Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide

Destination: Las Vegas

Las Vegas is truly the "Entertainment Capital of the World". Over 30 million tourists from around the world visit Las Vegas each year. Almost 1,000 people move permanently to Las Vegas each week, making it one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

Las Vegas is not just a "sin city" anymore. It has of course some of the best and largest casinos in the world, but it also offers unique shopping experiences, a wide variety of dazzling stage shows, and fine dining. Away from the dazzle of neon lit luxurious hotels, one can also enjoy the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon and the Mojave Desert.

I was in Las Vegas for five days with my family over the Easter holiday weekend this year. By sharing some experiences and observations with you, I hope it will help you plan your visit to Las Vegas a bit better.

. Make reservations early. Not only will you get better prices on the airfare, but also on hotel rates. In addition, the more popular shows are sold out weeks in advance.

. On the way home, I wished I had taken the earlier "red eye" flight back. It arrives in Pittsburgh very early in the morning but might not be as tiring.

. Before our trip, I was advised not to rent a car because all the hotels and casinos are close together on the Strip. Although this is true, I did rent a car the day we visited the "Valley of Fire" and found out that I saved a bundle on cab fare. Plus, all of the hotels and casinos have ample free parking. If everything is as close as people say, why do they need 5,000 cabs in Las Vegas?!

. Speaking of the Valley of Fire...about an hour and a half's drive from Las Vegas is a vivid land of bold cliffs of red sandstone. It's a pleasant outing for just a $5.00 park entrance fee.

. We took an airplane trip over the Grand Canyon that also covered Lake Mead and Hoover Dam - excellent experience, breathtaking view, courteous hotel pickup and drop off service. The four-hour outing included 1 hour 45 minutes in the air. I think the shorter trip (1 hour 20 minutes in the air) is a better value as it was 25 to 30% cheaper.

. For shows and live entertainment - Vegas is the best. On your visit, try to see at least two shows. We saw Cirque du Soleil's Mystere at the Treasure Island and EFX starring Tommy Tune at the MGM Grand. Both are spectacular productions that combine the power of sight and sound, theatre and circus, poetry and prose, showmanship and talent to captivate you for 90 minutes of powerful entertainment. From famous headlines to local talent, Vegas has a show to cater to every taste.

. A visit to the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace was a delightful experience. This indoor "mall" gives you the impression of shopping on the streets of a small town in ancient Greece. Exclusive shops add to the opulence of the decor.

. There's a saying in the sports world: "Build a bigger and better ball park and they will come." This definitely applies to Las Vegas. New hotels and casinos are under construction with more amenities for family entertainment. The Hilton Flamingo stands as the sole recognizable landmark from my visit to Las Vegas 18 years ago. I know I'll go back on a short vacation much sooner this time around.

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