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PHOTO BY: imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
Ride the High Roller
En español | Take a Ferris wheel, supersize it, add in yet more Vegas excess and you get the High Roller. All the cabins are huge, and some have an open bar with cocktail service in them. The views are as great as you’d expect, especially at night. It’s a slow, spectacular Vegas experience — no running around required.
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PHOTO BY: Heeb/laif/Redux
Visit the Bellagio Fountains
Sure, they show up in seemingly every Vegas movie and may be the most touristy of many attractions here. But you really don’t grasp the scale of these fountains — or the exquisite timing between the visual display and the music — until you see them in person.
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PHOTO BY: Amy Cicconi / Alamy Stock Photo
Drop by Strip Hotels Old and New
Although it keeps growing and evolving, Caesars Palace is — well, it’s still a palace, just as it was when it opened more than 50 years ago. The bacchanal theme has worked for decades now, and the Colosseum theater remains a remarkable place to see live acts. Among the new hotels, the mammoth $4.3 billion Resorts World enlivens the north end of the Strip on the site of the legendary Stardust. The Cosmopolitan works hard to lay down a feeling of casual luxury, and it’s not just for a younger crowd.
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PHOTO BY: Michael Buckner/Getty Images
Take In a Cirque Show
Nearly a quarter century ago, Mystère became the first Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas — and it’s still going strong. Nowadays, Cirque shows are everywhere in Vegas, but there’s a big difference between a physical spectacular like Kà and a music tribute like The Beatles LOVE. Choose wisely.
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PHOTO BY: Denise Truscello/WireImage/Getty Images
See a Star
People may not have forgotten the Rat Pack, but today’s Vegas comes with more modern stars. Many of them are well established, and some, like Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez, have performed in “residencies” at various hotels. Other music acts regularly fill the numerous sports arenas in the area. You can see who’s in town at Vegas.com.
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Enjoy First Fridays
Here’s one that’s popular with locals and potentially easy on your wallet: the First Fridays arts festivals. Much of the action on the first Friday of the month is in the Arts District, north of the Strip and south of Fremont, but there are events all over downtown. It’s a great break from the typical Vegas madness.
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PHOTO BY: Eric Martin/Figarophoto/Redux
Stroll Through the Neon Museum
If you really want a taste of Vegas Past, check out this outdoor ‘boneyard’ for old-school neon signs. The nonprofit space is dedicated to preserving these signs, and it has fascinating guided tours.
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PHOTO BY: Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images
Take the Kids for a Ride
The roller coaster that wraps around the New York-New York hotel may be the best-known ride on the Strip, but if you’re bringing along kids or grandkids, consider the Adventuredome at Circus Circus. It’s a five-acre amusement park, all of it indoors and out of the sometimes-brutal desert sun.
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PHOTO BY: Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
Have Fun When You're Tapped Out
It’s Vegas: Tourists go broke. But the people-watching and free overhead canopy light shows at the Fremont Street Experience downtown are amazing and pedestrian-friendly. It’s also a great place for visiting numerous casinos within easy walking distance, as opposed to the long treks between Strip casinos. Downtown casinos, smaller in scale and mostly old-school in design, make a great contrast to the ones on the Strip — though, at nearly 500 feet high, the new, adults-only Circa Resort & Casino defies those odds.