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Las Vegas The Luxury City   by Joel Noah


Though a bit heavy on the neon, Las Vegas is a true feast for the eyes. The skyline is amazing, with all of the sparkling lights and massive shapes competing for attention. Every hotel is striving to top the next one with its own unique theme, majestic entrances, rollicking casinos, delectable restaurants, and impressive entertainment. It can be said that Las Vegas does not have a boring bone in its body.

The marketing angle of the Las Vegas tourism board has gone from its old nickname, " Sin City," to being touted as a family-friendly destination in the 1990's and back to Adults Only with its new tagline, "What happens here, stays here." City advertisers want to attract people from all over the world to their own adult playground, complete with endless gambling, alcohol, food, and entertainment. It is billed as a kind of magical place that will cater to every need and fulfill every fantasy.

The hotels in Las Vegas are truly incredible to behold. They pay homage to other unique cities, like New York, Venice, and Paris, by recreating smaller versions of these cities. New York, New York hotel reconstructs the lively streets of Gotham. The Venetian hotel has a huge indoor canal complete with gondolas and gondoliers. The Paris hotel experience comes complete with a replica of the Eiffel Tower. There are tributes to other themes as well, including ancient Rome (Caesar's Palace), Hollywood (MGM Grand), pirates ( Treasure Island), Arabian nights (Aladdin) and many more. Two of the nicest hotels with casinos in Las Vegas, the Bellagio and the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel, don't have specific themes besides that of opulence and luxury.

From the Rat Pack of the mid-20 th century to Celine Dion today, Vegas entertainment has always been a huge draw. Magicians, such as Penn and Teller, and Siegfried and Roy, entertain crowds with their amazing optical illusions. Comedians like Danny Gans and Carrot Top perform often in Las Vegas and are quite popular with their use of extravagant props and sight gags. Veteran Vegas entertainers, like Tony Orlando and Wayne Newton, still command packed houses night after night with their well-loved repertoire of musical favorites.

Shopping and eating are two more favorite past times in Las Vegas. Caesar's Palace offers a world-class mall featuring a painted blue sky with clouds adorning the ceiling. The Venetian also has first class shopping with many designer brands. Most of the other hotels showcase several great shops inside their lobbies and host many more on their premises. When hunger strikes, there is no shortage of fabulous food. Las Vegas is no longer a place of $3.99 all-you-can-eat-buffets. World-renowned chefs Wolfgang Puck (Spago) and Emeril Lagasse have several excellent eateries in town and many of the prominent hotels boast other award-winning restaurants.

Of course, the most popular reason for visiting Las Vegas is for the gambling casinos. From the nickel slot machines to the rooms of tables reserved for those starting bets over $1000, there is a venue for every budget. Games such as craps, blackjack, and baccarat draw millions of people a year to try their hand at the tables, accompanied by attractive cocktail waitresses handing out free drinks aplenty. There are some success stories, but many more sob stories, when people arrive home from their jaunts to Las Vegas after playing against the casinos. Amateur gamblers who visit Las Vegas report that it is best to decide how much money to play with before starting, and stick with that limit. After all, Las Vegas is a fun destination for vacationing and conventions, and it has a lot to offer visitors when they practice some moderation in the gambling arena.

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