24 Hours in Las Vegas

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign

Vegas IS gambling - even before you leave the airport, you can play the slots by the baggage carousel in Arrivals. But gambling is not the only game in town, and this 24 hours guide pays out a winning visit everytime - to the city, legendary for setting both hearts and wallets a-flutter.

Bayside Buffet at Mandalay Bay

Vegas all-you-can-eat buffets are legendary, available in most hotels - but mostly hidden from daylight. The one at Mandalay Bay offers views on the outside world, overlooking the hotel's tropical water garden. Feeding frenzies (aka breakfast) begin from 7am.

  • Address: Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
  • Tel: +1 (702) 632 7402
  • Website: www.mandalaybay.com

Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo Hotel

They don't call it the Flamingo Hotel for nothing - a flock of live Chilean flamingos are naturally the resident attraction in the Flamingo Hotel's wildlife habitat - alongside ducks, swans, koi carp and turtles.

Bingo at the Palace Station

OJ Simpson was recently found guilty of robbing two sports memorabilia dealers here, but your day can begin more innocently with a game of bingo. Sessions begin every other hour from 9am to 11pm, and it's $1 a pop.

Gallery of Fine Art, Bellagio

Investing in fine art has always been a gamble - and so you can't blame the Bellagio for chancing its arm. Come here for a changing programme of blockbuster exhibitions - from Monet to Warhol - in the hotel's fine art gallery space, open daily 10am to 6pm (9pm Fri/Sat). Admission is $15.

  • Address: Bellagio, 360 S Las Vegas Boulevard
  • Tel: +1 (702) 693 7111
  • Website: www.bellagio.com

Hiking: The Great Outdoors

Remember what Nancy said about boots and walkin'? Now's your chance: less than an hour from the strip are sandstone mountains and alpine-style peaks - perfect for hiking year all round. Choose between family-friendly treks like Echo Loop or more challenging peaks such as Mt. Charleston (11,918 feet).

Liberace Museum

Founded by the diminutive rhinestone pianist to fund his Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts, prepare to be dazzled by the legendary Liberace's fabulous costume and jewellery collections. Open Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-4pm (closed Mondays). Admission is $15.

Top of the World Restaurant, Stratosphere

Lunch with a (revolving) view: the Stratosphere tower is the tallest, freestanding observation-deck tower in the US, and features a restaurant which makes that view a full-gourmet experience. Lunch hours are 11am to 2.45pm daily.

Gondola Ride at the Venetian

Be serenaded by your personal gondolier as you sail along the Grand Canal ... straight through the middle of the Venetian Hotel. If it's not quite as romantic as Venice, it's certainly novel. From $16 per person.

  • Address: The Venetian, 3355 S Las Vegas Blvd
  • Tel: +1 (702) 414 4500
  • Website: www.venetian.com

Town Square

Charmingly described as a super-regional lifestyle center (bless, we love America), this 1.5 million square foot outdoor shopping mall, is the latest addition to the Vegas shopping experience. Town Square is the rebuttal to all those who says Vegas is just one long strip of air-conditioned casinos, and features over 150 shops - from Old Navy to Victoria's Secret - plus restaurants and cinemas, in a pretty be-fountained, landscaped setting.

Tao Beach

Hard to find, harder to get in - though Jay-Z, Heidi Klum, even Jessica Simpson! seem to manage it - lounge VIP-stylee in the pool-side cabanas atop TAO Asian Bistro and Nightclub. Just expect to pay for the privilege. Mondays to Fridays 'European-style' (code for topless) sunbathing is permitted.

  • Address: 3377 South Las Vegas Boulevard
  • Website: taobeach.com

Mandalay Bay Shark Reef

There are sharks in there I tell ya - America's only predator-based aquarium features a walk-through tunnel in which you come face-to-face with sharks, sawfish, giant rays, piranha and crocs in over 1.6m gallons of seawater.

  • Address: Mandalay Bay, 3960 South Las Vegas Blvd
  • Tel: +1 (702) 632 7777
  • Website: www.mandalaybay.com

Fremont Street Experience

And what an experience it is - a vast covered canopy of light, in old downtown Vegas, stretching 1,400 feet and made up of 12.5 million synchronized LED modules. The dazzling show features 180 strobes and eight robotic mirrors per block. Illuminating, amazing ... and free.

Cirque Du Soleil

Elton John, Barry Manilow, Cher and Bette Midler have all had Vegas residencies, but when it comes to sheer showtime output, nothing tops Cirque du Soleil. Currently with six shows on offer, the pick include the Beatles-inspired Love, water-based O, and futuristic Ka.

  • Address: 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South
  • Tel: +1 (702) 796 9999 (O, Ka); 792 7777 (Love)
  • Website: www.cirquedusoleil.com

CSN Planetarium

Looking for the stars? See them up close(ish) at the fantastic University of Southern Nevada planetarium, just outside Vegas proper. You can use the telescopes in the Student Observatory after the 7.30pm show if the weather is clear. Tickets $6.

  • Address: 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave., North Las Vegas
  • Tel: +1 (702) 651 4759
  • Website: www.csn.edu

The Rollercoaster at New York-New York

There are highs, and there are lows, but at least you won't lose your shirt on the rollercoaster lightning tour of the New York-New York casino (both inside and out).Thrills include a 180-degree heartline twist and a 54-degree spiral (these aren't cocktails, though you may need one afterwards).

  • Address: New York-New York Casino, 3790 South Las Vegas Blvd
  • Tel: +1 (702) 740 6969
  • Website: www.newyorknewyork.com

Bellagio Fountains

Every night - every 15 minutes from 8pm-12am - one of Vegas' most famous attractions springs to life: the Bellagio fountains. Possibly the only thing prettier than Clooney in Ocean's Eleven, the fountains dance to music, putting on an OTT, fun, refreshing - and free! - show (which runs every half hour between 3.00pm and 8.00pm too).

Adult Shows

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Sin City's adult-only highlights include Down Under (an Australian male revue at the Excalibur) and Fantasy (a female topless revue at the Luxor).

The Eiffel Tower Experience

Paris in Vegas? Almost. A half-scale of France's most famous landmark dominates the strip - and affords thrilling views from the top. Open until 12.30am.

Las Vegas Monorails

You'll want to walk along the strip at least once, checking out the major casinos and enjoying the shows many put on outside. But you will want to do this once only! The strip is one long gridlocked street of hot hell. So ... jump on the air-con'd monorail and glide between the MGM Grand and the Sahara (with five more stops in between). Day passes cost $12, runs until 3am on weekends.

Mix Lounge at THEhotel

Casino-free THEhotel (part of Mandalay Bay) is also home to Vegas's hottest late night bar, Mix Lounge. Housed on the 64th floor, you can admire the floor-to-ceiling views - or keep an eye out for Paris Hilton.

  • Address: THEhotel, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
  • Tel: +1 (702) 632 9500
  • Website: www.mandalaybay.com

Casino at the Wynn

The Casinos are naturally a 24-hour business in Vegas, but the Wynn at least allows you to lose (or maybe even win) in the lap of luxury. It's huge (10,000 sq foot), and an army of cocktail waitresses make sure you're always well oiled. Though for true oiled luxury, check yourself into the Wynn's spa for signature Good Luck Feng Shui massage.

  • Address: Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 South Las Vegas Blvd
  • Tel: +1 (702) 770 7100
  • Website: www.wynnlasvegas.com

The Little White Chapel

It wouldn't be Vegas if you didn't find yourself married to somebody inappropriate by morning - and if it's good enough for Britney, Cher and Frank, why not you? Open 24/7 and located handily on the strip, this is the ultimate Vegas wedding chapel - Elvis optional. Wedding packages are a snip, starting at $55 (though be warned, the annulment might cost more).

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas: The Sign

The landmark sign is located on centre traffic island on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip across from the shuttered Klondike Hotel and Casino. Glamorous eh? But hey, the circles in the word 'Welcome' are made from silver dollars. Come and see the dream alight - and watch the sunrise.

  • Address: Las Vegas Boulevard, South, opposite the Klondike Hotel and Casino

The Grand Canyon

One of nature's most glorious creations is less than 300 miles from Vegas: the Grand Canyon. Get there by bus (allow 12 hours - pick-ups from hotels start 6.30am for 7.30am departure), short flight (allow 8-9 hours, tours depart from 7.30am) or self-drive. Many tours go via one of the best man-made spectacles in the area, the Hoover Dam.

Last Updated: January 2009