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Since its emergence in 1931 as the gambling capital of the United States, Las Vegas’ renown has evolved from a decadent desert oasis of 24-hour thrills to an ever-evolving destination for luxury experiences. While the famous neon signs of yesteryear have since been retired, the LED-illuminated skyline remains quite unlike any other city in the world, with architectural facsimiles ranging from convincing to audacious. Visitors have options galore beyond gambling within the city’s lineup of sprawling modern resorts: world-class dining, A-list entertainment, and a nightlife scene that is best experienced rather than described.
McCarran International Airport (LAS) serves as the primary hub for those flying in and out of Las Vegas. Note that each terminal hosts its own separate parking garage, ticketing and check-in area, baggage claim, and shopping and dining options, without any easy or quick way to get from one to the other. The good news is that regardless of which terminal you land at, the Las Vegas Strip is literally across the street from the airport, making for a quick taxi or rideshare trip to every major hotel. Terminal 1 arrivals can find rideshare pick-up on level 2 of the parking garage; at Terminal 3, the Valet level of the parking garage hosts rideshares.
Both terminals are also serviced by bus lines, but taxi and rideshare options are generally quicker and more convenient, with many Las Vegas hotels set back a serious distance from the sidewalk.
If Las Vegas ever needs a new slogan, it should be “Come ready for anything.” Summers can be unforgivingly hot, especially during the months of June through August, when arid desert temperatures can quickly climb into the 100s Fahrenheit during daytime, then plummet by 30 degrees during the evening. The city’s desert Jekyll-and-Hyde personality means you should pack a swimsuit and sunscreen for poolside relaxation during the day alongside a sweater or jacket for promenading the Strip at night.
While rain is uncommon throughout the year, late autumn and winter months can take visitors by surprise, serving up pleasant temperatures in the 60s and 70s during the day that can immediately drop down to freezing temperatures in the mid-to-high 20s once the sun has set, again warranting preparation while packing.
Las Vegas makes it easy for visitors to experience most of its most renowned sites in a straight line: The Strip’s iconic resorts stretch from north to south along South Las Vegas Boulevard. Between gondola rides, extravagant fountain shows, a rotating lineup of star headliners, and rides atop the Guinness World Record-holding High Roller observation wheel, there’s plenty to occupy guests 24-7 within a few square miles.
Visitors rarely stray too far from the Strip, but those seeking outdoor adventure should set aside a day to drive out about 15 miles west to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Majestic red-banded sandstone peaks await to explore along a one-way, 13-mile route, delivering what can feel like nature’s palate cleanser to the city’s more decadent delights.
The three-acre Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden offers a leisurely stroll among a prickly family of over 300 cacti and succulents.