“MGM Resorts: the best hotels in Las Vegas - Telegraph.co.uk” plus 3 more

“MGM Resorts: the best hotels in Las Vegas - Telegraph.co.uk” plus 3 more


MGM Resorts: the best hotels in Las Vegas - Telegraph.co.uk

Posted: 31 May 2019 03:00 AM PDT

MGM Resorts in Las Vegas are the biggest, best and most expensive to build, meaning this collection of hotels really are a spectacle of superlatives

In the self-styled entertainment capital of the world, hotels are part of the spectacle. Take MGM Resorts: the 14 hotels in a diverse portfolio have everything you fantasise about in a holiday. From restaurants to retail, spas to shows, pools to parties, music to mega-casinos, there are attractions to keep you entertained without leaving the premises. As chief experience officer Lili Tomovich says, "We're an entertainment company. We exist to wow the human race."

Bellagio is famous for its water show in which dancing fountains are synchronised to music and lighting effects; it's also the home of "O", Cirque du Soleil's aquatic spectacular. Bellagio just celebrated its 20th anniversary but still merits superlatives with its 56-room spa, five pools, 20 restaurants including Picasso and Le Cirque (both AAA Five Diamond Restaurants), boutiques, art gallery and botanical garden. Not surprisingly, Bellagio is repeatedly rated among the best hotels in the world.

Prime location: catch "O" by Cirque du Soleil at Bellagio, right in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip

MGM Grand is one of the largest hotels in the US with 5,034 rooms and was originally devised as the first destination hotel with family-friendly activities. Guests are greeted by a 45ft bronze lion and find themselves roaming in a savannah of entertainment. The MGM Grand Garden Arena has hosted Madonna, U2 and the Rolling Stones. Dining options include Hakkasan, Joel Robuchon and Wolfgang Puck.

Themed-hotels are extravagantly brought to life. Luxor Las Vegas is built inside a $375million pyramid and encompasses the world's largest atrium (29 million cubic feet, something the ancient Egyptians never got around to inventing).

Excalibur, named after the mythical sword given to King Arthur by the Lady of the Lake, is styled as a Renaissance castle located on the Strip. One of the draws is a medieval jousting tournament performed with 12 breeds of horses in a 925-seat amphitheatre. The show includes a banquet served by costumed serfs which is eaten without utensils.

Welcome to New York: find replicas of some of the Big Apple's most famous structures at New York-New York Credit: 501 Studios

New York-New York boasts a silhouette to mirror the NYC skyline of the 1940s, with replicas of the Empire State Building, Chrysler building, Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. A rollercoaster circles the hotel with cars representing the classic checker cab, and The Bar at Times Square is famous for its duelling pianos.

Park MGM is just steps away from T-Mobile Arena and the Park outdoor entertainment space. Park MGM Las Vegas is in the heart of all there is to do on the Las Vegas Strip. The prime location gives guests the easiest of access to the biggest shows that come to Park Theater, and the variety of dining options are perfect for a pre-show dinner or late-night snack.

The Polynesian-themed Mirage is considered the first mega-resort that shaped Las Vegas into what it is today. Attractions include the Mirage Volcano that "erupts" every night, a 53ft aquarium and The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil.

Mega-resort: the spectacular swimming pool area at Mirage Credit: Anthony Mair

The architecturally bold, 57-storey, crescent-shaped Vdara Hotel and Spa contains 1,495 condo-suites, two-storey spa, salon and fitness centre, a market, a bar, pool and deck area – and boasts room service delivered by two robots called Fetch and Jett.

MGM Resorts claim the "most technologically advanced hotel" in the twin 61-storey towers of ARIA Resort and Casino, where smart technology reduces energy consumption by regulating temperature, turning off lights, and drawing curtains. The same in-room tablet also allows guests to open and close the blinds, order room service and make spa appointments.

As well as the biggest and tallest hotels, MGM Resorts also cater for visitors seeking an intimate experience. Occupying the top floors of Park MGM, NoMad is an ultra-luxurious boutique hotel with "only" 293 rooms and suites furnished in oak and mahogany. NoMad restaurant (be sure to order Daniel Humm's roast chicken for two) is inspired by the library in NoMad hotel in New York. At weekends the pool transforms into the NoMad pool party, JEMAA, featuring cocktails from the NoMad bar. Wow, indeed.

Viva Las Vegas

Book by 30 June 2019, and enjoy up to US$40 of food and beverage credit for each night of your stay at a choice of 13 MGM Resorts in Las Vegas to spend at over 300 restaurants, bars, lounges and nightlife. Valid for travel until 31 May 2020.

To find out more or book, visit ba.com/mgm

Nevada events 05/30/2019 - LemonWire

Posted: 29 May 2019 09:06 PM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Nevada events 05/30/2019  LemonWire

Looking for something fun to do? Here's a comprehensive list of concerts and events in Nevada on 05/30/2019. The list is organized by city and includes events ...

Las Vegas sizzles with new hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and bars - Houston Chronicle

Posted: 17 May 2019 12:00 AM PDT

LAS VEGAS — When the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority posted that tourism dipped slightly for the second year in a row in 2018, it quickly saw a neon silver lining.

While Las Vegas visitor volume fell 0.2 percent below the record 42.2 million visitors in 2016, tourist spending was up significantly. In 2018, visitors shelled out $35.9 billion, a 3.2 percent hike over the previous year. And Vegas casinos, hotels, resorts, restaurants, nightclubs, bar and glam retail shops were only too happy to help part them from their vacation and convention dollars.

Over the past several years the city has been investing in casino upgrading, most notably at now-posh Palms Casino Resort, just off the strip, and at Park MGM, the thoughtful rebranding of the stagnant Monte Carlo, that may be the most interesting resort on the Strip. And more to come: After a breather during which expensive casino projects were largely put on hold, a new crop of high-end gaming and resort revelry is coming due. The 777-room Circa Resort & Casino, boasting the biggest sports book in Vegas, is set to open downtown in late 2020. The 67-story Fontainbleau project that halted when it bankrupt in 2009, will now become the 3,780-room The Drew Las Vegas, whose launch will be overseen by former Cosmopolitan Las Vegas CEO John Unwin. So expect a lot of innovative restaurants and nightclubs within the casino that will open in early 2022.

For now, though, there are plenty of new restaurants, clubs, suites, hidden bars and pool partying to tempt every stripe of Vegas visitor. This Memorial Day weekend — the start of the summer party season — Vegas is more than ready to crank up the heat.

Total Kaos

The city's hottest new club experience is at a casino that has invested heavily in getting its groove back. Palms Casino Resort wrapped up its multi-year, $620 million upgrade with a blowout celebration at its newly minted indoor/outdoor day and nightclub, Kaos. At more than 100,000 square feet, the enormous party space with music provided by resident deejays is dominated by a 60-foot headless, hulking statue by artist Damien Hirst called "Demon with Bowl." Palms had closed its pools two years ago to accommodate the multi-level renovation. They're open now - bigger, brighter and with a massive mascot. Kaos Dayclub & Nightclub at Palms Casino Resort, 4321 W. Flamingo; palms.com/kaos

Mad for NoMad

With 293 rooms and suites occupying the top four floors of Park MGM, the NoMad Las Vegas is the Strip's chic new boutique hotel within a hotel. A collaboration between MGM and the Sydell Group, the NoMad experience includes not just elegant rooms with custom-designed furnishings but two restaurants from chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara whose Eleven Madison Park in New York was named the world's No. 1 restaurant in 2017. NoMad Bar serves dinner and Sunday jazz brunch, and at NoMad Restaurant, open for dinner only, guests can dine on signature foie gras and black truffle-stuffed roast chicken in a hushed, double-height library setting. NoMad even has its own casino space and pool where the new Jemma pool party rocks Friday through Saturday. Room rates begin at $169. NoMad Las Vegas, 3772 S. Las Vegas Blvd; thenomadhotel.com/las-vegas

A walk in the Park

The $550 million revamp of the Monte Carlo has resulted in a splashy wonderland of dining and entertainment options at the new Park MGM. Eataly, the dining and drinking superstore, has opened its sixth U.S. location in Park MGM — a 40,000-square-foot immersion into Italian wine, cheese, bread, pizza, seafood, gelato and more. Los Angeles superchef Roy Choi has set up shop with Best Friend, an imaginative restaurant (the entrance looks like a neighborhood liquor store) with Korean street food heavy on the kimchee — there's even a special walk-in cooler for the spicy Korean condiment. La La Noodle is also among Park MGM's new restaurants with a menu focusing on noodle dishes such as lo mein, pad Thai, chow fun, dan dan and Singapore-style slurpers. On the entertainment side, the resort boasts a new nightclub, On the Record, a collection of experiences including live music, karaoke rooms, outdoor bar and a secret speakeasy called Vinyl Parlor, a lounge dedicated to, yep, vinyl records. Lady Gaga held her after-party for the premiere of her Enigma show at On the Record if that's any indication to its cool factor. Speaking of Gaga, Park MGM's Park Theater has incredible residencies including the newly minted Oscar winner as well as Janet Jackson, Bruno Mars, Aerosmith and Cher. Upstairs the 2,700 newly designed guest rooms are smart and affordable. Room rates begin at $79. Park MGM, 3770 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; parkmgm.com

Hearts of Palms

In addition to lavish new suites and the hottest new pool action, Palms Casino Resort also boasts a formidable new food and beverage lineup. High on the hotel's 56th floor is Vetri Cucina, the new Northern Italian restaurant from chef Marc Vetri with a jaw-dropping view of the Strip. Chef and Food Network star Bobby Flay just opened his new Shark concept, a Latin-flavored sushi, fish and raw bar restaurant. Chef Michael Symon has opened his casual Mabel's BBQ and behind it a hidden restaurant Sara, an intimate, old-school dining experience with throwback cocktails and tableside Dover sole and prime rib. Palms is also keeping things interesting with the new design-driven restaurant Greene St. Kitchen, located behind a secret door in a video arcade. And just one more bit of cheeky fun: Mr. Coco, a luxury cocktail bar hidden in the hotel's Fantasy Tower where guests can sip creative cocktails while listening to live music from a baby grand. Palms Casino Resort, 4321 W. Flamingo Road, palms.com

Make it special

To mark its 20th anniversary, The Venetian Resort is kicking off its Year of Celebrations, a program to help guests arrange milestone birthday or anniversary celebrations, bachelor or bachelorette parties, weddings and reunions. The Venetian team will help guess plan parties from 10 to 10,000. The resort also has unveiled its Want the World Experiences, a collection of over-the-top experiences that include luxury travel, presidential suite accommodations, spa pamperings, and the finest in food and beverage. Details include a magnum of Swarovski red crystal-encrusted bottle of Moet Champagne and a handcrafted cake adorned with a 2.5 carat ruby and diamond necklace and matching 2.47 carat Burma ruby and diamond ring. Prices start at $450,000. Venetian Resort, 3355 S. Las Vegas Blvd; venetian.com

Delicious dining

Houston's Billion Dollar Buyer Tilman Fertitta is an investor in Catch Hospitality Group, which brought the new Catch seafood restaurant to Aria Resort & Casino. Catch is a catch for sure, a whip smart, globally inspired seafood restaurant that looks the money. Starting with its Instagram-able entrance to its colorful, theatrical main dining room, Catch lays on movie star-style sushi and creative cocktails. The slick Major Food Group, which operates Carbone at Aria, has expanded its Vegas presence with Sadelle's, a branch of its popular, vintage-style restaurant in New York at Bellagio Las Vegas. Designed with a certain majesty, the beautiful restaurant (located next to Bellagio's flower-filled conservatory) offers luxurious takes on comfort foods such as bagels and lox, omelets, club sandwiches, tableside chop salads, Crab Louis, fried chicken and oysters. The new Mott 32 Chinese restaurant at The Venetian Resort looks like a Hollywood movie set, and it offers a cinematic-scope dive into upscale Chinese delicacies such as steamed dumplings, lobster with black truffles, braised whole dried abalone, Japanese A5 Kobe beef, and the signature applewood-roasted 42-day aged Peking duck. This is the Hong Kong-based restaurant's first U.S. outpost, and it's packing them in at Venetian. Fans of the Cipriani brand of haute Italian cuisine born from the original Harry's Bar will be happy at the new Vegas outpost at Wynn Plaza, the boutique shopping arcade at Wynn Las Vegas. Begin, as you must, with a signature Bellini before moving on to classic dishes such as carpaccio, baked tagliolini with ham, whole Dover sole, calf's liver with fried polenta, and veal chop Milanese. Fabulous cocktails and impeccable service rule at Cips.

Decadent drinking

The city where it's never not time for a cocktail always has inventive new places to chill and swill. Caesars Palace just rolled out the pink carpet for restaurateur and Bravo celebrity Lisa Vanderpump, star of "Vanderpump Rules" and "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Called Vanderpump Cocktail Garden, the bar serves cocktails and bites in a lush garden setting. Yes, the pink drink rules here: the Vanderpink Margarita, the Giggy Tonic, and of course, Vanderpump's signature rose wine. Another clever bar can be found at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas which recently opened The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails, which is a working barbershop fronting a plush speakeasy-inspired bar. Within the vintage barbershop offering haircuts and shaves is a door marked Janitor — pass through to a gentleman's club with a vintage 1800s mahogany bar pouring quality brown spirits. Other new Vegas bars we're liking: The tequila and mezcal madness at the intimate Ghost Donkey; Hazel Coffee & Cocktails, a much-needed ray of cocktail sunshine at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino; Juniper Cocktail Lounge at Park MGM which boasts the city's largest collection of gin; and the Art Deco elegant Rosina, a jewel box cocktail bar at the Palazzo Las Vegas where you can actually press a "Champagne Call Button" next to your table to summon more bubbles.

greg.morago@chron.com

instagram.com/gregmorago

The Very Best Of Las Vegas 2019 For Every Budget - Forbes

Posted: 18 Feb 2019 12:00 AM PST

Las Vegas Boulevard - aka "The Strip" - draws tens of millions of visitors from all over the world each year.

Getty

Las Vegas remains a perennial favorite for leisure and business travelers, and its fans - myself included - look forward to every visit. It's one of the most exciting and entertaining cites in the world, has arguably America's best food scene, and there is a lot to see and do. But at the same time, there is no place I get so many questions about in terms of where to stay, where to eat and the like, and it can be stressful just trying to make these choices. More than in other destinations, visitors seem to have a fear that whatever they do they might be missing out on a better alternative, and in addition, the scene in Vegas is always changing fast, as things close, open and are reborn.

So, for the moment, here is a handy guide that will help you drill down and make informed decision for your upcoming trips, whether you are a high roller or budget traveler.

Best Lodging

All 51 suites in the Forbes 5-Star Skylofts hotel atop MGM Grand are two-story duplexes. Photo: MGM Resorts

Top Tier Luxury: The most annoying thing about many so-called "luxury" hotels in Vegas is waiting: in line to check in, check out, for taxis, and endless waits for bellmen with luggage, room service, etc. Not at the Forbes 5-Star Skylofts, which is impossible to beat if you've got deep pockets. This boutique property within the city's largest hotel offers the best of all worlds, with white glove privacy, swank rooms and easy access, plus all the amenities and offerings of the mega-resort MGM Grand mothership. Skylofts is a 51-unit property occupying the top two floors of the hotel, and all are two-level luxury residences with extras such as billiard tables, Bang & Olufsen home theaters, Jura espresso machines, walk-in steam showers, and whirlpool infinity bathtubs. It has butlers, Rolls Royce and limo house cars, and best of all, a separate no-wait entrance/front desk with private elevators. Private Entrance Alternatives: Villas at the Mirage, Tower Suites at Wynn & Encore.

Upscale Bang For The Buck: Because the Cosmopolitan was originally designed as condos, not a hotel, it has bigger, nicer rooms than its competitors but at prices in line with the rest of the Strip. It also has great restaurants across the board and a stunning new food hall concept. If you want a great location in one of the top resort properties in the heart of the strip, check out the Cosmo. Alternative: Nobu Hotel in Caesars Place.

The huge Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino is one of the best reasonably mid-tier Vegas properties, full of good restaurants, hotel options, music and a sense of lively fun.

Getty

Premium:  Of the above average hotels in Vegas, my favorite has always been Mandalay Bay. Much less cookie cutter than other Vegas hotels, it's got one of the better casino and resort layouts, one of the best pool complexes, lots of great restaurants in every price range, and a more lively, energetic vibe going on. It has aged better than peers like the Mirage and despite being enormous, feels manageable. If you want a one class upgrade, the boutique Delano within the resort can still be affordable compared to other Vegas luxury hotel-within-resort concepts. Another options is the little known, all-suite, non-gaming Signature at MGM Grand, set behind the city's largest resort and further off the Strip, which offers the best room product at its price point and a bit of peace and quiet for anyone who goes to Vegas for that. Alternative: The just massively renovated Palms has nice rooms, great restaurants and cool bars, but its slightly off-Strip location is slightly off-putting to some.

Mid-Level on Strip: There are three general categories of Strip Hotels: Upscale (Bellagio, Venetian, Wynn, etc), Lower End (TI, Circus Circus, Excalibur, etc.) and the in between, name brands that tend to be overlooked. This is where you find the best combination of value and decent lodging, not luxury but not scary either. Top choices in this category include The Linq (a Caesars property), Paris (also Caesars), New York New York (MGM), and if you can live with a more offbeat location, the Stratosphere typically has great rates.

Downtown Las Vegas and the pedestrianized light show of Fremont Street still represent some of the best values in Las Vegas.

Getty

Budget: If you want to stretch your maximum dollar, head Downtown, where despite a recent major revival, prices are still lower than on the Strip. The D is a near perfect combo of quirky, fun, boutique and cheap, with a great location, deep pocketed owners who like to reinvest, and makes a great downtown home base. Alternatives: Golden Gate, Plaza.

Best Dining

Estiatorio Milos is a stunning fine dining Greek eatery in Vegas, New York, Montreal, Miami, & Athens, specializing in an amazing selection of fresh fish.

Larry Olmsted

Deluxe: Vegas has amazing fine dining. For the best of the best in the city, an epic 3-Michelin star experience that rivals any fine dining eatery in the world, make a reservation (way) in advance at Joel Robuchon in the MGM. It doesn't get any better. Great steakhouses can be found all over town, but the finest is CUT by Wolfgang Puck in the Venetian, which hits all the bases, with great steaks, great sides, great apps, great wine list, great service and really broad selection. Another category Vegas excels at is high-end sushi, so if you are on an expense account, head to Mizumi at Wynn, Yellowtail in Bellagio, or the flagship Nobu in Caesars. At a slightly lower price point, I've heard great things about the brand-new Catch in Aria. If you are willing to lay out top dollar for a fine dining Greek experience., Estiatorio Milos in the Cosmopolitan remains one of my all times faves, amazing for any kind of whole fish, meticulously sourced, the best of the best seafood from around the world. One of the best kept high-end secrets is Lakeside at Wynn, which combines a deluxe steakhouse and great seafood, with something no other place has - a tableside cart with a variety of rare types of whole lobsters from around the world.

James Beard Award winning chef Michael Symon runs one of the nation's best barbecue spots, Mabel's BBQ in Cleveland. Now Mable's BBQ is open in Vegas!

Palms Las Vegas

Affordable: Want a crazy decadent Vegas experience without breaking the bank? The Saturday and Sunday champagne-fueled Sterling brunch in Ballys remains a top choice for really living Vegas-style, one of just a handful of bottomless brunches in the country pouring real French champagne, unlimited, along with all-you-can- eat sushi bar, caviar bar, lamb chops, and the signature whole lobster tails. Go here, load up, skip dinner and you will feel like the smartest visitor ever. Upscale, delicious and exquisitely sourced Mexican and Southwestern cuisine by celebrity chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, TV's "Too Hot Tamales," at the Border Grill in Mandalay Bay remains one of my top recommendations in the city for a really great dinner at a reasonable price. You cannot go wrong here, from margaritas with hand squeezed juice to sustainable and authentic seafood. The famous Carnegie Deli in New York closed after decades of wooing tourists, locals and celebrities, but the original real deal pastrami and corned beef, made by the original Carnegie owner, can still be found in crazy big overstuffed sandwiches at the surviving Carnegie outpost in the Mirage. Newcomer Mabel's BBQ in the Palms is a spin-off of celebrity chef and James Beard winner Michael Symon's Cleveland eatery, in turn one of the best BBQ spots the country. It's far and away the best BBQ near the Strip, with ribs to die for, and everything else is great too. Some of the best and most creative burgers in town - along with insanely decadent pudding milkshakes - can be had in a fun atmosphere at star chef Gordon Ramay's BurGR in Planet Hollywood.

Bargain: Tony's Pizzeria Napoletana in San Francisco is the nation's single best pizzeria, and Tony has a smaller but awesome satellite in downtown Vegas, Pizza Rock. It's the best pizza in Vegas. The famous celebrity chef duo, "The Too Hot Tamales," of Border Grill fame (above), just opened a fast-casual grab and go counter with a Mexican riff on slow smoked Southern BBQ. It's called BBQ Mexicana, it is in the back of Mandalay Bay, and the burnt end burrito isn't just good, it is stunning, the best burrito of any kind I have ever tasted, worth the trip and really budget friendly.

If you need cheap food fast at any time of day, but especially in the wee hours of the night, be glad that America's oldest burger chain and famed inventor of the bite sized slider, White Castle, finally came West with their only location for a thousand miles, smack in the middle of the Strip. Downtown you can also quench a 24-hour booze fueled hunger on the cheap at Sin City's outpost of Detroit's legendary hot dog spot, American Coney Island, at the D. Vegas is so popular with visitors from Hawaii that is sometimes nicknamed the "9th Hawaiian Island." Many of these visitors choose the California Hotel downtown, and its otherwise non-descript 24 hour coffee shop, the Market Street Café, is famously popular for its very affordable renditions of Hawaiian favorites, especially oxtail soup, but also standards and daily specials including oxtail stew, chicken long rice, Kalua pig with cabbage, chicken adobo, island short ribs, chicken curry, seafood catch of the day, island curry stew pot, saimin, teriyaki beef or chicken plates, and Chinese-style fried chicken. There's even a morning buffet with beloved Hawaiian breakfast staple, Portuguese sausage.

Entertainment & Attractions

The choreographed fountains at Bellagio have been the centerpiece of the hotel since it opened in 1998 - and they are a great example of the kind of entertainment you can enjoy for free in Vegas.

Getty

The concert-style big name shows often cost more than the best "regular" Vegas stage extravaganzas, but this doesn't make them better. In fact, you can see concerts anywhere but many of the Vegas shows are only here. If you are a fan, you will want to make an effort to see your favorite music star, but otherwise consider the more traditional offerings. See my recent piece on the "5 Best Shows To See in Vegas Right Now" for more details. Also, you can often get tickets cheaper through third party Vegas ticket sites than from the box office.

Celine Dion has been the biggest Vegas headliner-in-residence for 15 years, but the next few months will be your last chance to catch her live.

Denise Truscello

Top Shelf: For the past few years the queen of Vegas has been Celine Dion, but her longstanding residency at Caesars is ending May 31, and this makes the show even more of a must-see then ever until then. Decent seats go for face value of $350 while you can spend two to three times that to be in the orchestra. Other top headliners frequently doing extended stays here include Britney Spears, Cher and Aerosmith, though Lady Gaga, who will be at the Park Theater at the new MGM Park (formerly Monte Carlo), looks best positioned to assume Dion's crown.

Awesome But Affordable: Absinthe is the consensus best show in town, but be warned it is crude and uses a lot of sexually explicit humor. It is also side splitting hilarious, while packing in the same kind of extreme physical feats that wow audiences at Cirque du Soleil shows. I tell all my friends if they want to see one show in Vegas, make it Absinthe at Caesars. It is a small venue with no bad seats, tickets star at a very reasonable $99, you can get really goods seats for $139, and the most you can spend is $199 for a private VIP table and free drink. If you have already seen Absinthe, the same producers opened a new show called Opium, which I will see shortly on my next visit, in its own theater at the Cosmopolitan.

It's sort of a must to catch one of the six Cirque du Soleil shows in Vegas, and they are all good, but I am partial to the Beatles Love, and Ka would be my last choice. However, if you are a fan of Michael Jackson's music, catch that one, and if you want to go vintage Cirque, see Mystere, which started the whole ball rolling, while the most over the top production is the water-based stage of O. They are all great. I just checked and you can get weekend night tickets to Love starting at $75 and it's hard to imagine more top shelf entertainment bang for the buck. If you want to catch one of the city's most acclaimed name brand musical resident headliners without breaking the bank, check out Carlos Santana, who regularly plays multiple shows at the House of Blues, with lots of tickets available for (well) under $200.

Only in Vegas will entire stages for major shows be made of water. This is Cirque du Soleil's O at Bellagio.

MGM Resorts International

Great and Very Affordable: Magic shows have always been a Vegas staple, but the top star of recent years has been Mat Franco, the first magician to win America's Got Talent, and headliner of his own show at the Linq. Magic Reinvented Nightly is great, suitable for families, and tickets start at just over $50.

Cheap: Two of my favorite attractions in Vegas are the really cool Neon Museum and Mob Museum. The former is a must for first time visitors and anyone who is interested in Vegas history and lore, the second speaks more to Godfather, Casino and Untouchables fans. At Neon you want to spring for the awesome Guided Tour, which is $28. Mob Museum tickets are $23, and you can get a combo of both these experiences for $48 (good for 7 days).

The High Roller is a London Eye-style observation wheel just off the Strip, and I recommend it heartily, especially for first time visitors. In fact, it should be your first stop to get a good physical orientation of the city from an aerial perspective. You can buy tickets online from $23, with a surcharge at night (more neon!), but the really cool option a lot of people don't know about is the "Happiest Half Hour," with special bar cars where you can enjoy open bar during your 30-minute revolution. You can get these tickets from $35 and just buying a beer in the gift shop to take on is a worse deal than full open bar.

Brooklyn Bowl in the Linq promenade is a spinoff of a popular venue from New York's Brooklyn that combines a bowling alley, great food at really reasonable prices, bar and live music venue. They get national bands of the caliber of Jane's Addiction and Post Malone for an average ticket price of $25-$35, you can have a delicious entrée for twenty bucks during the show, and you can even watch from your own bowling lane with full F&B service.

Free: The top totally free attractions remain the dancing waters and music fountain show in front of Bellagio and the animatronic mythological statue shows in Caesars Place. The former go off every 30 minutes from noon on weekend and 3PM on weekdays, picking up the pace to every 15 minutes between 8PM and 12AM. The latter are fire, water and sound packed Disney-style spectacles that bring otherwise normal looking statues in fountains to life. There are two different shows, and both go off every hour on the hour from 11AM to 10 or 11 PM. Atlantis is located in front of the Cheesecake Fantasy, and the Festival of Fountains in front of the Tourneau watch shop.

There are also a slew of "only in Vegas" activities ranging from operating really heavy construction equipment to driving Lamborghinis to doing yoga with Dolphins, and I did a whole another piece on the "10 Coolest Things You Didn't Know You Can Do in Vegas."

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