For anyone visiting Las Vegas for the first time, there’s an undeniable sense of awe and wonder about the place, especially walking along the Strip and taking in the jaw-dropping surroundings.
This world-famous thoroughfare is often regarded as the beating heart of the city and is actually called Las Vegas Boulevard, while the Strip itself is traditionally considered the stretch between the intersection with Freemont Street to the north, down to the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign just south of the Mandalay Bay resort.
Either side of The Strip, the natural reaction is to stare in fascination at the gigantic hotel buildings and casino resort complexes, each boasting their own unique style and appeal, all encouraging the traveler to step through their doors. These places are typically bustling venues packed with hundreds and thousands of thrill-seekers, eager to be entertained.
Iconic Las Vegas Casino Cluster
One thing quickly becomes very clear to anyone visiting this legendary Nevada city, the Strip is the neon-lit main artery that flows through the middle of Las Vegas, lined by architectural marvels that either emulate famous landmarks from other corners of the globe, or brashly stand proud with their own unique appearance and allure. Around the intersection with Tropicana Avenue, there are a host of hotel and casino wonders packed closely together.
Actually standing taller than the original pyramid in Egypt, the Luxor is instantly recognizable with its black glass façade pointing upwards towards the sky, especially at night when the strongest beam of light in the world reaches into clouds, almost as if in defiance of those ancient Egyptian gods of legend. Inside, this remarkable casino also features the largest atrium in the world, with apparently enough space to fit nine jumbo jet planes.
Right alongside in the next lot the mythical theme continues at Excalibur, named after the fabled sword of King Arthur, built with a medieval European theme and style based on the legends of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table. Boasting some of the most spacious rooms in Las Vegas, this resort creates a unique ambience and atmosphere with classic fixtures and fittings, plus there’s even a jousting tournament to entertain guests.
Stepping beyond the themes of yesteryear, there’s a little slice of the Big Apple just around the corner. This is where you’ll find New York New York and replicas of the Manhattan skyline, including the Statue of Liberty and even the Brooklyn Bridge. Whizzing amidst and around those buildings is a roller-coaster, giving this venue something edgy that you won’t find anywhere else.
Across the street and if a more grandiose establishment is what you’re looking for, they don’t come much bigger than the MGM Grand, which certainly lives up to its name. Guests are greeted by a huge signature bronze lion as they reach the main entrance, while inside and beyond one of the busiest casino floors in Las Vegas, more than 5000 rooms and suites make this venue oe of the three biggest hotels in the world.
Looking Beyond the Casinos
While there’s no doubting which venues are the key attractions for anyone visiting Las Vegas, nobody should leave this remarkable city without taking in some of the local history and culture. For a stylish look at some of the more original casino culture, it’s impossible not to take a stroll down Freemont Street, which where many of the oldest downtown gambling dens can still be found.
Not far from Freemont Street and still within the downtown area, step into the past with a trip to the Mob Museum and once there, discover how the Sin City moniker was earned. Likewise, learn about how this brightly lit city continues to dazzle, with the Neon Museum presenting a journey through lighting past and present.
This area isn’t filled only with modern wonders, because in what’s also known as the Cultural Corridor of the city, you’ll also find the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, exploring all the natural wonders in this part of Nevada. This is housed alongside the Old Last Vegas Mormon Fort, which was home to some of the earliest settlers and founders of the city.
Casinos Adapting to the COVID-19 Situation
Like so many destinations that thrive on tourism to drive their local economy, Las Vegas has found itself hard hit by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has touched many American locations particularly hard through 2020. As various lockdown measures came into force and in an attempt to halt the spreading pandemic, all those famous casino resorts and hotels were forced to close their doors to guests.
Nevertheless, while the doors of casino resorts that cost billions to build might be closed, many of the companies behind those venues have other activities to keep them ticking over. After all, this is the gambling industry and if there’s one thing they know about gaming, it’s not to lay all your chips on one hand when the cards are dealt.
While it might not be possible to enjoy playing poker or blackjack at the Bellagio and Mirage gaming tables, online casinos provide an entertaining alternative, something that is becoming more popular in the Western world. They offer all the most popular casino games that made Las Vegas famous, and many of them are even operated by the land-based casinos that straddle the Strip.
Some online casinos even give website and app users the chance to enjoy the virtual Vegas experience, emulating real-world casino floors with stunning 3D and virtual reality. Even if the doors of many iconic land-based casinos may remain closed for a while, we can still try live casino gaming with real dealers, streamed to our home internet or via mobile devices.
As we look positively ahead to the pandemic eventually being resolved, we can still get a taste of all the good things we’re missing, thanks to online casinos being around to keep us entertained. Until we can get back to those fabulous Las Vegas casinos in person, stay safe and don’t forget to wear a mask when you venture outside. Likewise, don’t forget that while you’re enjoying those favorite casino games, playing responsibly will ensure you stay entertained.
Further reading: Five of the Most Interesting Places in Vegas