Las Vegas Google maps and factsShimmering from the desert haze of Nevada like a latterday El Dorado, Las Vegas is the most dynamic, spectacular city on earth. At the start of the twentieth century, it didn’t even exist; one decade into the 21st, it’s home to two million people. A showcase for all that’s most extravagant and exuberant about the modern United States, it attracts almost forty million visitors each year, anticipating their every appetite and indulging their every whim.
Las Vegas is not like other cities. No city has ever so brazenly valued its visitors above its residents. All its growth has been fuelled by tourism, but the tourists haven’t spoiled the “real” city; there is no real city. Instead, the whole thing is completely self-referential; the legendary Las Vegas Strip boasts twenty of the world’s 27 largest hotels not because visitors want to see the city, but because they want to see the hotels themselves. Most visitors never leave the Strip at all, except perhaps for a day-trip to the Grand Canyon, and many barely explore beyond their own hotel and its immediate neighbours.
Each of these monsters is much more than a mere hotel, and more too than the casino that invariably lies at its core. They’re extraordinary places, self-contained fantasy lands of high camp and genuine excitement that can stretch as much as a mile from end to end. As well as luxurious accommodation, each holds half a dozen or more high-class restaurants, a lavish theatre or two, an array of swimming pools, several bars and nightclubs, and perhaps a roller-coaster or gallery or aquarium. But the whole is greater than the sum of its parts: it’s the entire ensemble that visitors flock to see, from the glorious Roman excess of Caesars Palace to the minimalist modernism of Aria.
First-time visitors tend to expect Las Vegas to be a repository of kitsch, but the casino owners are far too canny to be sentimental about the old days. Yes, there are a few Elvis impersonators around, but what characterizes the city far more is its endless quest for novelty. Long before they lose their sparkle, yesterday’s showpieces are blasted into rubble, to make way for ever more extravagant replacements. The city’s gaze is forever shifting towards what’s newest. Currently, that means the CityCenter complex’s attempt to redefine Las Vegas as a sophisticated contemporary metropolis, but there’s always something even bigger and costlier in the pipeline.
Despite the enduring popular image of the casino business as being seedy and quasi-criminal, the days when the Mob controlled Las Vegas are far in the past. No longer is each casino in cut-throat competition with the rest; indeed most now belong to two massive corporations. MGM Resorts International owns a massive swathe of properties along the southern Strip, from Mandalay Bay all the way to Bellagio, while Harrah’s claims a solid chunk of properties immediately north, centering on Caesars Palace. The rivalry between those two blocs is the biggest game in town, but there’s still room for some good old-fashioned personal animosity as well, as seen in the endless one-upmanship between Steve Wynn of Wynn Las Vegas and Sheldon Adelson of the next-door Venetian.
On the face of it, Las Vegas is supremely democratic. However you may be dressed, however affluent or otherwise you may appear, you’ll be welcomed in its stores, restaurants and above all its casinos. The one thing you almost certainly won’t get, however, is the last laugh; the whole experience continues to be rooted in the huge profits the casinos rake in from gamblers. Over eighty percent of visitors gamble, and they lose an average of around $500 each. On top of that, most visitors swiftly come to see that virtually any other activity works out cheaper than gambling, so they wind up spending their money on all sorts of other things as well. However, Las Vegas makes so certain that you have such a good time that you don’t mind losing a bit of money along the way; that’s why they don’t even call it “gambling” anymore, but “gaming.”
Las Vegas being forever susceptible to boom-and-bust cycles, its latest era of soaring optimism – and room rates – was brought to an abrupt end by the recession that began in 2008. As a result, it’s currently once more an exceptionally cheap destination. The fact that you can get a highquality room on the Strip for well under $50, at least on weekdays, means there’s less to gain than ever in spending your time in the ailing downtown, let alone elsewhere, and dining and entertainment prices too are more reasonable than they’ve been for years.
In tough times, it is good to keep budget-minded things on your travel agenda. There is lots of great things to walk around and see in Las Vegas for free. If you are looking to save some money and have some fun, try a reasonably priced show instead of gambling. You are almost sure to spend less money than you would sitting at a table or slot machine for a couple or hours and the bonus is that you get to take home a great memory. Think back, how great "moments" in your life can you think of while you were gambling? There is also a number of websites that have free coupons for tons of shows and restaurants in Las Vegas. Also it is a lot of fun to just tour the hotels along the strip - but make sure to wear comfortable shoes! Caesars Palace is a HUGE hotel and has a very cool shopping mall inside with the ceiling even patterned to look like you are outside (blue sky and fluffy clouds). Be careful going in here though as it is easy to get lost. You might also want to check out The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian and while there don not forget Madame Tussauds. In case your are travelling to Las Vegas, for discount prices, we suggest you to visit Hotel Coupons Las Vegas!
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