, breathe deeply and slowly. Keep your seatbelt fastened, and in the unlikely case there is an emergency, listen carefully to your pilot.
Book a show:
Las Vegas has become a global entertainment hub, attracting the biggest names and hottest stars from the worlds of music, dance, comedy, and performance. Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Celine Dion, The Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil and Arcade Fire are just a small selection of those performing at various venues up and down The Strip over the coming months.
There really is something for everyone, but it is important to book your show tickets ahead of time. It is possible to purchase them at short notice, but there’s no guarantee seats will be available at your chosen performance on the day and time you wish to attend. Pre-booking avoids disappointment, and is quick and easy. There are several online vendors, including Vegas.com and Ticketmaster.
With so many shows to choose from, picking just one is quite difficult. Below are three of the best:
Dion is a Vegas stalwart and is considered to have taken over the Elvis mantle. She performs at Caesars Palace, running through her repertoire of hits as well as a selection of songs from other artists. She even invites special guests onto the stage via a hologram, bringing even more wow-factor to what is already an incredible performance.
Le Rêve – The Dream:
Enter a bold and vibrant aquatic wonderland inhabited by beautiful and mysterious characters. The show features gymnasts, aerialists, and synchronised swimmers, who appear from all angles. The show is exciting and fast paced, keeping audience members on their toes. Waterfalls, lights and atmospheric music make it one of the most spectacular shows in Vegas.
Penn & Teller:
Penn & Teller have risen to the top of the magic world with their unique act. Unlike most magicians, they explain how they have pulled off the trick. But there is often a twist, leaving the audience scratching their heads as to whether what they have been told really is how it is done. The show relies heavily on audience interaction and participation, making it an unforgettable experience for those chosen to go on stage.