Pick of the Week – April 27-May 3, 2015

This week I continue a series of Picks of things to do in Las Vegas that don’t involve drinking or gambling.  This week’s Pick is actual several mini-picks in one.

One of my favorite things to do in Las Vegas is walk along the Strip visiting the various casino hotel complexes.  Complex may sound like a bit of an overstatement, but these places are massive.  It’s just about 4.5 miles between Mandalay Bay at the south end of the Strip and the Stratosphere to the north, but really the Strip basically stops at the Wynn Las Vegas, which is 3 miles away.  North of it is a whole lot of nothing except for Circus Circus (possibly the saddest casino I’ve ever entered) and construction.

While a 3 mile walk may not sound like a lot, there are plenty of interesting detours along the way to fill your day and get you walking much farther than the 3 mile straight shot.  Many of the casinos are attractions in themselves and just about all of them are worth a visit.  There are casinos with fun theme, exhibits, galleries, great eateries, and the occasional show.  But here are a few of my favorite stops as you work your way up the Strip.

New York, New York – The façade of the New York, New York Hotel and Casino is a spectacle all on its own, but the inside is very nicely done as well with several eateries housed in a recreation of the streets of New York City.  The food is good and quite reasonably priced for the Strip.  Also, on the second level there is a large arcade and a roller coaster, the track of which speeds around the façade of the hotel.  Unfortunately, the coaster was closed for upgrades last time I was in Vegas, so I haven’t had a chance to ride it yet.

The Bellagio – I already talked about the Bellagio fountains in my previous post about Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris Hotel and Casino.  Inside the Bellagio just past the lobby is the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens.  This space is always beautifully-decorated for the particular season.  I’ve been there for Christmas, Spring, and Chinese New Year, all of which were gorgeous.

Caesar’s Palace – Caesar’s Palace has become synonymous with Las Vegas in recent years, and the lobby has been seen in many films, such as The Hangover.  The Forum Shops sitting at the north end of the Caesar’s complex are filled with high-end stores as well as restaurants and animatronic show about the fall of Atlantis. 

The Mirage – This is an evening stop.  Starting at 7PM and running every half hour after that, the volcano outside the Mirage “erupts” in a display of fire accompanied by pounding music. 

The Venetian – The Venetian is home to the Grand Canal Shoppes, an indoor shopping area modeled after, surprisingly enough, the canals and buildings of Venice.  The St. Mark’s Square section is particularly impressive.  Also, both inside the Canal Shoppes and outside of the hotel, you can go on a gondola ride, complete with a singing gondolier.

This is only a very small selection of possible attractions to visit.  There are MANY others.  For example, our beloved site mistress is partial to the CSI Experience at the MGM Grand.  Take a walk and explore.  There is tons to see and do.

- Alan Decker

@CmdrAJD on Twitter