Sin City isn’t just for gamblers anymore. Las Vegas in recent years has undergone a fundamental change. Certainly, it’s still best known for its slot machines and card tables, but the Strip is starting to change its face, and the city itself is trying to attract something besides the 21-and-over party crowd. Las Vegas is now couple and family friendly. And, its efforts seem to be paying off.
Las Vegas was hit hard during the recession. According to CNN Money, it had a 22 percent foreclosure rate that didn’t abate until February 2012. Since then, however, the city’s been on the up-and-up, expanding beyond its gambling houses to attract a wider audience.
Now, it’s even the proposed new home of the Oakland Raiders. If the Raiders’ relocation application is approved by the NFL this year, the team is expected to move into its new stadium in 2020.
As for what else is new, check out the list below for both attractions and dining. You might be in town to talk “carwash,” but you also can’t afford to pass up some of the sights and experiences in the City of Lights.
Walking the Strip is great exercise. At 4.2 miles, it might be longer than it appears at first glance. The massive resorts, which you can see from miles away, make everything seem closer than it is. However, if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere or are just plain exhausted, try taking the Las Vegas Monorail.
The monorail actually runs just behind the eastern side of the Strip, sliding along the back-ends of all the famous casinos and resorts, and it has a station right at the Las Vegas Convention Center, making it extremely convenient for when attending The Car Wash Show™ 2017. With six other stations along its line, it can drop you off almost anywhere along the Strip.
Single rides are $5, but if you plan to travel up and down the Strip even just six times during the duration of the show, you can get your money’s worth by purchasing an unlimited ride ticket. However, if you are a Nevada resident, you get the discounted price of $1 per ride. Unlimited rides are available in tickets from one to seven days, but if you’re just here for the convention with no plans to stay, here are the prices that may interest you:
- 1-day: $12
- 2-day: $22
- 3-day: $28.
The monorail often runs into the wee hours of the morning, so don’t worry about getting back too late. Just be sure to check the schedule because there are slight fluctuations daily.
Las Vegas is already like a city-sized theme park, home to several thrill rides, such as the Big Apple Coaster, but it appears to always have room for more. Recently, two new rides have graced the scene.
If you’re looking for a unique thrill, check out the Slotzilla zip line. Slotzilla hangs over the iconic Fremont Street Experience, and visitors can take off from a 12-story, slot-machine-themed launch tower. Fly either 850 feet in a traditional seated harness or 1,700 feet in a “Superman” position over throngs of visitors below.
- Address: Fremont St. Experience
425 Fremont St., Ste. 250
Las Vegas, NV 89101
- Phone: (702) 678-5780
- Website: vegasexperience.com/slotzilla-zip-line
There’s a reason it’s called the High Roller. At 550 feet, this Ferris wheel is currently the tallest in the world. Located in the heart of the Strip in the new resort and shopping district, The LINQ, it dominates the skyline and provides beautiful, panoramic views of the Strip, Las Vegas Valley and the mountains.
The High Roller has 28 enclosed and air-conditioned pods, each of which can fit up to 40 people. You can even purchase “Happy Half Hour” tickets that include the 30-minute ride and an open bar. Soon, however, the title of largest Ferris wheel is expected to go to the Ain Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. But, since it is currently under construction, make sure to take a trip around the High Roller while you can still claim that you rode the tallest Ferris wheel on Earth.
- Address: 3545 S Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
- Phone: (702) 322-0593
- Website: www.caesars.com/linq/high-roller
If you’re a fan of The Food Network, be sure to check out some of the restaurants that celebrity chefs, such as Kerry Simon, Guy Fieri and Giada De Laurentiis, have opened here in recent years. Each restaurant boasts the chef’s unique style.
Celebrity chef Kerry Simon opened an American gastro lounge that also features a garden-style rooftop patio where you can dine and listen to live bands and DJs. The menu has a mix of social plates, sandwiches, entrées and flatbreads. The drink menu includes a lengthy list of alcoholic beverages, but it also includes a small list of alcohol-free drinks “for all ages.”
- Address: 124 S 6th St., Ste. 100
Las Vegas, NV, 89101
- Phone: (702) 473-9523
- Website: www.carsonkitchen.com
Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar
Celebrity chef and host of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” Guy Fieri made sure to set up no dive of his own. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining, this restaurant features casual foods, such as burgers, wings and tacos, all made with Fieri’s bold and unique flare. An extensive draft beer and cocktail menu is also available. Housed in The LINQ, a new resort and entertainment area owned by Caesars Entertainment, the restaurant also features a patio with stellar views of the Strip.
- Address: The LINQ Hotel and Casino
3535 Las Vegas Blvd S.
Las Vegas, NV, 89109
- Phone: (702) 794-3139
- Website: www.caesars.com/linq/hotel/dining/guy-fieri#.WLCuWhIrLIF
Emmy-award-winning chef Giada De Laurentiis’ first-ever restaurant is housed on the second story of the new Cromwell boutique hotel. This restaurant offers Italian cuisine with Californian influences as well as family-style dining options. Customers can watch the chefs prepare these delicious foods in the open kitchen and be treated to the smells that emanate from it. With huge, retractable windows, the restaurant provides other great views of the Bellagio fountains and Caesars Palace.
- Address: The Cromwell
3595 Las Vegas Blvd S.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
- Phone: (702) 777-3777
- Website: www.caesars.com/cromwell/giada#.WLCuNBIrLIE
Eating in style
If the above restaurants aren’t enough to satiate you on your trip, or you’re looking for a fine-dining establishment where you can take your time networking with others and enjoying some of the best steakhouses and seafood restaurants Las Vegas has to offer, the Wynn resort has you covered, whatever your preference.
Lakeside offers extraordinarily fresh seafood, including one of Chef David Walzog’s specialties, “ocean-to-table” fresh fish caught from Hawaiian waters. Not in the mood for seafood? The Wynn also houses SW Steakhouse, and its chili-rubbed double rib eye was featured on Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate.”
Both Lakeside and SW Steakhouse are Forbes’ Travel Guide four-star award-winning restaurants, and as the name of the latter suggests, they sit beside the Lake of Dreams, offering an incredible view as you dine.
Other classy, resort restaurants include the Delmonico Steakhouse at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, with Creole-based cuisine; Michael Mina at The Bellagio, a seafood restaurant that also boasts an extensive wine list; and Carnevino at The Palazzo, an Italian steakhouse also known for its wines, as its Italian name suggests — “carne” (meat) and “vino” (wine).
But wait, there’s more
There’s so much to do in Las Vegas that, even if you’ve been here before, there’s bound to be something new to see or do.
Catch a show if you have time — for instance, the new “Purple Reign — THE Prince Tribute Show” — or visit the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, site of the History Channel’s famous “Pawn Stars” show, to browse through history’s memorabilia.
Speaking of history, if you’re looking to relax after a long day with just a drink, the 1923 Bourbon Bar is a modern-day speakeasy hidden underneath the escalators of Mandalay Bay with an extensive menu of Prohibition-inspired cocktails and an atmosphere to match.
If you’re a shopper, head to Downtown Summerlin to browse through over 125 shops in this modern-styled, open-air shopping center. Whatever you want to do, Las Vegas has something to entertain you. To that end, viva Las Vegas!