Most casino resorts are located along the two and a half miles of Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Strip. The Strip spans from Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere; keep heading north to reach downtown. The Las Vegas Convention Center is a couple of blocks east of the Strip, and the throngs of conventioneers make the roads around it a traffic nightmare. If you somehow get disoriented, use Luxor's beam of light as your navigational beacon to get back to the Strip. Downtown can still be a bit dodgy, so be aware of your surroundings.
WHEN TO GO
Vegas has become a year-round destination: Prices are consistent pretty much all year, though they're always higher on weekends and holidays, especially New Year's. And while summer days reach over 100 degrees, you'll likely be inside the air-conditioned tombs of the casinos anyway. Winter can bring nighttime temperatures below freezing, so pack a coat. Book way ahead, though, as conventions often fill up Strip hotels.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are direct flights to McCarran International Airport, two miles southeast of the Strip, from most major U.S. cities as well as from England, Mexico, and Germany. Driving is a reasonable option from Southern California or Arizona, and most hotels on the Strip offer free parking (the customary tip for a valet is $2).
Use taxis if you're staying on the Strip and plan on jumping between the major hotels. Otherwise, rent a car: cab fares can get pricey when you're stuck in traffic or heading off the Strip itself. (If you want to go out to Red Rock Park or Hoover Dam, ask your hotel to arrange a daily rental.) The Las Vegas Monorail runs parallel to the east Strip from the Sahara to the MGM Grand, with five other stops, including the convention center. Your concierge can usually have a limo waiting for you in minutesit'll cost you about $35 to $45 an hour.
Las Vegas Conventions & Visitors Authority (www.visitlasvegas.com) is the local government agency responsible for tourism. Its web site includes a searchable database for hotels, restaurants, and shows. Although it does not offer best-rate comparisons, it links to thousands of websites and provides informative descriptions. Also, be sure to check out our sister site VegasChatter.com for the latest news, deals, and gossip.
Las Vegas Visitor Information Center
3150 Paradise Road