If ever there was a city that truly never sleeps, Las Vegas would probably be it. The global home of gambling, Vegas has been depicted countless times on film, in books and in tales of legend. A hedonistic escape from real life, combined with the opportunity to win untold riches in the luxurious surroundings of a top Las Vegas resort – what’s not to like?
For your average Brit heading to Las Vegas, it’s safe to assume this will be the trip of a lifetime. Unlike anything you’ll find anywhere in the UK, everything in Vegas is as big, as loud and as brash as you might expect. From the grandeur and elegance of multi-billion dollar casino resorts, to getting hitched by Elvis in the Chapel of Love, there’s plenty to keep you on your toes in this desert haven of nightlife.
So what can you expect when you head out to Las Vegas, and what should you look out for during your stay, when it comes to gambling, food and drink and entertainment? Wonder no more – this is our Brit’s guide to living it up in Las Vegas.
Gambling in Las Vegas is certainly big business – it’s what it’s all about. This is a city that thrives on casino resorts, and the major economic presence is the gambling sector. So it should go without saying that when you’re in Las Vegas, there are plenty of opportunities to gamble including playing table games and slots. As home to some of the world’s richest casinos, you’d be right to expect high rollers and very serious gamblers spending a lot of time at these casino resorts. But that’s not to say they are completely exclusive or out of bounds for us mere mortals who might just like the occasional gamble, or who might be playing for the first time for the novelty factor of actually being in Las Vegas.
While it is definitely possible to make the odd faux pas if you don’t know what you are doing, there are usually plenty of low value tables around where you can learn the ropes, and most casino resorts are welcoming to less experienced gamblers. By the same token, if you’re already a big hitter, you’ll be made to feel right at home, whichever casino you choose to visit.
The Las Vegas strip is home to the bulk of the best casino resorts, and makes for an unbelievable evening stroll. This is a must on your first night in Vegas, and is one of the best ways to start getting acquainted with the city and its gambling scene. Expect a few familiar sights from the movies along the way!
The casinos aren’t only about gambling – they’re also home to some of the best restaurants and eateries Las Vegas has to offer, not to mention some fantastic bars if you fancy a drink. Eats-wise, you’ll find some of the best restaurants in the world, with multiple fine dining choices at every casino you stumble into along the strip. Like the Aria, and it’s impressive Bardot Brasserie from award-winning chef Michael Mina, or the Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesar’s Palace – book the Krug’s Chef Table if you get the chance, for a private and truly awe-inspiring dining experience, comprised of some 13 seasonally-adjusted courses – the perfect lining to the stomach for an evening’s gambling.
If you prefer your food a little more down to earth there is also an impressive array of steak houses. Look for The Steak House at Circus Circus, or Center Cut at The Flamingo.
Of course, there’s no obligation to eat at the casinos, and if you want to try something else, there are plenty of options around and about. Trust me, you won’t have to wander too far to get an excellent slap-up meal in this town.
Vegas wouldn’t be Vegas without big budget entertainment. Some of the best acts in showbiz play residencies in Las Vegas, usually at the behest of casino resorts, to add an extra glamour-factor to proceedings. We’re talking world beaters, true superstars in their respective fields. Recent years have seen the likes of Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Elton John, Meatloaf, Deadmau5, Rod Stewart and Prince. These residencies tend to be booked in for years at a time, with acts being block-booked in a venue night after night. If you want to catch some of these performances from the greatest acts on the planet, you’re going to need to book your own tickets well in advance, too. Unsurprisingly, these performances are hugely popular, so you should check in advance of your travels to make sure you don’t miss out.
Beyond that, Las Vegas has no shortage of nightlife. Clubs, bars and other attractions open around the clock, and of course, if you’re ever stuck, there’s always a casino resort nearby that will be more than happy to take you in for a few drinks, a meal, or one more spin at the roulette table.
Las Vegas is the kind of place that leaves its mark on travellers, particularly for us Brits. If you’ve never been before and you’re heading out in the near future, prepare yourself for a truly unforgettable experience – it’s much more than just the gambling that makes Vegas one of the world’s leading tourist destinations.