Where to eat and drink in Vegas
Las Vegas area guides
Purchase your tickets at St Mark's Square, then take a ride along canals that weave through replica Venetian architecture. The wooden boats are authentic and the singing gondoliers are tuneful. However, despite the number of newly married couples that take the ride, the backdrop of gawking tourists will dampen any hopes of a romantic moment.
For the most part, a pinball machine is just a pinball machine. To some folks, though, it's a kinetic monument to a simpler time when mindless entertainment didn't necessarily involve sex, hyper-violence or the pixelated undead, a perfectly designed blend of challenge, workmanship and skill. In Tim Arnold's world, it's all these things and more besides. How else to explain his Pinball Hall of Fame, a functioning museum of sorts where more than 100 operational pinball machines spanning seven decades are on show? The Pinball Hall of Fame is a true mecca in a city of replicated ones. Over the years, Arnold has assembled a vast array of machines from Gottlieb, Bally, Williams and other oddball manufacturers, from gear-and-magnet models to modern digital wonders. Descriptions of each machine's attributed and historic values have been attached to them, most handwritten on index cards. And then, best of all, Arnold invites all-comers to play his machines. All you need is quarters; and if you don't have them, he can change your bills into them. Arnold has recast some of these machines so visitors can best appreciate their inherent beauty. Take, for example, his painstaking public refurbishment of a 1978 Bally machine devoted to the band Kiss. Paying attention to the smallest detail (excepting, perhaps, an actual drop of Ace Frehley's blood in the back glass), Arnold is like an Italian restoration specialist working on the Sistine Chapel. But while both share a certain reverence in th
If you're afraid of heights, stay away from the 1,150ft (350m) Stratosphere Tower. And even if you don't suffer from vertigo, you might want to steer clear of the resort's thrill rides. The Big Shot will rocket you 160ft (49m) up the tower's spindle under a force of four Gs; at the top, you'll experience a moment of weightlessness before free-falling back to the launch pad. X Scream will propel you headfirst 27ft over the edge of the Tower and then leave you there to dangle. And during Insanity, an arm will extend 64ft (20m) over the edge of the tower and spin you around at a terrifying rate. Best save dinner for later.
Gambling on the Strip
As you might expect, the action at Wynn is both sophisticated and decidedly pricey. Blackjack minimums start at $15, with a few single-deck games that pay the reduced 6:5 for naturals; hotel guests can also play 21 poolside at the Cabana Bar. Craps minimums are similar to blackjack. A single-zero roulette wheel is usually open in the high-limit room, though the minimums are high. The slots run the gamut from pennies to a $5,000 machine. Amazingly, Wynn has tried to attract local video-poker players with full-pay machines at higher denominations (very rare), though the schedules change unexpectedly; check the Las Vegas Advisor for their comings and goings. The keno lounge is one of the most comfortable in town. Games: Baccarat ($100–$15,000); Big Six; blackjack ($15–$10,000); craps (3x, 4x, 5x; from $10); Let it Ride; mini baccarat ($50–$10,000); pai gow poker; pai gow tiles; poker (26 tables); roulette (single & double zero); three-card poker.
The Bellagio’s casino draws celebs such as Ben Affleck and Drew Barrymore, but its ostentatious luxury verges on vulgar: the upholstery, carpets and striped canopies are a clash of colors and patterns. As you might expect, table limits are higher than at most Strip properties: minimums are often $25-$50 and it’s difficult to find even $10 blackjack. Still, the race and sports book is one of the most comfortable in town, and the poker room has replaced Binion’s as the mecca for pros, sharks and big-time players. Games: Baccarat ($100–$15,000); Big Six; blackjack ($10–$10,000); Caribbean stud; craps (3x, 4x, 5x; from $5); casino war; Let it Ride; mini baccarat ($25–$15,000); pai gow poker; pai gow tiles; poker (40 tables); roulette (single & double zero); three-card poker; slots.
In previous years Planet Hollywood’s casino underwent a number of renovations. It seems to have finally hit a groove, and its race and sports book is one of the most comfortable around, with 33 plasma TVs and a VIP lounge. Games: Baccarat ($100–$15,000); blackjack ($5–$3,000); craps (3x, 4x, 5x; from $5); keno; Let it Ride; mini baccarat ($25–$5,000); pai gow poker; poker (11 tables); roulette (double zero).
The 135,000sq ft casino is airier than many, with 2,400 machines (including nickel video slots that take up to 45 or 90 coins), but you have to hunt for good video-poker machines. Table games—122 of them—include blackjack, roulette, craps, Let it Ride, Caribbean stud, pai gow poker and mini baccarat. You’ll also find a poker room where you can get your fix of seven-card stud and Texas or Omaha hold ’em. The race and sports book has 17 large screens, enough seating for some 300 sports fans, a bar and a good deli. Games: Baccarat ($100–$15,000); blackjack ($10—$15,000); craps (3x, 4x, 5x; from $10); keno; Let it Ride; mini baccarat ($25–$15,000); pai gow poker; pai gow tiles; poker (10 tables); roulette (single & double zero); three-card poker.