Today Alex and I will visit about 10 Las Vegas casinos, mainly focusing on some of the main hotels and casinos on the West side of Las Vegas Boulevard.
Some casinos we will walk to, others we can take a monorail to. Later tonight we will take a taxi to the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas, which is otherwise referred to as the “old Vegas”.
Alex and I need to first take a trip to Aria Casino to get our tickets for tomorrow tonight’s Cirque de Soleil’s performance called Zarkana.
To reach Aria from the Luxor we make our way north along Las Vegas Boulevard on foot, passing Excalibur and New York-New York (so good they named it twice) before heading into the Monte Carlo Casino. From inside the Monte Carlo we take the monorail (tram) the one stop to Aria.
Aria according to Wikitravel:
“Two hotel towers, nine bars, 17 restaurants, 1,840-seat theater, gift shop, 800,000 square foot spa, three huge pools and 300,000 square feet of meeting space means you need never to leave.”
With our tickets for Zarkana sorted we officially start our day exploring the Las Vegas “Strip” and jump back on the monorail (tram) to take the next (and final) stop to the Bellagio.
Bellagio according to Wikitravel:
“One of the most upscale hotels in Las Vegas, the Bellagio features an art gallery, a massive indoor flower garden, and the Cirque du Soleil show “O”. Cool.”
The interior of the Bellagio is just beautiful and ever so slightly more elegant than our Luxor Hotel (she says sarcastically).
The main reason for us to visit the Bellagio are to look at their famous fountains. We exit the Bellagio via the front entrance which leads us back onto Las Vegas Boulevard. Here, fronting Las Vegas Boulevard are the famous Bellagio fountains for which the Bellagio is mostly known.
The Bellagio fountains are a choreographed fountain and light display. The fountains are synced with music and jets of water dance and erupt over the length of the eight acre artificial lake. At night, the addition of lighting effects adds another dimension to this must see attraction.
We are just in time to catch a show but we are positioned behind the fountain. For now, even from the rear, it is amazing and the big final water spout makes quite a noise.
From the Bellagio fountains we continue walking north up the Las Vegas Boulevard to Caesars Palace.
Caesars Palace according to Wikitravel:
“Renowned for its originality and features, Caesars Palace offers 3,300 hotel rooms and more than 26 different restaurants and cafes.”
We have now entered another world where the interior of this hotel and casino is the hero.
Apart from The Forum Shops we are here to see the incredible blue-domed ceiling. The sky blue ceiling, complete with clouds, dims and glows as it moves through the cycles from dawn to dusk and back again and is amazing.
Here also within Caesars Palace is an attraction called “Fall of Atlantis Fountain and Aquarium” and we are hoping to catch the next show. Unfortunately we are told that this is currently out of operation. The technical term we are given is that the feature is “resting”??
We stop and grab some lunch and a coffee. The USD$6 coffee is pricy but at least it is a proper caffein fix.
Back on Las Vegas Boulevard, we cross the road to venture into Harrah’s casino. This joint is sooo very old school and pretty crappy really so we don’t stop here.
Along from Harrah’s is Casino Royale which is even worse and stinky. We walk in one door and quickly out the next.
Our next stop is the Venetian Casino.
The Venetian and the Palazzo according to Wikitravel:
“A high-end hotel located near the center of the Strip which offers everything from the Grand Canal Shops to gondolas.”
Alex and I are at the Venetian to look at its exterior, which brings a little of Italy to Las Vegas.
The hotel uses Venice, Italy as its design inspiration and features architectural replicas of various Venetian landmarks, including the Palazzo Ducale, Piazza San Marco, Piazetta di San Marco, the Lion of Venice Column & the Column of Saint Theodore, St Mark’s Campanile, and the Rialto Bridge.
With a canal featured outside, this theme continues inside as the canal meanders through the aptly named Grand Canal shops… which would be awesome if the canal was operating… there is no water in the canal as it seems to be closed for maintenance. Ok… NEXT!
Moving further north along Las Vegas Boulevard Alex and I next stop in at the Wynn Hotel and Casino. Not sure if the name is designed to have you thinking you might “win” in this casino but we’re not fooled, just happy to have a look.
The Wynn according to Wikitravel:
“Built at a cost of $2.7 billion, this is the most expensive resort in the world, with the money plowed into (among other things) a private golf course, an artificial mountain with a 5-story waterfall and a million-gallon water tank for the nightly show.”
There are certainly plenty of high end stores here and eateries to match.
We come across a charming fairy garden where it seems all the plants are actually real and where the fairy lights are certainly plentiful.
Moving on… and again crossing Las Vegas Boulevard we head to Treasure Island to see the famous pirate show.
I remember seeing the Treasure Island Pirate Show when I was in Las Vegas many years ago and thought it was fantastic so I am looking forward to showing Alex.
We are about 45 minutes early for the show and just decide to wait and take the chance to get a front row spot. A huge crowd gathers over the next 45 minutes and the show begins…
And the show finishes… and I wonder what ever happened to the fantastic show I remember from years ago?? Where did that wholesome, fun, un-sleezy show go?? This “Sirens” nonsense was basically a sex tease with girls parading in lingerie. Very disappointing.
It was so bad that Alex doesn’t even want to admit to seeing it! Yikes!
The next attraction on our list is the volcano eruption at the Mirage. Rather than get with the crowds, we decide to cross back over Las Vegas Boulevard to the comfort of the Venetian and watch the 8:00pm volcano eruption of The Mirage from the upper balcony of the Venetian.
The Mirage according to Wikitravel:
“An upscale hotel located near the middle of the Strip, the Mirage features a “volcano” that erupts every hour, a white tiger exhibit, a 200,000 gallon tropical aquarium, and a tropical rain forest.”
The volcano eruption is pretty cool and comes complete with smoke, flames and explosions.
I think this was more Alex’s style.
Time for us to leave the main Vegas “Strip” and head to the “Old Vegas”, also known as the “Fremont Street Experience”. One USD$22 taxi fare later and we arrive. As soon as we got out of the taxi you realise there is a great vibe happening here.
Some of the casinos located here are the Golden Nugget and 4 Queens.
At either end of the precinct are entertainment stages. One stage has a band playing rock classics while the other has some musical variety entertainment.
The main attraction and feature here is the canopy light show.
Fremont Street Experience according to Vegas.com:
“Welcome to the Fremont Street Experience located in fabulous downtown Las Vegas.
This project blends vintage Las Vegas with high-tech wonder, live entertainment and more to create an attraction that rivals the famed Vegas Strip. It provides an intimate party atmosphere with a laid-back feel and a group of great casinos in close proximity to one another.
The most obvious and largest part of the Fremont Street Experience is the Viva Vision canopy and light show. The canopy towers 90 feet above the ground and spans the length of five football fields. Featuring more than 12 million LED modules and a 555,000-watt sound system, the light show attracts tourists and locals alike.
The first light show debuted in 1995. Nearly a decade later, the Viva Vision canopy had $17 million worth of upgrades. Today, the canopy offers 10 times higher resolution, resulting in clearer, sharper pictures. In addition, it can also display 16.7 million color combinations. The display is so sharp, live video can be broadcast on what is the world’s largest screen.”
There is a lot more atmosphere here in old Vegas where everything is so much cheaper. There are a lot more “characters” here also, or does that just mean there are more drunks?
This is not as sterile as the main Vegas strip and funnily, it doesn’t feel as manufactured. This place just makes you feel good. This is a must do people!
Alex and I also really liked the “old Vegas” as we won (recouped) USD$400 on roulette.
We arrive back at the Luxor exhausted but on a high from having an excellent day on the main Las Vegas “strip” and an even better night in old Vegas.
It feels like we have been to the dark side (ie. old Vegas)… and we liked it !![showmyads]
For previous USA series post see Grand Canyon, Arizona
For next USA series post see Las Vegas casinos including New York-New York, MGM Grand and Paris