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Concierge.com

California, Nevada

California, Nevada

By
Trip Plan Tags: 
adventure,
beach + island,
city,
road trip,
shopping,
wine
Destinations: 
California,
Greater Los Angeles,
Las Vegas,
Nevada,
North America,
United States

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ITEMS

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Hotel

The Venetian, Nevada

3355 Las Vegas Boulevard S.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 702 414 1000, Tel: 877 883 6423
Email: comments@venetian.com
Website: www.venetian.com

In many ways, the Italian-themed Venetian is the perfect Vegas resort. The hotel is filled with wild groups of twentysomethings ready to party, international travelers, Middle Americans on vacation, spa junkies, conventioneers, and just about every other demographic imaginable—all unified by a hugely tacky theme. Don't let the dizzying amount of meeting and exhibition space lead you to believe that the resort is filled with name tag–wearing pharmaceutical reps; the Venetian has also played host to Cigar Aficionado's Big Smoke, the Adult Video Awards, and attendees of the MAGIC fashion show. The resort's Canyon Ranch SpaClub is one of the largest and best spas in North America, and the 80-plus-store Grand Canal Shoppes is worthy of an afternoon. Every one of the 4,027 rooms is designated a suite, with a sunken living room and enormous Italian-marble bathroom. Even if you're not into the gondoliers and canals, you'll respect the attention to quality textiles and furnishings in rooms. Although the 2003-opened Venezia tower has "Concierge Suites" on upper levels (which means private check-in and access to a private lounge), rooms there are virtually the same as the originals. Midweek rates dip below $200 a night, one of the best bargains in town.

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See + Do

Sunset Boulevard, California

Los Angeles, California

Drive its length, from downtown to the Pacific Ocean. You'll pass Echo Park, where lotuses bloom in the lake; the funky shops of Silver Lake; Hollywood High School; Sunset Plaza and the Sunset Strip; residential Beverly Hills and Brentwood; Will Rogers State Historic Park, where you can catch celebrity-studded polo matches; the Pacific Palisades; Mandeville Canyon; and the new-agey Self-Realization Center. It all comes to an end at the Pacific Coast Highway opposite Gladstone's, where the food isn't all that great, but they'll wrap your leftovers in aluminum foil shaped like a swan.

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See + Do

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica has its famous pier, the Third Street Promenade (now mostly chain stores, but still with a kid-friendly amusement park), and the famed Wednesday Farmers' Market where local chefs shop for produce. Main Street and Montana Avenue have great shopping in small, upscale boutiques. If you're a surfer, Surfrider Beach is a must; if you're an art-hound don't miss Bergamot Station, a former trolley station taken over by art galleries. It's part of the Santa Monica Museum of Art (2525 Michigan Ave.; 310-586-6488; www.smmoa.org).

See + Do

Hollywood, California

Los Angeles, California

Hollywood is the same sun-blasted mecca for celebrity worshippers it's always been, but trees now line the main drag, Hollywood Boulevard. At night, the club-crawlers come out to play, even though the A-list spots come and go at warp speed (see our Nightlife section for help). The Kodak Theatre hosts the Academy Awards and other splashy events, which means that several blocks of the Boulevard near Highland Avenue are perpetually closed off to traffic. There's still no great shopping (unless you're looking for T-shirts or platform sandals in men's sizes), but lots of hip restaurants and bars. Hollywood is filled with ornate Mediterranean and Art Deco buildings, all gradually getting face-lifts. Thai Town and Little Armenia occupy the eastern end, with great ethnic markets and restaurants, like the famed Palms Thai, where a Thai Elvis-imitator performs nightly.

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See + Do

Getty Center, California

1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, California 90049
Tel: 310 440 7300
Website: www.getty.edu

This is architect Richard Meier's masterwork, a stunning 110-acre modernist complex in the Santa Monica Mountains housing the Getty Museum and other foundation buildings. When it was commissioned in 1984, the white travertine came from a quarry near Rome, and a special guillotine method for slicing it had to be developed for the construction. The Getty Museum is a symphony of light, with pools, fountains, and walls of glass bricks. The painting galleries are entirely illuminated by natural light filtered to protect the art. The Getty has had some financial and identity problems in recent years, but finally hired Australian Michael Brand in August 2005 as its new director and is at work shoring up its image. As you'd expect from an institution with a $5 billion endowment, the Getty has some big-ticket pieces, including works by Titian and Rubens, Cezanne's Still Life with Apples, and Van Gogh's Irises. The collection of decorative arts is wonderful, and now that the Getty Villa (see below) has reopened, the area once occupied by antiquities has been remodeled to house the renowned photography collection. Guests can choose from a self-service café, the sandwiches and salads of the Garden Terrace Cafe, or the Restaurant, which is open for lunch daily, but for dinner only on Friday and Saturday nights (reservations are advisable: 310-440-6810).

Closed Mondays.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.