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February 27, 2009

Vacant Vegas? Celebs to the Rescue

Senior Editor Kate Maxwell shows you some things you might not think to do in Vegas.

by Beata Loyfman

Unless you're hiding in your basement, you've probably heard about how the economy has pummeled Las Vegas. In fact, it's now America's most abandoned city, according to a recent Forbes survey. So imagine my surprise when I arrived in Sin City last weekend only to find . . . crowds! That's right, the Strip was a madhouse (more so than usual). Travelers from all over the world arrived in droves, spurred by cheap airfares, cheap hotel rooms, and the promise of instant riches.

And they're not alone. Celebs are also flocking to Vegas to blow off some steam. For example, Brad Pitt hit the Hard Rock Hotel for a boys' weekend with his sons, Maddox and Pax. They ordered Nintendo Wii from room service, saw Cirque du Soleil's KA, and checked out the (sedated) lions at MGM. Seven-month-old Knox Leon wasn't invited.

Drew Barrymore would not allow her 34th birthday party to be overshadowed by a little thing like the Oscars. She bailed on the awards and instead partied at The Palazzo with gal pals Ellen Page (the pregnant smart aleck from Juno) and Christen Wiig (the only woman allowed any screen time on SNL).

Like you, I was sick of all the bad news, so I booked a Vegas vacation package through Expedia. A non-stop Virgin America flight and three nights at posh Bellagio cost me about $510. Can't beat that!

Further reading:
* Travel and the Oscars
* Bette Midler returns to Caesars Palace on March 24. Check out my exclusive interview with the Divine.
* Seven Deadly Sins: A primer on the best of the Strip
* Video: Las Vegas nightlife
* Boldface: Celebrity travels


The Forbes survey pertains to permanent residents (renters or homeowners) in Vegas; those are the people who are leaving for various reasons. Temporary residents (tourists) don't count towards the measure, so it's not necessarily contradictory that you found crowds. Or Drew Barrymore.

What you say is true, nyjim, however finding crowds in a place where people go to willingly part from their money during a massive recession is quite surprising. As is the sight of that little gal from Juno dancing on bar tables.
- Beata Loyfman

Las Vegas does seem to be the place to "staycation" in these tough economic times. Great deals, great restaurants, great golf, and if you pick up a few extra bucks at the craps table, hey, you'll be profiting more than some Wall Street investors.

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