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The Entertainment Capital of the World is all about casinos, theater shows and other forms of entertainment. People go to Las Vegas for a gamble. But there are other things to do in and around Las Vegas too.
Let's start with those casinos that all have a theme. We name several special ones along Las Vegas Boulevard - The Strip.
The Venetian is completely decorated in Venetian Style, including a canal with gondolas and replicas of some of the most beautiful buildings in Venice. To give it all that little bit extra, the employees are dressed in traditional costumes.
Caesar's Palace has the Roman Empire as its theme, with shops along a rebuilt street from ancient Rome. There are also shows around stories from that time, for example The Horse of Troy. It goes without saying that most of the restaurants in this casino are Italian.
Italy is popular among casino builders, because the Bellagio too takes its inspiration from that country. It is named after a town on Lake Como. The water in front of the hotel is supposed to depict that lake in northern Italy. The fountain sprays water on the beat of the music. The most eye-catching detail in the interior is the ceiling of colored glass objects in the lobby.
Just up the road you are almost in New York. The hotel and casino New York New York has a facade of the city's skyline, including the Statue of Liberty. One of the main attractions is the roller coaster which starts inside, but races through the fake skyscrapers outside.
And then there's the Eiffel tower! Though only half as high as the real one, but still. There's a lift which takes you upstairs where you can enjoy a nice view of The Strip. The Eiffel Tower belongs to the casino hotel Paris Las Vegas. The casino hall here looks like the interior of a Paris metro station and the paris street life is imitated in the rest of the complex.
In the Showcase Mall (between MGM Grand and Aladdin you can buy tickets for shows on the same day at Tickets2Nite. The tickets are sold for half of what they normally go for. It is important to be there early; usually there is a queue before the ticket shops open at two o'clock in the afternoon.
Cirque Du Soleil performs shows at several casinos along The Strip. Children will appreciate the O underwater show in the Bellagio, as well as the historical Mystère show in Treasure Island. In The Mirage, the music of The Fab Four is honored with the Beatles LOVE performance.
Las Vegas is located in the middle of the Nevada desert. Discover this landscape by hiring a horse at the Sagebrush Ranch. On the back of the horse, it seems you have been transferred to a western movie. Inexperienced riders are welcome too, they get appointed the most tranquil horses. But there is no guarantee your backside won't hurt afterwards...
Around Las Vegas, there are many former miners or gold seeker towns, that are now abandoned. True ghost towns, where you can still taste the atmosphere of the Wild West: the local bank, the sheriff office and of course the salon.
Between Hiko and Warm Springs you can take a ride over the Extraterrestrial Highway. Named this way because many UFO's have been observed in the area. These observations would have a lot to do with a military base nearby too, where top secret new technologies are developed. Along the way is the cafe and hotel A-Le-Inn (pronounced 'alien'). From Las Vegas you can reach the Extraterrestrial Highway by taking the I-15 North towards US93 North and then the exit towards Route 375.
Located fifty kilometers south east of Las Vegas is the gigantic Hoover Dam, on the border of Nevada and Arizona. Keep in mind that it can get very hot here in the summer. Therefore, wear light clothing with a sunhat and bring sunscreen. The lake which was formed by the dam -Lake Mead- is a popular water sport area. There are various picnic areas along the banks too. The contrast between the huge amount of water and the dry desert landscape around it is striking.
Much further away lies the Grand Canyon, in the state of Arizona. It is best to make a two day trip. This has the added benefit that you can enjoy a sunrise or sunset. The southern edge of the ravine is the most touristy. There you will find the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped lookout point with a glass floor. If you wish to stay at the Canyon, book your hotel room well in advance!
The traffic on The Strip can get very busy. In order to get to the casino of your choice with a rental car it is best to take the I-15 motorway and chose the nearest exit. Parking in Las Vegas is no problem at all and often free. Money isn't earned here by collecting parking fees, but inside the casinos... The garages fill up quickly in the weekend, but you can often have your car parked for you instead ('valet parking').
Las Vegas airport is located eight kilometers south of the city center. Las Vegas McCarran Airport is easily accessible with a rental car: it is just off Interstate 15.